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Perfect Cakes Hardcover – October 15, 2002

4.3 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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"The Sprinkles Baking Book: 100 Secret Recipes from Candace's Kitchen"
Candace Nelson, acclaimed chef and creator of Sprinkles Bakery, shares her favorite recipes and life lessons. Learn more | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Covering cheesecakes, chocolate cakes, fruit cakes, rolled cakes, filled cakes, meringue cakes, nut cakes, coffee cakes, sponge cakes, and pound cakes, not to mention frostings, fillings, and glazes, Nick Malgieri's Perfect Cakes is a "product of a lifetime of collecting and baking." Malgieri is a much acclaimed cookbook author (Cookies Unlimited), pastry chef, and baking instructor, so he's had a lot of practice presenting recipes in a way that makes them easy to follow. The informative chapter on ingredients and equipment will get you started. Ingredients and baking equipment for each recipe are listed in a yellow box; steps are clearly numbered and storage instructions follow every one.

The recipes come from home bakers who are aunts, grandmothers, friends, and friends of friends, as well as food writers and professional bakers; some also come from Malgieri's kitchen, of course. The delectably moist Orange Poppy Seed Cake is as easy a recipe as you can hope to find, and don't miss his Aunt Virginia's Sour Cream Coffee Cake. The 19th-century Morris Cake is simple yet elegant, and the truly unique Green Tea Pound Cake comes from Paris's Mariage Frères. Beware the decadent Chocolate Pecan Caramel Cake. Whatever the celebration or occasion, there's nothing like a perfect cake--and you're sure to find it here. --Leora Y. Bloom

From Publishers Weekly

James Beard Award winner Malgieri (How to Bake; Cookies Unlimited) shares precise and temptingly unfussy recipes in this cake treasury. Recipes are meticulously tested and easy to follow; however, this is not the book for the Duncan Hines set. Each chapter presents both basic and complicated recipes: Coffee Cakes include Sour Cream Coffee Cake and a Brioche Bee Sting Cake with almond brittle topping and a pastry cream filling. While sinful ingredients abound, cheesecakes come both New York style and light unbaked, and there are plenty of butterless sponge cakes. Sprinkled lightly like confectioners' sugar are homey recipes from friends (Passover Sponge Cake from Kyra Effren). Malgieri's tone is one of sincerity, whether his subjects are pound cakes, pleasantly old-fashioned rolls (such as Buche de Noel and Strawberry Roulade), fruit and nut cakes, individual cakes, layer and molded cakes or meringues. There is some central European influence, with Viennese Linzertorte and Apricot Marzipan Cake, and Swiss Kirsch cake. France (Blanc-Manger Aux Framboises) and Italy (Torta Di Nocciole Alla Veronese) are also well represented. The book proffers a few surprises, like Green Tea Pound Cake and an Armenian cake with farina. Most recipes are unburdened by architectural flourishes. Some cakes have many steps: Passion-Fruit Bavarian Cream Cake has five parts, but none of these is difficult in itself the biggest challenge is assembly. Recipe notes, a chapter on decorating and some photos of the finished results all help. Where many compendiums tend to be overwhelming or scattershot, this book stylishly covers just what home cooks need.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (October 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060198796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060198794
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #482,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Foster Corbin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If Maida Heatter is the queen of cakes, as Mr. Malgieri calls her in his dedication of this beautiful cook to her, then he must be king. This is the third dessert cookbook of this author I own, and-- forgive the pun-- he just gets batter and batter.
Mr. Malgieri tells you practically everything you ever needed to know about baking a cake. There is information on ingredients, equipment, sources, a bibliography, all kinds of different cake recipes, as well as information on frosting and decorating. (For example, now I know that one cup minus two tablespoons of all-purpose flour equals one cup cake flour.) I marvel that at this late date there are still new cake recipes to be had. This book is full of them. And in keeping with my theory that each book should have at least one dynamite recipe, the green tea pound on page 42 makes the cut. I'm pleased to say that a slice tastes great straight from the oven with a glass of cold milk. In addition to this great recipe, there are certainly many others I want to try.
If you are on a diet or do not bake, however, just looking at these great photographs makes the book worth having. Printed on slick acid-free paper with great color photographs, this book is too pretty to get cake flour on. It is worthy of a coffee table.
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By A Customer on April 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As for recipes, the ones I have tried turned out absolutely fantastic! I made the 'Orange Sponge Cake' last week and it was extremely light and fluffy, and the flavor was outstanding. I made the 'Lemon Meringue Cake' today and my co-workers are raving about it. I'm going to make it for an upcoming bridal shower - it turned out beautfully.
However, I have to agree with the first reviewer 'oktober31' on the lack of some details in the instructions. I had to rely on my past experiences for things like 'how much to whip the meringue?', and 'should the eggs be at room temp or cold?', etc.
These seem like small details, but when it comes to baking, we all know how important these small details become!
But if you're a somewhat experienced baker, I highly recommend the book as the recipes are out of this world! - thanks
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Perfect Cakes has come to be my favorite book on cake baking. It's not just a book filled with endless untried recipes that give no hint of what to expect. All of the recipes in this book are preceded by some type of history or information about the cake that leaves one with the impression that the author is familiar with the recipe and has probably made it a time or two!

The introduction includes information about common ingredients and equipment used for cake baking which is a plus for those new to cake baking or for those looking to expand their baking skills. The book is well designed with beautiful photos and a layout for the recipes that is easy to follow. The ingredients are in a shaded box (yellow) and the instructions are enumerated in red. This makes it easier to find your place in the recipe when you are ready for the next step.

I am currently working through the pound cake section and have become fascinated with the high ratio mixing method. This is a method developed by Procter & Gamble during the 40's. Mr. Malgieri provides an explanation of the method, shows how to convert a recipe to use it, and provides a few recipes. I have made the High-Ratio Lemon-Buttermilk Pound Cake several times, and it has become a requested item among friends. As indicated, the cakes made using this method are moist, fine textured, and delicious. Other cakes that I have made with excellent results include the Orange Poppy Seed Cake, Cinnamon Coffee Cake, Town Hall Cake, and the Buttermilk Cake Layers.

Some of the recipes may require a bit of skill and will be a nice challenge for the experienced baker but the book has plenty of recipes for a beginner to start with. If you like to bake cakes, this is definitely a book to add to your library.
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Format: Hardcover
Well, first of all, this is a beautiful cookbook. It's got lots of glossy pictures of delicious-looking cakes and an extensive guide on cooking implements. Yup, beautiful.

Now, I did expect, coming from a very famous, skilled chef, to get a book that wasn't exactly what you'd call simple. Of course, his experience was going to show somewhere so no, I didn't expect easy stuff. But I'm something of an avid baker so even if I don't have any professional training, I do pretty well in the kitchen. Imagine my surprise when several of his recipes did flop on me. This is ridiculous! I'm one to follow instructions to the best of my abilities but I think he takes for granted that you know so much more on so many levels than any non-chef does. I never did try the failed recipes again but did try others and fared a little better. They really are delicious. Still, I don't like thinking when I start baking that there's a 50% chance that the recipe may not come out well.

Never had any trouble at all baking extensively from other books. This one, I'm getting a little bit better but by trial and error, not through useful insight gained from the book. But the best part, this book does inspire me to keep trying.

I'll get your cakes yet, Nick Malgieri!
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