By Robert J. Korpella
First posted on 09-24-2006
“Chocolaty keen with cream in between.” That’s how it was billed, and when I was a kid that was all it took for my mouth to ache with desire for a Lucky Cake. Tip Top bakery was responsible for the confection and my quarters helped fill that company’s coffers. The old black and white television commercial featured a childlike figure, with a flute if I recall correctly. But it was a long time ago. I doubt Lucky Cakes are even made anymore. Which is too bad because writing that first sentence puts the taste back in my mouth.
For those unaffected by Lucky Cake fever, the snack/dessert/breakfast food was simply a moist, round chocolate cake cut in half sandwich style and layered with the finest white cream filling imaginable. That was it. No icing, no fancy swirled white frosting across the top – just plain cake and filling that you were lucky to discover and even luckier to consume.
I remember bugging my parents to buy one (or several if I played my cards right) on every grocery trip. And when the day finally arrived that I was old enough to hike the full city block to the corner store to buy one myself, why it was a Kodak moment indeed. The Price’s house was the halfway point in my trek and the point at which it felt I had escaped the gravity of my small house on Mulberry Street and had stepped into the “real world.” Across the street from the Price house was a duplex, then an open lot that would soon become a construction site, a battlefield, an alien planet and a fierce jungle in the imaginations of my brother and me.
Across the street from that, on the corner of Mulberry and Columbia, was the market – a butcher shop that also sold a few grocery items like milk, bread and snack items. John was my favorite butcher. He was thick chested, tall (or so it seemed from my vantage point at that time) with light colored horn-rimmed glasses and short cropped dark hair. John was cool. His starched white shirt and crisp apron was always neat and clean despite his profession. He treated me like his best customer and later, after I began frequenting his establishment, John would greet me with a slight grin and point to the shelf where the Lucky Cakes were proudly displayed. Yeah, old John knew his customers all right. I’d plunk down my quarter, John would thank me for my patronage and I’d be on my way.
I must have run all the way home because the return trip always seemed much shorter. And when I got there, it was me, an ice cold glass of milk and my Lucky Cake. Man, life didn’t get much better than that for a kid.
This should settle round vs square the pic alone should bring back a memory http://comdor.wix.com/memories
By Joe on October 07, 2012 – 6:49 pm
I was also from the Chicago area and they were most definitely round not square.
By Marcy Blankenship on June 01, 2012 – 5:35 pm
Maybe Wards commissioned a square version of this delectable delight, but Lucky Cakes were indeed round in my world, which was the Chicago area. Always round. Two moist chocolate cakes with an incredible white filling between.
By Robert J. Korpella on June 01, 2012 – 4:06 pm
I hate to disillusion those who remember them as round, but I’ve confirmed that Lucky Cakes were indeed square. My brother-in-law worked in the New Jersey plant where they were made for Wards. He has emphatically stated that they were square.
By Bill Yovino on June 01, 2012 – 9:15 am
I remember them well, they were my favorite. I recall them being two round cakes with the cream in between. I also seem to recall a picture on the package of some Richy Rich looking kid.
By ed borris on June 01, 2012 – 7:56 am
Yes….Lucky Cakes were the best. They were certainly one of my favorites. I miss them so. But I’m happy to have had the opportunity to experience and enjoy them, as I did many other things in the 50’s and 60’s. Thanks for the great memories. Rich
By richard ozimek on April 24, 2012 – 1:51 pm
So now we have round, square, and semi-circular. Anyone remember them as tetrahedronal?
By Bill Yovino on April 20, 2012 – 11:26 am
I recall that Lucky Cakes were two half rounds, leaving one straight edge, like dividing a circle in half, Which might explain why some believe they were square and some believe they were round.
They start out as a small round cake which is cut in half and then the cream is layered in between the two halves.
By Bob G. on April 20, 2012 – 10:02 am
For what it’s worth my memory of them is that they were round.
By Gary K. on April 20, 2012 – 7:41 am
I’m not convinced about them being round. I’ve been searching for photos or advertisements but can’t find anything. I remember that you really couldn’t take them off the cardboard and hold them because they were so moist that they fell apart easily. It’s surprising that none of the commercials are on YouTube.
