Toi Degree: Learn how to use cake mixes

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 7, 2015

By Toi N. Degree

Rowan Cooperative Extension

Boxed cake mixes have been around for many years, dating back to as early as the 1930s.  Although it was thought that cake mix was born after World War II and developed by corporate mills that had too much flour on their hands, it’s really older, thanks to a surplus, not of flour, but of molasses. We also have a Pittsburgh company by the name of P. Duff and Sons to thank for today’s cake mix.

On Dec. 10, 1930, the company’s John D. Duff applied for a patent for an “invention that resembled dehydrated flour for use in making pastry products and a process of making the same.”

In the application, Duff’s mix for gingerbread involved a powder mixture of wheat flour, molasses, sugar, shortening, salt, baking soda, powdered whole egg, ginger and cinnamon that the homemaker could rehydrate with water and then bake. From Duff’s invention and many tweaks along the way, cake mix was born.

So if you are interested in learning more about cake mix and the various desserts you can make using cake mix, join me on Wednesday, July 15, at noon for Cake Mix: More Than Just Cakes.

During the workshop, you will learn more about the history of cake mix, the many desserts you can make from cake mix, how to make those desserts and of course an opportunity to taste a few samples. When you leave, you will be ready to think “outside the box” and create a new signature dessert all your own.

There are still a few seats left. Registration is required, and the sessions are free and open to the public. Participants will receive samples, recipes and other educational materials. The class will be held at the Rowan County Agriculture Center, 2727 Old Concord Road, Salisbury. Funding for the series is made possible through the Blanche & Julian Robertson Family Foundation Inc.

To reserve your seat, give us a call at 704-216-8970 by Monday, July 13. For more information, feel free to contact Toi N. Degree, Family & Consumer Education Agent at the Rowan County Cooperative Extension office, 704-216-8970 or at

Cooperative Extension will host a food preservation workshop for anyone interested in learning more about food preservation on Thursday, July 23, from 6-8 p.m. The workshop will be held at the Agriculture Center at 2727 Old Concord Road.

Participants will learn the many food items that can be canned and/or frozen … those that must either be canned or frozen.

Learning what you can freeze and can’t freeze is one of the hardest lessons for the beginning freezer so if you aren’t sure which foods to can or freeze, this workshop is for you.

During this workshop, the list of what to can and what to freeze will be revealed, along with the how and why.

There is no charge but space is limited so pre-registration is required. Pre-register by 5 p.m.  Monday, July 20, by calling 704-216-8970.

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