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Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse: Cupcakes, Small Cakes, Muffins, and Other Mini Treats Hardcover – February 19, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

Kaye Hansen 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.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1st edition (February 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307382826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307382825
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,255,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By G. Shields on March 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First, as this book's title indicates, this is a book about little desserts. From cupcakes to muffins to small cakes. Dessert in miniature, which is pretty trendy right now. So if you're looking for a repeat of their first book, you'll find it here, only in miniature form.

The corn muffin recipe was delicious, and their decorations are phenomenal.

Just to give you an idea of the recipes offered, here's a selection. . .
Anytime Little Cakes & Muffins. .
Corn Muffins, Blueberry Muffins, Zucchini Muffins, Banana Muffins, Whole Wheat Blackberry Muffins, Oatmeal Muffins, Pumpkin Muffins, Coffee Chocolate Chip Muffins, Almond Coffee Cakes, Blueberry Crumb Cakes. .

Special Occasion Little Cakes
Strawberry Shortcakes, Raspberry Cheesecakes (miniature, of course), Falling leaves (melted candy painted to look like leaves!), Pumpkin spice cheesecakes, Matt's upside-down cakes (they look soooo delicious!), Nostalgic nibbles and Devilish delights (basically their nod to the twinkie and a chocolate counterpart), Make a wish cupcakes (their interpretation of their "mini" cake from their first book, only in cupcake form), halloween cupcakes, Pate a Choux nests and Pastry Cream, Wild Meringues, and Dulce De Leche, and more!

There are even 3-d Apple bushel cakes (the actual cupcake looks like a bushel of apples - so cute!), Flower pots (the actual pot is candy coating!), and there are directions on how to make your cupcakes look like several different flowers (gorgeous!), and then there's the 3-d Christmas trees, & the much desired Tiered mini cakes (one's a dragon - it's gorgeous, another one has a Paisley design, and the final cake is decorated in beautiful Lilacs.
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Format: Hardcover
Having just gotten this gem, it's another winner from the mother-daughter team of Kaye and Liv Hansen! Not finished with giving us unique and artistic big-people cakes, they have created little-people cakes, aka cupcakes and their equally delicious and tasty friends, the muffins.

GETTING STARTED
As usual, the book has all those bright neon colors that get you thinking outside the realm of the frosting standards. To help you get started, they have the first section, aptly named "Getting Started". It covers all the specifics of what equipment and supplies you would need to make all the stuff in this book; every template is included as well. One of the most appreciated sections within this book is the chart of cake pans, sizes, and batter capacity needed; cupcakes are always a plural adventure, and for this, you need to know what you're working with. Plus there is the color chart to help you make every wild, bright, and wonderful color you want, plus icing color standards. Kaye and Liv include all sorts of tips on baking (how not to overmix certain batters, adjusting your timetable to meet your timeline, etc.) as well as tips on fillings, icings, piping (from simple to detailed), and the actual recipes themselves.

I need to really emphasize the lesson they give you in "The Chocolate Method". If you've ever seen edible designs and wondered how they are made, this section alone was worth the price of the book. It seems so simple once you get it, but until a really great baker tells you how, it can seem too much to attempt.

ANYTINE LITTLE CAKES & MUFFINS
The best recipes for muffins: blueberry, zucchini, banana, whole wheat blackberry, oatmeal, pumpkin, and coffee chocolate chip.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really want to give this book 4 and 1/2 stars. The technical information was comprehensive and easy to follow. I was also pleasantly surprised with the number of icing recipes provided - 3 kinds of buttercream, fudge icing, peanut butter, whipped cream and 3 kinds of glaze - as well as the fillings and cake recipes. The authors have phenomenal ideas for beautiful little cakes.

There are a few recipes that use shaped pans (ice cream cones, rose, heart) which can be costly. They do provide alternatives if the user doesn't have the pans. I do not like the book's size. It's only 8" x 9 1/2" and the print is smaller than many of my other cookbooks. However, the content is so good that I can overlook both issues.

It is a great book and I would definitely buy it again.
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Format: Hardcover
Hi everyone I am a baker in new york went to school in london and have just about every book on baking a few weeks ago came across little cakes from the whimsical bakehouse all I can say is this book is wonderful every recipe in the book came out great and is very easy to understand putting together the recipes was to say the least a breeze not much can go wrong with this book I would recommend buying this book I plan on buying all her books and visting her bakehouse happy baking all

Antoinette
From brooklyn
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Format: Hardcover
I am a fan of the Hansen's "Whimsical bakehouse" cookbook. I've made cakes from that book and when I saw this book I had to have it. Cupcakes seems to be the trend now so I decide to give it a try.
I've enclosed photos on the first cupcakes I made. The flower cupcakes with the red velvet and lemon coconut recipes. They were a hit! The cakes tasted great and I love their butter cream. Most people find frosting too sweet but their version is the right balance between sweetness and creaminess.
At first I didn't think I could make them as the flowers looked difficult. Plus this book did not have the "how to" photos like their cake book did so I had to read the instructions carefully.
I give this book 4 stars instead of 5 because you do have to have some basic baking knowledge/skills to follow the recipes both baking and decorating. Beginners might have a hard time trying to follow the decorating techniques. My advice is to start with the basics and work your way up to the more difficult cakes.
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