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The History of Betty Crocker Cake Mix

Betty Crocker wasn’t a real person. Instead, she was created in 1921 by the Washburn Crosby Company after a contest in the Saturday Evening Post caused them to be unexpectedly inundated with questions about baking. They created the character of Betty Crocker to answer the questions; the company even had their female employees each create their own version of Betty’s signature and the winner was adopted for use when “Betty” replied to customer questions via letter. So where did the name come from? The name Betty was chosen because the company leaders considered it to be friendly and wholesome, while the surname Crocker was borrowed from a retired director of the company, William G. Crocker. In 1924, the character was given her own radio show called “The Betty Crocker Cooking School of the Air.” (Each regional station had its own Betty Crocker voice.) In 1928, General Mills purchased the Washburn Crosby Company and by 1945, Betty Crocker had become one of the most well-known names in America. A 1945 Fortune magazine list of the most well-known women in America even placed her as being second only to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in notoriety! Then in 1947, the very first Betty Crocker cake mix was released. The original flavor was Ginger Cake (now known as Gingerbread Cake) and was an instant hit. It’s worth noting that while the Betty Crocker name is now nearly synonymous with cake mix, the company did not invent cake mix — that honor goes to John D. Duff of P. Duff and Sons, who created the first boxed cake mix in the early 1900s. The successful release of Betty Crocker Ginger Cake Mix was quickly followed by two more cake mixes, Devil’s Food Cake Mix and Party Cake Mix. The trademark red spoon logo was designed by Lippincott & Margulies and added to the packaging of Betty Crocker products in 1954. The brand went international in the mid-1950s, beginning with Canada. Over time, more cake mix flavors were created and more products were added to the Betty Crocker line. Today, Betty Crocker cake mixes (as well as other products, including premade frosting, cookbooks, and cooking gadgets) remain incredibly popular and can be found on grocery store shelves all across America as well as in several international locations.

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