Southern Cakes: Sweet and Irresistible Recipes for Everyday Celebrations (Anglais) Broché – 7 juin 2007
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'Food writer Nancie McDermott has compiled 65 of the most sinfully delicious cakes south of the Mason-Dixon line, and the result could make even Scarlet O'Hara weak in the knees...The recipes all have a down-home feel, but many of the cakes also have a touch of elegance.'Choclatier Magazine, December 2007
'Every recipe has a charming headnote, often showing a bit of historical research, and about a third are illustrated with color photos. McDermott's handy introductory chapter on cake baking includes the very Southern advice to buy butter on sale and keep it in the freezer 'so you are baking-ready 24/7.''Los Angeles Times, August 22, 2007
'For my money, the grandest-looking cakes in this book are the brown sugar pound cakes baked in a tube pan with a lush mass of caramel glaze drooling down its sides, and the classic coconut cake, with its feathery, dazzling white frosting. When I brought the coconut cake to the office, people in the street were literally lunging at it.'Los Angeles Times, August 22, 2007
'It's little wonder that Southerners are proud of their baking history. Southern Cakes is filled with the kinds of recipes that make you want to take time to relax and enjoy something delectable.'—The Arlington Advocate, March 2008
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The chocolate cake itself was delicious, but the recipe indicates a 300 degree oven. On our first try, baking the layers at 300 for 40 minutes in 8-inch rounds (instead of 9), resulted in raw cake. We purchased 9-inch rounds as the recipe called for and baked the next cake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. All of the other recipes in the book call for a 350 oven, so I'm not sure why this one was 300. 350 worked much better. The filling turned out to be delicious - essentially a chocolate pudding. The frosting did not turn out at all, and seems like a strange recipe for frosting. After following the instructions, chilling the frosting overnight then attempting to beat it into something that could be considered frosting, we ended up with a very runny (but tasty) concoction. We made my mom's recipe for a chocolate buttercream frosting that's not too sweet and it went perfectly with the cake.
I am looking forward to trying more recipes from this book. I think the caramel cake and the oatmeal cake will be next...
There are numerous variations on pound cakes (classic, chocolate, marble molasses, brown sugar, cream cheese, blue ribbon, bourbon, sweet potato) that are easy to whip together; these are perfect for impromptu afternoon teas or to give as gifts. There are light and fluffy coffee cakes, oatmeal cake, and date-nut cake. I also loved the addition of "ethnic" baking recipes such as a Russian Jewish babka (yeast bread), a tres leches cake (a traditional Hispanic favorite that blends milk, sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk), a Rosh Hashanah honey cake and a Passover torte that are perhaps not as quickly associated with Southern desserts.
Also included are heirloom and antique recipes such as a tomato soup cake, Ozark pudding, and a cake recipe dating from 1898. I loved some of the more offbeat creations such as chocolate mayonnaise cake, pumpkin-raisin cake, a "Japanese" fruitcake, and the divine fig cake and pear bread.
Finally, a chapter on icings rounds out the cakes, with recipes for seven-minute frosting, cream cheese, browned butter, chocolate fudge, classic boiled, and never-fail chocolate icings, a caramel glaze, and an easy lemon curd (which is super-expensive if you buy it at a specialty store).
The ingredients are ones that you probably already have in your pantry (except for the Southern staple of self-rising flour, perhaps), and the instructions are very easy to follow (they're broken down by paragraph, with the first line of each printed in an easy-to-read red and a less-easy to read light blue). The text runs on the small side, which might be harder to read for older readers. In the back are a bibliography, a selection of sources online, and a conversion chart.
This is a nice addition to your baking library if you love to whip up frosted layer cakes or you're looking for some lighter ideas perfect for brunch or tea (the pound cakes and coffee cakes). It's easy to use, and Nancie lists many intriguing Southern cookbooks if you're interested in learning more about the cuisine of a particular region.