- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing; 1st edition (October 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0836250745
- ISBN-13: 978-0836250749
- Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.2 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Maida Heatter's Cakes Hardcover – October 1, 1997
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A man in Texas wrote to Maida Heatter looking for her Bullseye Cheesecake recipe; he and his wife had divorced, she had taken the recipe with her, and he was desperate for it! No wonder--it's a stunning work of art with its impossible-looking concentric circles of rich chocolate and vanilla-almond-flavored cheesecake. That recipe can be found here, along with other treats such as Chocolate Soufflé Cake, Boston Cream Pie, Florida Rum Cake, Kugelhopf, Swedish Leaf Cakes, Portuguese Sweet Walnut Bread, and West Indies Ginger Cake. Heatter, deemed "the legendary baking maven" by Food & Wine magazine, is a member of two cooking halls of fame: James Beard's and Chocolatier's. She has been cooking for decades and clearly indicates how to make classics perfect; she shares her tricks and tips freely like a good friend. (She swears by Philadelphia Brand cream cheese, for example.) She also steers clear of unusual or hard-to-find ingredients, even for the more exotic-sounding cakes. The book includes plain, chocolate, layer, and fancy cakes; cheese and nut cakes; yeast cakes and sweet breads; muffins, cupcakes, and gingerbreads; and ice cream and sauces. Simply divine.
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I consider this book the diametric opposite in style to Bevelyn Blair's cake book, which is also a great book. Whereas Blair's book is sleek and substantial with virtually no 'fat' in the writing, Mrs. Heatter has a story to write about each of her recipes. For those who only want the recipe, no brag, just fact, buy Blair's book. However, if like me, you enjoy learning some background on a recipe, this book is up your alley. Mrs. Heatter freely admits mistakes and trials leading to the recipes, and I suggest the buyer take those to heart. Like another reviewer, I've tried tweaking some of her recipes, to my regret. She has obviously worked long and hard on these recipes and has perfected these through trial and error.
Many of the cake recipes in this book involve several steps, and can get quite complicated, especially for a novice cake baker. This is where Mrs. Heatter really shines. Her instructions are explicit and detailed. Few things are more frustrating than receiving a new recipe where the instructions leave the baker guessing steps. Not a problem with Mrs. Heatter! Though some of the instructions will be redundant to the experienced baker, I think it's much better to get too many instructions than too few!
The English Madeira cake is a jewel, possibly the best all-around pound cake I've ever baked. Her 'best damn lemon cake' is awesome in its overwhelming lemon-y flavor, a golden jewel that's certain to fly off your serving plate.
Mrs. Heatter also recommends having a stand mixer with two bowls and sets of beaters (she's a Sunbeam user). I'd recommend the same for these recipes--two bowls will cut down on the rather long preparation times.
Also--use bread crumbs like she recommends rather than flour for pan prep. It really does work, and work well.
In summary, this can be a great book for the novice cake baker wanting to learn technique, as well as the more experienced baker wanting to try new flavors. Her accessible and reader-friendly writing style completes a delightful book