Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Family Circle Cake and Cooky Book (1953)
Ok, so you love cake...and you love cookies. You aren't too keen on the word "cooky" as an alternate spelling for the delicious baked good, but you pick up Family Circle magazine's Cake and Cooky Book anyway. UNTOLD. RECIPE TREASURES. AWAIT YOU! Or at least a lot of good-looking, show-boating, totally take-to-the-neighbors-house-for-sheer-one-up-man-ship recipes for delectables. Wanna take a look with me? I know you do!
The first cake is pretty much a "funfetti" birthday mix put in a bundt pan and iced with strawberry icing. Do you remember, in spite of the negligible taste difference between funfetti and regular yellow cake batter, how much more desirable the streaked-with-sprinkles variety of cake mix was in your adolescent party days? If someone's mom sprung for the funfetti cake AND matching funfetti icing, well, gee-- that child is obviously highly valued in their family! Below that, a chocolate fudge cake that has been made that much more picturesque by the addition of fudge-dipped almonds as a decoration. Sometimes I'm really impressed by the difference a simple garnish can make to a cake. There are a lot of those times in this book!
I remember trying to make a pineapple mix cake (pineapple "flavored" batter, as opposed to pineapple upside down cake mix) and being nonplussed by the resultant hint of pineapple. The package promised me pineapple pyrotechnics! The above recipe for a pineapple cream cake incorporates the actual fruit right into the mixture, so I'm interested to try this for my next Polynesian themed gathering (also see the gorgeous and unusually decorated pineapple upside down cake at below right...what, no rings? SPLIT RINGS? Is there no tradition!). The cake I'm most interested in trying, though, is the show-offy strawberry whirligig cake. I've made a number of Jello-based "poke" cakes, and I'm telling you, nothing beats J-E-L-L-O for adding color and drama to your hum drum cake-in-a-box mix. Jello is the Joan Collins of cake ingredients. I said it! What! Try a gelatin based cake recipe some time and see if you don't agree.
Look how well the chocolate fan cake slices! I want to make one of these of my own. Also, I'm continually taken aback with how beautifully powdered sugar dusted cakes look with the aid of a stencil or doily to marshal their dusty goodness into a pretty pattern. Has anyone ever had any luck with this? I tried once and ended up having to dust the whole thing because the image blurred. Such is life.
I think this Pink Lady Cake would delight anyone. Like me! The ribboned pattern seems simple enough if you have the patience and temerity to get it down. Also, the blue and pink is so. FLIPPING. FIFTIES.
I wouldn't have thought to do this but I'm crazy about the idea now: chop up a sheet cake into blocks, ice with color icing, then spell out a message. Can you think of all the possibilities here? "CAUTION, SNAKES!", "NOT POISONED, "DID YOU DO THE DISHES", "KICK A BRICK" are all idea that immediately came to mind, but again, you could really do this with anything.
Last but not least, a series of simple cakes with knock-yer-socks-off decoration jobs. LET'S TRY ALL OF THEM! It's going to be a pre-diabetic extravaganza. I wonder what most of these would taste like with Splenda as a substitute? Sometimes it seems to work for me and sometimes whatever I'm making turns out tasting like glue. Still, I fear the mid century, sans nutrition facts ness of a lot of these recipes, though any in moderation couldn't hurt, right? Right.
For the little drummer boy in your life:
For the cat lover:
For the George Washington enthusiast (or for your next "Dateline Investigates" viewing party):
That's all I was able to grab up in my scanning frenzy, but that's plenty, in my book! I think I now have enough baking inspiration to last me out the year. Which cake looks the most tempting to you? Do you have a particular party-pleasin' baked goods recipe you use as a go-to when kids are coming over to play cards? Swap cake ideas with me, if you have any handy!
Til next time.