web site hit counter American Cake: From Colonial Gingerbread to Classic Layer, the Stories and Recipes Behind More Than 125 of Our Best-Loved Cakes - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

American Cake: From Colonial Gingerbread to Classic Layer, the Stories and Recipes Behind More Than 125 of Our Best-Loved Cakes

Availability: Ready to download

Cakes have become an icon of American cultureand 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 change Cakes have become an icon of American cultureand 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 ourshores, 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.


Compare

Cakes have become an icon of American cultureand 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 change Cakes have become an icon of American cultureand 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 ourshores, 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.

30 review for American Cake: From Colonial Gingerbread to Classic Layer, the Stories and Recipes Behind More Than 125 of Our Best-Loved Cakes

  1. 5 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    Part history book and part cookbook, this book was tailor made just for me. I love history and experimenting with historical baking. I eagerly read the notes on the history of certain American cakes and how they evolved from European confections to American comfort foods and back and forth. Sometimes I questioned the author's research, certain that a type of cake existed earlier but she did more research than I could hope to do right now so I suppose the information is correct. I was especially Part history book and part cookbook, this book was tailor made just for me. I love history and experimenting with historical baking. I eagerly read the notes on the history of certain American cakes and how they evolved from European confections to American comfort foods and back and forth. Sometimes I questioned the author's research, certain that a type of cake existed earlier but she did more research than I could hope to do right now so I suppose the information is correct. I was especially interested in learning about German cakes. My maternal grandfather was German/Pennsylvania Dutch and my mom grew up in eastern Pennsylvania in the Moravian church. I was very excited to see the actual recipe for Moravian Sugar Cake, something I remember fondly from childhood Christmases. I was also intrigued by the origins of Shoo-Fly Pie, one of my favorite breakfast treats my grandmother used to make for me. Ours is a wet bottom pie but my mom has also made a Shoo-Fly cake. Each section of the book is divided into decades. When the book enters the 20th century the cakes interested me less, with the exception of chocolate cake, of course. I NEED to make the Wellesley Fudge Cake! Where has this cake been all my life? The Chocolate Loaf Cake looks good too. 90% of the cakes don't appeal to me that much. This is an amazing book for any historical baking lover.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alaine

    I first learned of this book from a history podcast so I thought it was going to be much better than it was. I think this is probably a good book for cake recipes. I think. I haven't tried any recipes from it, but they seem right on the surface. I recommend going in for the recipes and ignoring the history. It's called American Cake but it really should be called Middle Class, Whitewashed American Cake. I didn't keep notes as I read but there are basically a couple patronizing mentions of the co I first learned of this book from a history podcast so I thought it was going to be much better than it was. I think this is probably a good book for cake recipes. I think. I haven't tried any recipes from it, but they seem right on the surface. I recommend going in for the recipes and ignoring the history. It's called American Cake but it really should be called Middle Class, Whitewashed American Cake. I didn't keep notes as I read but there are basically a couple patronizing mentions of the contributions of African-American cooks to Southern cakes. I don't think you can speak of the importance of enslaved people's work in this day and age without some sort of qualifier, and there was none. There's mention of a cake supposedly crossing racial lines because white people and black people both baked it. Oh my God. As opposed to food in general? There are mentions throughout of a time when women worked inside the home and a time when women worked outside the home. Poor white women and women of color have always worked outside the home. It was middle class white women who suddenly flocked to factories during WWII; brown women were already working. She says things like (and this is not a direct quote) "Hispanics gave us tres leches cake". Emphasis on "us". As if she's only intended her book to be aimed at a specific audience, which doesn't include Latinos. Anne Byrn is a food writer. She is not a historian. She is not a sociologist. I would have appreciated this book a lot more if she'd kept it to a collection of recipes without the commentary. Even then, she mentioned this masterpiece of a checkerboard cake several times and there's no picture! There are full color photos throughout the book so why am I having to Google to see a picture of this "showstopper"? If you're going to sell it that hard, throw in a picture. Come on. Three stars because I do want to buy a copy for the recipes (I read a library ebook), but zero stars for the writing! And I'm disappointed in Stuff You Missed in History Class for promoting this book!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Corbin

