Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Vintage Wilton Yearbook

I came across a vintage Wilton Yearbook the other day while going through my cookbooks, so I sat down to peruse its pages and reminisce.  Everything in that catalog was instantly familiar to me because I clearly remember my mother having so many of these products at home.  For the various birthdays, christenings, weddings, first communions & other special occasions that mother was always baking for, she heavily relied on Wilton to get her through these projects. 

Early in her marriage, mom decided to take lessons from a Wilton School instructor at one of the local cake decorating stores.  She quickly learned how to bake & decorate like a professional.  Along with a dear neighbor (I have to get a recipe I remember fondly from this neighbor soon!), the duo became quite the neighborhood sensations with their many creations and baked goods while we were growing up.  The many school activities and holidays that we celebrated in elementary school were always catered by mom (she was a P.T.A. room mother); my classmates always anticipated these days.  As I've said here on this blog before, we always had a homemade birthday cake and it was because of Wilton that mom made them special.  I want to take you through some of the classic, albeit dated images from this 1972 Yearbook.    

This is the cover of the Yearbook catalog.  It contains 204 pages of decorated cakes, ideas, products and information.  The cover shows a 3-tiered Spring Wedding Cake, a 3-tiered Valentine's Day Cake (yes!, this didn't seem like a big deal then), some pastel-colored Easter Egg Cakes in the foreground, a duet of ladies in pink (a sweet 16 perhaps) and a charming little House Cake on a Fostoria glass cake stand.


Being a Leo myself, I always wanted this cake as a child, but somehow never got it.  Do you see that crinoline fabric tucked underneath the cake?  The "tuck & ruffle" decoration was a Wilton specialty for many of its cakes.

A double layer Winter Cake with royal icing snowflakes and a simple dot border, sits on an antique pattern glass cake stand.  This particular cake is timeless in my opinion. 

For the Fourth of July, why not a cake trio of brightly colored stars?  Wilton was very big on decorating with clearly defined borders.  Every single edge of these cakes was covered with simple dots in a contrasting color.

This particular Mickey Mouse Cake was baked for a birthday of mine, and made numerous appearances at cousins' birthdays as well as those of a few neighbors.  People loved this cake! 

The Donald Duck Cake was another popular one with mom.  Mother always took great care in decorating each cake according to the image found in the yearbook.  Every shade of icing was hand mixed by her (I used to help her mix the frostings sometimes & fill the pastry bags if she was busy doing something else) and piped with a small star tip to complete the look.  She was very meticulous about it. 

This Winnie the Pooh Cake was usually made for a baby's 1st birthday.  Since it was a somewhat small cake, mom always placed it on top of a larger quarter sheet or half sheet cake. 

I don't recall mom making a Cinderella Cake for anyone, but what little girl would not have adored this princess?


This particular replica of the Gemini Spacecraft was used by mom one year when she made me a "space cake".  My birthday is 2 days apart from my younger brother's, so one year mom decided to combine the two.  A large sheet cake was baked, iced and decorated with meteors, rocks and a few other clever touches.  The Gemini was placed somewhere on the cake and at the end of the celebration, I got to keep it!  That was a fun cake from childhood.

Wedding cakes were also big with mom.  In the Yearbook, Wilton showed the decorator how to construct this sweet confection step by step.  Every cake topper, column & decorative element was available to the consumer via their catalog & through cake decorating supply stores.  This grand cake was meant for large weddings of 100 or more guests.    


A smaller cake for a more intimate wedding was every bit as elegant.  Beautiful buttercream shell borders, sugar mold flowers & champagne coupes (also made by Wilton) were those trademark decorations taught at the Wilton School. 

A wedding cakes book available to the home baker & apparently the only one of its kind.  I wonder if Martha Stewart ever came across this little book during her catering days?


Even KitchenAids were sold through the catalog.  The K5 mixer (5qt.) as well as the K45 (4 1/2 qt.) mixer were a must-have for the home baker.  At $184.75 back in 1972, this was a large sum for anyone, so these were quite the investment. 

Cake pans in Walt Disney character shapes were popular with mothers back then.  Mom had all of these except for Goofy.  The pans provided years & years of baking at our house.

 These images show the many shapes of cake pans that were available.   

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Wilton is just as popular as ever with home bakers these days.  Many of the cake pans are still being produced (I especially like the Petal Pan Set) and although the classic Disney characters are no longer available, Wilton has other, more contemporary Disney characters in its product line.  What do I like from Wilton?  I love the muffin liners that come in all shapes, colors & sizes.  I also love the well constructed cake & loaf pans (I have several in my baking pantry).  Wilton also has many cupcake & cake decorating supplies, as well as many of the tools needed to make candies of all sorts (if you want to make lollipops, everything is there for you!).  I hope you enjoyed looking back at these classic images from my childhood. 

Enjoy baking everyone!  

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this amazing trip down memory lane. I absolutely love the Wilton product line and have done the Wilton cake decorating courses. Beautiful!

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  2. I'm glad you liked it Montreal Cakes, because this was very close to my heart. You know, this remains one of the most popular posts to this day, here on the blog. I think I may have to add another post with additional photography of Wilton goodies. Enjoy!

    ~David

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  3. I have this exact magazine that my great aunt left behind. The one I have is worn but in OK shape. Wow 1972 and I was born in 1992.

    ~Kim

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    1. That's great, Kim! It's classic Wilton, just like what I grew up with at home. :)

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