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21 Days of Cookbooks – Southern Cakes

Hello. My name is Kim and I am a cookbook-aholic. I’ve flagged more cookbook recipes than would be humanly possible to make in a single lifetime. Yet my obsession with acquiring new and old cookbooks persists unabated. This month I share my compulsive tendencies via the “21 Days” series, featuring some of my favorite cookbooks from local authors and publishers. Please feel free to join me in finding new cookbooks to feed our passion at any of my favorite Triangle indie book sellers: The Regulator Bookshop in Durham, Chapel Hill’s Flyleaf BooksQuail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh or McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro’s Fearrington Village.


Seems fitting since I’m at the end of this “21 Days” series to wrap it up with something special. Cake is perfect for marking special occasions and you’ll find many such cake recipes in Nancie McDermott‘s Southern Cakes, 65 of them in fact.

Cakes can be a bit of a project, especially layer cakes. But this cookbook includes all the tips and hints a home baker may need to conquer those projects with confidence. In “Baking 101” McDermott shares her technique for creaming the butter, adding eggs, checking for doneness and the all important extraction from the pan (where I used to have the most difficulty until I discovered the parchment paper circle trick). With those basics in your baking knowledge bank, you’ll be ready to move on to the recipes found in the next eight chapters. I’d recommend starting with “Chocolate Cakes, Southern Style”.

In this cookbook McDermott devotes entire chapters to two very Southern cake styles, pound cake and coconut cakes. In the pound cake section you can bake yourself silly making Chocolate Pound Cake, Marble Molasses Pound Cake, Cream Cheese Pound Cake, Sweet Potato Pound Cake and then just for more baking fun how about a Bourbon Pound Cake.

I was feeling ambitious for this final entry in the series, so I went all in and baked one of the coconut layer cakes, filled with a luscious lemon curd, iced with a fluffy seven minute frosting, then sprinkled with coconut… pre-shredded coconut, from a package, so I guess not technically “all in” because I could have grated a hunk of coconut myself. There are instructions in the book on how to do just that. Nancie McDermott thinks of everthing. It turned out so pretty I set it on the table and lit a few candles just to admire it.

So here’s a Lemon-Filled Coconut Cake for you. Thank you for indulging my obsession for the last month. It’s been fun for me to share a small part of my ever growing collection. I hope it’s been fun for you too. 🙂


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