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book reviews

By the Book: ACD May/June 14
Butterflies and All Things Sweet
by Bonnae Gokson, with photographs by A. Chester Ong and Petrina Tinslay © Goff Books, 2013

When Kevin M. Case reviewed Butterflies and All Things Sweet for the May/June issue, he found so many inspirational visuals and ideas we weren’t able to include them all in the magazine. So here are a few other highlights from Ms B’s Cakery and the book.

Little Gems are an assortment of tea cakes that are served at C’est La B, Bonnae’s three cafés in locations throughout Hong Kong where more than 30 different creations are available each day.  These are miniature versions of the full-size cakes, adorned with many different toppings—ranging from flowers of all kinds to the logo butterfly. “As a chef who is responsible for high tea, I use this style of cake daily,” Kevin said. “The way colors and shapes bring to life a tea tier is an important consideration.”

Many of the Bonnae’s cakes featured in the May/June issue featured traditional flavor combinations, but the book includes several intriguing cakes that emphasize the multi-cultural influences of Hong Kong and the wealth of ingredients available.

Moonstruck’d is a chiffon cake which features mango and coconut mousse combined with rice crisps, pomelo and mango glaze.

Paradise is both flavored and naturally colored with purple taro with an ube cream filling enhanced with macapuno coconut.

Bonnae describes Butterfly Kisses as “Pure and white on the outside, but when you cut it open—oh the colors! I’ve always liked surprises!” Featuring taro, kiwi, peaches, strawberries, red fruits and more.

By the Book: ACD March/April 14
On Baking
by Sarah R. Labensky, Priscilla A. Martel, Eddy Van Damme. © Pearson Education; Third edition, 2013.

Classic Genoise
Genoise is the classic European-style cake. It is based on whole eggs whipped with sugar until very light and fluffy. Chemical leaveners are not used. For flavor and moisture a small amount of oil or melted butter is sometimes added to the batter after mixing. Genoise formulas that contain fate will bake into cakes that are more tender than plain genoise because the fat helps shorten the gluten strands. Learning to incorporate melted butter into the batter takes practice however.

Spongecakes are made with separated eggs. A batter is prepared with egg yolks and other ingredients, and then egg whites are whipped with a portion of the sugar to firm but not dry peaks and folded into the batter. Spongecakes are primarily leavened with air, but baking powder may be included in the formula. As with genoise, oil or melted butter may be added if desired.Within a few seconds after being whipped, egg whites start to set and become difficult to fold into a spongecake batter. This can result in overfolding and deflating of the batter. To prevent this, when working with whipped egg whites, briefly stir the whipped whites with a hand whisk to recream them right before folding them into the spongecake batter. This restores a smooth and uniform texture to the whites, making them easier to fold into the batter.

Classic Genoise
from On Baking by Sarah R. Labensky, Priscilla A. Martel, Eddy Van Damme. © Pearson Education; Third edition, 2013.

Mise en place
* Melt butter, if using
* Sift flour with any other dry ingredients
* Prepare the bain maire
* Line pan with parchment paper
* Preheat oven to 425F (220C)

Formula (for one full sheet pan or two 8" rounds)
1lb (480g or 10 large) eggs
8oz (240g) granulated sugar
1.5oz (45g) unsalted melted butter (optional)
.3 fl oz (10ml) vanilla extract
9oz (270g) cake flour

1) Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large mixer bowl. Place the bowl over a bain marie and whisk the mixture continuously to warm the eggs to approximately 105F-113F (40C-45C).
2) When the eggs are warm, remove the bowl from the bain marie and attach it to mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Whip the egg and sugar mixture at medium speed until the mixture is cool and forms thick ribbons, approximately 12-15 minutes.
3) Remove approximately 1/8th of the batter. Place it in a small bowl and mix it with the melted butter (if using) and vanilla extrat. Set aside.
4) Using a rubber spatula or balloon whisk, delicately fold the flour into the remaining batter. Then carefully fold in the reserved vanilla/butter mixture.
5) Spread the batter immediately into paper-lined pans. For sheet cake, bake at 425F(220C) approximately 10 minutes. For rounds, bake at 375F (190C) approximately 20 minutes. The cake should be light brown and springy to the touch.

Variation: Chocolate Genoise—Reduce the cake flour to 7oz (210g). Sift 2oz( 60g) of cocoa pwder with the flour.


Classic Sponge
from On Bakingby Sarah R. Labensky, Priscilla A. Martel, Eddy Van Damme. © Pearson Education; Third edition, 2013.

