Wednesday, November 11, 2009

All Cakes Considered

I read cookbooks all the time. I read them the way some people read trashy detective novels or the latest Twilight saga. When I was reading All Cakes Considered, I realized that Melissa Gray is a kindred spirit (as Anne of Green Gables would say.) Melissa is a producer for NPR's All Things Considered, but this book is about cakes. She bakes a cake every week for her office. She doesn't use cake mixes. She likes to make people happy with her baking - which is the best reason to bake something from scratch that I know of. Melissa (I feel like I know her personally now) is a good baker. She uses real chocolate and vanilla, and cares enough about results to "re-cake" again and again until she gets it right. Amusingly enough, we might be neighbors. It says that she lives near Mount Vernon and so do I. We might even shop at the same Farmer's Market or grocery store. Now that we know each other, if I see her I'll say hi, and ask for her autograph. (I think on the Sweet Potato Pound Cake page- or maybe the Tunnel of Fudge page.)
That brought back was the Tunnel of Fudge cake - from a mix- that got me started on my baking career. I remember that Pillsbury sold the mixes with an aluminum Bundt cake pan attached. I begged my mom to buy one and the rest is baking history. (I still have that pan.)
If you like to bake and make people happy, you won't go wrong with this book.
I think you'll like Melissa too.
Happy Baking!


Lindsay T said...

I just nabbed this book from my company bookstore; haven't had a chance to read it yet. Love the photos in your previous post.

Venus de Hilo said...

Oooh, this is going in the top spot on my Amazon Wish List! (along with "The Cake Book" by Tish Boyle, which I borrow repeatedly from the cookbook shelf at my local library; if I got my own copy someone else could have turn with it). I read cookbooks for fun more than I cook from them, but I do bake a couple of times a month, and always from scratch. I'd rather bake (and eat) cake than just about anything!

badmomgoodmom said...

My mom taught me how to bake "Swedish Apple Cake" in a bundt pan. (What made it Swedish? The neighbor who gave her the recipe was a Kansas Swede.)

I made that cake almost weekly when apples were in season. When I moved out, she gave me the bundt pan.
The recipe is here:
And a pix of the cake is here:

I learned that I can substitute just about anything and make it work. I used persimmons and zuchini. It's all good.

The secret is the part of the recipe that gives a range of flour amounts and "until batter is stiff". Flours and apples vary in water content. Eggs vary in size. Recipe measurements are only rough estimates. Someone has to show you what a stiff batter means. But once you learn that, the recipe never fails.

AuntieAllyn said...

Ooooh, I love to bake . . . even more, probably, than I love to sew! I just may have to add this book to my kitchen library. If you don't have it already, I'd highly recommend the cookbook by Lynne Rosetto Kasper, "The Splendid Table" . . . I got it about a year ago and it's full of terrific recipes (including some baked goods).