    I've taken it upon myself to bake my way through history this summer. So, American Cake has been a treat. The recipes in this book vary in level of skill, but I can attest that they are all accessible if you follow them without exception. Regardless of the recipe, how can you not fall in love with the historical stories that accompany? If necessity is the mother of invention, you're going to love the story behind Byrn's Angel Food Cake. Is it sheath or sheet? Who cares...that Texas Sheet Cake is I've taken it upon myself to bake my way through history this summer. So, American Cake has been a treat. The recipes in this book vary in level of skill, but I can attest that they are all accessible if you follow them without exception. Regardless of the recipe, how can you not fall in love with the historical stories that accompany? If necessity is the mother of invention, you're going to love the story behind Byrn's Angel Food Cake. Is it sheath or sheet? Who cares...that Texas Sheet Cake is so easy AND delicious. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a galley copy of this fascinating story- Amerian Cake. A galley, of course, is not the finished product. So, I cannot wait to see these works of beauty in full-color on September 6th.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    A fun read for a cook and history lover.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Gail

    I read about this on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. This is a delightful, readable history of the cake in the United States. Included are tidbits about the rise (pun intended) of chemical leavings, history of cooking tools, and the history of cakes. Charming, mouthwatering, and interesting. So many cakes, so little time!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lynda

    I loved this cake cookbook for both the fascinating history of American baking, the wide range of cake recipes, the gorgeous and tempting photos of most recipes and the detailed recipes themselves. I can't wait to start baking! I loved this cake cookbook for both the fascinating history of American baking, the wide range of cake recipes, the gorgeous and tempting photos of most recipes and the detailed recipes themselves. I can't wait to start baking!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Holyn

    (Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, food book of cuisine not tried) This book is wonderful - history and recipes all in one. I remain fascinated by the connections between the growth of America and her various regions as connected to the cakes women baked (men didn’t move in large numbers into baking until after WWII). As access to ingredients expanded, technology evolved, immigrants arrived, and finances allowed, American Cake evolved. Before reading this book, I never ‘really’ ate - or baked - a (Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, food book of cuisine not tried) This book is wonderful - history and recipes all in one. I remain fascinated by the connections between the growth of America and her various regions as connected to the cakes women baked (men didn’t move in large numbers into baking until after WWII). As access to ingredients expanded, technology evolved, immigrants arrived, and finances allowed, American Cake evolved. Before reading this book, I never ‘really’ ate - or baked - a cake and appreciated all it represented on my plate. Now I will experience cakes with the respect that is their due. I believe this is a wonderful book about the history of baking. American Cake is also a fabulous collection of recipes that take a baker from the earliest forms of cake found in the British colonies of America into cakes of the 21st century. The recipes are as a simple as they can be with helpful hints and notes to help the baker along their way. I look forward to future cake baking adventures!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    I thought this book was very interesting (and so appealing visually). There are so many recipes I want to try in this book, and most seemed reasonably easy to make. There are definitely cakes that take a lot more skill than others, but with the full-page photos for a lot of the cakes, the trouble all seems worthwhile! Plus, being a history major once upon a time, I loved the historical notes that accompanies each recipe. A history of the US through the cakes baked and shared, and told in small e I thought this book was very interesting (and so appealing visually). There are so many recipes I want to try in this book, and most seemed reasonably easy to make. There are definitely cakes that take a lot more skill than others, but with the full-page photos for a lot of the cakes, the trouble all seems worthwhile! Plus, being a history major once upon a time, I loved the historical notes that accompanies each recipe. A history of the US through the cakes baked and shared, and told in small enough bits to keep interest and to really understand why certain ingredients would have been used over others at a certain time or in a certain region of the country. I am definitely bookmarking several recipes to try in the very near future.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Yaaresse

