Cake Canaveral, 1963 – A Vintage Recipe Test

Posted on Jun 28 2017 - 4:52am by RetroRuth

The Fourth of July is almost upon us, so I thought I would give you all the gift of cake. Rocket-ship cake.


This is Cake Canaveral!

3.0 from 1 reviews
Cake Canaveral
  • Devils Food Cake
  • ⅔ cup shortening
  • 2¼ cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1¼ cups milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring
  • For Frosting:
  • 6 ounces softened cream cheese
  • ½ cup soft butter
  • 6½ cups sifted powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 ounces melted chocolate, cooled slightly
  • 4 Tablespoons of milk
  1. Stir shortening to just soften. Sift in dry ingredients. Add ½ cup of the milk; mix till all flour is dampend. Beat vigorously 2 minutes. Stir in remaining milk, the eggs, melted chocolate and 1 teaspoon red food coloring. Beat vigorously 2 minutes longer. Bake in paper lined 8x8x2 inch square pans in 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until done. Cool 5 minutes and remove from pans. Fill and frost with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. Garnish with halved chocolate mints, walnut halves and a large candle for the rocket.
  2. For Frosting:
  3. Cream butter with softened cream cheese. Add powdered sugar and beat well. Add salt, vanilla and chocolate. Add milk until spreading consistency. (I used all 4 tablespoons)


So, my friend Carolyn (of the Aspic Aquarium) and I decided to make something on the crazy side for the Fourth of July. We were originally planning on doing some sort of gelatin thing, but then I was paging through the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook Birthdays And Family Celebrations when I came across this beauty:


It was entitled “Cake Canaveral”. I was immediately sold. How could I not with a name like that?

So Carolyn and I figured out a way to tweak the decorations to make it a little more patriotic, and we were golden.


Or red, as the case may be.


Here we are at go time. You can see the feverish joy in this photo. Also, the roll of paper towels in case something goes horribly wrong.


Chocolate cream cheese frosting. That is all.


It is actually harder than it looks to split Andies Candies into little shark fins. I got my biggest knife straight out of the hot dishwasher, and that seemed to do the trick. But there were many casualties along the way. Luckily, we had lots of little kids around just ready to eat up mistakes, so nothing went to waste.


Partially complete. At this point, it became impossible to hold off the children from eating the candy, so we gave them a job to do.


Here they are crushing Jolly Ranchers. It kept them pretty busy while we finished up with the precise M&M placement.


Without the candle it looks a bit like sharks in the water.


Interesting fun fact: Carolyn and I both started inexplicably humming the Superman theme song while I placed the candle. It was magical.


A ravaged cake.


“How does it taste? Is it out of this world?”

“Well, the frosting might be.”

The Verdict: Frosting

From The Tasting Notes –

Surprising absolutely no one, chocolate cream cheese frosting is freaking delicious. The cake itself left something to be desired. It was dense and on the dry side. It had a sandy texture, but the chocolate flavor throughout was very good. If you have a standard red velvet or red devil’s food cake, don’t leave it for this one. The absolute best part of this was the cake decoration, which was so, so fun. I think we had more fun than the kids did and probably way more fun than adults should. Which is kind of what holidays are all about.

Cake. Canaveral.

Just had to get that in there one last time.

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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11 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Eartha Kitsch June 28, 2017 at 9:42 am - Reply

    I love it!!

  2. Erika Carrell June 28, 2017 at 5:46 pm - Reply

    I don’t understand the purpose behind the shark fins on either variation? Are they really supposed to represent sharks, or baffles, or what?

    • RetroRuth July 14, 2017 at 1:44 pm - Reply

      According to the recipe they are supposed to be the “radar”…which…doesn’t really make any sense.

  3. Betsy Kiplinger June 28, 2017 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    I was confused by the candy fins until I thought… FINS… as in car fins…. everything mid century had fins… why not a cake, too.

    Honestly, this cake could so easily be redone for Shark Week. a sea of shattered blue jolly ranchers pierced by chocolate fins. Maybe some carefully place barbie arms would be over the top?

  4. Marty June 29, 2017 at 1:47 am - Reply

    Cake Canaveral — out of this world!!!

    Bummer that the cake part wasn’t so hot. Of course, I’d eat cardboard if it were covered with chocolate cream cheese frosting and Andes mints. 😉

  5. Caroline June 29, 2017 at 5:07 am - Reply

    Looks incredible! I am in awe!

  6. Kate from Iowa June 29, 2017 at 8:05 am - Reply

    Completely off topic, but do you have any idea where I can get a pi dress like Mini-Carolyn’s for my niece?

    • Carolyn June 29, 2017 at 10:11 am - Reply

      Princess Awesome makes them.

      • Kate from Iowa June 29, 2017 at 11:07 am - Reply

        Thanks! Now I just have to figure out what size…

  7. Meridith Scherer June 29, 2017 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    Love it! Kennedy Space Center is across the river from where I live! THis is genius!

  8. nightshade June 30, 2017 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    props to the hubby for the legend of Zelda t-shirt tho it sould be funny to see him in the mid century casual for the pics ….

    But does anyone ever notice that even today when they make the big extremely decorated cakes (like this one) that the cake its self is the last thing anyones concerned about ?

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