My husband collects comic books, my son collects Pokemon cards, my mother collects antique yellowware bowls, and I collect cookbooks. Although I enjoy all types of cookbooks, my favorites are the community ones. You know the type. . . few pictures, ring binding, and real recipes that might be credited to your childhood best friend's mom, your second cousin twice removed, or a random lady that volunteered at the local fire company. Long before people were blogging, tweeting and pinning about what they were cooking they were submitting directions for their best dishes to their town's church, P.T.A. or chamber of commerce. These cookbooks were often sold as fundraisers and are sprinkled with heartfelt blurbs and historical facts. I love to buy them when I'm traveling, receive them as gifts (thanks, Poppop), and curl up with them on quiet evenings.
My latest is the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District's Historical Cookbook. I bought it at the end of the school year and set it aside until I could savor it during my leisurely summer. This community cookbook commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Texas school district where I work and where my children attend school. I love reading the history, seeing the pictures of the hardworking educators that have shaped this quality public school system, and discovering new regional dishes. Who wouldn't love to make Mrs. Aragon's Seafood Gumbo, Mrs. Swenke's Oriental Chicken Casserole, or Mr. Goodson's Bread Pudding?
I chose to christen the newest addition to my cookbook collection by baking Mrs. Fiest's 7-UP Cake for my son's 16th birthday. He loves a good bundt cake and, much to his sister's disapproval, isn't a big fan of icing. This made-from-scratch cake is filled with the lemon lime flavor of 7 Up and has a pound cake-ish texture. I adapted the recipe for the glaze by using more soda in lieu of water. Due to the amount of batter, I ended up making a bundt cake which I glazed and a loaf which I left plain.
Of course, I don't need anymore cookbooks in my life, but getting a new one sure is fun. I've learned about the rich history of my school district and acquired a new family favorite recipe; priceless! Now I'm thinking I should start collecting bundt cake pans.
7 UP Bundt Cake Recipe
(adapted from the Cypress-Fairbanks I.S.D. Historical Cookbook, submitted in honor of Bernice Russell Fiest by her daughter-in-law)
2 sticks butter, softened
1/4 cup oil
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1 can 7 Up soda
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons 7 Up soda
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare one bundt cake pan by spraying with baking spray and greasing and flouring.
3. Mix the butter, oil, and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and flour. Pour in the 7 Up soda slowly. Mix gently until all ingredients are incorporated.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan.
5. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, check periodically after 45 minutes of cooking time.
6. While the cake is cooling, whisk together the powdered sugar and 7 Up to create a glaze. Drizzle on the cooled cake.
Cook's Notes: The batter puffs up when the 7 Up soda is added. Because of this, I chose to place about two thirds of the batter in my bundt pan and baked the rest in a loaf pan. This reduced the baking time.