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Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition

A Cookbook Review

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Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition Cover Photo by Pricegrabber, Inc.

Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition

Photo (c) Pricegrabber, Inc.
Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition by Jodi Rhoden, Lark Books, October 2011

More Than Just a Recipe Book

Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition is more than just a recipe book. It's a book that tells the stories of seventeen women who are known as the local "cake lady". The "cake lady" is a woman who might own a bakery or may just bake cakes out of her home or church for special events like birthdays and anniversaries. Typically, they are a woman who live and breathe cake making. They are driven to cake baking. They bake for pleasure and they bake for money. It's who they are, and who they want to be. Cake baking is the passion of their lives. Jodi Rhoden features cake ladies from all over the south. Not only do you get their stories, but you get some very insightful cake-baking tips too.

What Impressed Me the Most

Cookbooks are more than just recipes to me. I love to spend time reading them. I enjoy learning more about the making and baking of desserts. Some books I may only get a couple of new baking revelations, some offer none, but this book has several.

I was blown-away by Jessica Grossmans' Dried Pineapple Flowers. She had several of them sitting in the middle of her iced Hummingbird Cake. When the cake was sliced, each piece got it's own dried pineapple flower. They look like daises.

Probably, the youngest of the featured cake ladies is Elyse Manning. She definitely lives to bake. She taught me to step out of my boring trifle box. I seem only to make my trifles with berries. Forget the berries, Elyse uses tropical fruits like mangoes, papayas and kiwi fruits.

Seriously, who would have thought to use beets for the color in a Red Velvet Cake?

Did you know that a Lemon Cheese Layer Cake had no cheese at all in it? Lemon curd is the cheese. Of course, when you think about it makes since.

I think the Gullah Dirty Cake is aptly named. Dye Scott-Rhodan says it's so named because the dark chocolate looks like dirt. I think the name also goes if you feel naughty while eating this decadent chocolate cake.

Recipes found in the Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition

Vanilla Almond Pound Cake from Betty Compton, Cedar Grove, North Carolina
Lemon Cheese Layer Cake (the "cheese" is actually lemon curd - can you say yummy?) and Caramel Cake from Johnnie Gabriel, Marietta, Georgia
Fresh Coconut Cake from Mary Moon, Marietta, Georgia
Pastel de Tres Leche from Olga Perez, Asheville, North Carolina
Carroll Cake and Poppy Seed Cake from Lisa Goldstein, Celo, North Carolina
Gullah Dirty Cake from Dye Scott-Rhodan, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hummingbird Cake and Peanut Butter and Banana Cupcakes from Jessica Grossman, Charleston, South Carolina
German Chocolate Cake from Peggy Hambright, Knoxville, Tennessee
Mississippi Mud Cake from Barbara Higgins and Sally Roberts, Asheville, North Carolina
Coconut Flan and Trifle from Elyse Manning, New Orleans, Louisiana
Applesauce Spice Cake and Pineapple Upside-Down Cake from Lois Mims, Pine Apple, Alabama
Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes from Michele Burton Oatis and Melissa Woods, New Orleans, LA
Italian Cream Cake and Fig Cake from Helen "Tissy" Pass, Cordele Georgia
Strawberry Shortcake from Matilda Reed, Cherokee, North Carolina
Ten-Layer Chocolate Cake from Pearl Teeter, Williamston, North Carolina
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