"O Winter, king of intimate delights..." William Cowper
And delicious cakes to extend the delight, I might add, especially when the cold blasts of winter arrive and baking takes on special industry.
I can't specifically say I am baking my way through this book, yet I am purposely having fun choosing certain recipes to experiment with and mark as cake favorites. Thus far, all that I have undertaken to bake have been worth it all both in time and effort. Jane Brocket certainly has a way with elevating even the most quotidian activity to new levels. The photographs of cakes displayed in this book are candy for the eyes with its vintage hand-embroidiered tablecloths, delicate china plates and unique cakestands. You might just find yourself pulling out a notepad with plans to begin a list on which ones to try first. Some of the cake recipes given are not what you might consider traditional cakes necessarily, but muffins, cookies, doughnuts and sweet breads. Still, all very good. Many of the pages included backgrounds of particular cakes and snippets of cultural history to how they were served.
The Devil's Food Cake is a classic chocolate cake with the addition of a half cup of espresso (or strong coffee); brown sugar is used in the frosting which I thought was different, but I liked the results.
Simple Chocolate Cake, a vintage "tried and true" cake, requires the simplest ingredients. It is a perfect cake to have fun with decorating as I did here for a dear friend's birthday back in October when the nasturtiums still bloomed in my garden.
Retro cakes bring back such fond memories, and since this is the season for fresh pineapple, a Pineapple Upside Down cake was baked over the Christmas holidays for a family that had just lost a member of their family. So sad and unexpected; I thought of the sweetness that this dear man added to his wife, children and grandchildren. I hugged them as I delivered the cake, and my tears were the best part of what I could express to them at the time.
This particular cake is not in the book, but I love the cake enough to include it in my list of vintage cakes. The recipe for this Buttermilk Cake can be found here. We celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday this past weekend which naturally included the decorating and lighting of candles. Charlotte sprinkled winter colors of silver and blue upon its snowy top.
My notepad list had me also baking the Celebration and Madeira cakes. The gingerbread might just be my next treat to bake, inspiration is bubbling around the edges!