Spam Cake Birthday

Trying to think of what to take to that 4th of July pot-luck? Here’s an idea

SPAM is a lot more than unwanted email, it’s an Americana culinary classic – which leads us to this week’s slide: SPAM CAKE BIRTHDAY PARTY LUNCHEON, ALCOA ALUMINUM COMPANY, LOS ANGELES, 1955.

The photographer handwrote on this slide “birthday party for me and Vonda, 1955.” Uniformed employees gather around the lunchroom table set with a centerpiece of garden variety roses, pink paper plates, a stack of white bread, big stick of butter, a white mystery salad topped by a quartered tomato and parsley and a pink cake. The candles on the birthday cake are ready to be lit, inspire a wish and be blown out. But this is no ordinary pink cake, this is a SPAM cake! I know that because “Cake made from SPAM and strawberries” was also handwritten on this slide.

I only remember having SPAM once growing up. It was served sliced and fried at a family feast while we were visiting my Okie relatives on vacation in 1972. And just like mommy warned me, it’s very salty. I haven’t had it since – darn it!

Besides Prince, SPAM is Minnesota’s most famous product. The fine folks at Hormel, based in Austin, Minnesota, introduced the savory taste-treat sensation to the nation in 1937. The congealed blend of pork shoulder and ham is right up there with ultimate Americana processed food products such as Jell-O, Cool Whip and Velveeta. Originally it was promoted as “miracle meat.” The name came from morphing the words ‘spiced’ and ‘ham’ – SPAM!

There are zillions of SPAM concoctions on the internet – everything from Rack of Spam to Spammus to Spam soup. But all-be-darned if I couldn’t find one for SPAM cake. So I called the SPAM Museum, located at 1937 SPAM Boulevard in Austin, Minnesota and asked them. The lady said I’ll have to call you back. Twenty minutes later the phone rang and she said “the recipe for SPAM cake is very simple. Follow the directions for any white, spice, yellow or devil’s food cake mix, but substitute grated SPAM for the oil.”

I dare you to serve SPAM cake at your 4th of July party!!!! Tell your guests what it is AFTER they tell you how delicious it is and beg you for the recipe.

Here’s to you and SPAM! & Happy 4th!!!