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Retro Desserts

Retro DessertsAnyone who has ever set foot in a diner knows that nothing looks better than a big slice of mile-high strawberry shortcake, with layers of fluffy cake, whipped cream frosting and bright red, ripe berries. It’s a classic and it is one of the many recipes inside Retro Desserts: Totally Hip, Updated Classic Desserts from the ’40S, ’50S, 60s and ’70s. The cookbook, by Wayne Harley Brachman, is full of recipes that are either classics in and of themselves, or are inspired by, classics. Run and Cherry Cola Marble Cake, Grasshopper Pie and even a Fruit Cocktail Gelatin Ring (much better looking and tasting than it may sound at first) are just a few of the recipes, and there are also recipes for homemade versions of perennial favorites, such as Oreo cookies.

This is one cookbook that I go back to again and again even if I don’t bake anything from it, because the recipes are very well presented, with clear and easy-to-follow instructions and full-color illustrations of almost every item in the book. If you’re not baking from it, it’s fun to see how once-popular cocktails inspired cakes and pies, and it’s easy to get inspired to do some baking of your own. All of the chapters come with an introduction of the topic, with baking tips as well as quick facts as to why the included desserts were hits the first time around. All of the recipes also come with similar notes, baking instructions and factoids.

It might not be for someone who likes utility, but many of the recipes have cute names and the chapters have even cuter ones, such as “For Whom the Ice Cream Bell Tolls” and “I Tawt I Taw A Pudding Tat.” If you are going for utility, don’t worry that this book is just fluff. There is a very useful section at the back with recipes for sauces that is a great reference point, especially if you’re interested in making your own hot fudge ice cream sauce or creamy marshmallow fluff (among other things!).

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  • marina mott
    November 16, 2009

    I Know I would love this book!!

  • Peggy
    November 16, 2009

    This is a nice cookbook – my favourite recipe is the one for the ‘chocolate sandwich cookies’, which are essentially homemade Oreos. The recipe is VERY good and much better than store bought! I’d recommend the book for that recipe if nothing else.

  • black singles
    November 16, 2009

    i want this cookbook… My children really loves yummy desserts !

  • Katie M
    November 17, 2009

    My brother gave me this cookbook, and it is a fun read. I’ve only made one recipe from it – the banana cake with pb frosting sandwiches. I have to say, they were absolutely delicious, and I never would have thought to make cocktail dessert sandwiches without this book. The banana cake was more like a quick bread in my opinion but perhaps a little more delicate. I think some of the recipes seem overly complicated, but nevertheless, it’s a fun book.

  • The Queen of Tarts
    February 11, 2010

    This cookbook looks fun! Love the photography. Along the same lines is “Retro Pies” by Linda Everett. This week I am featuring chocolate raspberry cupcakes on http://www.oregonfruitblog.com, trendy and retro at the same time!

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