The Cake Historian

The Cake Historian

By Jessica Reed
NEW EPISODES IN 2019! The Cake Historian is a podcast exploring history and culture through the lens of cake. Much more than just the ingredients it is made from, cake is a symbol of celebration, a bringer of joy or pain. Cakes show up in literature, music, art, and on film. It is a food of love and loathing. And even, occasionally, a vehicle for murder.

This is not your usual food podcast.

Hosted by Jessica Reed, Cake Historian, ​and author of The Baker’s Appendix
More places to listen

More places to listen

Laura Shapiro
I love this interview so damn much. Laura Shapiro, author most recently of WHAT SHE ATE: Six Remarkable Women & the Food That Tells Their Stories, and I talk cake, her career path, feminism, consciously—or unconsciously—ingested societal ideas around marriage, the history of cake mix, and the frankly horrendous diet culture. Oh, and Hitler. This is a doozy of an episode my friends. Please be aware that certain subjects discussed may be upsetting for some listeners. Visit for more information, vintage advertisements, episode resources, and recipes for the TWO Cake(s) of the Episode: Pancake Cake and a Cakey Cobbler via Smitten Kitchen which Laura bake with peaches :). Original music composed by Alejandro Hernandez. Craving another slice of cake? Subscribe via your favorite podcast directory. Reviews always welcome and extremely helpful!
September 24, 2018
Shomari Wills talks Mary Ellen Pleasant
Shomari Wills, author of BLACK FORTUNES: The story of the first six African-Americans Who Escaped Slavery and Became Millionaires, joins me to talk about Mary Ellen Pleasant, a woman who loved Pineapple Upside-Down Cake and, oh yeah, just happened to be The Mother of Civil Rights in California. I spoke with Sho from his home in Brooklyn, NY a few weeks ago about his book and Mary, her work as a businesswoman and abolitionist, the folklore and rumors that plagued her life and death, the beautiful connection to Maya Angelou, and more. Find Sho on Twitter @showills and BLACK FORTUNES wherever books are sold. Please visit for a complete list of resources, supplemental material, and the recipe for The Cake of the Episode: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake with—bonus!—Sweet Cream Lime Curd Ice Cream. Comments? Questions? A cake story to share? Reach out: Original music composed by Alejandro Pinto-Hernández
August 13, 2018
Shelley Miller, Graffiti and Conceptual Artist
Episode 3 features an interview with the Montreal-based artist Shelley Miller. Using frosting, hand-formed sugar tiles and food coloring, Shelly creates graffiti and murals that address power, feminism, and the slavery and colonization of the sugar trade. Listen in as we discuss her art, inspiration, and methods as well as the complexities of being a working artist and single parent, among other topics. Photos, The Cake of the Episode, and further links can be found at Have a cake story to share? A comment or a question? Feel free to reach out: . Original music composed by Alejandro Pinto-Hernández Resources: This episode's list is more extensive than space here allows, so please visit for a complete selection of links.
July 23, 2018
Jessie Sheehan, author of THE VINTAGE BAKER
Episode Two features an interview with Jessie Sheehan, author of the new book THE VINTAGE BAKER. She spoke with me from her home in Brooklyn, New York about the book and baking as well as everything from finding career happiness later in life, to motherhood, the perils— and pleasures—of social media, the comfort of a boxed mix cake and more. Jessie's website: Photos, The Cake of the Episode, and further links can be found at Have a cake story to share? A comment or a question? Feel free to reach out: Original music composed by Alejandro Pinto-Hernández Resources: “Collecting: Vintage Baking Pamphlets.” Martha Stewart Living, August 2011 New Party Cakes for All Occasions. (1931). General Mills Inc Cake Secrets. (1953). General Foods Corp.
July 6, 2018
This suspense is terrible. I hope it will last. —O. Wilde
Welcome to the first episode of The Cake Historian Podcast wherein I ramble extensively, introduce the "Cake of the Episode," talk a bit more about what you can expect, and end with an interview between myself and my 5-year-old daughter. It's not quite what I planned to give you, but it is ME, unedited and off-script. Nice to meet you. A few pictures and the recipe for this "Cake of the Episode" can be found here: Have a cake story to share? A comment or question? Feel free to reach out! Original music composed by Alejandro Pinto-Hernández (THANK YOU. We did it!) Book mentioned: Landwhale by Jes Baker
June 22, 2018
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