    This is a cake history of the US with recipes. I thought it was going to be more history than recipes, but the recipes selected really are snapshots of their times and yet interesting enough that I to want to bake a few of them. And since I've got some negatives to point out below I should admit one thing up front: It's probably a good thing I didn't recognize the author's name when I bought the book or I wouldn't have given it a second glance. Byrn is the author of all those "cake mix doctor" b This is a cake history of the US with recipes. I thought it was going to be more history than recipes, but the recipes selected really are snapshots of their times and yet interesting enough that I to want to bake a few of them. And since I've got some negatives to point out below I should admit one thing up front: It's probably a good thing I didn't recognize the author's name when I bought the book or I wouldn't have given it a second glance. Byrn is the author of all those "cake mix doctor" books, the popularity of which has always baffled me. Fortunately, she keeps the box mixes out of this except to discuss their history and popularity in the mid-20th century. The Unknown still (for me): - Whether the recipes work. They look good, but I haven't made any of them yet. and I'm admittedly dubious because of Byrn's constant refrain about how she has edited, changed, or modified the recipes. As I said, I have a bias her. Still, I plan to try a couple of them. Just not right now. The only thing more difficult to get than TP at the grocery right now are sugar and flour. Apparently COVID-19 has the odd side effect of everyone suddenly realizing their houses have kitchens and an inexplicable desire to hoard baking supplies by people who didn't realize two months ago that baked goods were something that could be made at home. I don't get it. The Good: - Beautiful photos and plenty of them. - The cakes representing each period are familiar enough to spark recognition but different enough to spark curiosity. - Almost all of the recipes were adapted from other printed sources. Byrn gives credit where credit is due right there in the text, not hidden away in a footnote. - The information about how these cakes were made in the pre-modern appliance, pre-refined flour, pre-baking soda, pre-standardized measurements days. Our maternal ancestors must have had the arm muscles of prize fighters. - The bibliography. OMG, the bibliography. It's extensive and wonderful. The Bad: - Byrn likes to take a zealot approach to her subject. Yes, cake is delicious, but she writes like she trying to convince us that cake heroically contributed to every aspect of American development and culture. A couple things wrong with that kind of enthusiasm on a single -- and trivial -- subject. First, it's only cake, not a cure for cancer. Two, it sort of implies that Americans invented and own the concept of cake. We're a very young nation comprised of people from a lot of different places. There was cake long before anyone knew North American existed. -- I saw a couple of things that made me doubt her fact-checking and history. The one I remember off the top of my head is the claim that Henrietta Stanley (later Mrs. S. R. Dull, the Georgia food writer of the 1920s) learned to cook by watching slaves on her parents' plantation. Given Stanley was born in December 1963, she must have been a most precocious infant. And it's not like Byrn doesn't know when Stanley was born because it's right there in the same paragraph. After typing that sentence, she apparently didn't stop to think, "Wait...when was the Civil War again? And when would slavery have been abolished? And how old would Henrietta Stanley have been at the time? Maybe Stanley learned by watching former slaves cooking for her family? Ah, "just" a typo? Thing is, when you're talking about something like slavery, that little word "former" is kind of important, especially in book claiming to be history. An oversight that obvious made me doubt her diligence with the facts elsewhere. The Ugly: - Look, this is history light. Byrn is not a historian. And while she may have a journalism degree, she doesn't write like a journalist. She writes like a marketing person for QVC. This is very shallow stuff, designed to pluck all your nostalgia strings and make you feel all mushy and warm. If you want real food history, try Ken Abala, Darra Goldstein, or Alan Davidson. - Apparently, the intended audience for this book is affluent white women. Phrases like "Our growing Hispanic population introduced us to...." Who is this "our" and "us" of whom she speaks? There are a couple of barely-there references to African-American cooks, some supercilious and brief sentences about slaves and "soul food style cooking" (yes, with the quote marks), and one reference to the book The Help that probably seemed less arrogant in her head than it does in print. I guess the inclusion of Tres Leches Cake and Chocoflan in the timeline are supposed to be a nod to diversity in the "modern times" chapter, but somehow ended up reading as patronizing. The throwaway line about "a nod to Native American heritage" is just that, a nod. Lots of little dismissive nods tucked here and there. This whole "us/our" implying "my middle class white women readers" kind of sneaks up on one. I didn't notice it until well into the book. By the end, I couldn't not notice it. Too much channeling Paula Deen going on there for me. So, breakdown: 5 stars for the pictures and organization of the book. Maybe 4 for the recipes. I will nail that one down as I get a chance to make some of them. 2 for the overall writing. And a big ol' red X for the whole tokenism "nod" tone.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    If I was just grading this book on the recipes and layout as a cookbook, it would easily be four stars. However the history sections were not well written. Dry, repetitive, occassonally in need of a fact checker, and barely mentioning the contributions to baking that came from any cultures other than German, English, and French made this a missed opportunity to really delve into the history of cake in America. When she does talk about those contributions it's very quick with only one or two reci If I was just grading this book on the recipes and layout as a cookbook, it would easily be four stars. However the history sections were not well written. Dry, repetitive, occassonally in need of a fact checker, and barely mentioning the contributions to baking that came from any cultures other than German, English, and French made this a missed opportunity to really delve into the history of cake in America. When she does talk about those contributions it's very quick with only one or two recipes and often in a condescending sort of way. I don't think she realizes how some of her wording comes across to people. Also, shoe fly pie isn't the same as shoe fly cake. She includes shoe fly pie in this book, not the shoe fly cake recipe.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jewlsbookblog

