Yesterday, in an unusual moment of quiet, while the pups napped on the couch, I pored through my newest cookbook: Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson.
Would you like to know what my dad would say of that book title? He’d say, “Vintage? Does that mean they’re really stale cakes?” And then I’d chuckle heartily in appreciation of corny humor.
A couple weeks ago, I stumbled across some excerpted recipes from the book online and decided to make one, just out of curiosity. It was the best cake I’ve had in a really long time.
I mean down-home delicious. So many of the cake recipes I make these days are tasty, sure, but at some point, a homemade layer cake with whatever trying-to-be-exciting combination of flavors I whip up for buttercream frosting becomes overdone–dare I say on par with cake mixes overdone (gasp!). This vintage berry cake, however, wasn’t trying to be overly cake-y. I couldn’t believe it. After consuming half of the cake in less than 12 hours time all by my lonesome, I was hooked; I just had to own the book in its entirety! I needed some new (er…old?) ideas!
So, move over cupcakes, pies, and cake pops. Vintage cakes (with fun names like Goober!) are so in culinary vogue.
And after drooling over page after page of exciting cakes, never have I wanted to cook my way through a cookbook more (Julie and Julia style), than with this collection of tantalizing recipes!
Don’t get me wrong. I had tried to collect “vintage” recipes of my own. Whenever I go into old bookstores, I am immediately drawn to the cookbooks section, and I entertain myself by trying to find the oldest cookbook I can find and looking up unusual desserts. If I end up purchasing said ancient cookbook (I have about 3, currently), I stash it away, convinced that I’ll remember the colonial molasses cake I want to make for a conversation-piece dessert next time we have company. I’m sure you can guess how many times that has actually come to fruition. Not surprisingly, I am thankful for Julie’s clever and inspiring compilation that presents the best of the best complete with descriptive notes, tips and techniques, and charming photos.
So yesterday, from the section on “quick cakes,” I made “Wacky Cake,” an adaptation on something that is apparently variously called “puddle cake,” AKA a vegan chocolate cake. (And by “vegan” here, I mean that it contains no eggs or dairy).
I didn’t even need to pull out the mixer. It took me all of 10 minutes to throw together while keeping an eye on the dogs. And 35 minutes to bake. It is the perfect in-a-hurry chocolate cake. And you can eat it warm or at room temperature. And it is oh so moist and delicious.
We ate ours with powdered sugar and a scoop of ice cream.
It’ll make you do silly things.
(No, I didn’t feed the dogs chocolate. But this is what she was doing while I was baking).
I can’t wait to try out each and every recipe in the book. Do you have a favorite cake recipe of all time? Do you have a treasured recipe or recipe collection that has been carefully passed down for generations? Do tell.