Thursday, November 25, 2010

United Cakes of America

United Cakes of America: Recipes Celebrating Every State
by Warren Brown [641.865 qBro]

I love looking through recipe books. I picked up this one because the cassata cake on the cover caught my eye. It's a white-frosted temptation dotted with plump red strawberries. The title is misleading because the book showcases other desserts in addition to cakes. As Brown explains in his introduction, "I deferred to local specialties or alternative desserts that stole the show during the taste-test portion of the research. I took the liberty because the recipes are just that much more interesting." As I paged through the book I came across the recipe that represents Georgia, the Coca-Cola Cake. A pharmacist, John Pemberton, created the formula in Atlanta in 1886. Once Coke was bottled and sold to the public, people started cooking and baking with it. This chocolate cake is one of these soft-drink inspired recipes. Nebraska is represented not by a cake but by the kolace. Why choose this fruit-filled delight over a cake? Because Nebraska is home to the largest percentage of Czech-Americans in the United States. Since the huckleberry is the state fruit of Idaho, Brown chose the huckleberry cake to honor Idaho. This is not a cake but a quick bread filled dark red berries. If you can't find huckleberries he suggests that you substitute blueberries in this easy-to-make recipe. Brown weaves culinary history among the recipes. For example, one might think that German immigrants brought the german chocolate cake recipe to America, but that was not the case. A Dallas, Texas woman developed the recipe in 1957. This moist cake got its name from one of the ingredients -- Baker's German Baking Chocolate. Samuel German, created the sweet baking chocolate in 1852 for the Baker's Chocolate Company and in return, the company named the confection for him. Warren Brown, a bakery owner and former food show host, has written a book filled with colorful photos and mouth-watering recipes that that will tempt bakers into getting out their mixing bowls and turning on their ovens. Those of us who like to read recipe books will learn interesting bits of trivia such as the favorite desserts of some of our presidents. -- recommended by Donna G. - Virtual Services Department

[ Warren Brown's official Cake Love web site ]

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