    There’s a variety of recipes modified for the modern kitchen and gorgeous pictures of quite a few cakes, but it was the small snippets of food history that caught my attention most. Some sections were better done than others when it came to specific details-colonial and political sequences were quite detailed-however, the lack of specific cultural contributions, was...frustrating. The broad, generalized mentions didn’t help explain much of, well, anything and frankly, I was surprised by that. St There’s a variety of recipes modified for the modern kitchen and gorgeous pictures of quite a few cakes, but it was the small snippets of food history that caught my attention most. Some sections were better done than others when it came to specific details-colonial and political sequences were quite detailed-however, the lack of specific cultural contributions, was...frustrating. The broad, generalized mentions didn’t help explain much of, well, anything and frankly, I was surprised by that. Still, I’ll give 4 stars because as a cookbook, there’s quite a list of classic and revamped recipes to play with. Onward to see what awaits in this author’s cookie book next.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    The introduction to this book was extremely cringe-worthy and ignorant, so you could say it was also very American. I would really love a book very much like this with the interesting histories of recipes and beautiful pictures, but a much more progressive grasp of American history and culture. I know the 4 stars looks bad paired with this review -- but damn, the photos were beautiful, and I feel like I learned a lot about the history of the chemistry of cake.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Okay, this is basically a recipe book and I didn't read the recipes, but I enjoyed the historical notes about the cakes. It makes you think about things you otherwise wouldn't, like, who thought of putting ashes in cake batter to make it rise? How did people bake before oven thermometers? Interesting stuff. Okay, this is basically a recipe book and I didn't read the recipes, but I enjoyed the historical notes about the cakes. It makes you think about things you otherwise wouldn't, like, who thought of putting ashes in cake batter to make it rise? How did people bake before oven thermometers? Interesting stuff.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    More than a cookbook, American Cake delves into the history of cakes in America's dessert culture, from New England gingerbread to California's orange and olive oil cake (which I'm curious to try). This was so much more than what I expected, having read several of Byrn's cookbooks. All in all, a lovely take on cake. :) More than a cookbook, American Cake delves into the history of cakes in America's dessert culture, from New England gingerbread to California's orange and olive oil cake (which I'm curious to try). This was so much more than what I expected, having read several of Byrn's cookbooks. All in all, a lovely take on cake. :)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    The food history aspect of this book is my favorite. Learning about the history of baking soda has never felt more important to my life. Haven't baked my way through the whole thing, but it's been fun to experience the change in techniques/ingredients even within the first few recipes. Points for including the Marquis de Lafayette because he is My Favorite. The food history aspect of this book is my favorite. Learning about the history of baking soda has never felt more important to my life. Haven't baked my way through the whole thing, but it's been fun to experience the change in techniques/ingredients even within the first few recipes. Points for including the Marquis de Lafayette because he is My Favorite.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    I first heard about this book during a radio interview with the author. I expected it to be a history of American cake with some recipes scattered throughout. However, it is a cookbook divided into temporal chapters with vignettes introducing each recipe. At first I was disappointed, but it certainly wasn't the book's fault. I decided to read through the text from front to back anyway. And I'm glad I did. Each recipe's introduction could have been a simple and bland description of someone's memor I first heard about this book during a radio interview with the author. I expected it to be a history of American cake with some recipes scattered throughout. However, it is a cookbook divided into temporal chapters with vignettes introducing each recipe. At first I was disappointed, but it certainly wasn't the book's fault. I decided to read through the text from front to back anyway. And I'm glad I did. Each recipe's introduction could have been a simple and bland description of someone's memory of their mother in their kitchen making that cake. But instead it was a thorough history of how that particular cake fits into the long history of cakes in America. The photos throughout are beautiful as well.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jackie B. - Death by Tsundoku

