ATLANTA — Many people shy away from baking cakes because of the precision necessary to balance flour, butter and eggs -- let alone remove the cake from a tube pan unscathed.
"All cakes take time and patience," says Sonya Jones, baker and owner of Sweet Auburn Bread Co.
She advises home cooks who have trouble with poundcakes to keep making them: "They are very delicate. They take practice."
The secret to making a good cake, Jones says, is to develop a sixth or seventh sense, so that you know when the batter "has the right feel." She explains that one must learn when eggs have reached the right volume so that batter is not overmixed.
"Making cake isn't a free-for-all. You have to follow the steps with precision. And you have to follow the order of the ingredients."
Jones helped us with the recipes for several old-fashioned cakes. We chose them, not only for Edith Flowers Kilgo's story, but also for their unusual ingredients, such as Orange Slice candy and vanilla wafers. We also liked the versatility of these cakes, which allow room to improvise with glazes, nuts and other ingredients for heightened flavor and texture.