“Daisy Cakes Bakes: Keepsake Recipes for Southern Layer Cakes, Pies, Cookies, and More” by Kim Nelson, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, $25, 224 pages, hardcover
Kim Nelson credits the Junior Leagues of Baton Rouge and Lafayette with helping her company, Daisy Cakes, become a successful South Carolina-based mail-order bakery.
In her cookbook, “Daisy Cake Bakes: Keepsake Recipes for Southern Layer Cakes, Pies, Cookies, and More” (Clarkson Potter, February 27, 2018), Nelson says she and her mother spent the first three months after starting Daisy Cakes in June 2009 perfecting recipes and working out details such as where to sell the cakes. As an outlet for her cakes, she considered the holiday fundraisers that Junior League chapters put on. However, she had missed the registration deadline.
“Never one to shy away from a challenge or let a long-passed deadline stand in my way, I contacted the Junior Leagues of Lafayette and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, both of which have big holiday markets. I also reached out to the nation’s biggest holiday fundraiser, the Houston Ballet’s Nutcracker Market. Being the extremely lucky person I am, my mother and I and our new company, Daisy Cakes, got into all three events,” Nelson writes. “Never underestimate the power of cake.”
In 2011, Nelson appeared on the ABC show "Shark Tank" and gained new customers nationwide. Now, in “Daisy Cakes Bakes,” she is sharing the family recipes she learned from her mother, Geraldine Adams; grandmothers, Nellie Bishop and Nervielee Adams; and great-aunt Daisy Bishop, plus new family favorites. She includes stories about her inspiration for making desserts and for the cookbook. There are lots of baking tips and recipes for cakes, cupcakes, cookies, bars, confections, frostings, fillings, sauces, pies, fritters, ice creams and puddings. Many are illustrated with lovely full-color photographs by Kristin Teig.
The book begins with the recipe that started it all — Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting — and ends with Chocolate Pudding. In between are such treats as Bûche de Noël, Pork Rind-Crusted Cheesecake, Butter Brickle Cookies, Gracious Plenty Strawberry Pie, Mint Chocolate Layer Pie with a Pretzel Crust, and Rice Fritters.
She includes recipes for both Mississippi Mud Cake and Mississippi Mud Pie. I made the cake for a get-together last weekend. I suggest cutting this very rich dessert into bar-size pieces.
Cheramie Sonnier is a food writer and columnist. Contact her at email@example.com, and follow her on Twitter, @CheramieSonnier.