Mise en place
* Separate the eggs
* Sift flour with any other dry ingredients
* Line pans with parchment paper
* Preheat oven to 425F (220C)

Formula (for two 9" rounds)
13oz (390g or 8 large) eggs
7.5oz (225g) granulated sugar
0.3 fl. oz. (10ml) vanilla extract
7oz. (210g) all-purpose flour, sifted

1) Butter the bottom and sides of two 9-inch (22-centimeter) cake pans. Let the butter cool, then flour the pans. Set aside.
2) Separate the eggs, placing the yolks and the whites in separate mixing bowls. Whip the egg yolks and 5 1/2 ounces (60 grams) of the sugar on medium speed until thick, pale and at least doubled in volume, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. The yolks should be whipped until ribbons form.
3) Place the bowl of egg whites on a mixer fitted with a clean whip attachment and beat on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar and vanilla. Whip at medium speed until the whites are glossy and hold firm peaks but are not dry.
4) Pour the egg yolks onto the whipped whites. Quickly fold the two mixtures together.
5) Sprinkle one-third of the sifted flour over the batter and delicately fold in. repeat the procedure until all the flour is incorporated. Do not overmix; fold just until incorporated. 6) pour the batter into the prepared pans, smoothing the surface as needed. Bake at 350°F (180°C) until the cakes are golden brown and bounce back when lightly pressed in the center, approximately 25 minutes.
7) Allow the cakes to cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before unmolding.
8) To remove the cakes from their pans, run a thin metal spatula around the edge of each pan if necessary. When the cake is completely cool, it can be frosted or wrapped in plastic and frozen for 2 to 3 months.

Variation: Chocolate Sponge—reduce the flour to 5.5oz (165g). Sift it to-gether with 1.75oz (50g) cocoa powder and 1.75oz (50g) powdered sugar. Fold in as described in Step 5.

Robicelli’s: A Love Story with Cupcakes
By Allison and Matt Robicelli
Reviewed by Linda Cloutier, owner of Iced and Dazzle, Colorado Springs, CO

In her By the Book review in the Jan/Feb 14 issue of ACD, Linda Cloutier was interested in trying so many options from the Robicelli's book that we ran out of roon in the magazine! Following are some of her thoughts on one of her favorite treats that didn’t make it to print.

Pecan French Toast Cupcake
The Pecan French Toast Cupcake is comprised of a maple “custard”-soaked cinnamon cupcake with maple cinnamon buttercream garnished with maple-glazed pecans. The recipe made a very nice, thick, fragrant batter. While they baked the house smelled blissfully like Sunday mornings.

The cupcakes came out beautifully. (This time I just went ahead and made my high altitude adjustments on the first go-around). A nice dome and lovely crumb and texture, and even without the soak and the frosting, they tasted very good. Interestingly, according to my sea-level baking test partner, Laney Cowan of Delicious Desserts in Charleston, SC, these came out gummy and gluey, and tasting like flour. Happily, the second “low altitude” attempt was much better. Adding the maple “custard” soak took them from very good to scrumptious. When making these again (and I will!), I would double the maple “custard” soak recipe because it wasn’t enough to do all the cupcakes. I’d also advise using foil-lined cupcake liners.

The maple cinnamon French buttercream was simply perfect. Making the maple-glazed pecans for the garnish was definitely worth the little bit of extra work, putting an ideal finishing touch on this treat. This one was my personal favorite. My tasters gave this one beyond rave reviews, to the point of almost fighting over them.

In addition to her modifications to the recipes to adjust for altitude, Linda also tweaked some other aspects, such as the Ermine Frosting she mentions that she made for the Root Beer cupckaes. “It tastes like soft vanilla ice cream,” said Linda. “As soon as I saw the root beer cupcake recipe, I knew I wanted to put this frosting on it.”

She found the recipe here and added the following note: Ermine is also known as Boiled Milk or Butter Roux Frosting. It has a boiled milk and flour base that is added to creamed butter and sugar. It's really quite a unique and delicious type of frosting, but does need to be refrigerated as it does not stand up well to temps above 70 degrees.
Ermine Frosting
1 cup whole milk             
3 tblsp all-purpose flour             
A pinch of salt             
1 cup unsalted butter             
1 cup granulated sugar             
1 tsp vanilla extract
1) Whisk flour into milk and place over medium heat in a small sauce pan. Cook mixture until thickened, whisking constantly.
2) Remove from heat and whisk in the salt. Pout into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap on the surface. This will stop the cooking and the plastic will prevent crusting. Set aside to cool slightly.
3) In a stand mixer, begin creaming the butter and sugar until fluffy.
4) Add vanilla extract and mix to combine. When milk mixture is slightly cooled; add 1 TB at a time to the creamed butter mixture while the mixer is running on medium speed. Slowly but surely the gluten will pull in the butter into a pseudo emulsion. You should have an extremely fluffy, light and buttery frosting when completed. 