    There is a lot to love about American Cake. For one, the well-bound, easy-to-read, easy-to-stand-up on its own hardbound cookbook. With a cookbook, you need something solid which will survive hours in the kitchen. The beautiful page-size color photos don't hurt either! Byrn takes the reader/baker chronologically through cake in America. She explains how the introduction of new leavening and gas ovens (from fire!) changed baking, why and how different cakes came into fashion, the key historical m There is a lot to love about American Cake. For one, the well-bound, easy-to-read, easy-to-stand-up on its own hardbound cookbook. With a cookbook, you need something solid which will survive hours in the kitchen. The beautiful page-size color photos don't hurt either! Byrn takes the reader/baker chronologically through cake in America. She explains how the introduction of new leavening and gas ovens (from fire!) changed baking, why and how different cakes came into fashion, the key historical moments which influenced cakes in America, and some of the science of cake baking. This is a cookbook I want as much to read as to bake from! Unfortunately, the content itself was sometimes left wanting. Much of the storytelling felt incredibly biased towards white upper-class American women. The "us" Byrn references regularly seems to be gentry British ladies who founded the American colonies. References to Native American and immigrant additions to these recipes are all cringe-worthy. That said, I don't get the impression this is malicious - I think it's just the blind ignorance of privilege. As far as the recipes are concerned, Byrn is thorough! There are all sorts of cakes in this book. And each one has a story behind it. I love how she explains how "receipts" from older times only had ingredient lists. This means Byrn spent hours tweaking and practicing baking these recipes so we could bake them in a modern kitchen. I am quite thankful because it's the older recipes which appeal the most to me! (Yes, I'm the person the Girl Scout Troop brings the "boring Grandma cookies" to…) Byrn also makes assumptions in her recipes. Such as that you'll know what sorts of tools you'll need or if the butter needs to be room temperature before you begin. Alas, my attempt to bake the Frances Virginia Hot Milk Sponge Cake with Lemon Filling fell short. I shouldn't have started with such an ambitious cake. But, I couldn't figure out how to tell if my lemon curd was set, I didn't know how to truly manage layers, and my frosting turned out too thick to spread without breaking the sponge. This, I don't believe, is a fault of Byrn's. I am just not much of a baker. In the end, a wonderful cookbook and a fun addition to my shelves. I look forward to attempting many more cakes. Hopefully, the rest of my baking will turn out better than the first cake I made…

