Know Your Sweets

Learn the histories of all your favorite sweets

Know Your Sweets: Angel Food Cake

Know Your Sweets Sarah Baird 14 comments

A cake so light and fluffy it's almost heavenly, angel food cake is a American sponge cake that's a staple of potlucks, bake sales, and funerals across the country. More

Know Your Sweets: Battenberg Cake

Know Your Sweets Sarah Baird 1 comment

Battenberg Cake (aliases: Domino Cake, Church Window Cake, Neapolitan Roll) is an unapologetically and uniquely British confection featuring a sponge cake interior and a jam-laced marzipan wrapping. More

Know Your Sweets: New Orleans King Cake

Know Your Sweets Sarah Baird 2 comments

The signature baked good of Carnival season in New Orleans, king cake is comprised of a ring of rich, brioche-like dough and any number of sweet fillings, from cinnamon to cream cheese. (Also, watch out from the plastic baby inside!) More

Know Your Sweets: Candy Hearts

Know Your Sweets Sarah Baird 2 comments

Candy hearts are a centuries-old, endearment embossed sweet that have become synonymous with shoeboxes full of Valentine's Day cards and a chalky, (potentially tooth-shattering) texture. Learn what candy inspired them, what flavors the colors are supposed to mean, and more! More

Know Your Sweets: Black Forest Cake

Know Your Sweets Sarah Baird 1 comment

With its decadent layers upon layers of cherries, chocolate, whipped cream, and sponge cake, the Black Forest cake is perhaps Germany's sweetest export. More

Know Your Sweets: Cinnamon Rolls

Know Your Sweets Sarah Baird 8 comments

Cinnamon rolls (aliases: coffee scroll, cinnamon bun, cinnamon snail) combine a belly-warming, spicy center with a stick-to-your-ribs pastry exterior. But the world didn't get to enjoy these sweets until the 17th century. Find out why! More

Know Your Sweets: Gingerbread

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Perhaps the only food that often appears shaped like a tiny, edible man or a miniature house, gingerbread's soft texture and warm blend of holiday spices makes it a centuries-old favorite in any form. More

Know Your Sweets: Fruitcake

Know Your Sweets Sarah Baird 4 comments

It's time we stop making the fruitcake a laughing stock, get it a better PR agent, and instead celebrate this rich (and often boozy) dessert for its prominent place in history. More

Know Your Sweets: Candy Canes

Know Your Sweets Sarah Baird 4 comments

It's doubtful that there's a candy connoisseur among us who hasn't enjoyed the sticky-fingered bliss of a minty-fresh candy cane. Ever wonder how they got their shape, or their stripes? Read on for the full history of this holiday treat. More

Know Your Sweets: Pumpkin Pie

Know Your Sweets Sarah Baird 7 comments

Planning to eat your weight in pumpkin pie this week? We hope so. Here's the history of the beloved dessert. More

Know Your Sweets: Cranberry Sauce

Know Your Sweets Sarah Baird 2 comments

The cranberry (alias: bearberry) is one of only three fruits—including blueberries and Concord grapes—that can truly claim roots in North American soil. Why, then, did it take the sweet-tart side dish cranberry sauce almost a century after settlers arrived to find its way to our thanksgiving tables? More

Know Your Sweets: Hard Sauce

Know Your Sweets Sarah Baird 2 comments

This highly moldable, rich, firm mixture of confectioners' sugar, butter, and spirits is the traditional addition to any number of holiday sweets. When paired with a steaming hot pudding or piece of pie, it slowly melts into a deliciously sweet coating. More

Know Your Sweets: Apple Pie

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There's nothing more quintessentially American than apple pie, and no wonder: the dessert has been a United States favorite since colonial days. While it might be the perfect patriotic dish, this sweet combination of crisp apples, flaky crust, and rich spices has been enchanting sweet lovers across Europe since the time of Chaucer. More

Know Your Sweets: Rocky Road Ice Cream

Know Your Sweets Sarah Baird 6 comments

The first superstar ice cream flavor outside of the freezer section's big three (chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry), this combination of marshmallow ribbons and almond bits in a creamy chocolate base is a sweet textural treasure. More

Know Your Sweets: Baked Alaska

Know Your Sweets Sarah Baird 7 comments

Baked Alaska (aliases: Norwegian omelet, glace au four) is a classic dessert of the Gilded Age best known for magically combining ice (an interior cake made up of sponge cake layered with ice cream) and fire (a torched meringue shell). Find out what New York City restaurant made it a classic, the origin of the name, and more! More

Know Your Sweets: Key Lime Pie

Know Your Sweets Sarah Baird 1 comment

Perhaps the most famous export of the Florida Keys outside of Earnest Hemingway and his six-toed cats, Key Lime Pie is a tangy, creamy delight made with sweetened condensed milk and the small, delicate limes of the region. Are you a fan? Check out the true story behind this beloved American dessert. More

Know Your Sweets: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Know Your Sweets Sarah Baird 2 comments

Perhaps the 20th Century's most notorious, retro-chic dessert creation, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake flips the traditional notion of a baked good on its head, pairing a spongy, yellow cake bottom with a glistening spread of pineapple rings and maraschino cherries on top. Learn about the moment when it became a party favorite, its variations, and more. More

Know Your Sweets: Banana Pudding

Know Your Sweets Sarah Baird 10 comments

Banana Pudding (aliases: Nana's Pudding, Wafer Pudding) is an unassuming, delicious Southern staple featuring layers of rich, custardy vanilla pudding, crunchy vanilla wafers, and slices of banana. Learn all about its history here. More

Know Your Sweets: Funnel Cake

Know Your Sweets Sarah Baird 4 comments

Funnel Cake (aliases: Dribble Cake, Funny Cake) is a carnival classic that has all the trappings of the perfect fairground food: it's fried, it's doughy, and it's a fantastic vehicle for any number of luxurious, extra-sugary toppings. Find out what international desserts it resembles and which town in the US has worked hard to claim funnel cake as its own. More

Know Your Sweets: Lane Cake

Know Your Sweets Sarah Baird 2 comments

Lane Cake (Alias: Prize Cake, Alabama Lane Cake) is the crown jewel of Alabama confections: a four-layer sponge cake filled with a mixture of thick custard, raisins, coconut, and bourbon, topped off with a fluffy frosting. Learn about the invention that made this cake accessible to the masses, plus our favorite special ingredient. More

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