SWANS DOWN CAKE FLOUR vintage recipes

I don't have a cover for this old cookbook, nor can I find any date on the pages. It has fallen apart and most likely belonged to my maternal grandmother. I can see from the logo on the center spread that it is for Swans Down Cake Flour. Swans Down Cake Flour has been around for over 100 years. It is now owned by the Reily Foods Company.

I do recall my mother using this flour, but eventually she used Softasilk, which is what I now use. I don't even know if Swans is available in my stores. I had forgotten about the brand until I found these pages.

The main reason I'm posting this is because of the lovely illustrations. They aren't photos. The artist appears to be named Giro. They're really nicely done so I do wish I could find something about the artist, but I'm finding nothing (and no, the fellow in Spain who has a couple images on iStockphoto is not this Giro). If anyone has examples of Giro's work let me know of the links.

Click on any image to see it larger.


Swans_fruit and spice cakes_tatteredandlost

Swans_birthday cake_tatteredandlost


Swan_strawberry meringue_tatteredandlost

Swans_red devils food_tatteredandlost

So did Giro work from photos or did they have to bake all these tasty morsels? Oh my, a full on carb rush while trying to work. Hey, some of the recipes look worth it. Strawberries are just showing up at the market so I might just have to make a cake. Then again, maybe I'll just dream about it instead. Salivating as I type this. And yes, I do look like Pavlov's dog.

UPDATE: I've done another post on Swans Down Cake Flour with more vintage recipes. It can be seen here.

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  1. Wow! They are nice. I like the use of the lace doily in the last one. I thought of my grandmother when I saw that. She used to do this while singing French folk songs and rocking in her rocker. Good memories. I'd forgotten all about it until I saw this illustration.

  2. Glad to jog your memory. I agree that the doily is stunning. Do you have any of the ones your grandmother made?

    Sure wish I could find more by this artist. I'm wondering if these were watercolors or gouache.

  3. Fantastic illustrations! I would have grabbed this if I saw it somewhere. If I were Giro, I would have requested "live models" - haha!

  4. Oh, this looks like serious good stuff.

  5. Thanks for sharing these. I was especially interested in the illustrations because the artist, Enoch Bolles once did work for Swans's Down. I didn't recognize any of these as his work but they were all really well done. It just goes to show how talented illustrators were back then (and food is a very difficult subject to illustrate in an appealing manner).

  6. Glad you enjoyed them Jack. I'm still sorting through drawers hoping to find the cover.

    It is so interesting how appealing the food looks because by the time they all went to photos it was purely nauseating. This are fresh and delicious looking. Actually make me want to try the recipes.

  7. Interesting that you say that because food illustration was very difficult. Too simple and it didn't look real, too much detail and you'd lose your appetite. A lot of illustrators were no good at it.

  8. I remember in art college having one assignment where we had to bring in a tv dinner and draw it. First off, it was the old aluminum Swanson style, and then the food was melting as we drew it. It went from bad to hideous in no time at all. Fortunately that's one drawing from college that I didn't keep. I'm guessing it was simply too nauseating.

  9. Anonymous2/22/2014

    I've tasted the softsilk cakes but prefer swansdown. To me it makes a better flavor for cakes.

    1. That's interesting. I can never find Swans Down in any stores.

  10. What state do you live in? I have been in many and all of them carry Swan's Down cake flour.

    1. Bordering the Pacific. I remember the flour when I was a kid on the East coast, but not our here.