Photos by Edward Pond On November 6th, Cuisine Canada and the University of Guelph celebrate Canadian cookbooks and food writing with their annual Canadian Culinary Book Awards. Among the shortlisted cookbooks is The Complete Canadian Living Baking Book published in 2008 by Transcontinental Books and one dandy baking book suited to Canadian home kitchens and ingredients, not forgetting our home bakers. I have a theory that I write about in the book, and that is that Canadians are hard-wired to bake. Be it the climate, the influence of easy-to-use cookstoves early in settling the country, immigrants who brought baking traditions with them, the availability of butter, eggs and fruit, for example, in the largely agricultural population, inexpensive sugar and flour ... whatever, Canadians love to bake. And they do it often. When others turn to bake-shops for their celebration cakes, their Sunday dinner tarts or special treats, Canadians head to the kitchen to check the fridge for eggs, fruit and milk, their cupboard for chocolate and raisins, and bake a cake. Or a pan of squares, a batch of cookies or a flaky fruit pie. Our baking skills come in handy in so many ways. What a benefit they have been to our communities. Take the bake sale. How many rinks have their roofs, teams their jerseys, religious institutions programs and new carpets thanks to the prowess of members' baking skills? Think of all the cookie exchanges every holiday season - what a great excuse to get together with neighbours, work colleagues and good old friends - incentive and price of being part of the group? 6 dozen really fine cookies. Think of the clincher in many a relationship when a lemon meringue pie is produced, or thick fudgy brownies. How many hearts have been won over. It's not a coincidence that cake is served at weddings. And sweet foods of consolation at times of grief. So, The Complete Canadian Living Baking Book reflects this love of baking at the same time as it encourages it. For inexperienced bakers, the book is rich in step-by-step photos that get the baker right into the nitty gritty of cutting in butter or whipping egg whites to stiff peaks. For readers whose measuring cups have had a good workout, the cookbook provides them with a reliable reference, inspiration to try something new, and a selection of darn good recipes. It would be wonderful to win gold, but if The Complete Canadian Living Baking Book doesn't, there's still the satisfaction of knowing that the book has introduced many Canadians to the art and skill of baking and provided sweet and savoury dishes for the pleasure to all the recipients of bakers' care. Bake on, Canadians.This moist cake came to the test kitchen via Adell Shneer, one of Canadian Living's talented bakers. And the recipe came to her via her husband Michael's aunt, Malcah Sufrin who serves the cake with the orange syrup in the recipe. We added another option for finishing the cake - an orange glaze. Both versions will make your cake-baking reputation whether the cake makes its appearance with tea in the afternoon, with a citrus fruit salad to finish dinner, or as the sweetie at brunch and coffee time. 1 cup (250 mL) butter, softened 1-1/4 cups (300 mL) granulated sugar 4 large eggs, separated and at room temperature 1 tbsp (15 mL) finely grated orange rind 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla 2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour 1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) each baking powder and baking soda 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) sour cream Syrup: 1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar 1/2 cup (125 mL) orange juice 1/3 cup (75 mL) orange liqueur such as Triple Sec, Grand Marnier or Cointreau . Using a bristle pastry brush and soft butter, thoroughly coat the inside of a 9-inch (2.5 L) fancy of classic Bundt or tube pan, making sure to grease the crevices. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoonfuls of all-purpose flour into the pan; rotate and tilt the pan, tapping the pan to coat its inside thoroughly. Turn the pan over and tap out excess flour. Set the pan aside. . In a large bowl, beat the butter with 1 cup (250 mL) of the sugar until light coloured and fluffy. Reserving the egg whites in a large clean bowl, beat the egg yolks into the butter mixture, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Beat in the orange rind and vanilla. . In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into the butter mixture alternately with the sour cream, making 3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of sour cream. . With clean beaters, beat the egg whites until frothy. Beat in the remaining sugar 1 tbsp (15 mL) at a time, until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten the batter; fold in the remainder. . Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top and tap the pan several times on the work surface to ensure that batter reaches all the pan's crevices. . Bake in the centre of a 325°F (160°C) oven until a cake tester inserted in the mid point of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. . Let cake rest in pan on a rack for 20 minutes for the structure to firm. . Gently loosen cake around the edge and centre. Place a rack over the cake. Wear oven mitts or use pot holders to grasp the bottom of the pan and, holding the rack firmly on top, turn the cake over. Lift the pan up and off. If, horrors of horrors, the pan sticks, Turn the cake and rack back over and with a thin, flexible plastic blade, loosen the cake further down the side. Repeat the turning action . Syrup: Meanwhile, on a small saucepan, bring sugar, orange juice and liqueur to a boil over medium heat; reduce the heat to low and simmer until the syrup is reduced to 3/4 cup (175 mL), about 7 minutes. . Let syrup cool for 5 minutes. Brush half over the warm cake. Let cool. (Make-ahead: Wrap and store at room temperature for up to 1 day or overwrap with heavy-duty foil and freeze for up to 2 weeks.) Serve with remaining syrup. Orange Glaze: Let the cake cool completely. In a bowl, mix 1-3/4 cup (425 mL) icing sugar with 4 tsp (20 mL) orange juice, adding a little more juice if necessary to make the mixture pourable. Slowly pour or spoon over the cake. Let stand until dry, about 1 hour. Thanks to: I had the pleasure of working with the test kitchen, in particular Heather Howe and Adell Shneer in preparing the recipes, choosing the best ones from years of excellent examples. Tina Anson Mine had the important role as project editor, and Michael Erb as designer. The fact that the book looks so good, is so well edited and contains such reliable, tested-til-perfect recipes is a testament to these people, and to the whole magazine team from editorial assistants, senior editors, copy editors, the editor-in-chief to test kitchen staff.
- Orange Sour Cream Bundt Cake