Do you need a cake? (A bit about All Cakes Considered and the Cake Project)

Do you need a cake? Because I have a few to bake.

There are nearly 50 cakes in All Cakes Considered, plus a few things in the “Break from Cake” chapter. So I have to make nearly 50 cakes (and a few non-cake items). I plan on doing this the methodical way- one cake a week. However, more than one cake a week is totally ok with me. I’ve come up with a number of excuses to make them: birthdays, friends passing big tests, dinner parties, etc. I am spreading the cakes around to avoid accusations of attempted fattening.

[I’d like to note here that the full title of the cookbook is “All Cakes Considered: a year’s worth of weekly recipes tested, tasted, and approved by the staff of NPR’S All Things Considered. How to keep your co-workers happy, friendly, and fatter than you!” I am not trying to fatten you up, but I am trying to make you and your tastebuds happy.]

My plan is to stick to the order of the cakes in the book… For the most part. There will be a bit of jumping around in the beginning, mostly because I want the freedom to do so. The first three cakes in the cookbook are pound cakes, and I’d rather not bring only pound cakes in to work for the first month. And I also promised some of the cakes away and am not sure when they will be made. However, I will at least be sticking to the constraints of chapters.

I got this cookbook, All Cakes Considered, as a birthday present from my long-time friend, Margaret. I immediately made something from the cookbook: Cowboy Cookies. I went straight for the “Break From Cake” chapter, because I was a bit afraid of the cakes (my excuse: I had no stand mixer!). And then I made nothing else. To give you an idea of how long it’s been: my birthday is in November. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I opened it up again and made the “Tunnel of Fudge” cake for my friend’s birthday (I jumped right to the middle).

Tunnel of Fudge cake that I made for Hal's birthday (yes, I've already shown this picture)

I have gone back to the beginning and am starting from there. I’m going to learn about making cakes as Melissa Gray intended to teach me (for the most part). And there really is a lot to learn from MG and ACC. She goes over everything you need to know, whether it’s the equipment you need and exactly how to use it, or how to properly grease a pan. She tells you about the basic ingredients- flour, sugar, fat, and eggs (she goes into depth about them, like telling you about the different kinds of flour), and there is even a page on different types of chocolate and how they can affect your baked goods (yes please). I find this information really helpful and interesting- I want to know about science of baking (I have a shirt that says “Baking is science for hungry people”). How can I start creating my own recipes if I don’t really know how the ingredients go together?

The author herself, Melissa Gray

One thing I love about this cookbook is the recipe titles! There are some fabulous names in there, like the Drunken Monkey Procrastinatin’ Banana Bread, or the Naughty Senator, or Mary Carole Battle’s Mother’s Wacky Cake, or Paula Deen’s Grandgirl’s Fresh Apple Cake from Georgia.

There are also little tidbits about the history of recipes, or things at All Things Considered, or other musings thrown in around the book. But I wish there were more pictures! I want to a reference for how these cakes are supposed to look!

If you haven’t already noticed, this kind of project has been done before. It reeks of Julie and Julia, only with ACC. And I’m sure people baked their way through cookbooks before that. But I liked the idea and wanted to go for it, and why not cakes? After doing a bit of research, I found that there are also quite  a few people that have baked their way through this cookbook as well. So there you have it- this project is not original. I just want to make some cakes and write about it. But when the movie deal comes through, I’ll be sure to thank you. 😉

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