CakeBook Monday: GREAT CAKES by Carole Walter

Today's pick for CakeBook Monday is Carole Walter's Great Cakes. A treasure trove of recipes, the title comes from Martha Washington's recipe for Great Cake (which is presented in its original form before the ToC), and the book features both historic and modern cakes. There's also an incredibly useful section of techniques and tips at the beginning. Originally published in 1991 (this edition is from 2005), the book is sadly out-of-print, but used copies are readily available online.

A few year ago, I baked the 18th C. Pound Cake recipe from the book, and tested out the old technique of keeping cake wrapped tightly in a brandy-soaked cheesecloth to extend the shelf life. Once a week I would cut a thick slice off for a taste, then re-soak the cheesecloth in plenty of brandy before rewrapping what remained and returning it to hide away in tupperware. The cake lasted well over a month, each piece just a bit more alcoholic than the last, before the flavor unpleasantly soured and my modern palate (and food borne illness phobia) led me to toss it.