12 Picnic Cake Recipes

Grandma's retro picnic cake recipes are so easy to make and perfect for times when you need a mouth-watering cake for picnics or a backyard family party.

Enjoy these homemade cakes with or without icing or simply dust them with powered sugar — they taste that good!

Homemade Picnic Cake Recipe

One Hundred Picnic Suggestions (1915)

Homemade Blueberry Cake Decorated with Powdered Sugar and Fresh BlueberriesBlueberry Picnic Cake Topped with Powdered Sugar
(Source: ©Kate_Smirnova/Depositphotos.com)

If you prefer your picnic cake iced, stick a few toothpicks in the icing before covering it with waxed paper, and it will transport safely to your picnic site.

And remember, homemade cakes always carry easier when left in their baking tin.

Blueberry Picnic Cake

Sift 2 cups of flour with 5 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add 1 cup of sugar, 2 beaten egg yolks beaten again with 1/3 cup of milk, and 2 tablespoons of melted butter.

Beat well and add 1 tablespoon of vanilla, 2 cups of blueberries, well dredged in flour, the egg whites beaten stiff, and turn into a shallow pan well greased. Bake 1/2 hour in a slow oven (325°F).

When cool wrap the pan in a paper and put it in the picnic basket. This cake requires no frosting and should be eaten while quite fresh. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top, if desired.

Coffee Gingerbread Cake

Mix 1/2 cup each melted butter, molasses, and sugar, add 1 beaten egg, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1/2 cup of very strong coffee. Beat and add 2 cups of flour.

Bake in one of the square, shallow tin boxes that are sold filled with crackers or wafers. Peel off the outside paper, grease the inside and dust lightly with flour. Bake in moderate oven (375°F) and cover with thick boiled frosting.

When cold put on the cover. Or bake cake in a shallow pan and stick wooden toothpicks through the frosting into the cake and cover with waxed paper.

Homemade Cakes with Pineapple Filling

Sayer Family Enjoying a Picnic at Rice Lake, Ontario, in 1955Sayer Family Rice Lake Picnic in 1955
(Source: ©Don Bell)

For this vintage picnic cake recipe, cook 2 cups of minced or shredded pineapple with 1 cup of sugar and the juice of a lemon. When thick, cool and add a grating of the yellow rind of the lemon.

Spread this between ladyfingers, macaroons, or plain drop cakes, and pack in layers in a box with waxed paper and cardboard between each layer.

Chocolate Nut Bars

For this chocolate picnic cake recipe, mix 1/2 cup of softened butter with 1 cup of granulated sugar, 2 squares of melted chocolate, a pinch of salt, 2 well-beaten egg yolks, and 1/4 cup of flour.

Beat well and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1 cup of broken pecan meats, and 1/4 cup of flour sifted with 1/2 teaspoon of baking-powder. Turn into buttered, shallow tins and bake in a moderate oven (375°F).

Cut into bars while still warm. When cool wrap each bar in waxed paper. So handy to take on picnics.

Cinnamon Raisin Picnic Cake Recipe

One Hundred Picnic Suggestions Book Cover and Vintage IllustrationEnjoy Trying Grandma's Picnic Cake Recipe Ideas
(PD Source: Adapted by Don Bell)

Cream 1/2 cup of butter, add 1 cup of sultana raisins dredged with flour, 1 cup of sugar, and 2 beaten yolks. Add, alternately, 2 cups of flour sifted with 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 3/4 cup of milk.

Season with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon each, of salt and nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Fold in the beaten egg whites and bake in a tin wafer box (375°F) 30 minutes.

While quite warm spread with creamed butter, dust with granulated sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle with minced nuts, and return to oven until a crust is formed.

When cool put on cover of the box. There will be too much dough for the box, but the remainder may be used for drop cakes.

Picnic Pound Cake

For this old fashioned picnic cake recipe, cream 1 cup of butter, add 1-1/2 cups of flour. Beat 1 cup of eggs with 1-1/2 cups of sugar until very light and lemon color.

