Cake is a classic dessert and its last great leap forward was in the 1930s when the box cake was invented. Two Harvard juniors are attempting to change how we eat cake again. They’ve created spray cake, a cake mix that comes out of a can (like string cheese or whipped cream) and is a ready to eat after thirty seconds in a microwave.
“It’s an all-natural batter,” says co-founder John McCallum, in response to those who might assume Spray Cake is unnatural. “It’s very similar to a traditional cake batter but without baking soda or powder in it.”
Baking soda, a main ingredient in cake batter, creates air pockets inside of batter, allowing it to heat and bake gradually in the oven. But traditional mixes don’t work in the rapid heat of a microwave because the baking soda isn’t given enough time to react and becomes solid.
McCallum came up with the idea in his freshman year chemistry class. Spray cake was his final project, and it turned out to be quite a success.
“In this case it already has the air bubbles inside of it [from the aerosol can], so it’s baking more quickly…that baking process is triggered as soon as you add heat,” says co-founder Brooke Nowakowski.
The idea might seem trivial but it provides instant gratification and allows the baker to decide how much cake they want to make (making one cupcake without wasting any excess food is now possible). There’s also quite a bit of interest in it. “We’re hoping it will be in stores soon,” says McCallum. "It’s just a matter of finding and confirming the right manufacturing partner.”
The pair is in talks with a few stores, though they disclosed to name which until deals are finalized. “It’s good to see that people are open to something a little bit different in a market segment that hasn’t necessarily seen much change over the last few years,” says Nowakowski.