Below, Linda’s version of the Robicelli’s Root Beer Float cupcake using the ermine frosting.

Pecan French Toast Cupcake
from Robicelli’s: A Love Story with Cupcakes by Allison and Matt Robicelli. © Viking Studio 2013. ISBN 978-0-670-78587-2.

We need to start being honest about most breakfasts: they’re really dessert. Pancakes? They’re cakes made in a pan. It’s right there in the title. Muffins? Cake. Danish? Cake glazed in sugar. Doughnuts? Crossiants? Turnovers? All dessert. And then there’s French toast—day-old bread soaked in custard, griddled, then drowned in sugary maple syrup and other stuff that’s bad for you (no, that side of bacon doesn’t make it healthy). I mean, really, whol have we been kidding?

Cinnamon Cake

12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1¾ cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with 24 baking cups.
2) Melt the butter in a microwave at 60% power for 1½ to 2 minutes. Keep the butter hot—do not allow it to sit and cool off.
3) In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium-low speed for 2 minutes until light yellow and lightly foamy.
4) Increase the mixer speed to medium-high. Pour the hot butter into the eggs slowly, so that the mixture tempers and the eggs do not scramble. Once the butter is added, reduce the speed to medium-low.
5) With the mixer running, add the milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix for 1 minute until well combined.
6) Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon and add to the batter. Mix on medium until just combined, 10 to 20 seconds.
7) Remove the bowl and paddle from the mixer and use the paddle to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, ensuring that everything is well mixed.
8) Scoop the batter into the prepared baking cups, filling them two thirds of the way.
9) Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. The cupcakes are done when the centers spring back when you touch them.
10) Remove the cupcakes from the oven. Let cool for 5 minutes.

While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the maple custard soak. Set up a baking sheet with a wire rack.

Maple “Custard” Soak
¼ cup milk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons grade A maple syrup

1) Combine the milk, cream, and maple syrup in a glass jar. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 30 seconds.
2) Place a lid on the jar and shake vigorously until well mixed. “Custard” is best absorbed into the cupcake when the cupcake it is still warm, so heat in the microwave in 15-second intervals as needed.
3) Take the cupcakes out of the pan and place faceup on the wire rack. Using a fork, dock each cupcake three times.
4) Take a teaspoon of the maple custard soak and pour it over each cupcake, a small amount at a time, letting it absorb a bit before adding more (if you just dump it, it will run off the top of the cupcake and onto the baking sheet below). Let cool completely.

Maple-Glazed Pecans
2 tablespoons (¼ stick) unsalted butter
½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
½ cup grade A maple syrup
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1) Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat.
2) Add the pecan pieces and stir continuously until you can begin to smell them, about 3 minutes.
3) Add the maple syrup and salt, reduce the heat to low, and continue to cook until all the pecans are uniformly coated. Place the nuts on a dish to cool.

Matt says: Stay alert! No one wants to burn their nuts! When your nuts get hot, they’re going to get fragrant. You’ll know when it happens—no one can miss the distinctive smell of hot nuts. If you can smell your nuts, that means the natural oils have gotten good and toasted. Store these glazed pecans in a sealed container in a cool, dry place so the humidity can’t get to them and make them too moist.

Maple Cinnamon Buttercream

One recipe French Buttercream (see the Jan/Feb issue of ACD)
¼ cup grade A maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1) Prepare the French buttercream as directed, but after the hot sugar is added, add the maple syrup. Proceed with the recipe as usual.
2) Once the butter is fully incorporated, add the cinnamon and vanilla and beat until mixed. Taste and season with more maple syrup, cinnamon, or vanilla, according to your preference.

Soak each cupcake with maple “custard.”
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a fluted tip with the maple cinnamon buttercream and pipe onto each cinnamon cupcake.
Top each cupcake with a generous portion of the maple-glazed nuts.