Add this to the butter and flour mixture and beat 20 minutes, flavor with 1 tablespoon of brandy, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 2 drops of the oil of nutmeg.

Bake in a bread tin about 1 hour (375°F). Citron or fruit may be added if liked. This cake will keep fresh a long time.

Old Time Rock Cakes

Cream 1 cup of butter, add 1 cup of fine granulated sugar, 3 beaten eggs and beat well. Add 1 cup of flour sifted with 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and beat 15 minutes.

Add 1 cup each of seeded raisins or sultanas, currants, and chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, or pecans), and 3 tablespoons of brandy. A few chopped dates may also be added, if at hand.

Drop from a spoon onto a buttered paper and bake in a quick oven (425°F). These will keep for a long time. Wrap each one in waxed paper and pack in a tin box.

Oatmeal Drop Cakes

For this old fashioned picnic cake recipe, chop 2 cups of rolled oats, add 1 cup of seeded and cut raisins, 1 cup of pecans or walnuts, broken in small pieces, and 1 cup of butter creamed with 1 scant cup of sugar.

Add 3 beaten eggs and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in 1/3 cup of milk. Add the grated rind of 1 orange and 1 tablespoon of the juice, and 2 cups of flour.

Drop from small spoon on buttered tin and bake (350°F) till done. When cool pack in layers in a box with waxed paper between each layer.

Picnic Cake Recipes for Holidays

Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (c. 1920s)

Patriotic Cake Recipe

Patriotic CakeCelebrate the Holiday with a Homemade Patriotic Flag Cake
(PD Source: Selected Recipes and Menus c.1918)

1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1-2/3 cups sifted flour
1/2 cup milk
2 level teaspoons baking powder
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Pink food coloring

Cream shortening, add sugar gradually. Then add sifted dry ingredients with milk and flavoring. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.

Color one-half mixture with pink coloring and fill into a loaf pan alternating the two batters, in order to have a marble appearance.

Bake in a moderate oven (350°F) for 35 to 40 minutes. Cover with white frosting and decorate with flags. —Selected Recipes and Menus

Caramel Iced Picnic Cake Recipe

Caramel Picnic Cake Sliced and Ready to ServeCaramel Picnic Cake Sliced for Serving a Crowd
(PD Source: Adapted by Don Bell)

1/2 cupful butter
3/4 cupful sugar
4 egg yolks, beaten light
Second 3/4 cupful sugar
3 cupfuls cake flour
4 teaspoonfuls baking powder
1/4 teaspoonful salt
1 cupful milk
1 teaspoonful vanilla extract
4 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Cream the butter with 3/4 cupful sugar. Beat the egg yolks until light, and add the second sugar, beating well. Add the egg and sugar mixture to that of the butter and sugar, mixing well. Sift the flour, measure, add the baking powder and salt, and sift three times.

Add this flour mixture and the milk alternately to the first mixture. Then add the vanilla extract. Fold in the egg whites, and bake in two layer-cake pans in a moderate oven (350°F).

Put the layers together and cover cake with a favorite caramel frosting to decorate.

Jumbles Picnic Cake Recipe

Dr. Chase's Receipt Book (1891)

Soft Jumbles

These delicious little cakes are perfect for taking on picnics, serving at lunches, or just for nibbling.

Butter, 1 cup; sugar, 2 cups; 2 eggs; sour or sweet milk, 1 cup; flour, 4 to 4-1/2 cups; baking soda, 1 teaspoonful, scant; cream of tarter, 2 teaspoonfuls; vanilla extract, 1 teaspoonful.


Cream the sugar and butter, and add one-half the milk, in which the vanilla has been put; then one-half the flour, then the beaten eggs; then the other half of the flour into which the cream of tartar has been mixed by sifting together; lastly the other half of the milk in which the soda has been dissolved.

Make in small cakes and bake quickly in hot (400°F) oven.

Remarks: — Jumbles are always to be sprinkled with sugar, or rolled in sugar. For me, the more sugar the better is the jumble.

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