Flipping through Julie Richardson’s new cookbook, Vintage Cakes, brings me back to my grandmother’s flour-dusted, sweet-smelling kitchen. Grandma made a cake from scratch for every birthday, and their moist layers and buttercream never disappointed — even when I turned seven and all I wanted was the Little Mermaid cake I spotted at the grocery store.
Like Grandma’s, Julie’s cakes steer clear of fancy pastry chef tricks in favor of classic American combinations. A bakery owner and collector of vintage cookbooks and recipe cards, she folds in interesting tidbits of history. Who knew that the Stack Cake, pictured above, was once a traditional wedding cake for settlers in southern Appalachia? Julie notes that wedding guests would each bring a layer for the bride’s family to assemble. Though timeless, the recipes in Vintage Cakes are all updated for today’s home baker, so go ahead and break out that stand mixer.