What is the perfect election night dessert? NPR’s The Salt suggests it could be American cake, rather than the more expected American pie.
The foodie site focuses on Anne Byrn’s American Cake: From Colonial Gingerbread to Classic Layer, the Stories and Recipes Behind More Than 125 of Our Best-Loved Cakes (Macmillan/Rodale; OverDrive Sample).
Byrn is best known for her Cake Mix Doctor baking books but here turns her attention to the history of American cakes and the way their flavors and ingredients reflect the changes in our history.
The Salt turns that culinary history lesson into a moment to celebrate not just cakes, but their presidential role and the way they reflect our immigrant foundations.
Calling the book a “a coast-to-coast trail of crumbs,” the site says “American Cake takes the reader on a flour-dusted, chronological journey from the era of colonial gingerbread to today’s over-frosted towers. Byrn makes for an expert guide, deftly folding history, literary trivia, Americana and origin stories for 125 iconic cakes, while providing modernized recipes for each of them.”
Byrn says “Cake is an icon of American culture,” and The Salt ends the story with a listing of favorite presidential treats. Bill Clinton loves carrot cake while Andrew Jackson favored Blackberry jam cake (Byrn has recipes for both).
Some presidents liked pie best. Abraham Lincoln enjoyed peach while Barack Obama turns to nectarine (sadly, Byrn follows the current political divide and provides no recipes for pie).
Readers are voting with holds. At every library we checked, all copies are in circulation and reserve lists are present, some topping 3:1 ratios.