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kristi Thielen

    Want to learn American history in a new and interesting way? Read Anne Byrn's delicious book and be educated. From election cakes, to the arrival of flaked coconut; from the railroads that sped ingredients to places all around the country to the Depression that forced cooks to make cakes as inexpensively as possible; from the elegant French cakes of the 1960s to the "culinary melting pot" cakes of today- it's all here. And by that I mean not just cakes, but a novel look at how our country has gr Want to learn American history in a new and interesting way? Read Anne Byrn's delicious book and be educated. From election cakes, to the arrival of flaked coconut; from the railroads that sped ingredients to places all around the country to the Depression that forced cooks to make cakes as inexpensively as possible; from the elegant French cakes of the 1960s to the "culinary melting pot" cakes of today- it's all here. And by that I mean not just cakes, but a novel look at how our country has grown and changed. And did I mention the recipes? Which, in fact, were once called "receipts"? They're so inspirational they could convert even a long-standing pie person. Some of these "receipts" go back to the colonial era when cooks didn't provide standard measurements and ingredients. No matter. The author has made every effort to maintain authenticity while providing a recipe that a modern cake-baker can manage. And full-color, full-page photos give the book real eye-appeal. Don't just sit there reading this - get this book and start baking. And if you opt to bake the Mary Ball Washington Gingerbread, the Pink Champagne Cake, or the Italian Cream Cake, please bring me a slice!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lillian

    I loved this book and recommend it for anyone who not only loves to bake and create, but is interested in the history behind a recipe. In this case we are exploring cakes, including filling and frosting recipes. For instance, ever wonder why the Boston Cream Pie is called a "pie" and not a "cake"? Because in our more frugal days homemakers had one pan and it was used for pies AND cakes. Simple as that. Or how about the apple stack cake which is of southern heritage. In my grandmother's day, it w I loved this book and recommend it for anyone who not only loves to bake and create, but is interested in the history behind a recipe. In this case we are exploring cakes, including filling and frosting recipes. For instance, ever wonder why the Boston Cream Pie is called a "pie" and not a "cake"? Because in our more frugal days homemakers had one pan and it was used for pies AND cakes. Simple as that. Or how about the apple stack cake which is of southern heritage. In my grandmother's day, it was used for a wedding cake. It's delicious. And then there are names like "Lady Baltimore" and "Lazy Daisy". Besides history of a particular cake, itself, Anne Byrn does a great job of discussing the use of cooking tools used in cake baking, as well as old and new terminology. A nice collection of photographs accompanies each recipe. There are some basic recipes, as well as some which are more challenging. Or at the least, time consuming. I think this would be a delightful addition to any baker of desserts collection.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Carroll Larremore

    I received this book as a give away and am grateful for that. This book is not a cookbook, per se, but a history of cake in America with 100 cake recipes included. I found the history of some of the origins of certain cakes to be quite interesting. You will read stories about the history of the American jelly roll, the lazy daisy cake and George Washington Carver's Peanut Cake. There is information regarding how to use fresh coconut to the history of the "icebox." So, you can see there is a wide I received this book as a give away and am grateful for that. This book is not a cookbook, per se, but a history of cake in America with 100 cake recipes included. I found the history of some of the origins of certain cakes to be quite interesting. You will read stories about the history of the American jelly roll, the lazy daisy cake and George Washington Carver's Peanut Cake. There is information regarding how to use fresh coconut to the history of the "icebox." So, you can see there is a wide amou t of information in this book. I've been reading it every night while I've had dinner, and was initially put off by the lack of color and layout in the book. HOWEVER, this book was NOT in its finished form. It was the galley copy The final print will be done within a few months. I now look forward to seeing the finished product of this book. I have read Anne Byrn before, using some of her recipes from her Cake Doctor Series.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hagit

