To most folks, Duncan Hines is just a brand of cake mix owned by Pinnacle Foods, but the rights to the name was actually sold by the real Duncan Hines, born on March 26, 1880, to Hines-Parks Foods in the early 1950’s. In 1956, Hines-Park Foods merged with Procter and Gamble; shortly thereafter, the company marketed Duncan Hines cake mixes across the country and the rest, as they say, is cake mix history. Long before Duncan Hines’ name appeared on cake mixes, however, Hines worked as a traveling salesman. It was during those years that he started a journal listing the good places in which he ate and stayed that would ultimately be turned into the self-published “Adventures in Good Eating.” Businesses on Hines’ list could post sign saying “recommended by Duncan Hines” and over time Duncan Hines became a household name synonymous with quality and good taste – a distinction that lasts to this day when consumers choose a product that bears the Duncan Hines label. When used as foundation for a homemade cake, a Duncan Hines cake mix can eliminate some of the problems inherent in “from scratch” cakes, such as dryness, poor texture and lack of structure. There are some cake recipes that may actually be enhanced with the use of a mix and their relative ease of preparation and rate of success makes them good choices for occasions when everything must go exactly right and failure just isn’t an option. Whether you want to celebrate Duncan Hines’ birthday with a chocolate ganache-glazed Red Devil’s Food Cake or a mile-high Coconut Cream Cheese Cake, either of these cakes offer spectacular, foolproof results.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.