Has the internet taken the fun out of cooking?

How is that for a provocative title, fellow food bloggers?   Please give me a minute to explain my question.

I am continuing our Clean Out of pantry, cupboards and freezer and have found many ingredients that need used.

As I was going through the freezer to find bits and pieces to put together for a beef and vegetable stew, I found many pints of forgotten freezer jam, both peach and blackberry.  There was a surplus of peach so I decided to make some sort of dessert out of it.    Surely there was a cake recipe out there somewhere.

Some of the peach freezer jam I found in the bottom of the freezer.

I decided to quit Googling recipes, stay away from FoodBuzz and start rediscovering my treasure trove of cookbooks.   I luckily had some time to pull some books down off the shelf that had not seen the light of day in a long while.

If I were to find a recipe for a cake made out of jam, I thought my best bet would be to  stick with the cookbooks that had older recipes like church compilations and the like.   My grandmother and mother made sure that my sister and I had the latest editions of most all the extension homemaker cookbooks that were published during our lifetimes.   I pulled a few of these down.

Home Demonstration Club, Extension Homemaker Club, and Oklahoma Home and Community Education cookbooks.

Among the “Almond Joy Cake,” “Coca Cola Cake,” and “Hummingbird Cake” recipes, I found it—a recipe for “Preserve Cake,” a contribution of a Mrs. Clark of LeFlore County.   BINGO!

Peach Preserve Spice Cake

2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 c. peach or apricot preserves (I used peach freezer jam.)
3 c. flour
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. allspice
1 c. buttermilk
1 t. baking soda, rounded
1 c. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.   Add eggs one at a time and beat.   Add preserves and continue to mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, add flour and spices and whisk to combine.

Add flour mixture to mixer and beat; add buttermilk and baking soda and nuts and mix until combined.

Bake in a prepared Bundt pan for bake 50-60 minutes or until done.

The spices in this cake reminded me of the holidays and I think the blackberry freezer jam could easily be substituted into this batter.   This would also make a great coffee cake for brunch.


I loved going through these old cookbooks and seeing the inscriptions in the front:

Happy Birthday 1989  Love, Grandmother

From mom, 2000

Happy Graduation, 1984

We got these for every celebration.

So, as I continue with the great 2012 Clean Out, I vow to also utilize my great library of cookbooks more.

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21 comments to Has the internet taken the fun out of cooking?

  • This is really something I should start to do. In an effort to be creative, I have kind of walked away from the old treasures in my library. Old treasured recipes do not always mean that everyone already has seen or made them. This one is a new one for me and I am glad to see it since my niece does put up preserves. It does look delicious. Thanks for this inspiring post!

  • I have admittedly become a slave to internet recipes…it’s easier but not nearly as much fun and you don’t run into another recipe while you are on your hunt. I’m really enjoying your clean-out!

  • I am in the process of doing the same thing. Some of the things I didnt mark and not sure when I put them in the freezer. I love my church cookbooks because they are a treasure trove of recipes.

  • Liz

    Yes, I used to get my inspiration from cookbooks and magazines, but now I go right to google to find my next recipe. And it’s not like there is a shortage of cookbooks in my kitchen! Your cake looks wonderful!

  • I think you really hit on something. We go to the Internet for so many things and yes, some of my treasured books are old ones. The ones my Nana or Mom made little notes in. The ones from Church Bazaar sales….I have an embarrassing number of cookbooks at home 🙂

    • Eliot

      Thanks Tinas, Liz, Veronica and Rhonda. I think it will be my new meditation time—-looking through my cookbooks and stockpiles of foodie mags.

  • Love it! You are so innovative Eliot… I love how you spun this gorgeous cake from your peach jam…so great.

  • What a thoughtful post. I have to confess to turning to recipe sites when I need inspiration or when I have a few ingredients that I don’t know what to do with.

    The exception is when I bake; then, I pretty much exclusively use my cookbooks.

    What a nice surprise to find that inscription 🙂

    • Eliot

      It is definitely easier to google something, especially if you have a few ingredients that are needing used.

  • I have lots of these cookbooks as well..gifts from family! I go between researching recipes online and looking through my large cookbook collection. I don’t think I’ll ever stop buying cookbooks…I love flipping pages too much! Stop by when you can…I’m having a giveaway for some WONDERFUL artisan flavored pastas!

    • Eliot

      Thanks for the comment, Wendy. I am going to challenge myself to utilize my cookbook stash more. It is a time thing. I am checking out your giveaway now.

  • Great article, this is the exact reason I put you in my new Foodie Blog Roll under Best Blog For Most Creative and Fun! By the way that cake looks so delicious! Great job with your site. I’m definitely a new fan!
    Best Foodie Regards,
    Chef Matt from Off The Menu

  • Your cake looks yummy, and at first my answer to your question was going to be “no,” but now I see your point. That’s part of the reason I’m going back to all the old Gourmet magazines for some inspiration…

    • Eliot

      Oh, I will always be doing google searches, but I am hoping to challenge myself to do at least one post a week from a real, live cookbook! And, I can’t wait to see what else you find out of the old Gourmet mags.

  • Yup, the internet really makes it almost too easy to forgot the cookbooks we love! I used to have a ton and eventually sold most of them and donated the money to LLS because I never used them. I still have quite a few but they are rarely used, which is a tragedy. I need to break them out more and thanks for the reminder. Lovely cake!

    • Eliot

      My vow is to break them out at least once a week. (So, far though, it hasn’t happened this week thus far!) Maybe we should all start an “Old Cookbook Club” or something.

  • Ann

    I’m sorry I missed this post! One of my very favorite things about cooking is using all my cookbooks! I have a ton of them and cook about 95% of my recipes from MY cookbooks….there are just too many wonderful recipes collected not to enjoy them! I’m glad you’re re-discovering the joy of YOUR cookbooks!

  • […] old-fashioned jam cake.   I posted one of these back in February 2012.   Check out this vintage Peach Preserve Spice Cake recipe  that I found in one of my old cookbooks.    (I have also made this with blackberry […]