Friday, April 23, 2021

"American Cake" by Anne Byrn


Cookbooks: I can usually resist buying a new one, but the other weekend, I was at Ollie's when I came across a bargain book whose title and one particular recipe immediately made me realize I needed this book by Anne Byrn, the former food editor of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. First, the title American Cake and the words "stories and recipes" told me there would be some history inside, and there was.

And the first recipe I turned to? It was this Hot Milk Sponge Cake with Lemon Filling from the old Frances Virginia Tea Room in Atlanta, so I just closed the book and headed to the checkout counter. I knew I didn't even need to complete my normal rule about finding at least three things I was interested in reading or making before purchasing a new book or magazine!

Mary Lincoln's White Almond Cake appeals to me because a) Mary Todd Lincoln is said to have made this for Abe and b) I love anything with almonds!

And who knew there was something called a carrot tea cake! I did not know that cooked carrots were once used as an inexpensive sweetener in place of the more costly sugar. There are also fascinating stories about everything from Lady Baltimore Cake and Lane Cake to Pineapple Upside-Down Cake and Red Velvet Cake.

The book also answered a question I'd had. I used to wonder why very old recipes called for a "teacup full" of something, but the simple answer is that a teacup was the equipment that was on hand for measuring back then. While I haven't yet made a thing from this book, I must tell you that I have been "devouring" the stories and history in these pages, and I believe many of you would enjoy this book too. 


  1. Thank you, Angela. My package arrived in yesterday's mail.

  2. Thank you very much for bringing this book to our attention. Wow, cakes and history--two of my favorite things! I will definitely be looking for this book--it sounds quite fascinating.

  3. That sounds like a perfect book for you to enjoy!

  4. This looks like you found a real treasure!

  5. That book definitely would be a temptation with the history in it. The teacup measuring is similar to what they still do in France using the yogurt container as a measurement. I have one recipe I still make for yogurt cake that is with the yogurt container. I bet it would work with a teacup too. I might just have to try it.


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