From Colonial Gingerbread to Classic Layer, the Stories and Recipes Behind More Than 125 of Our Best-Loved Cakes
Cakes have become an icon of American culture and a window to understanding ourselves. Be they vanilla, lemon, ginger, chocolate, cinnamon, boozy, Bundt, layered, marbled, even checkerboard–they are etched in our psyche. Cakes relate to our lives, heritage, and hometowns. And as we look at the evolution of cakes in America, we see the evolution of our history: cakes changed with waves of immigrants landing on our shores, with the availability (and scarcity) of ingredients, with cultural trends and with political developments. In her new book American Cake, Anne Byrn (creator of the New York Times bestselling series The Cake Mix Doctor) will explore this delicious evolution and teach us cake-making techniques from across the centuries, all modernized for today’s home cooks.
Anne wonders (and answers for us) why devil’s food cake is not red in color, how the Southern delicacy known as Japanese Fruit Cake could be so-named when there appears to be nothing Japanese about the recipe, and how Depression-era cooks managed to bake cakes without eggs, milk, and butter. Who invented the flourless chocolate cake, the St. Louis gooey butter cake, the Tunnel of Fudge cake? Were these now-legendary recipes mishaps thanks to a lapse of memory, frugality, or being too lazy to run to the store for more flour?
Join Anne for this delicious coast-to-coast journey and savor our nation’s history of cake baking. From the dark, moist gingerbread and blueberry cakes of New England and the elegant English-style pound cake of Virginia to the hard-scrabble apple stack cake home to Appalachia and the slow-drawl, Deep South Lady Baltimore Cake, you will learn the stories behind your favorite cakes and how to bake them.
I’ve purchased several of Anne Byrn’s cookbooks through the years and don’t think I’ve ever used one. But this past fall I was looking for something fun to pull the family together, especially since we have one at college, and saw American Cake on sale. I thought it’d be a fun way to pull the family together and give us something to do. I thought we’d try a cake a week, or more if we could fit it in.
We started the week of Christmas. I was so sick, but I wanted to get started with this new family thing so I talked to my daughter about it. She loved the idea. Halfway through, I was on the couch and my teenagers were baking the cake without me. But then the best thing happened. When we sat down to eat it we talked about it. What could have been better, what it reminded us of. The history of the cake, who would’ve eaten it. It was fun.
What I liked: Besides enjoying this time together, we liked that the cakes were easy. We didn’t need a culinary degree to get this done or to enjoy the process. We each had our favorites, and the messier they were the better they tended to taste. But overall, the laughter made American Cake well worth the money I spent on it.
What I didn’t like: Honestly, the cakes weren’t usually as amazing as we’d hoped they’d be. We believe think they were probably authentic though and we were reminded of how spoiled we’ve become by sugar and flour. UGH!
|Source:||I purchased American Cake on November 26, 2016 when it was on sale for $1.|
|Publisher & Date:||September 6th 2016 by Rodale Books|
|ISBN:||1623365430 (ISBN13: 9781623365431)|
Anne Byrn is known to millions of fans through her Cake Mix Doctor and Dinner Doctor cookbooks. Her newest book is called American Cake, which is a history of cake in America with recipes. When Anne is not in her Nashville kitchen, she is in the garden.
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