    I respect the research that went into this book. The premise was stretched a bit thin at times, but it got me interested, so I’ll accept that. Most people probably won’t read it front to back, so I’ll even accept that I read the same bit of trivia 2-5 times in different recipes or chapter headings. But for the love of chocolate write better. The writing was hard to read in many places. Hands down the most frustrating things about the book was the awful sentence structure and lack of transitions. I respect the research that went into this book. The premise was stretched a bit thin at times, but it got me interested, so I’ll accept that. Most people probably won’t read it front to back, so I’ll even accept that I read the same bit of trivia 2-5 times in different recipes or chapter headings. But for the love of chocolate write better. The writing was hard to read in many places. Hands down the most frustrating things about the book was the awful sentence structure and lack of transitions. Someone needed to tell her that putting facts in paragraph form is not the same as crafting a story.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    The recipes look delicious and I loved the history tidbits about all the different cakes, but I felt like the organization was not what I had expected. This is very much a cookbook with some snippets of history...it is not a nonfiction book about the history of American cake with some recipes sprinkled in. Also, the ebook version does not have an index/table of contents of the cakes, which means you have to turn to the chapter and then find each cake within the chapter, which is extremely annoyi The recipes look delicious and I loved the history tidbits about all the different cakes, but I felt like the organization was not what I had expected. This is very much a cookbook with some snippets of history...it is not a nonfiction book about the history of American cake with some recipes sprinkled in. Also, the ebook version does not have an index/table of contents of the cakes, which means you have to turn to the chapter and then find each cake within the chapter, which is extremely annoying given that this really is more of a cookbook than a book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    I picked this book up the library only because there was a cake on the cover and I'm always on the lookout for dessert porn! Imagine my surprise that the beautiful pics came with a side of historical anecdotes, including Presidential trivia, how cookbooks evolved and brief explanations on some famous names associated with baking like Tupperware and Fannie Farmer. If there's one thing I enjoy almost as much (but not as much as sweets), its American history. My only beef is too much fruitcake and no I picked this book up the library only because there was a cake on the cover and I'm always on the lookout for dessert porn! Imagine my surprise that the beautiful pics came with a side of historical anecdotes, including Presidential trivia, how cookbooks evolved and brief explanations on some famous names associated with baking like Tupperware and Fannie Farmer. If there's one thing I enjoy almost as much (but not as much as sweets), its American history. My only beef is too much fruitcake and not enough chocolatttteeeeeee!!!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Read it. Or, more accurately, I read all the non-recipe portions and skimmed the recipes. I cannot say how it works as a cookbook, but I enjoyed learning the history of the various cakes and some of the pans and kitchen appliances as well. I was surprised by the large number of cakes containing lots of spices and lemon. So many cakes that I would just think of as spice cakes in the early days of the nation.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Why didn't I think of becoming a food historian... Why didn't I think of becoming a food historian...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Janet Whalen

    More than a cookbook, an interesting culinary history. I didn't know baking powder was such a recent invention! More than a cookbook, an interesting culinary history. I didn't know baking powder was such a recent invention!

  27. 5 out of 5

    jeanmarie

    I really enjoyed this book but it's in a tough place (as evidenced by the split in the reviews--people who either wanted to read about cakes or people who wanted to make cakes .... seems like there's not that big of an intersection of people who got this book to read about and make cakes). It's fun to own, but honestly, I'd use it more as a reference to google for actually good cake recipes rather than anything else. The write-ups were interesting and a lot of it was new information to me (reall I really enjoyed this book but it's in a tough place (as evidenced by the split in the reviews--people who either wanted to read about cakes or people who wanted to make cakes .... seems like there's not that big of an intersection of people who got this book to read about and make cakes). It's fun to own, but honestly, I'd use it more as a reference to google for actually good cake recipes rather than anything else. The write-ups were interesting and a lot of it was new information to me (really enjoyed making the 'wacky cake'!). I felt like the historical component was engaging and well done. The cake side felt less well-done in that I feel like many of the cakes were included more for historical, rather than taste, reasons. The cakes I've made so far have been uneven in quality/deliciousness (wacky, shoofly pie, and am blanking on the third as it turned out so 'meh'). I think this was hard because tastes (and availability of ingredients) have changed so much over time. I think it might have been more successful if she'd focused on 'themes' of cake making (e.g. fruitcakes) and talked about the evolution of the recipes over time and then given a historical recipe and then a 'modern' recipe. I think feeling like she had to give recipes for each of the cakes mentioned meant it was more of fidelity to the original than a question of what would appeal to people. Although, maybe I'm in the minority here and/or I just picked bad cakes! In short, it's a fun addition to the reference shelf and definitely a worthwhile library checkout.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cathi

