Old cooking magazines, Junior League and community cookbooks are a treasure trove of classic cake recipes that baker Julie Richardson just couldn’t ignore.
Richardson, owner of Portland, Oregon, bakeshop and cafe Baker & Spice, wanted to taste the sheet cakes, stack cakes and queen cakes she read about. She was fascinated by the ethnic and regional flavors and textures such as Vermont burnt sugar cake, jam cake and Ozark pudding cake. She dusted off recipes for Pillsbury bake-off winners like Kentucky Bourbon Cake.
The bakery she bought included a file cabinet full of old recipes, and Richardson thrilled to find recipes for renowned cakes from long-shuttered bakeries.
Grandmother and her mother would have been familiar with Lazy Daisy Cake, Chiffon Cake, Daffodil Cake, Wacky Cake, Watergate Cake and Mississippi Mud Cake. Richardson dusted off recipe cards and magazine articles so old that coconut was still an exotic ingredient, and was spelled “cocoanut,” and box mixes hadn’t been invented yet.
Richardson baked and baked, sometimes six cakes a day, adding new flavors, frostings and fillings. Occasionally she re-engineered a box mix creation back to scratch ingredients, trading better flavor for a little more work.
The result, Vintage Cakes, is a sweet collection of cakes that that justly earn their place in history and in today’s kitchen. Try a taste of the new and improved past with these cakes.
—By Nicki Pendleton Wood