Book recalls cakes in era before mixes
How many times have I let my eyes get the better of me — I go to the farmers market or vegetable stand, see luscious-looking fruit and vegetables piled high, and walk out with more than I can possibly use before they begin to lose their luster. That was exactly the scenario I found myself in recently: too many lemons.
I began looking through cookbooks for a recipe that called for lemons. The recipe also had to be quick to make and could be served to guests coming in the afternoon, at tea time.
My problem was solved when I found a recipe for Luscious Lemon Loaf in “Piece of Cake! One-bowl, no-fuss, from-scratch cakes” by Camilla V. Saulsbury (Robert Rose, $29.95, hidden wire-ring hardcover).
Saulsbury, a food writer and recipe developer, says the idea for “Piece of Cake!” came to her while working on a doctoral dissertation on the contemporary meaning of home cooking in the United States. One of her focus groups brought up Wacky Cake, also known by such names as War Cake and Dump Cake. She was intrigued about the easy-to-make chocolate cake that can be mixed, baked and served in the same pan.
The result of her research is a 288-page cookbook filled with 175 recipes for one-bowl cakes, plus 50 recipes for icings, glazes, syrups and sauces to use with the cakes. The book also includes numerous full-color photographs of completed recipes and lots of baking and storage tips. Many of the recipes offer variations.
Saulsbury writes that one-bowl cakes “are forgotten gems in the world of home baking.” She says they have been around for more than 50 years, but were mostly forgotten with the advent of commercial cake mixes. She, of course, favors making the all-natural, simple-to-prepare, one-bowl cakes. She notes that one-bowl cakes don’t use the traditional method of creaming the butter, shortening or oil with the sugar; eggs don’t need to be separated; ingredients don’t need to be alternately added when being mixed; nor is a heavy-duty stand mixer required.
The book provides tips for mastering one-bowl cakes and explains how to measure ingredients; test for doneness; unmold the cakes; and frost and glaze them. It also lists key ingredients, discusses the best cake pans to use and even provides recipes for homemade cake mixes.
The cake recipes are divided into five sections: single-decker and loaf cakes; sheet cakes; Bundts; layer cakes; and pound cakes. Recipes include Salted Caramel, Peanut and Chocolate Upside-Down Cake; White Texas Sheet Cake; Gooey Chess Cake; Perfect Chocolate Bundt; Moist Yellow Cake With Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting; Classic Carrot Cake; and Raspberry Blueberry Pound Cake.
Here’s the recipe for Luscious Lemon Loaf. I hope you enjoy it as much as my guests and I did.