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Birthday Cakes: Recipes and Memories from Celebrated Bakers Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 1, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Carolyn Miller is a writer, book editor, and award-winning poet living in San Francisco. She has written several cookbooks, including Chocolate , Espresso , and Salt & Peppter , all from Chronicle Books. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The introductory pages include discussions of the various types of equipment called for throughout the book, and the appendix lists sources for all kinds of baking supplies. There is even a list of tips and hints for baking the best possible cake. Ideas for enhancing birthday cakes and celebrations are sprinkled throughout, short discussions of "the birthday song" and birthday candles. None of the instructions are very thorough or detailed, however, leaving one to wonder if the book's intended use is to be merely decorative rather than a practical baking resource.
Fans of culinary literature will be disappointed that so little of "Memories from Celebrated Bakers" is included. Many of the cakes, in fact, have no such memories associated with them in the text. Some of the recipes have no context at all, other than brief explanations of where the recipe was originally published.
Finally, several of the recipes are ridiculously complicated for the home baker. "The Princess Cake," for example, requires following four lengthy pages of instructions! The cover photo suggests a book of classic birthday cakes suitable for home baking - witness the chocolate cake so fondly remembered from childhood - but, sadly, there are only a handful of these simple types of recipes.
In the end, "Birthday Cakes" doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. Is it merely a collection of pretty pictures with explanatory text? An instructional text? Is it for the advanced baker or the home cook? Is is culinary literature? It's a bit of each of these, but not enough of any.
The recipes range from a birthday cake for Elvis (chocolate with peanut butter and bananas) to chiffon cake to German chocolate cake to beautifully domed cakes covered in fondant (this recipe is from 'The Baker's Wife' by Ortiz.). There is nothing spectacular about any of the recipes...they are down-home good recipes that are accompanied by warm-hearted birthday tales.
Anyone who has a favorite home-made birthday memory will love this book or someone who is looking for a 'simple' but stunning birthday cake that tastes great. I have really enjoyed reading this book and the Banana spice cake I made came out wonderful. I look forward to making many more cakes from this book.
if this were just a coffee table book, it would be fine, but the recipes are a little off the mark. the gingerbread cake with chocolate frosting is a fantastic idea and the flavors work well, but my cake was runny and too soft. (given, my oven is like something out of prehistoric times, so it could be that too) the simple 1-2-3-4 vanilla cupcakes are actually quite good, one of the few vanilla cake recipes i've tried that doesn't end up tasting kind of like cornbread. however, all it takes is 2 minutes of refrigeration and they're hard as rocks. in general, this book is fun to own and the pictures are inspiring, but most of the recipes require a little messing with to make a product as beautiful as the images shown in the book.
I think the cookbook's purpose is clear: to provide great recipes to folks who don't need their hands held through the process of baking a cake, including some who aren't intimidated by four pages of instruction. Maybe it isn't for the novice baker, but I was thrilled with the illustrations, the birthday-memory anecdotes, and the variety of recipes.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a great cookbook. Classic recipes all in one place.Published 8 months ago by I guess I have to do this
Everything I tried was fantastic. I could not agree less with the negative reviews. After checking it out from the library on two occasions, I'm finally buying it for myself. Read morePublished 11 months ago by R. Scott
I saw this at my sister-in-law's house, so had a look thru it there, and actually bought this book specifically for the Princess Torta cake recipe, which I love!Published on September 20, 2013 by Rebecca L. Barbacci
I love to bake and I love cakes. This book has a wonderful variety of receipes. Can't wait to try them all!Published on January 3, 2013 by Yolanda Joy Montano
I baked the German chocolate cake. Frozen grated unsweetened coconut was impossible to find... So I found unsweetened coconut. Read morePublished on October 18, 2012 by Cherstar
We received this cookbook as a gift, and I have have enjoyed reading the stories behind the cakes and the visual presentation of each cake is fabulous. Read morePublished on March 23, 2008 by W. Gross
I can't wait to try out the recipes in this book. The pictures are beautiful and I like reading the stories. It's a very cute idea and would make a great present.Published on November 2, 2007 by Diana