As you know, our company publishes Bake from Scratch, a magazine and book series for people who are passionate about baking. I mean … passionate! I have rediscovered my desire to bake more and learn new techniques. It is a far cry from the way I baked growing up.
But I have to tell you that cooks like me love to bake anything—especially something easy that really impresses people. My mom always had a great cake in the kitchen, and we loved it when she baked one on Sunday afternoon. That meant that hot from the oven, we would be enjoying something special. The aroma permeated our home, and it was heavenly.
Mom did a smart thing—she let us bake! Back then, that meant buying a cake mix. When I was a little girl, I would shop the cake mix section of the store while mom did the rest of her grocery shopping. My favorite was a pink lemonade cake. Can you imagine? And the plain white cake was also a favorite of mine.
When we got home, we would get out the mixer, mixing cups, and the spatula. I would add all the ingredients and mix to perfection. Mom showed me how to grease and flour a pan so the batter would not stick. When the cake was cooked, I let it cool and then removed it from the pan.
Icing was not something she bought. Buttercream was made fresh every time we baked a cake. It was so much fun! I just loved it.
One Christmas I asked for cake pans that were graduated in size so that I could produce cakes that looked like wedding cakes. Oh, my goodness, do you know how many cake mixes it takes to fill three graduated cake pans? Too many to be eaten by one family! But in allowing me to play with cakes, I developed my love of baking and icing cakes.
Our company just published a great special issue called 13 x 9 Cakes! I rejoiced when the magazine came back from the printer. For these recipes, you don’t have to stack layers and pray for a level outcome—you just serve right out of the pan! On page 89 there it was—Chocolate Cola Cake! I remember a cake like that from my childhood, and I almost squealed. That cooked icing with those pecans sets up to a light crunchy texture. I was hooked.
It is funny how my memories are triggered these days by a cake or cookies that I loved from my childhood. In the South, our special times seem to be around a great meal or dessert. I began thinking about that today, and I hope that we all are making those wonderful memories for those we love.
Bake a cake and celebrate life! Tell me, what is your favorite cake and cake memory?