New American Cookbooks: CAKE

One of the Memorial Library’s hidden treasures is a small but comprehensive collection of American cookery books: a fantastic resource for local epicureans and Yankee expats like myself. Recently we welcomed a new selection of cake-centric volumes; let’s take a look!

All Cakes Considered by Melissa Gray Image

Subtitled ‘how to keep your co-workers happy, friendly, and fatter than you,’ this book illuminates a glorious combination: cake and National Public Radio. Who doesn’t love both?

Melissa Gray is NPR’s Cake Lady. Every Monday she brings a cake to the office for her colleagues at NPR to enjoy. Every week a different cake, never made with a cake mix, no canned frosting- all made from scratch.

Gray’s recipes have been tested and approved by the staff of NPR’s All Things Considered. Among them you can try host Steve Inskeep’s favorite butterscotch bars, the suspiciously gender-specific Lord and Lady Baltimore cakes, a chocolate and mint marbled concoction named The Naughty Senator, and the anniversary cake of George and Martha Washington.

Have Your Cake and Vegan Too by Kris Holechek Image

The unifying factors to all of these recipes is that they are cruelty-free and delicious and provide options for every cake-consuming opportunity in life: fancy cake events (birthdays, showers, weddings), and more casual events (dinner parties and afternoon visits), and everyday eating (morning, noon, and night).

Highlights of these all-vegan cakes include a Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake, a pistachio tea cake, and an Almond Mocha beauty. There are also several gluten-free recipes, including ones for basic chocolate and vanilla sponge.

Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition by Jodi Rhoden Image

I propose a new tourist experience: travel by cake. As a Northerner, I didn’t get to spend much time in the Southern states, but they sure seem to know their cake. If I bake and eat all of these, I’ll have experienced my country in a profound way. I should make a cake passport and a little cake stamp.

In the South, cake ladies are the ones with the skills and heart to bring a little sweetness to life’s big moments and as such their communities treasure and depend upon them. Modern-day cake lady Jodi Rhoden shines a spotlight on this great tradition with profiles of 15 diverse south-eastern women who wear the term with pride. Each profile features a bite of that woman’s ‘life in cake’ and includes luscious photos along with at least one signature cake recipe, from classic Vanilla Almond Pound and Hummingbird cakes to Mississippi Mud Cake and Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes.

These books are all relatively free of wayward batter at the moment, but won’t be for long! To reserve these titles (and millions more) visit the Norfolk Online Catalogue.

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Filed under American Culture, Books

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