By Bill Yovino on April 19, 2012 – 11:19 pm
You are right about them being moist but they were not square they were without a doubt round
By Joe on April 19, 2012 – 9:59 pm
In my memory, Lucky Cakes were square, not round, but I’m not 100% sure. I do remember that they were very moist and used to stick to the waxed piece of cardboard, so you would have to scrape off the remaining morsels with your teeth. Some of bottoms had magic tricks printed on the back. I remember one where if you cut it out with scissors along the dotted lines, it would open up so that you could walk through it. I’m glad I found this thread. I was trying to remember the name of the cake. All I could remember was part of the slogan “…with the cream in between.” I had a school mate in grammar school named Douglas Keane. We used to call him “Douglas Keane with the cream in between.”
By Bill Yovino on April 19, 2012 – 8:27 pm
I have had the Lucky Cakes! These are the real thing, not often does a memory pop like this. I ordered here http://www.roadsidefudge.com/
By Joe on February 23, 2012 – 9:05 am
here is the info I found to find them on twitter is tough
It appears they already have been selling lucky cakes and are maybe planning to market stronger. If they have this recipe all I know is I want some. I will try and email them and find out more. below is what text reads at twitter and web info
Discovered an old ledger with original Lucky Cake recipe WOW these CAKES are FANTASTIC click website to see the FULL LUCKY CAKE STORY
on twitter TipTopLuckyCake
By joe on May 15, 2011 – 11:48 am
I agree 100%, if you’ve got the web addresses, please post them cause now you have my hopes up!!
By Mike on May 14, 2011 – 9:06 pm
Joe, by all means, post those web addresses. I for one would be delighted to view the original recipe!
By Robert J. Korpella on May 14, 2011 – 7:29 pm
I also remember lucky cakes use to get them at the corner store Ithink 12cents. So I started searching around when I found this site and found something interesting a site on twitter that has the original recipe and a internet site dont know if I am allowed to list the web address here but if this is true I’m all in
By joe on May 14, 2011 – 5:00 pm
Here is some information about Emily Tipp, perhaps she was the Aunt of Elmo Topp of Lucky Cakes fame…..
Emily Tipp. Margaret Hamilton provided the voice for Emily Tipp in the Tip-Top Bread commercials. Later there was Elmo Topp, the character used in the Tip-Top Cakes’ “Lucky Cakes” advertising campaigns and commercials. Tip-Top Bakery was part of the Ward Baking Company.
Here are a few links to commercials for Emily Tipp’s Tip Top Bread
By Bob G. on February 15, 2011 – 4:34 pm
I just found a picture of the contents of the Lucky Cakes Membership Kit…(which I mention in my 2/3/2010
The front has a four leaf clover in a plastic case,
And a button which had a picture of Elmo Topp
And it says…
GREAT MARVELMO MAGIC CLUB
REMEMBER THE TWO MAGIC WORDS
On the back is the text…..
BE IT KNOWN FOREVER
The lucky bearer of this card,
The wearer of this badge and
The carrier of this lucky 4-leaf
Clover, is a member in good
…and is thereby entitled to
all the rights, privileges and
happy things of all good
Elmo Topp Marvelmo
Elmo Topp Great Marvelmo
President Chief Magician
By Bob G. on January 09, 2011 – 8:11 pm
“lUCKY cAKE, lUCKY cAKE, CHOCOLATY KEEN!”, THAT’S THE ONLY PART OF THE COMMERCIAL I REMEBER, FIOLLOWED BY A FEW NOTES ON THE FLUTE. i MISS lUCKY CAKES!
By LOU dIAZ on December 29, 2010 – 11:45 pm
Yeah, I can remember me and my brother sleeping in a backyard tent. It was in the early 60s on Long Island. The Lucky cakes were 10 cents back then. It was cotts cherry cola soda,2 big bags of wise potato chips,and a bunch of lucky cakes. We would read Archie comics with our flashlights.
By Gary Olsen on November 08, 2010 – 1:43 pm
I’ll never forget how good they were, even after all these years! I would love to find them again.
By lynn on October 10, 2010 – 10:05 pm
What really made the Lucky Cake special was instead of a regular chocolate cake it was a Devils Food cake.
By Alan S. on July 16, 2010 – 1:21 pm
I remember Lucky Cakes. My older brother would buy them and I would beg him relentlessly for just one small nibble. It would just drive me crazy, to watch him bite into the cake and when that delicious cream would bulge out the sides he would lick it all around …I never recalled ever having one to eat by myself, although Hostess Suzy Qs came close, but just not quite as tasty as that original Tip Top Lucky cake. I still crave them after all these years!
