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Extraordinary Cakes: Recipes for Bold and Sophisticated Desserts Hardcover – October 4, 2011
Cooking in the New Year
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“Modern flavors meet classic techniques in these beautiful, delicious desserts.”
—Barbara Fairchild, author of Bon Appetit Desserts
“One bite would hook any patisserie lover. The desserts are beautiful too … sublime.” —Los Angeles Magazine
“Extraordinary is too mild a name for this collection of spectacular cakes. I’ve been a fan of Karen Krasne’s for years and I’m particularly overjoyed to see her powerfully delicious and tastefully decorated creations in print. The only problem I can see with this book is deciding which cake to prepare first. Extraordinary Cakes is destined to become a classic.” —Nick Malgieri, author of Bake! and The Modern Baker
“On Saturday nights, the line outside Extraordinary Desserts can extend onto the sidewalk. But once you’ve tasted Karen Krasne’s creations, you’ll forget about the wait.” —The New York Times
“Extraordinary Cakes offers up easy-to-follow recipes for deliciously creative cakes, allowing avid bakers to replicate Karen’s trademark desserts at home.” —Jacques Torres, Dean of Pastry Arts, French Culinary Institute
“Talented chef-owner Karen Krasne serves ‘incredible,’ ‘divine,’ ‘world-class,’ baked goods and desserts that are ‘gorgeous to behold.’” —Zagat Survey
About the Author
More About the Author
In 1988 Karen opened Extraordinary Desserts near San Diego's Balboa Park. Despite only having ten seats, it was awarded with the honor of "Best Desserts" by both San Diego Magazine and San Diego Home & Garden Lifestyles. A year later the eatery was in such demand that Karen was able to expand, offering 65 seats, and in 2004, she opened a second location in San Diego's Little Italy. Today, lines still stretch out the doors of both locations. People have discovered that once they indulged in Extraordinary Desserts' award-winning pastries, cakes, tarts, and other treats, nothing else compares.
The fare at Extraordinary Desserts infuses global inspiration with artful passion. Desserts are skillfully crafted like works of art, made only with the finest ingredients and decorated with seasonal flowers and edible gold leaf.
Karen graduated with a degree from the University of Hawaii in Food and Human Nutrition. She went on to study pastry making at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, where she not only developed her skills as a dessert chef, but fostered her love of traveling. Today, Karen calls San Diego home, but returns to France to train with the masters at LeNotre, Ecole Bellouet Conseil, and L'Atelier Pierre Herme regularly. When she is not creating the menu for her two Extraordinary Dessert locations, or expanding her skill in France, she is traveling the globe, infusing her desserts with the ﬂavors and artistry of faraway places.
Top Customer Reviews
Introduction: includes a rundown on equipment, ingredients and techniques - I found pages 14-18 the most interesting as it included some step-by-step photos on specific techniques, I skimmed through the rest - though it looked clear and logically laid out.
Cake Recipes: divided by season - the cake recipes are comprehensive and clearly broken up into steps for cake/fillings/assembly/decor.
The photos are beautiful with pictures of finished cakes, along with a slice view of many of the cakes, but not all of them.
Recipes do not seem to be doubled up, if the base cake is the same as an earlier recipe, you will be referred back to that page - i.e. the ricotta pound cake used in the Tortamisu p.120, is found on p.57, similarly for recipes such as Chocolate Ganache. I don't mind this as these cakes are generally several day projects, and I am working on a specific section at a time anyway.
The bulk of recipes are layer cakes which are assembled in a cake tin with a removable bottom and then frozen overnight to allow for a solid, uniform cake structure and ease of construction/handling.
One con for me was the fact that the recipe ingredients are not listed in weight, which is my preferred option, but are instead given in volume. It wasn't a deal-breaker for me though, I would have bought the book regardless.
The format worked for me as, if you want to, you can easily use elements from various recipes to change things up - I just want to try a bit of everything!Read more ›
There aren't other words to describe this absolutely breathtaking book of cakes that please both the eyes and the palate, all from Ms. Karen Krasne, owner and chef at "Extraordinary Desserts" restaurant located in San Diego, California.
An incredibly accomplished chef (just look at her resume on the website), she has generously shared a goldmine of talent with us, through gorgeous, pristine photography of some of the most ethereal cakes you will see. To be more specific, these are not character cakes or object cakes; these are very fancy "wow" factor presentations that will give your guests a "gasp" moment.
That being said, this is not a book for baking weaklings, because as Ms. Krasne states in her Introduction, these cakes take time, as in a couple of days, to make. Yes, some can be done within a day, but for the majority of these fabulous cakes, you definitely will need time on your side. Also, you need some solid baking skills or possess much patience, as she has given the recipes in great detail, starting with the batter, then going on to the fillings and frosting, and ending with the assembly and decorations of each masterpiece. And to note, "decor" to her is not sugarpaste or fondant but rather fresh flowers, or ganache, or purees that dot the plate, which is all that is needed with many of these cakes because the dessert itself is so beautiful.
As I mentioned previously, the photography is of each finished cake and a slice within, though in the "Introduction" section, there are several photos of how to decorate. Her presentation of each recipe is very detailed with multiple steps; this also describes the way she presents cakes that have either subtle nuances to those with complex flavors that build on each other.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this book as a challenge to myself to learn how to assemble great layer cakes. I am an experienced cook and baker but was always intimidated by layer cakes, well not... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Suzette Briggs
The most incredible cake book ever.Worth the price for fresh flower and ribbon decorations. HAVE been to both shops and cakes r divine but RICH. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Linda Teague
This book is cake porn. I had the pleasure of visiting their bakery for dessert. It was outstanding. I had to buy the book. Read morePublished 15 months ago by house4paws
I have had this book for about 1 year now. I have referred to it to make various components but have only made one cake by combining recipes from two different cakes (the tortamisu... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Dusya4
This is such a beautiful book with photos of the amazing desserts, that also includes the tempting recipes. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Suze
I treated myself. Then I treated a friend. Read this book and you'll love it beginning to end. Each offering has a picture so lovely you can taste it along with a recipe a normal... Read morePublished 17 months ago by The Kat
Bought it for my girlfriend for Valentine's Day. She loved it. The book is beautiful and made with care, but be warned, the recipes within are not for the faint of heart, or for... Read morePublished 19 months ago by ace