Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

A sundae is a luscious, cold dessert made of ice cream covered with toppings, such as syrup, whipped cream, berries, nuts, sprinkles, or chunks of candy. A sundae is a rhapsody of taste that is both complex and amazingly simple. Although a sundae may contain many ingredients, making this dessert requires minimal cooking skills. A little imagination is the most important ingredient, and a homemade sundae can taste even better than one served in a restaurant.

Soda fountains and ice cream parlors served sundaes in the 1890s, but historians cannot pinpoint the treat’s origins. See soda fountain. In 1897 a soda fountain manual contained a peach sundae recipe and noted that other fruits and fruit-flavored syrups could be used to make the dessert. In 1900 a trade paper included eight sundaes in a list of treats every soda fountain should serve.