By JUDY on June 14, 2010 – 4:01 pm
Bob, thanks for the thoughts. Reading all these comments is like reading a page from my autobiography! I grew up in Yonkers NY and, like everyone else has noted, Lucky Cakes were absolutely the best! I remember them as being huge, to a kid anyway.
I think that what others have said is true in that, if they were still being produced, they would likely not taste the same as they used to. So many products from the sixties that still exist today do not have the taste that I remember from back then.
The puzzles on the cardboard backing were a key attraction to me. The one I remember is where you’d have to collect several to assemble into a larger picture of the cartoon characters.
If the manufacturer ever decided to do a “retro” version, it would be worth the money!
By Tony V. on May 26, 2010 – 3:34 pm
I too remember those heavenly “Lucky Cakes”. Even though they did not have icing, they were far superior to anything of their day. I adored Lucky Cakes!!
Not sure if anyone else remembers, but I distinctly recall sending away to join the Lucky Cakes Club.
I remember being a small boy waiting each day, one summer, for the postman to deliver our mail, only to be disappointed over and over again as I took the mail out of his hands to discover that my membership kit had not arrived. There was always tomorrow, but oh the disappointment!!
Then one day weeks later it came!! I was so excited to finally have my Lucky Cakes Membership Kit in my hands. What a feeling!!
I’d struck gold!! Without doubt that was the event of the summer for me, perhaps the decade(60’s).
Unfortunately the only things I can remember of the Kit was a four leaf clover and a Lucky Cakes Membership card with my name on it.
I’ll never forget waiting on our beautiful sloped grass where I sat each day, by my mailbox, waiting for my Lucky Cakes Membership kit to arrive.
Anyone know where any Lucky Cakes commercials might be, or even some images of Luck Cakes?
By Bob G. on February 03, 2010 – 3:28 pm
It’s funny how a stray neuron fires up in the brain of a Boomer, and in wafts a memory of Elmo and Lucky Cakes that sends me a-googling. Glad I’m not the only one who remembers.
I seem to hear Elmo’s last name as “Keen” though. Elmo Keen. And the commercial I sort of remember had a circus theme with a roaring lion, and somebody with a high-pitched voice and slight Brit accent said, “Eating Lucky Cakes is more fun than a circus!” I remember there being several regular characters with Elmo – an elderly lady and a little girl, besides the older man whom Barry recalled. Maybe one of those other characters had the last name Topping?
I grew up in Brooklyn, NY where we had Tip Top bread as well as Lucky Cakes. Apparently there were Tip Top bakeries near several major cities (like NYC, Chicago and Birmingham), but the brand wasn’t known to people in other areas of the country. I didn’t remember about the games/puzzles on the cardboard backing till I read others’ reminiscences. And I agree about the change in the taste of baked goods from the 50’s/60’s to today. The Hostess and Drakes snack cakes of today don’t have the same satisfying flavor. I remember the orange Hostess Cupcakes had an INTENSE orange flavor, and Drakes Devil Dogs were VERY devilish! I thought maybe it was just my taste buds. Thanks for the memories!
By Eileen on December 12, 2009 – 3:34 pm
They were the best! Glad to see that there are others with the same memories. I wonder if anybody has kept the recipe? I would pay good money for one right now!
By Gary K. on October 12, 2009 – 11:12 pm
Cousin Cliff’s kids TV show in Birmingham, Alabama was sponsored by Tip Top Lucky Cakes in the early Sixties. I recall that the colourful picture or game on the backing card would appear if you brushed a bit of water on it – magical!!! Hill’s grocery store in Homewood carried the classic round devils food Lucky Cake, and a companion golden cake with raisins with the same great filling. How wonderful that Lucky Cakes feature in our memories of a great time to be a kid!
By L. London on September 14, 2009 – 11:07 pm
there was always an older man with elmo. the commercial i never will forget is when elmo sez, as they are standing close to the sea “you know sea breezes make lucky cakes taste even better”…for some reason i can remember that commercial even today. i liked lucky cakes but kinda tried to stay with hostess cupcakes because of the additional cream factor and the icing.
By barry on July 30, 2009 – 9:26 pm
I am so excited that there are people out there who can recall this fabulous cake. I remember that they were always advertised during the Paul Shannon Show out of Pittsburgh. Our brownie troop was on his show as we traveled from WV, and we were all so excited that Lucky Cakes were actually in the vending machines. Several friends that remember making that trip as children unfortunately don’t remember Lucky Cakes as we do. Thanks for sharing your memories…they are the same as mine.