    I heard great things about this book, so I decided to buy it for our daughter who is a fabulous baker and who LOVES cake. When it arrived, I browsed through it and found it so fascinating that I decided I needed to read it first before giving it away. This is a fantastic book! First of all, the photographs are gorgeous, and every cake is displayed in such an artistic, appealing way. Do not read this book on an empty stomach! You'll wish that you could try every cake. Anyway, I'm not much of a bak I heard great things about this book, so I decided to buy it for our daughter who is a fabulous baker and who LOVES cake. When it arrived, I browsed through it and found it so fascinating that I decided I needed to read it first before giving it away. This is a fantastic book! First of all, the photographs are gorgeous, and every cake is displayed in such an artistic, appealing way. Do not read this book on an empty stomach! You'll wish that you could try every cake. Anyway, I'm not much of a baker. (I'd rather enjoy the masterpieces that others create and share.) So I have no intention of trying any of these recipes. I just loved the book for its history. I learned so much about baking and about all sorts of fascinating pieces of American life, from early colonial days to the present. I learned about world-famous chefs as well as ordinary housewives who entered the Pillsbury bake-off contests decades ago. You name it, this book's got it, and it's all laid out in a lovely, engaging way, both visually and with the written word. Our daughter (who has been gone for eighteen months and will be home in three days) is going to love it!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mich Must Read

    This is a fun book.  If you love history and you have any interest in cake you should read this.  Byrn goes through the American history of baking taking one cake at a time going chronologically as they appear in history.  This includes all the ingredients and measurements used or available at the time.  We take for granted what we have access to, but most of the recipes here are written out of necessity and what was available at the time.  Byrn goes through sweeteners, add ins, such as coconut, This is a fun book.  If you love history and you have any interest in cake you should read this.  Byrn goes through the American history of baking taking one cake at a time going chronologically as they appear in history.  This includes all the ingredients and measurements used or available at the time.  We take for granted what we have access to, but most of the recipes here are written out of necessity and what was available at the time.  Byrn goes through sweeteners, add ins, such as coconut, and nuts and where they would have been used in the U.S..  This includes baking that was in times of war rationing or economic upheavals.  Baking was obviously influenced by technology, so ovens, beaters, and refrigerators are touched on in how they effected certain cakes. I borrowed this from the library on Kindle, but I liked it so much I purchased a copy for a mother's day gift and plan on getting one for myself.  Very good. I baked a recipe out of this book. For more see my blog michmustread.com

  30. 5 out of 5

    ♡Ellie

    A delicious collection of all your classic, favorite, fruity, soft & spongy cakes! I’ve tried a few recipes in it so far and they all have been super delicious. The instructions are easy to read, and easy to follow. The ingredients are readily accessible, or not hard to find at your local grocery store. Each recipe includes ingredients to make the cake portion, as well as the filling if needed. I especially loved the history bits! Background of some of our most beloved cakes! Also included: Serv A delicious collection of all your classic, favorite, fruity, soft & spongy cakes! I’ve tried a few recipes in it so far and they all have been super delicious. The instructions are easy to read, and easy to follow. The ingredients are readily accessible, or not hard to find at your local grocery store. Each recipe includes ingredients to make the cake portion, as well as the filling if needed. I especially loved the history bits! Background of some of our most beloved cakes! Also included: Servings, Prep Time, & Bake Time If you love to bake, enjoy cooking cakes for all types of occasions, this one is a staple to have in your kitchen. I will definitely be referencing this cake recipe book for many years to come

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...