Wednesday, 6 June 2012
Recipe book review: Baked in America
I have so many recipe books that I've decided to start reviewing them on this blog! It will be a mixture of new and older books, some by well known bakers and chefs and some less known. The reviews will all take the same format and I'll aim to give an overview of the book. They are all books that I already possess, and either bought or was given as a birthday/Christmas gift - unless any nice publishers out there want to send me some new books to review!
First up is one of my newest books that I was given as a birthday present - and best of all, it's signed by the authors! They are customers/ friends of my boyfriend's mum, so she got me their book for my birthday and asked them to write a message for me inside.
Book title Baked In America
Author Outsider Tart - David Lesniak & David Muniz
Publisher Ebury Press
Price/RRP £16.99 (hardback), though it was received as a gift.
Where did I get it? A birthday present from my boyfriend's mum.
The blurb on the back "When it comes to baking, Americans clearly know a thing or two. Be it gooey chocolate brownies, muffins bursting with berries or whoopie pies oozing sweet buttercream, many teamtime (or whenver time) favourites hail from across the pond.
Davids Muniz and Lesniak own the delicious American bakery Outsider Tart in London. Devoted to all things butter and sugar, they are single-handedly leading a revolution: the revival of humble home-baked treats."
Overview of book A broad selection of decadent recipes arranged in chapters like brownies and bars, cookies, whoopie pies, layer cakes - it's quite rare that I find every section as tempting as the next! Interestingly, frostings and finishes have their own chapter at the end - the two Davids believe you should be able to mix and match and not have to stick to a particular frosting recipe with a particular cake. Which sounds great in principle, but when I did make a cake from this, I struggled to pick a frosting recipe that I thought went with it! The first chapter is the story of how the two Davids got to where they are today and also some general baking and equipment tips, which is really interesting and well written. The book has a nice American slant and each recipe begins with an explanation or anecdote, which allows the character of the two authors and their bakery to really come through.
First recipe in the book (I thought this might give a nice snapshot of the kinds of recipes included)
Snickers brownies. Hell yeah - what a way to start!
Last recipe in the book King Charles Pudding Receipt. This takes a little explaining - basically it's a sort of Huguenot Torte, related to the Huguenots of King Charles, and receipt is of course recipe. It seems to be a kind of apple and walnut cake that sounds really intriguing.
Random recipe from the middle of the book (in case first and last are not particularly representative) NYC crumb cake - a vanilla and cinnamon flavour cake that is a New York speciality.
Quality/number of photographs Not every recipe has a photo but the ones that are in there are good - and have a sort of rustic feel, e.g. a lot of the cakes are sitting on wooden worktops or chopping boards rather than being carefully arranged on plates. Which is more like how it would look when you bake the recipes at home, which I like.
Number of pages 223 - definitely feel like you get your money's worth!
Have I baked anything from this book? Yes - the walnut espresso layer cake on p. 173. I haven't blogged about it yet though! I am not the biggest fan of coffee cake (I made this for someone's birthday) but it was a lovely light cake. I did have trouble picking a suitable frosting from the chapter at the end so just went with a standard buttercream frosting with some coffee added. I've only had this book just over a month, and will definitely be using it again.
Overall impression in three words Chatty, indulgent, American!