In honor of Black History Month, baker and cookbook author Cheryl Day is highlighting bakers and recipes that celebrate the legacy of Black baking all month long, including this week's Bake of the Week: Root Beer Cake with Chocolate Root Beer Ganache.
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I’m thrilled to share a recipe for Root Beer Cake from my dear friend Carla Hall. We’ve been swapping recipes and stories about our ancestors for many years, especially those in celebration of our Southern roots.
I’ve loved hearing about how Carla’s love of food first started with baking her grandmother Freddie Mae’s recipes, which have been passed down for generations like treasured family heirlooms. Conversations about our baking legacy and food memories have always connected us — including talking about cake.
“Cakes made with soda pop like 7 Up, Coca-Cola, and root beer were so popular in the South, and I just always assumed it was a thing everywhere,” says Carla. Though soda cakes aren’t always well known outside the South, love for an ice-cold soda seems to cross all social, ethnic, and economic boundaries.
In the 1960s Coca-Cola found its way into a cake, and it became one of the most popular cakes on the Southern community table. This moist root beer cake is a spin on Carla’s grandmother’s classic Coca-Cola Cake, using fresh ginger, smoked cinnamon, and star anise to spice it up. It’s topped off with a Chocolate Root Beer Ganache — yum!
Carla believes that food connects us all, and when she cooks, she always cooks with love. This recipe is the perfect one to showcase her enthusiasm for life and the bubbly personality that has graced our TV screens to make her a household name we all know and love. You’re going to enjoy baking this cake too, and you’ll be able to taste the love in every bite.
Check out my full collection of Black History Month recipes, and share your own baking legacy stories in the comments, below!
Cover photo by Rick Holbrook.