About the authors:
Name: Allison Robicelli
Job: Wife/Chef/Mother/Blogger/Tweeter/PR Director/Professional Neurotic
Previous Experience: Pastry chef, Executive Chef-consultant, caterer of fancy dinners for people who make more money in a single day than I will ever make in my entire life.
Strengths: Boundless creativity; R&D queen; seeing endless possibility in everything; horrific ADD
Weaknesses: ADD; legally forbidden to come within 50 feet of any member of Menudo, thus hindering our efforts to dominate the Menudo-cupcake demographic

Name: Matt Robicelli
Job: Husband/Father/Chef/Receptionist/Client Liason/Quickbooks Ninja
Previous Experience: Graduated with honors from FCI, Lutece, City Bakery, Water Club, Balducci’s
Strengths: Mastery of French techniques; getting things off high shelves; knowing that when his wife disappears from the kitchen for too long, she probably went into the walk-in and forgot why she was there, so she’s just standing there because she doesn’t want to come back empty handed, and he should go in and remind her what she went in for so she doesn’t freeze to death
Weaknesses: None, because his wife is the one writing this, and she thinks he’s perfect.  Except for leaving his dirty clothes all over the floor. Hamper is five feet from the bed, Matt.

Find them online, on Twitter and Facebook.



The Dollop Book of Frosting
By Heather Saffer. Photos courtesy Matt Wittmeyer Photography.
Reviewed by Linda Cloutier, owner of Iced and Dazzle, Colorado Springs, CO

The second book that Linda reviewed in the Jan/Feb 14 issue was The Dollop Book of Frosting and again, there just wasn’t enough space to do justice to all her comments and insight. Following are some additional thoughts on Dollop that didn’t make it to print.

In ‘Part 3: Be Crazy: Live a Frosted Life’ there are several recipes that are on my list to try. I plan to modify Heather’s margarita meringue frosting as a Swiss meringue buttercream to use on my own simply white cupcakes and I’m inspired to try the toffee honey frosting with my deep dark chocolate cupcake.

As a cake decorator, I need frostings and buttercreams that are creamy and soft in order to make my cakes smooth, but I suspect that her cookie dough frosting would make an ideal cake filling. I do think the pistachio coconut frosting would go wonderfully with an Italian cream cake-esque cupcake and doesn’t white chocolate blueberry ganache sound like it would be divine on a lemon cake or cupcake?


Cookie Dough Frosting
Excerpted from The Dollop Book of Frosting Copyright © 2013 by Heather Saffer and published by F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
Photos courtesy of Matt Wittmeyer Photography

Cookie dough frosting—because who doesn’t like cookie dough? And, in fact, this Cookie Dough Frosting is so much more than frosting; it’s actual spreadable, bakeable cookie dough. And since it’s eggless, you can feel completely safe eating it in its raw form! Eat it with a spoon, eat it with your fingers, or bake it in the oven and then spread it back on top as the frosting on your warm, crispy cookie wafers. You can’t screw this up; I promise.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
11/8 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until soft by mixing on low speed, about 2 minutes until smooth. Add both sugars, salt, vanilla, flour, baking soda, and chocolate chips and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Extra Sweets!
Other frosting uses: Chocolate Chip Cookie Wafers, mixed into ice cream; rolled in a log, then wrapped and given as a gift!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Wafers
Yield: Makes about 8–10 wafers

1 batch Cookie Dough Frosting
1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Take half of the frosting and make 1 tablespoon–sized balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
2) Bake for 10–12 minutes, until they start to brown. They will spread out and become very flat and wafer like.
3) Remove from oven and cool completely. These are very thin wafer cookies, so be gentle when handling them. Spread remaining Cookie Dough Frosting on top once cool.

The Dollop Book of Frosting
By Heather Saffer. Photos courtesy Matt Wittmeyer Photography.
Reviewed by Linda Cloutier, owner of Iced and Dazzle, Colorado Springs, CO

As part of her review of The Dollop Book of Frosting Linda tried something very different:

“I decided I should go way outside my personal box and tried the cashew sriracha frosting on a deep dark chocolate cupcake. I was skeptical, and went into it thinking I wouldn’t like it at all. I was wrong. I will gladly eat my words if they have this frosting on them. I wished I had more cashews in the cupboard to make more. My taste-testers did have mixed reviews, but the majority agreed with me…yum!”

About the author:
Heather “Cupcake” Saffer
(Rochester, New York) is the founder of Dollop Gourmet Frosting, the nation’s first gourmet frosting line. In 2012, she represented her cupcake bar in an episode of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. After some time running her store, she found herself more interested in creating toppings than baking cakes and decided to Break Away from the Cake™ with her very own gourmet frosting line.