By Donna M on July 10, 2009 – 8:01 pm
wow – i, too, have no idea why lucky cakes and the jingle just flew into my head! i also googled them and ended up here. i used to get my lucky cakes at joe cancilla’s grocery store on taylor street in chcago. sure would like to find one again.
By Denise on April 26, 2009 – 2:57 pm
Yes, indeed, corn syrup has become the flavorless bane of our existence. The other modern problem is hydrogenated oil, which makes the white filling of Twinkies and Suzy-Q’s fluffy but devoid of flavor. Nothing at all like the sweet, dense, creamy filling of a Lucky Cake.
How could I have forgotten about the puzzles? I used to play those with every cake. Connect the dots was a favored game for me as as a boy.
By Robert J. Korpella on August 31, 2008 – 9:25 am
Not only were Lucky Cakes great because they were so big with tons of vanilla cream in the middle but they also had puzzles on the back of the cardboard like connect the dots. It does bring back memories.
By Mike Margolin on August 30, 2008 – 11:30 pm
I was just telling some friends about my best snack as a kid – the Lucky Cake. There is nothing that compares to it today. It brings back so many memories growing up.
By Steve Goldberg on August 16, 2008 – 8:32 pm
I don’t know why but I was reminiscing about Elmo and Lucky Cakes today. The thing is, even if we did find them, they most likey wouldn’t taste the same. I have read that since the 1970’s, corn syrup has replace sugar in most of our baked goods. I used to love Twinkies. I had one in the 1980’s and it tasted terrible. All chemical-y. Then I started reading about sugar being replaced by corn syrup. Just not the same taste. You can’t go back. I would like to with many things though. I am so glad not to be the only one I know who remembers Lucky Cakes. They were also my very favorite treat. I do remember going up to the Dairy Queen in Lincolnwood, Illinois with a nickel which was enough for a dipped cone. Fantastic. But again, back then made with sugar and today probably the dreaded corn syrup. I have done much research and most ice cream is made with corn syrup not sugar unless you get organic. Thanks for letting me rant.
By Marcy Blankenship on August 12, 2008 – 1:57 pm
@ S P –
I remember it as “Never underestimate the power of a lucky cake” and I sure don’t. Look at the grip it has on me after all these years!
By Robert J. Korpella on August 06, 2008 – 11:31 am
Was it “Never underestimate the power of a lucky cake” or was it “dont underestimate the power of a lucky cake”?
By S P on August 06, 2008 – 9:48 am
I do recall banana lucky cakes. I tried them as a kid but they could never replace the chocolate variety for me.
Never know when “Lucky Cake fever” will strike, right wow lucky cakes?
Steve Tiano: was Elmo Topping the name of the cartoon character with the flute who sang the praises of Lucky Cakes on TV commercials?
By Robert J. Korpella on January 30, 2008 – 12:03 am
i have no idea why i thought of lucky cakes today but i googled and this is all i got.doese anyone remember the banana lucky cakes?
By wow lucky cakes on January 29, 2008 – 8:45 pm
And wasn’t there cartoonish ad character named “Elmo Topping”?
By Steve Tiano on January 14, 2008 – 10:40 am
Hey Mike, thanks for the compliments on my article. I have been on the hunt for Lucky Cakes ever since I stopped seeing them on the grocery shelf. Apparently, so have a couple of other people who’ve read the article. I think we all have to make a pact that if one of us ever discovers them, we tell the others.
By Robert J. Korpella on October 19, 2007 – 11:19 pm
Great article which brings back tons of memories for me. The real question is, can these be found anywhere in the world today??
By Mike Caputo on October 19, 2007 – 2:11 pm
Excellent recapitulation of my experience! We bought them @ Parenti’s Grocery in Glencoe, IL which was a small grocery behind the Parenti family home/ one block from South School grammar school.
By S C-Man on April 16, 2007 – 4:05 pm
I remember Tip Top Lucky Cakes! I just Googled that and arrived here. As a kid in the early 60s, I used to walk down the hill to the neighborhood Big Saver and get the wonderful treat. I don’t remember them costing a quarter back then, I’m sure it was more like a nickel. I would’ve had to scrounge bottles for ever to get a quarter! That was a lot of dough back then. I could get a candy bar and coke for fifteen cents. I lived in Fairfield, AL, just a few miles outside of Birmingham. I wondered if my brother and I were the only ones who ever thought of those cakes. I was beginning to think we dreamed them up!
By Fred Brockman on February 06, 2007 – 12:11 am