From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Turning the offices of National Public Radio into a sugar-dusted gastrolab, NPR producer Gray (of the news program All Things Considered) spent a year testing cake recipes on coworkers to find the most satisfying among them. The result is this eclectic but cohesive cookbook, with a gentle learning curve especially useful for novices. An untrained pastry chef herself, Gray begins with a basic, lemon-glazed sour cream pound cake (which she calls the "Man Catcher") that introduces several key baking techniques: creaming the butter and sugar, incorporating eggs, beating batter, and lining the pan. She increases the skill level gradually as she goes, moving on to bundt, layer, and fruit cakes, followed by trickier temptations like angel food cake and the spicy, molasses-rich Appalachian Stack Cake. Each recipe comes with the story of its origin, reception, and variants. Readers will spot many bold-faced culinary names like Paula Deen and Ina Garten, but also obscure sources like out-of-print cookbooks, local publications, and small-town prizewinners. A handful of no-cake recipes includes cowboy cookies, butterscotch bars, and sinful fried pies. The instructional tone and homespun quality are signature NPR ingredients; fans of the network will find this cookbook a useful and companionable tool for family eating, potlucks, and easy entertaining.
About the Author
Melissa Gray is a producer for National Public Radio's All Things Considered.
Annabelle Breakey is a San Francisco-based photographer.