Monday, June 1, 2020

Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson

Reviewed by Christy
            While dusting our shelves during our closure, I came across a cookbook of vintage cakes. Author Julie Richardson combed through a treasure trove of old cookbooks to find the tastiest, most interesting, and most popular recipes. She would bake the original recipe as written then tinker with it until she felt it was updated for modern cake lovers. One surprising note she made was that older cake recipes were much sweeter than they are today. (I would’ve assumed it to be the opposite.)
            We should probably start with my favorite part of any cookbook: the pictures. These pictures are absolutely gorgeous and make me want to bake everything! I’ve never been a fan of malted milk balls but I’d give Malted Milk Chocolate Cupcakes a chance. Cherries aren’t my first fruit of choice but the Cherry Chip Cake with Cherry Buttercream could definitely bump them up the list.
            The book is divided into sections like Hasty Cakes for when you’re in a hurry or Everyday Cakes for when you just feel like baking something. And of course Party Cakes for when it’s safe to congregate again! Each recipe has a little introduction on its history, which I found interesting. I went through and read every one of these even though I only made one cake.
            I chose to make the Honey Bee Cake. Created in 1954 by the Proctor & Gamble Bakery Research Department, this cake is drenched in honey. It was delicious (if I do say so myself) and surprisingly not cloyingly sweet. The texture reminded me a little bit of cornbread but less crumbly and much more moist. It even had a golden crust, which was my favorite part. Though I just used ordinary honey-from-a-plastic-bear, the great part about this cake is you can use any kind of honey you want: blackberry, wildflower, orange blossom, etc. And if it’s locally sourced, well, then that makes it even more unique. I was also tempted to make the Goober Cake, which has chocolate ganache and crunchy peanut butter frosting.
I can see this being a book I check out many times. I’m particularly looking forward to trying my hand at the Not-for-Children Gingerbread Bundt Cake this holiday season. With a spicy gingerbread and brandy glaze, it should be interesting.
The Honey Bee Cake!

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