Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Cakes & Slices

 
Like most people these days (unless you've gone totally paperless) I have a pretty good collection of snazzy recipe books. Jamie, Nigella, Bill, Tessa, Hugh, Delia and Donna adorn my shelves...
And I love them all, I really do.
 
But when I feel like whipping up a cake from ingredients I already have in the cupboard, or want something easy and quick for the kids to have in their lunch boxes, um tomorrow morning and it's already 10.15pm -- I keep coming back to the trusty Australian Women's Weekly Cakes & Slices Cookbook.


Photo: Source
I think it was first published in 1990. Which doesn't seem all that long ago to me... Except that the visual evidence begs to differ. The cover of my book says: $5.98 Recommended and Maximum Price only.
 
Can you imagine Donna or Jamie or Bill putting that on one of their books?
 
Also I have to say it, the pictures in the WW Cakes & Slices book are, to 21st century eyes, ugly.  It's the reason I have never been brave enough to delve into the FRUIT chapter.  The two-page photo spread of the "Delectably Rich Fruit Cake" is the stuff of food nightmares. The Marciano cherries on top glisten like evil, slimy, red golf balls. Eeek!!! Get them away from me!
 
...all that orange!
 
But with those offensive pages stuck together, I know I can turn safely and happily to the Whole-Orange Syrup Cake on page 30 (Syrup chapter) and make the best orange cake, ever. I love the fact that it uses the whole orange (juiced and then pulverised in the food processor) and is quick and easy (warning: over repetition of these words is unavoidable)! I saw a similar looking recipe in one of my snazzy books, which called for the orange to be boiled for eight hours prior to baking the cake. EIGHT HOURS! No, I'm sorry people, that will just NOT DO!! I'd have passed out under the kitchen table from hunger and sorrow way before then!
 
Then there's the totally fabulous Pumpkin, Cinnamon and Wholemeal Bread recipe on page 36 (Vegetable chapter) that is equally good with kumara or whatever you find buried in the bottom of the vege drawer. It is cooked and steaming on your bench in under an hour, ready to be downed with multiple cups of hot tea. Fabulous. I blogged once too about the equally delectable Potato Ginger Cake and gave the recipe if you're interested.
 
I do go through phases. I remember years ago using the gorgeous Moist Coconut Cake with Coconut Ice Frosting on page 47 (Coconut chapter) as my fail safe birthday cake recipe. These days it seems overly sweet. I guess my metabolism was better in the 90s.
 
The Ginger and Sour Cream Surprise Cake was also a past favourite. The sour cream is drizzled along the top of the cake mix but comes out of the oven as a heavenly caramelised soft centre amongst the steaming firm ginger surrounds. Oh yum, may have to go and make that right now.
 
As for slices, there is a chapter on cooked and another on uncooked versions. There's something for every pantry staple and every stray packet of left-over uneaten breakfast cereal. I've just made a cooked version with cornflakes and last week it was Weet-Bix.
 
Cornflake Slice - oh look, a mouse has nibbled it already..
 
It may be aesthetically challenging, but this book puts the happy OO(h) into cOOking for my kids (and me).
 
Do you have a favourite but dated cookbook that you still use?
Tell me what it is, I'd love to know...
 
Will try to put some of the best recipes on a PAGE on this blog - as soon as I can...
 
 

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