Cashew Sriracha Frosting
Excerpted from The Dollop Book of Frosting Copyright © 2013 by Heather Saffer and published by F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
Photos courtesy of Matt Wittmeyer Photography

This spicy Cashew Sriracha Frosting made its debut appearance at a similarly spicy lingerie party thrown by the young professional crowd. While the ladies were perusing the lacy bras and cheeky panties, the men were delving into my delicious, frosted snacks. When one of the men excitedly approached me, asking where he could buy this frosting, I knew it was something more than special. So, sir, I hope you’re still dreaming of this sweetly spicy, crunchy, nutty frosting because here’s the recipe! Have fun!

3 cups roasted cashews, unsalted
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons sriracha

1. Process the cashews in a food processor until they reach a butterlike consistency, about 5–10 minutes. You might have to stop the processor periodically and scrape the sides and bottom to keep the nuts moving around.
2. Whip butter in stand mixer until smooth. Add ground cashews and continue mixing 1–2 minutes, scraping down sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure it’s all incorporated. Add in powdered sugar and salt, and continue whipping until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Slowly mix in the sriracha to desired heat.

Extra Sweets!
Other frosting uses: Sriracha Brownies (see recipe), put a couple of tablespoons in a pan with some chicken and sauté away, or use as a filling in chocolate candy bar molds to make your own kickin’ candy bars.

Sriracha Brownies
Yield: Makes one 9" × 13" pan of brownies
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons sriracha
1 cup Cashew Sriracha Frosting plus remainder to frost tops of brownies (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add butter, sugar, and eggs, and mix until incorporated. Add cocoa, flour, salt, and baking powder, and continue blending another 2–3 minutes. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Add chocolate chips and sriracha, and mix until all ingredients are evenly combined.
2. Spread the brownie batter in a 9" × 13" pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper.
3. Swirl 1 cup of the Cashew Sriracha Frosting through the brownie batter with a butter knife. Bake for 35–40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool before cutting. Want your brownies extra frosted? Use the remainder of frosting to spread on top of the brownies!

Squires Kitchen’s Guide to Making Iced Flowers
Piped and stencilled sugar flowers for cakes, cookies and desserts

By Ceri DD Griffiths
Reviewed by Maria E. Malkun, owner of Mayu’s Cakes, Pembroke Pines, FL

I think the book itself is lovely, with lots of light colors which resemble the delicate nature of sugar flowers. The content is well organized, with a clear listing of the tool and equipment needed for every project. The ‘Tutor Tips’ were fantastic and I like that they were easy to find when I needed to review some specific detail.

However, I did encounter a few setbacks. First was that I had a little difficulty getting some of the PME piping nozzles referenced in the book—I had to do some research to find out the equivalent reference number from other brands such as Wilton and Ateco. I think for beginners this part would be a little off-putting since the author didn't give other options and if you didn’t know what other brands to look for, you might feel stuck. The other comment is that sometimes there were ‘Britishisms’ in the text. A more standard vocabulary, mainly when explaining step-by-step processes, might be helpful.

That said, I was eager to try a couple of projects from the book and I was pleased with the results. First, however, I want to mention that experience is all in fondant, gumpaste and modeling chocolate. I love piping work on my cakes, but I’ve never done iced flower decorations. For breakdown of my projects, please head over to the "how-to" page!

Maria Malkun runs Mayu’s Cakes in Pembroke Pines, FL, with her husband Luis. She grew up learning baking in her mother’s kitchen in Columbia. Her passion for baking led her to attend classes from some of the world’s top baking and cake design experts including Colette Peters, Marina Sousa, James Rosselle and Kaysie Lackey. However, she didn’t immediately consider a culinary career, instead taking her degree in International Business and worked her way up the corporate ladder. But eventually her desire for creating cakes became too much to ignore and decided to follow her dream of opening her own business.









The Brown Betty Cookbook
Modern Vintage Desserts and Stories From Philadelphia’s Best Bakery

By Linda Hinton Brown and Norrinda Brown Hayat
Reviewed by Grace McNamara / ACD Publisher and avid cook book collector

This cookbook from one of Philadelphia’s beloved bakeries is a family and life journey of personalities, whose recipes strike a perfect balance of old-fashioned and modern. The Brown Betty Cookbook includes classic and traditional recipes with surprise twists – for example, blackberry buttercream or dark cherry filling made with fresh ingredients and real butter, just like Elizabeth “Betty” Hinton (Grandmom Betty) used to make for her family.

