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Some desserts’ provenances are predictable: Boston cream pie is from Massachusetts; Key lime pie is from Florida. As for Hummingbird cake and Lady Baltimore cake? Not so obvious, but Warren Brown has the answers. The owner of the local Cakelove bakery chain undertakes a cross-country dessert tour in United Cakes of America. Part cookbook and part anthropology study, it features recipes for 73 favorites from every state plus D.C. and Puerto Rico, interspersed with a history of baking in America. (The District, appropriately, is represented by cherry trifle.) The recipes are easy to follow, but be warned: With offerings like chocolate sauerkraut cake (Michigan) and tomato-soup cake (New Jersey), the book is best enjoyed by those with adventurous palates.
BROWN SPEAKS AT 2 P.M. AT BORDERS SILVER SPRING, 8518 FENTON ST. FREE. (301) 585-0550.