Vintage Ad: Snowball Cupcakes

vintage ad snowballs tss

Chocolate Cupcakes, Vanilla Buttercream, and tinted Coconut

I absolutely adore vintage advertisements – especially those ads focused on cooking, baking, and all things happening in the kitchen.  From the 1920s through to the 1950s, magazines ads told the story of a product and how it could benefit the home cook.  Lots of copy and text boxes filled in the open spaces.

This Swift’ning vegetable shortening ad is a real beauty.  These ‘Most-praised Cupcakes’ are like nothing I’ve ever made but they do look very much like commercially made Sno ball Cupcakes from Hostess.

vintage ad cupcake pink

The key difference between this ad and snowball cupcakes prepared by professional bakers and home bakers alike… the artist rendering suggests decorating the entire cupcake and not simply the top.  That’s what takes this recreation from a novelty adventure to a full-blown circus.

Ignoring the recipe in the ad, I baked by favorite Chocolate Layer Cake and prepared my favorite Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.


The instructions for reproducing such an intricate cupcake include, “…ice with 7-minute frosting and sprinkle with pink coconut…”  I think we’re missing a step or two in there!

Ok, I’m making this up as I go along.  While the cupcakes cooled, I tinted the coconut.  I started with four drops then added 3 more.  It was bright and that was fine by me.

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My Homer Laughlin Fiesta Dinnerware Mixing Bowl is ideal for keeping delicate projects in the bowl and not on the table.

After the Vanilla Buttercream was ready (I added more milk so it wouldn’t be too stiff), I studied the cupcakes and the ad image.

It looked to me as if the cupcakes were upside down.  Carefully removing the cupcake liner, snipping off the top edge (cupcake/muffin top), and upending the cake – were essential to recreating this specific look.

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I popped them into the cake fridge for about 30 minutes to help the cakes stiffen; this prevented the frosting from pulling the crumbs away from the body of the sponge.

Time to frost the cupcake and cover with coconut.


It was a balancing act to cover the sides and top of the cake while keeping my thumb out of the buttercream.


….and the results.


I absolutely couldn’t stop giggling.

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Moving carefully through this project took a bit of time.  It is also the case, young kitchen helpers or kitchen helpers with limited mobility could assist with this design.

The original rendering in the ad looked completely not doable, but after working it step by step I discovered that more is possible.

I’m grateful for my life partner husband and his enthusiastic support of my baking.

I’m grateful for our people and the people they bring.

And I’m grateful for sobriety one day at a time.

vintage ad snowballs

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