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Pudding with a past

The search is on in the UK for an official pudding to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, marking an historic 70 years on the throne this year. As part of the proceedings, members of the public have been asked to submit pudding recipes that they feel celebrate the last 70 years in sugary form, only one of which will be dubbed the official ‘Jubilee Pudding’. 

Honouring 70 years of dessert history in one special dish is not going to be an easy feat considering how much trends and preferences have changed in the last seven decades. In honour of the eternal love of post-dinner sweet treats, here is a round up of popular, and some extremely odd, desserts from the last 70 years. 

Pudding with a past

1950s

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

While the concept of the upside down cake dates all the way back to the middle ages where baking in a skillet was a matter of practicality, the exact inception date of the Pineapple Upside Down Cake isn’t clear. The sugary creation first garnered attention in the 1920s, and by the 1950s canned pineapple was officially in vogue and the cake as we know it today was an extremely popular dish, appearing at dinner parties everywhere. While we doubt canned fruit will be welcome at a jubilee celebration, the Pineapple Upside Down Cake is a creation worth remembering.

1960s

Jell-O Moulds with Anything Else you Can Dream of 

Something quite unimaginable by most of today’s standards, in the 1960s it was common practice to encase everything from seafood to salad in jelly, and it was considered chic. Thanks to fun jelly moulds, there was no limit to what shape you could make your inspired desserts or, in some horrifying instances where food like lamb chops were involved, savoury dishes. We can’t imagine a creative jelly mould will be dubbed the official Jubilee Pudding, but it is fun to remember this wacky reminder of a bygone era. 

1970s

Cheese and Pineapple Hedgehog

Dubbed ‘the decade that taste forgot’, the 1970s had some real inventive takes on dessert, most of which involved instant pudding and something out of a can. One whimsical dish that deserves a shout-out is the cheese and pineapple hedgehog, which surprisingly was not exclusively available at children’s parties, but also acted as an aperitif or dessert for adult events. All you needed was a melon, some toothpicks and whatever you wanted to cut up and have your guests chew on. A masterpiece!

1980s

The Battenberg Cake

A strong contender for the Jubilee Pudding, this light sponge cake has a rich British history and was supposedly first baked in 1884 to celebrate Prince Louis of Battenberg marrying Princess Victoria, Queen Victoria’s granddaughter. The distinctive pink and yellow squares wrapped in  marzipan are an iconic part of this dessert, and while still popular today, had a huge burst of interest in the 80s and 90s where it was a staple for an afternoon cup of tea. 

1990s

Crème Brûlée

Versions of Crème Brûlée, which literally translates to ‘burnt cream’ in French, have been around for a couple of centuries, but the pudding definitely had a huge spike in popularity at the beginning of the twenty first century. In one delightful Washington Post article on the topic in 1996, chef Uwe Hestnar, the then head of curriculum of the Culinary Institute of America, referred to the dessert as ‘the french onion soup of the 90s’. Delicious and reliable.

2000

Trifle 

This Christmas time favourite initially found its place on the table in the Victorian era as a means of using up leftover cake sponge and fruit, and even though it’s still a popular pudding today, the trifle was a go-to norm for most special occasions between the 1970s and early 2000s. 

2010s

Red Velvet

There was a moment in the 2010s where it felt like nothing was left untouched by the red velvet fever and everything from ice cream to Oreo fillings and latte flavours had to sport a red velvet version. While ‘velvet’ cakes have been around for some time, the bright red cake as we know it today is actually the result of a World War II-era creation: red food coloring. Prior to that the cake had a much darker more natural red hue due to the cocoa used.