The Brown Betty Cookbook authors are none other than Betty’s daughter, Linda Hinton Brown and granddaughter, Norrinda Brown Hayat, who grew up with Betty’s amazing baking and subsequently opened the beloved Brown Betty Dessert Boutique in Philadelphia. The cookbook reads like a family story, preceding each chapter with a delightful description of a person that inspired some part of their creations from of course, Betty, to Great Grandmothers Ruth and Eliza to Great Aunt, Jean.

Notable mouth watering recipes include a sweet potato cake with spiced vanilla buttercream, a moist layer cake that rivals their Red Velvet cake as number one seller; “Company’s Comin” coconut cake with cream cheese frosting – a moist 3-layer cake and “With Cherries on Top" heesecake, a creamy cheesecake with cherries that are soaked in cordial overnight! The recipes are delicious takes on classics with a twist and the entire charming book is a welcome addition to any cake loving baker.

cake boy cover






Cake Boy
By Eric Lanlard
Reviewed by Marsha Winbeckler

Cake Boy is a 224 page, hard-bound dessert recipe book. It contains chapters on Sponge Cakes, Tarts, Meringues, Muffins & Cupcakes, Tray Bakes, Festive Recipes, Cheesecakes, Desserts, and Pastries & Cookies. There are also a few flour-free recipes included in the book.

The author, Eric Lanlard, is a French-trained pastry chef who has won many prestigious awards, and his expertise is reflected in the book. Most average "Foodies" will be able to recreate the recipes easily, although there may be a few ingredients that are unfamiliar to some American bakers.

Each recipe lists the preparation and cooking times plus ingredients and detailed instructions, with a majority of the recipes including large full-color photos. The "Tray Bakes" section includes many familiar bar/square treats with an inventive twist, like Blondies with Peanut Butter and Double Chocolate Pecan Brownies.

A particularly fun section that will get the creative juices flowing is the "Desserts" chapter; it includes several non-traditional recipes like Sticky Toffee Pudding and Eggnog Trifle. If you're looking for a dessert book that will be an inspiration for your culinary creations, this may be the book for you.

Marsha Winbeckler has been a cake decorator and instructor for over 30 years. She has won many awards for her work. She is the author of three books, Cocoa and Chocolate Painting, Wafer Paper Uses, and Decorating With Rolled Buttercream Icing, plus a candy DVD, Easy Chocolate Tempering and Candy Coating Uses. 

Marsha was the editor of the ICES Newsletter for over 13 years and served on the Editorial Board for American Cake Decorating Magazine for the past two years. Appearances on TV, including the Food Network and TLC's Ultimate Cake Off, and demonstrating at international cake decorator's conventions (ICES) are among highlights in Marsha's career. Cake decorating has also taken her and husband Roland (also a renowned cake decorator) to Canada, Jamaica, and Australia. Marsha and Roland on A-J Winbeckler Ent.--, through which they sell cake decorating and candy making supplies, teach decorating classes and produce their books and DVDs.



book cover


book page detail

Cake Pops
Helen Attridge and Abby Foy
Photographs by Lis Parsons
April 2012 / Spruce / $12.99

Reviewed by Nichole Day Diggins / ACD Managing Editor and Creative Director

There are few things cuter than a cake pop. Playful and demure, these carefree little cakes on a stick are the treat of the moment, perhaps even upstaging the ubiquitous and celebrated cupcake. But are they just a passing trend? The authors of Cake Pops, Helen Attridge and Abby Foy of the Popcake Kitchen in England, make the case that these bite-sized snacks with high-impact flavor are indeed here to stay.

Cake Pops is a fun little volume with easy-to-follow recipes for creating whimsical cake pops for any occasion. Adding to the book’s appeal is its clean and inviting layout and all the colorful, enticing photographs, which beautifully capture the wide array of lively pops. The book begins with simple recipes for basic vanilla cake and frosting, which can be easily adapted to other flavors, like chocolate, strawberry or lemon. Easy-to-follow step-by-step photos teach you how to make the balls, dip them, and decorate and shape them. Useful tips cover things like hiding cracks, adjusting colors, personalizing the pops and overall presentation.

The 28 cake pop designs include everything from simple pops with sprinkles to parrot pops, rubber ducky pops, baby carriage pops and champagne bottle pops (indeed something for every occasion – even ‘Mr. and Mrs. Pops.’ ) There is a fairly wide range of decorating skills, from simple to more complex, so if you’re new to this, you can work your way up (kids can even pull off the simplest recipes). Overall, this is a fun, cute little book, which is sure to inspire some creative cake popping.

text and book detail



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