The Riviera Bakehouse in Westchester, New York, offers dozens of whimsically decorated little cakes--cupcakes, mini-Bundts, bite-size cheesecakes, and more. In the appropriately titled Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse
, its proprietors, the mother-daughter team of Kaye and Liv Hanson, provide more than 60 recipes for these cakes, some adorned with fetching bows, others made to look like animals and insects, flowers, and so on, with detailed decorating instructions. Included also are notes on ingredients and equipment (which will, in most cases, require jaunts to local baking emporia or online shopping).
Falling somewhere between a hip hobbyist's manual and a straightforward baking book, with excellent formulas for many traditional baked goods like pound and carrots cakes and various icings, the book will appeal immediately to those who relish cake decorating projects. What is new here is the focus on "mini," innovative techniques like The Chocolate Method (painting with icing to create carton-like designs), and a fanciful sensibility that eschews the usual roses-and-garlands kitsch of traditional cake decor. --Arthur Boehm
About the Author
is a self-taught baker and the owner of the Riviera Bakehouse in Westchester, the bakery of choice for devoted customers from Albany to New York City. Liv Hansen
was trained as a painter before turning her eye for color and composition to buttercream and melted chocolate. The bakery has been featured in the New York Times, and the Hansens have appeared on Today, the Food Network, and The View. Both Kaye and Liv reside in Rockland County.