Friday, November 04, 2011

My Favorite Cookbook

I love cookbooks. I used to be very careful and selective about buying them, because otherwise I would have had about a hundred, I'm sure. Then, for a while I quit buying them altogether because I thought I had too many.

Well, then I met Laurel. Laurel blogs at Orange and Salt and she owns more cookbooks than anyone I've ever met. I was inspired! I started to give myself permission to buy cookbooks again. I'm still careful and selective, but I've definitely grown my collection a lot in the past year. I started by getting rid of all the books I never used and knew I'd never used. (Sorry Mollie Katzen, but Vegetable Heaven is just not for me.) Those went to Goodwill. I started to add in books that interested me. For instance, I've got a nice selection of Junior League cookbooks now. Those ladies put together a great cookbook! I also have a great collection of vintage cookbooks. They are equal parts useful and gross. I LOVE THEM.

I have, at last count, almost sixty cookbooks. I love all of my cookbooks, but my number one, most favorite, most loved, literally falling apart at the seams book?

Betty Crocker's New Cookbook - Everything You Need To Know To Cook, 1996 edition. I know. Don't laugh.

It's great to have cookbooks with fancy recipes that you can use to wow your friends. It's great to have cookbooks that help you to explore new cuisines. It's great to have cookbooks that encourage you to get out of your comfort zones. Those are all great. The thing is, sometimes you just need a reliable recipe for plain old white cake, you know? This book covers all the basics, plus has handy info and charts on what temperature meat should be and times for turkeys and all that jazz. I love it.

My book is the 1996 edition, which means I was relying on it long before I got the internet. I've thought about replacing it, since like I said it's literally falling apart, but I'm attached to it. You can find both the old and current editions on Amazon, and I've seen it in used bookstores as well. You know, if you want a copy for yourself.

And, just in case you do need a reliable recipe for plain old white cake...

Silver White Cake
from Betty Crocker's New Cookbook: Everything You Need To Know To Cook, 1996 ed.

Prep: 10 min; Bake: 45; Cool: 10 min
Makes 16 servings

This cake will become a Fourth of July dessert when filled and topped with Triple Berry Filling (page 90). Frost sides with 1 1/2 cups Sweetened Whipped Cream (page 89) for a red, white, and blue punch.

2 1/4 cups all purpose or 2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/4 cups milk
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
5 large egg whites
Mocha Frosting (page 86) or Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting (page 85), if desired

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of rectangular pan, 13 x 9 x 2 inches, 2 round pans, 9 x 1 1/2 inches, or 3 round pans, 8 x 1 1/2 inches, with shortening. Lightly flour.
2. Beat all ingredients except egg whites and Mocha frosting in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
3. Beat in egg whites on high speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan(s).
4. Bake rectangle 40-45 minutes, 9-inch rounds 30-35 minutes, 8-inch rounds 23-28 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool rectangle in pan on wire rack. Cool rounds ten minutes; remove from pans to wire rack. Cool completely.
5. Frost rectangle or fill and frost layers with Mocha Frosting.

*Do not use self rising flour in this recipe.

1 serving: Calories 235 (Calories from Fat 80); Fat 9g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 2mg; Sodium 270mg; Carbohydrate 36g (Dietary Fiber 0g); Protein 3g.

I think I've made this cake about a dozen times - it's really good and dense but not too sweet. Personally, I like to fill it with fresh strawberries sliced in half and topped with a chocolate ganache. Then I frost the whole thing with sweetened whipped cream. It's SO good!

Now, if you're looking for a good cookbook when you want to try something new but not too crazy or hard, you know I still love my boy Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution book. I've probably made more things out of that book than any other, and have loved almost everything we tried.

I am linking this post to Muffy Martini's Favorite Cookbook blog hop. Be sure to check out some of the other great cookbooks posted there!

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Blogger Katy Cameron said...

Ahh, I too have a flipping ridiculous collection of cookbooks, and I actually banned myself from buying them a few years ago because I wasn't actually using them!!! About 9 years ago, when I was recovering from having my appendix out, I started to write out all the recipes I loved from each book to pop into a wee folder to keep in the kitchen. 15 little folders later (yep, all written long hand) and I was still buying books, but had just run out of time/the will to copy out all the new recipes. So for now, I've got a big enough selection to keep me going, and should I ever have anyone else to cook for than me, I will start breaking out all those books!

6:55 AM  
Blogger Muffy said...

What a great book! I'll have to find a copy. Cake sounds SO good right now....thank you for participating in the blog hop! Xx!

12:44 PM  
Blogger jan said...

I also share your passion for collecting cookbooks and your admiration of the Betty Crocker Cookbook, but mine is the 1974 version. And I am also enjoying the wonderful cool weather in Chandler. This is the best time of year where we live.

8:45 PM  
Blogger jan said...

i also share your passion for Betty Crocker is the the 1974 version. And this wonderful cool weather in Chandler is long overdue. Bring on more rain.

8:48 PM  

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