Cook by the Book: CAKES!

“A cake is a party, a birthday, a wedding. A cake is what’s served on the happiest days of your life.” – from Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray

Eat CakeLike Ruth in Eat Cake, I love to bake. Measuring ingredients, mixing them up and creating a delicious treat for others can be very satisfying. May’s cake theme led to some interesting discussions about the differences between cake flour and regular flour. (Cake flour has less protein, so it absorbs less moisture, resulting in lighter cakes). We also learned that animal bone char is sometimes used in the processing of sugar, a fact that was confirmed on the Rogers Sugar website.

Fortunately, the beet sugar available in Manitoba appears to come from their Alberta plant, so it is free of bone char.

If you’re a novice baker, you might want to try Piece of Cake by Camilla V. Saulsbury. Judy served three cakes to guests and their favourite one was the Five Spice Mandarin cake. Robin also chose a cookbook by Saulsbury and was similarly pleased. The Pumpkin Pound cake was so good, she and her husband managed to eat half of it in one sitting – no icing necessary. If you are an icing lover, try the easy icing for the Lazy Daisy Sheet cake. It’s a yummy combination of coconut, whipping cream, and pecans.

For Vegans, try the silken tofu icing from Have Your Cake and Vegan too by Kris Holechek.  And if you’re not ready to give up your dairy products try the Mojito Pound Cake – it has one pound of butter in the icing! Lynda really liked the flavours in this rum and mint infused cake. Mary enjoyed the old time recipes from Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson and shared her lemon streamliner cake with the group – delicious!

Baking gluten free can often be a challenge, as Tanise discovered. She wasn’t impressed with the coconut cupcakes from Gluten Free Cupcakes by Elana Amsterdam. She even made them twice, thinking maybe she had made a mistake the first time, but they still didn’t turn out. Ingrid also went gluten free, adapting her recipe with quinoa flour. Step-by-Step Cakes by Caroline Bretherton has great pictures and easy to follow instructions, but Elaine found the British measurements a little frustrating to use and also noted that British cakes tend to be denser and sweeter than we’re used to.

Ready to get out your mixing bowls? Drop by your local branch to check out any of these titles.

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Cook by the Book is a book club for foodies! Based on the monthly theme, members choose a cookbook available at the library and then make one or two recipes at home. We all take pictures of our culinary creations and then get together to share our experience – good or bad – with the group. Registration is full for this session, but we’ll start up again in the Fall. Watch for details in the September issue of @ the Library.

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