Learn more about this retro favorite.

February 22, 2020
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For some people, the phrase “sock it to me” conjures images of Goldie Hawn’s pixie cut, go-go dancing, and the classic 1960s television sketch comedy show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, which coined this once-popular catch phrase. For others, R-E-S-P-E-C-T and the great Aretha Franklin come to mind (although that’s more like “sockittomesockittome…”). And then there are the people who think of cake. Yes, cake.

The Sock It to Me Cake, not surprisingly, was also a product of this era. This tender yellow cake has a ribbon of cinnamon-spiced pecan streusel running through it and a shiny vanilla glaze on top. The streusel is revealed only after the cake is sliced, which adds a little surprise to an otherwise plain-looking cake. Many recipes call for sour cream in the batter, which adds a distinctive tang that balances out the sweetness of the streusel filling. It’s the kind of simple, sturdy cake that’s best served in the afternoon with a cup of hot coffee.

Duncan Hines helped popularize the cake by running the recipe on the back of its yellow cake mix box. In fact, most recipes you’ll find today call for a yellow or butter cake mix. It is most commonly made in a Bundt pan, but a tube pan will work just as well. The secret to getting a neat swirl in the middle of the cake is to add half of the batter to the pan, crumble the streusel mixture over the batter, and then cover the streusel completely with the remaining batter.

So why is it called Sock It to Me? The origin of the cake’s name is unclear, but the phrase as it was used back in the 1960s and 70s generally means “tell me” or “give it to me.”

Would you like a piece of cake? Sock it to me!