Every few weeks, people on the internet obsess over a recipe, and it spreads like wildfire. The source is often social media, frequently Instagram and TikTok, but more and more, Reddit seems to be the source. For most, Reddit is a never-ending list of community-driven forums on everything from news and hobbies to fandom and Bitcoin advice. But it’s also an increasingly popular platform for recipe discovery, especially in the subreddit channel /Old_Recipes. This page, with more than 250,000 followers, has come to be a full-blown digital archive of everything from generations-old heirloom recipes to magazine clippings from decades past. It’s quickly grown to be one of the more exciting cooking resources on the internet, with an engaged community breathing new life into each recipe. Some recipes remain one-hit wonders, while others gain traction and only pick up speed from there. Recipes spanning from Murder Cookies to Armenian Perok Cake to Nana’s Devil’s Food Cake have all gone viral, well beyond Reddit. Not only do these get their 15 minutes of fame on the wider internet, they’re frequently shared on the /Old_Recipes forum months after they were originally shared. The latest recipe to go viral, a dense buttery Bundt called Whipping Cream Cake, is no exception. What is it about such a recipe that peaks the internet’s interest, rocketing many to fame, while others stay stuck in the past?
The Sweet Stuff
The Whipping Cream Cake first appeared on the forum in a post by user Jamie_of_house_m, who wrote that it is her go-to birthday cake. It hails from her husband’s grandmother’s cookbook, a relic from an Iowan town’s centennial anniversary in 1979. (Similar recipes date back even earlier: the YouTube channel Glen And Friends Cooking shared a video making a whipped cream cake from a North Dakota county’s community cookbook from 1936.) This cake is the epitome of the Reddit forum’s mission: uncovering the most obscure recipes that have stood the test of time, wedging their ways into our traditions, one tattered, scribbled-on notecard as a time.