373 of 386 people found the following review helpful
This book could have been so much better....
, May 13, 2009
This review is from: BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York's Most Talked-About Bakery (Hardcover)
I was *so* excited when I learned that a Babycakes cookbook was in the works. When it arrived, I sat down and excitedly read it cover to cover with a pen and paper in hand to make my baking grocery list. It was then that I came across upon several issues:
1) As mentioned by many others, the book is only about 2/3 gluten-free. I know that Babycakes bakery bakes spelt items, so this was not a surprise to me. However, the book sub-title calling it Gluten-Free is misleading.
2) A large amount of the recipes call for Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour. There are two problems with this. First and most important to me, this flour is N A S T Y. It has garbanzo and fava bean flour in it, and those have a very strong and bitter taste. Many bakers, including myself, hate this stuff. Second, I was dissapointed to see that the book even suggests using a mix at all. On the Martha Stewart show when Erin and Martha make the Allergen-Free Cinnamon Toasties, Martha asks as she is stirring the flours together, 'Do you use mixes at your bakery?' Erin answers no. If this is the case, then why on earth is the cookbook directing me to do so? If the recipes had the true list of flours and starches used at the bakery, I would have an easier time making substitutions, like swapping garfava flour for, say, a combo of sorghum or rice flour, or subbing potato starch for arrowroot or cornstarch.
3) Coconut oil and agave nectar. These fabulous, spendy, and sometimes elusive ingredients are frequently used in hefty quantities in the book, and unfortunately we are left a somewhat in the dark about the details. Yes, the resources give us brand recommendations (aside: Did you look into the coconut oil source? small jar and big $$), but does not specify if it matters if we use virgin coconut or regular coco oil or light or dark agave. Since I don't want to go broke buying coconut oil, I googled and found an extra-virgin organic coconut oil by Nutiva that comes in 54 oz. containers and is reasonably priced. The same goes for the agave nectar. Madhava has a raw organic agave nectar that you can find right here on Amazon in bulk for a decent price. Hopefully these will so the trick.
4) Frosting. I do not believe these are the frostings used at the bakery. For example, a red flag to me is that the cookbook recipe for vanilla frosting is called 'Vanilla Frosting/Vanilla Sauce" but the Babycakes bakery frosting is called "Creamy Vanilla Frosting". While on Martha Stewart (the episode where they made the Allergen-Free Cinnamon Toastie loaf), Erin casually mentions some of the ingredients of her famous frosting. Among the ingredients is coconut milk. Unfortunately, there is zero coco milk in the book recipe, but there is liquid and dry soy milk. Babycakes NYC is a soy-free bakery. This is so disappointing to me, as I was really looking forward to making the real deal.
While I enjoy the aesthetic and the creativity of the book, I think it fell short in a number of critical areas.
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