In every small Southern Town there is a cake lady, a woman (or three) who is known for the delicious cakes that she bakes for local events, as gifts and for other people in the community. It is a tradition that has been going on for decades and has evolved over the years, going from an era where everyone baked and everyone had their specialty to an era where the tradition almost died out as food became more about convenience than anything else. The tradition still thrives today with a younger group of cake ladies, women who are passionate about the tradition and about food and want to keep baking those comforting, delicious cakes that the South is known for. Cake Ladies is a book dedicated to these women, both the older generation and the new one, and keeping this tradition and its recipes alive and strong.
There is no question that this book has a great story behind it, but it isn’t just about the back story of the cake lady tradition. The book profiles numerous “cake ladies” – old and new – throughout its pages. It shares their stories, describing how they got into baking and why they love it, and there are many pictures of these women, their cakes and their communities that really give you a strong sense of connection with them. The cake recipes, of course, give you an even stronger connection with them. All of the recipes in the book are attributed to one of the sixteen cake ladies profiled in it. They are classic Southern cake recipes with easy to follow directions and results that are just about guaranteed to please.
There are also mouthwatering photos of the many cakes in the book, both simple single-layer cakes and towering multi-layer affairs with elaborate garnishes. Flipping the pages just to look at the photos will almost remind you of browsing a bakery case full of cakes because they look so tempting. It is easy to feel the love that went into these classic Southern cake recipes every single time that they have baked over the years and that makes it all the more tempting to start baking from the book yourself and launching your own cake lady (or cake man) tradition.