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Small-Batch Baking Hardcover – October 15, 2004

147 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Even the most enthusiastic home bakers may admit there are times when they really only need a few muffins for breakfast or a couple of cream puffs for a dinner party—not a dozen or more of each. When standard recipes won't reduce neatly (how do you halve an egg, for example?), frustration ensues. Nakos, a Shape, Southern Living and Cooking Light contributor, takes more than 250 classic cakes, pies, cookies, cobblers, puddings and breads and downsizes their proportions to yield just the right number of goodies for small families, singles, newlyweds, empty-nesters or the leftovers-averse (do such people exist?). Nakos certainly is creative: she uses tin cans to bake two-layer coconut cakes and chocolate cakes, jumbo muffin tins for Peach Pie and Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, and small loaf pans for Moist Fudgy Brownies. Meanwhile, a full-size loaf pan turns out Mississippi Mud Cake or Gingerbread Roulade, and one regular baking sheet does the job for Cinnamon Hazelnut Biscotti. Small-batch baking as formulated by Nakos is liberating: with quick mixing, baking and clean-up times, the whole process of producing, say, eight Pecan Snowball Cookies for tea time, or two Honey Apple Oatmeal Crisps for a sweet breakfast, is less overwhelming.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"An excellent, crackerjack new book. Bring on the baby cakes."
—Marcel Desaulniers, author of Death by Chocolate --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company (October 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761135871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761135876
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #960,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

197 of 197 people found the following review helpful By J. White on December 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
Okay, so I love to bake. Unfortunately, there are only two people in my household and both of us have, um, "portion control problems".

Since most of my favorite cookie recipes yield several dozen and making just PART of a cake is nearly impossible, my boyfriend and I often end up eating way more than we actually want. Sometimes I'll try to pass off my baked goods to co-workers, but (and I'm being painfully honest here) I usually polish off the batch myself in less than 3 days.

I know all that sugar is no good for me, but I can't imagine not having cakes and cookies once in a while. Life's too short to cut out something I enjoy so much!

When I came across this book, it was like I stumbled across a puzzle piece I hadn't noticed was missing. The cake recipes make single or double servings! The cookie recipies make less than a dozen! I've tried cutting regular recipes in half, but the results are never quite right. With this book, you're measuring ingredients in tablespoons instead cups, and the two recipes I've tried have turned out beautifully.

The peanut butter cookie recipe made 8 perfect cookies and tonight I tried a recipe for two giant oatmeal cookies. Perfect again. I can't wait to try to make the small cakes, little breads and even a baby Baklava!

I expect that this book will change the way I bake forever. It's nice to make a dessert that I can enjoy without feeling like a jerk for enjoying way too much of it.
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99 of 99 people found the following review helpful By M. Gondek VINE VOICE on April 17, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like many people in one- or two-person households, I simply don't need 48 chocolate chip cookies, an entire lemon meringue pie, or even 8 creme brulees. If you prefer not to make large batches and freeze them, or you haven't had good results making fractions of a traditional recipe, you will love this book.

All recipes make 2-3 servings, are very easy to follow, and (so far) turn out superb results. The instructions are clear and precise, and she introduces most recipes with a description of the results or a note about the recipe's history. There are call-out boxes for filling suggestions, sauces, or recipe tips.

The chapters are logical and well-organized. After the initial introduction where the author lays or ingredient/equipment lists, the chapters are: Beautiful Small Cakes; Pies and Tarts; Cookies and Bars; Cobblers, Crisps, Crumbles, and Shortcakes; Baked Puddings; and Muffins and Breads. After these groupings, the author has given us two bonus (in my opinion) chapters: Valentine Specials and Holiday Goodies.

So far, I've made mini loaf-bread, a small pie, and incredible chocolate ganache cakes. The latter actually could serve 4 instead of 2, it was so rich -- but I was very happy to eat my "one" serving (and the recipe looked easy to halve -- just make one cake instead of two). If I HAD to come up with things to "fix" in this cookbook, I'd ask for photos of the finished recipes. I'd also prefer that recipes not be split across two pages -- it makes reading ahead with sticky fingers a little difficult. But all in all, this will continue to be one of my best-loved cookbooks.

Update October 2008: This is still one of my most-used cookbooks, and I've referred several friends to it.
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78 of 79 people found the following review helpful By jody664 on January 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
I received this book as a Christmas gift. I didn't know such a book existed! I love to bake, but since it's just me at home, making a large 12 serving cake is just not an option. I miss baking, and this book fits the bill.

So far, I've tried two recipes from the book. The first was the Fudgy Cupcakes. It was a disaster, but not necessarily from the recipe. I accidentally added too much sugar, and I reversed two of the steps in the recipe. So my batter did not turn out right and I ended up throwing the whole thing away.

The second recipe I tried was the first recipe in the book, Chocolate Birthday Cake. I did not use the 14 oz cans as the author suggested. I found a child's baking set at Sur La Table and used the cake pans from those. They are slightly bigger in diameter than the tin cans and worked perfectly. They even have the same "look" of a larger cake (height/diameter proportionate). The cake came out moist. I iced the cake with the Molasses Caramel Frosting. It was delicious. I would say that the portion size is probably not that accurate. It says 2 cakes, 2 servings. I think it is more like "2 cakes, 2 servings EACH." There is no way I could have eaten the entire cake at one sitting.

As a side note, I would highly recommend looking for a child's bake set to use with this cookbook. Mine came with two small cake pans, a small loaf pan and small cookie sheet. I think they will work perfectly for the recipes in this book.
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Denise on November 26, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
--->BIGGEST HINT... She suggests baking the cakes in cans... I use a little baby cheesecake pan 4.5" across and 1.5" deep and it works great. You may want to search Amazon for mini loaf pans, mini spring form pans, and mini pie pans... if you don't already own these items.

She has all these recipes that make 6 cookies and little tiny adorable cakes and pies and cheese cakes.

Her portion sizes are really big... if she says a cake serves two... I think that it serves 3 or even 4 people, in a pinch. I've served the Yellow Cake and Carrot Cakes to two adults and two teen boys... and it was fine with some ice cream.

I'm a WW LifeTime member. The recipes are not low points or low fat or low sugar... but EVERY recipe I have made has turned out awesome.

There are (usually) only 3 of us in the house and I'm not the kind of person that can keep half a cake in the house. I really don't need to make 48 cookies or a cake that serves 12... And freezing the leftover cookies doesn't work... as I'll eat frozen cookies, too.


I used to buy one piece of cake at the bakery for portion control... And at one point, I was really sad because I thought my days of baking were just over.

Then, somebody suggested this book and I LOVE it.

I REALLY enjoyed baking out of it over the holidays and all year.
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