Baking From Back in the Day

Cheryl and Griffith Day visit Central Market

Griffith and Cheryl Day (Photo by Back in the Day Bakery/ Facebook)

Cheryl and Griffith Day based their Savannah, Georgia, bakery on treasured family recipes and Southern charm, creating a beloved community institution in the process. Their second cookbook, Back in the Day Bakery: Made With Love (Artisan, 312 pp, $24.95) carries on the tradition.

In the new book, the Days share recipes for many of the shop's most popular items, as well as instructions for delightful handmade crafts projects to complement the presentation of the edible treats. Though I've never eaten at Savannah's Back in the Day Bakery, I have a definite sense of what the store must be like just from reading the cookbooks. It's clear these self-taught bakers love what they do. Using their recipes is like spending time with old friends in a Southern home kitchen.

Preparing their time-tested treats won't require expensive kitchen gadgets and there's nary a sauce painting nor a complicated, “deconstructed” preparation in the bunch – just crowd-pleasing sweet and savory dishes guaranteed to satisfy. They've also included simple decorating suggestions and directions for crafty projects to enhance the presentation of their goodies, all of which are well within the realm of a home baker.

The Days obviously make the most of Georgia's bountiful fresh produce, offering up recipes for pies and cakes with peaches, plums, apples, pecans, tomatoes, and berries. And like any business in a busy port city, they also include tempting treats made with tropical bananas, pineapples, and citrus. Retro Southern classics such as Alabama Lane Cake, Coca-Cola Cake, caramel cake, and pudding cakes are here, too, ready to be added to your home repertoire. Savory dishes such as pimento cheese crackers, sweet potato pot pie, “devilish” eggs, quiche, popovers, and a cheesy spoon bread put in appearances as well, adding a nice balance to all that sweetness.

The Days are making the promotional tour of Texas this week and will be stopping in Austin this Saturday, March 28, for a class at the Central Market Cooking School. There are still a few open spots left in the $65 class and the Days will be glad to sign copies of the new book afterwards.

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