Grandbaby Cakes: Jocelyn Delk Adams

Jocelyn Delk Adams (Photo by Chuck Olu-Alabi.)

Jocelyn Delk Adams, Chicago author of “Grandbaby Cakes,” which we named one of the Best New Cookbooks of 2015, and the upcoming “Grandbaby Celebrations,” makes food that honors her family history.

Make It Better: Why do you think it is important to honor family cooking and baking traditions?

Jocelyn Delk Adams: Before I started my blog [Grandbaby Cakes], I noticed that a lot of my friends didn’t cook or bake much. Their daily consumption came in the form of takeout and fancy restaurant dining. I was quite similar when I was in my 20s. At some point, I realized the importance of historical reference and legacy. A lot of my readers mention that they love certain recipes that their parents or grandparents made when they were growing up, but that they missed the opportunity to learn those recipes before their relatives passed away. I hope I am helping to fill in that gap and provide a place where people can feel some sort of family connection, even if their loved ones are no longer here. For those who do have loved ones here, and fantastic recipes worth preserving, I hope I am inspiring people to capture those recipes along with their unique history, so they can pass them on to new generations.

You’ve said in your blog that you didn’t realize you had the “baking gene” until you were in your 20s. How did you discover your penchant for baking?

I knew early on that I definitely could bake and enjoyed it, but unlike the elder women in my family, I didn’t feel a strong desire to be in the kitchen. Deep inside, I downright rejected the notion of wanting to bake for the pure enjoyment of it. I thought the idea was primitive and anti-modern, but inwardly something kept drawing me into the kitchen. One weekend in my late 20s, I was bored and randomly walked into my kitchen and pulled out the ingredients to bake a pound cake. Something just felt so right that I decided to stop fighting it.

What has been the most rewarding thing about turning your blog into a book?

Writing a cookbook has been a dream I’ve had since I first bought the domain for my site. This book allowed me to delve deeper into a single dessert subject and my own family history. I loved sifting through vintage photos and hearing the funny stories behind them. I adored talking to my grandparents about their history and seeing how it all ties back to me. The blog just touches the surface of what I am able to share in the book. I’m so privileged to be the vessel that carries a family legacy forward in a unique way.

Want to learn more about “Grandbaby Cakes” and get cooking? Read on and get the recipe for Adams’ Cinnamon Roll Pound Cake or try perfect-for-summer Watermelon Ice Cream Floats.

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Danielle McLimore is a Chicago-based writer and editor who has worked in book publishing since 2009. She lives with her husband, two sons, and a very misbehaved dog. She proudly supports the Center for Reproductive Rights.