In her new book, Jodi Rhoden, a food activist and owner of Short Street Cakes in Asheville, N.C., profiles more than a bakers’ dozen “cake ladies” – the women in the South who bake cakes for their communities’ special occasions.

“Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition” (Lark Crafts, $19.95) includes profiles of a sharecropper’s daughter who is known for her pound cake; an 87-year-old former telephone operator who sold cakes on the side; a woman from the little town of Pine Apple, Ala., who never uses written recipes; and a midwife who bakes birthday cakes for the babies she helps deliver.

These women all share their luscious recipes for traditional Southern cakes, including such classics as Coconut Cake, Hummingbird Cake, Mississippi Mud Cake and Carrot Cake. You’ll also find regional favorites such as Gullah Dirty Cake from South Carolina and Ten-Layer Chocolate Cake from North Carolina – which is also known as Smith Island Cake in the Chesapeake Bay region and Doberge (pronounced DOUGH-bash) in New Orleans.