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Cupcake Cafe Cookbook Hardcover – August 17, 1998

3.2 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Cupcake Café Cookbook is a gem for everyone who loves doughnuts, originally decorated cakes, or off-beat New York City eateries. The actual café is a funky daytime oasis in the still-iffy neighborhood once known as Hell's Kitchen. Ann Warren and her husband, Michael, started the café as a bakery in 1988. They now serve food, too, but their fame comes from the breakfast baked goods and Warren's strikingly creative butter cream-frosted cakes and cupcakes.

You have to smile at Warren suggesting her doughnuts are health food because they're made from scratch with natural ingredients and eaten without butter or cream cheese. You will certainly enjoy every recipe for them and all of the muffins, scones and sticky buns, too. Warren's use of butter cream for decorating cakes with cascades of colorful flowers and other original designs is so magical that even Madonna and Mick Jagger have ordered from her. If you have an ounce of manual dexterity, Warren's detailed guidance on cake decorating will send you into orbit. Photos showing how to make the flower-encrusted cakes for which Cupcake Café is famous also a help. --Dana Jacobi

From Publishers Weekly

Warren, who owns the funky Cupcake Cafe in New York City with her husband Michael, presents an array of goods that have made the bakery a reported favorite of such high-profile sweet tooths as Madonna and Mick Jagger. Some are confections not usually made at home. Recipes for three yeast and five cake doughnuts include even Jelly Doughnuts, filled with a pastry tube. There is a wide selection of muffins, Sticky Buns, Brownies and Fruitcake. Eight pies range from a sturdy Apple to a spicy Mincemeat. The collection's centerpieces, however, are cakes, frosted and decorated with butter cream made in a 10-cup batch with four cups of sugar, six eggs and 2 1/2 pounds of unsalted butter ("enough to decorate one large two-layer cake") and artfully cast in garlands of flowers ranging from roses to hydrangeas. Although Warren and Lilly, who are sisters, offer reassurances, the prospect of dying butter cream in subtly varying hues and then wielding a pastry bag and decorating tips to create complex flower petals and leaves will likely daunt the nonprofessional. Warren suggests that success comes with repeated efforts. Even readers who are not inspired to take pastry bag in hand, will be intrigued by these and other decorating projects, such as drawing pictures on cakes with butter cream and erecting multi-tiered wedding cakes that serve from 20 to 150 people.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway; 1 edition (August 17, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385483392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385483391
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,345,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've tasted products from the Cupcake Cafe and loved them which is why I was very excited about ordering this book. When I got the book last week I decided to try the Pumpkin Pie Recipe and the Pie Crust Recipe for Christmas. Luckily I am a seasoned cook and was able to adjust the recipes, however, I caution other nonseasoned cooks about the two errors I happened upon. In the Pumpkin Pie recipe they tell you to bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Anyone who has experience baking pumpkin pies knows full well that at this temp it takes AT LEAST 45 minutes to be even close to done. At 35 minutes the custard was still liquidy. Also the pie crust recipe called for 1/2 cup of water at the top of the recipe, then told you in the instructions to BEGIN with 3/4 cup water. I used between 1/4 and 1/3 cup to finish the recipe.

Bottom line, I'm concerned about trying any other recipes, such as the butter cream---which is why I bought the book.

I'd like to know if anyone else has tried the butter cream recipe with success.
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Format: Hardcover
I have made several muffin recipes from this cookbook. I have been very disappointed in the fact that the authors never really employed a recipe editor to find typos and most of all inconsistencies! There are numerous inconsistencies!!!... For example: when it comes to the amount of butter - they switch back and forth from ounces to tablespoons, etc. Also, they never explain what they mean by way of the size of muffin tins. I was confused many a time in deciding what muffin tin size they really meant. One of the recipes (that I know of) omitted a sentence from the directions, and one had the order switched! Good Grief...those people who have not attempted to make anything from this book have no right saying it is a good cookbook! I am an accomplished cook - and I had problems with it...don't bother with this book. PS...the muffin recipes are nothing special. I have other cookbooks that are much better for muffin recipes!
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Format: Hardcover
The Cupcake Cafe is much better known for the artistry of its buttercream cake and cupcake decorations than it is for the tastiness of its baked goods... and this cookbook plays to the Cafe's strengths. Not that the recipies aren't good -- they are, and the muffins, cakes and doughnuts they describe are all consistent and not at all 'difficult' or temperamental -- but they're all rather dauntingly SOLID, VERY heavy on the butter, and not especially inventive as far as texture and flavor are concerned. But anyone who's ever been to the Cafe can tell you -- that's authentic, and the book faithfully describes how to produce the Cafe's best-known products.
There's an ample section on decorating 'the Cupcake Cafe way', but surprisingly (and disappointingly) few step-by-step illustrations or photographs. Many of the flowers Ann Warren describes are very complex and more diagrams would have been very helpful. I was also surprised to notice that the photographs aren't really quite in focus, and don't give you any more than a general sense of what kinds of buttercream floral renditions the Cafe is known for -- which is to say, they don't do Ann Warren's artistry justice, since her work is beautiful.
Her recipe for buttercream frosting is, I think, a little unnecessarily delicate, given the heavy hand with which she expects you to apply the stuff (one 10" cake's worth of frosting calls for two pounds of butter!) -- I've had better results modifying her recipe with a little confectioner's sugar than I've had being obedient to the original.
All that said, this is a handy cookbook with reliable recipes for cakes, doughnuts and muffins, and it provides ample food for inspiration.
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Format: Hardcover
If you had seen the author back on the old Martha Stewart Living show, you were no doubt impressed by how she easily and quickly decorated her cakes with all sorts of different flowers.

This book disappoints, especially when you consider that almost 2/3 of the book is about baked goods other than the flower cakes she's known for. There are a few color pictures of the beautifully flower-decorated cakes (some out of focus), and a few of some non-flower decorated cakes that look awful compared to the flower cakes (looks like someone who didn't know what they were doing did them).

She has her recipe for buttercream using whole eggs in here, and tips for handling it/fixing it, along with several color formulas for flowers, and some descriptions for making the flowers. But, NO step-by-step instructional pictures, which renders the descriptions just about useless, unless you had seen her on Martha. You'd do better to go to your local craft store and pick up some Wilton books, or take some of their classes.

Borrow this book from the library if you are only interested in the cake decorating portion, or, if you just need the recipe, it was halved in the Feb '96 issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine (I already had this, I was hoping for much better from the book).

Another reviewer mentioned a cake decorating video from Martha that featured the author, and that would be the best way to learn the technique--I wish Amazon would sell it, as I can't find it on the Martha site. If it were sold together with a rewritten version of this book, it would be a winner.
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