It was just a year ago when we last caught up with blogger turned author, Jocelyn Delk Adams. Her blog, Grandbaby Cakes, is a brand sensation that continues to tantalize the taste buds of foodies and baking enthusiasts around the country. Little did we know at the time that a cookbook of the same namesake, “Grandbaby Cakes: Modern Recipes, Vintage Charm, Soulful Memories,” was in the works and will officially make its debut after receiving excellent reviews this month.
“It was always something that I wanted to do but I thought it would be more long term. I didn’t see it happening so fast,” says the Chicago resident who was approached by two literary agents about expanding her brand with a book.
Working with the first agent who talked to her about the idea, together they worked on a concept that Adams thought would work and receive the green light from her publisher, Agate. “The original concept was a totally different concept. They were like why aren’t you doing something that is closer to your brand. It was a very smart observation and it made a lot of sense,” says Adams. “My entire original concept went out the window and I started thinking more along the lines of what people already expected from me and what they already liked about my brand and I just wrote a book that was really soulful and personal.”
Southern Hospitality Through Food
With 100 percent creative control, Adams knew just what she wanted to do by creating many of the recipes from scratch with inspiration from old ones. She did, however, include a few family classics that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Part of her vision for the book included sharing her southern heritage through modern and vintage recipes. A personal touch is added as Adams complements many of the recipes with a story about her family along with photos that can’t help but take you back down your own memory lane.
“Pretty much everything that I saw this book being when I received it in print, I was like this is totally me. I was so excited about being able to put something out that truly represented who I am,” says Adams.
Just as Adams’ grandmother and family are the inspiration behind her blog and baking success, the other part of her vision for the book is to inspire others to turn on the oven and get out their bowls and baking pans. “I want to get people who are already in the kitchen, who may be tired of the recipes they have experienced, baking again and experiencing something new.” In addition, she says, “I hear all the time about how intimidating baking is and I really think there are some easier recipes to get people started and work their way up to intermediate recipes.”
That is what makes this book perfect for someone who is just beginning to someone who can bake with their eyes closed. There is something in it for every level of baking. Simply follow the measuring spoon classifications next to the recipe name with one being Grandbaby Cakes or the easiest, two spoons means Mama Cakes or intermediate and if you see three spoons, well this is Grandbaby Cakes or advanced. Before you get started, be sure to check out her baking rules for combining butter and oil, sifting, frosting, and storing and freezing cakes.
“I hope people can see a glimpse of themselves in the book. I think it is important to kind of delve into your own history and your own heritage and I hope that the book inspires people to do that too,” says Adams.
A Cookbook of Goodness
As one would expect, having complete creative control means that each recipe in the book is a favorite and being asked to name her top winners is like asking a mom to name her favorite child; you can’t because each one is different and has something that makes him or her special. But, we were able to get Adams to name five that readers should look forward to enjoying. The first to be named is the Buttered Rum and Candied Sweet Potato Crumb Cake (page 115) that is on the Mama Cakes baking level side, next is the Cinnamon Roll Pound Cake (page 33) which she made for the first time at 28-years-old, followed by the Mississippi Mudslide Cake (page 77) for true indulgence, the Strawberry Sundae Cake (page 159) that is made with her favorite ice cream and finally the Real-Deal Caramel Cake (page 65) that has more than 150,000 pins on Pinterest and is the most popular recipe to date from her blog. One more thrown in there is the Arnold Palmer Cake (page 199) which Adams says, “I am a big Arnold Palmer fan and I never wanted to choose between lemonade or sweet tea so having them both in a cake was kind of a magical thing for me.”
We pointed out the Blueberry Pan-Cakelettes on page 133 because it is all about the blueberries and it is right at our baking level, Grandbaby Cakes. As with all of them, Adams was quick to approve of our choice noting that the recipe was created from her fascination and addiction to her favorite food, pancakes. This assured us that it is going to be a winner for sure.
With a book tour launching soon, be sure to check out her blog for upcoming appearance dates and locations. The book is available now for only $22.95 and is another must-have cookbook addition whether you bake or are thinking about trying something new.
In her final words, Adams shares, “There is some work of course involved in baking but I feel part of the work and effort is what gives you that proud moment in the end.”
To read about Adam's journey of building her brand from her blog, read our article, “Grandbaby Cakes: From Blog to Business.”
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