REAL FOOD REAL STORIES FROM SCRATCH
I was raised on Church Lady cake [and pies]. I knew people who could take one bite out of a slice of cake or pie and tell you in 2 – 3 chews whether it was made from scratch, a mix, or had a frozen crust with canned filling. As an adult I began noticing more and more box mix and/or warehouse cakes and pies for special occasions on bake sale tables even in churches with reputations for “good food.” Quantity was taking precedent over quality. Speed + convenience = profit and immediate gratification.
Where did those bakers I grew up with go? I realized the women and a few men who baked for me, my family and their families from scratch had either retired their bowls or joined the ancestors. It was now up to a new generation of home bakers to be as generous as these women and men were to us. This is why I started “The Church Lady Cake” project.
The project is in two parts: The Church Lady Cake Diaries is a 60-minute documentary; and “The Church Lady Cake Project” an on-line digital media channel to collect and feature first person stories about women [and on occasion men] who were part of a divine tradition – making cakes from scratch.
“Church Lady Cake” is a standard, a standard for quality in the baking as well as the generosity of the home baker. This standard also comes with a social contract: connection with community, family, friends, heritage that often came in the form of a gently aluminum foiled-wrapped care package.
Church Lady Cake has a roll call of perennial favorites: 2-layer yellow cake with chocolate frosting, pound cake, coconut cake with pineapple and red velvet [alongside the sweet potato pies of course]. As home baking and tastes evolved, Church Lady Cake welcomed new innovations. The bottom line remaining: “It has to taste good.”
I’m glad to say cakes and pies from scratch are making a comeback maybe not in the church basement but with a new generation of home bakers who are doing it for love, for friends and family, farmers markets, cafes, bakeries, and on-line. For the box mix generation, “from scratch” can read as “keepin’ it real. ” But to reach “Church Lady Cake” standards some divine inspiration has to be involved and a lot of love.
For more information, email info[at]churchladycake.com.
Baking and Making Memories2013 Makes-Me-Wanna SHOUT! Pie Baking Challenge presented with Eatonville Restaurant Entries due February 4, 2013
2011 Coconut Cake Winner Decoyise Brown
2012 Makes-Me-Wanna SHOUT! Semifinals
March 24, 2012 at Martha's Table
Church Lady Cake Diaries trailer
TagsA Christmas Memory Alexis Echols Andy Shallal Austin Brown Bonnie Benwick Brenda Rhodes Miller caramel pie Carla Hall chocolate cake Chow Christine Perez Christmas Church Lady Cake Diaries coconut cake coconut cake contest Daryl Wright DC State Fair Decoyise Brown Eatonville Restaurant Edna Lewis fruit cake fruitcake Jenna Huntsberger Jennifer Donald Joan Nathan Johari Rashad King Arthur Flour Lindsey Wahowiak Makes-Me-Wanna SHOUT! Chocolate Layer Cake Challenge Makes-Me-Wanna SHOUT! Coconut Cake Challenge Makes-Me-Wanna SHOUT! Pie Baking Challenge Martha's Table Michon Boston Miriam's Kitchen Modern Domestic New Orleans pound cake Scott Peacock Scott Schenkelberg Stephanie Woodrow Thanksgiving Truman Capote Valery Flood-Smith White House Whoopie Pie with