Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm in love with another man...

A few months ago, my husband gave me a cookbook called Cavelove: How To Bake Cakes From Scratch by Warren Brown. This is the guy that was on Oprah awhile back that gave up his law career to start a bakery making cakes from scratch. He's one smart guy. He didn't just pick some random recipes, he would make a recipe then figure out why all the ingredients are needed and tweak things until he had the perfect cake.

And talk about perfection!! Take for example the chocolate pound cake (as pictured above). It's an amazing cake, and the chocolate ganache on top makes a perfect frosting. It's a fantastic cake that's easy to make and results are near perfection. And this happens over and over again in this book. He does a great job on all the cakes, but even more than that, he tells you why things work the way they do. He doesn't just add random ingredients, he has a reason for everything he does. He also explains what those reasons are. I learned a lot from this book about cakes and the various ingredients they include. There are even adjustments for people like me that have to bake at high altitudes.

We have had this book for only a few months now, but have made more than twenty different recipes already between the cakes and the frostings. We have enjoyed them all. The descriptions at the beginning sound as though Warren Brown is talking directly to you and the instructions are straightforward and easy to follow. If you are looking for a new book to add to your collection and have anything of a sweet tooth, this book is worth your time. You will learn not only how to make a really good cake, but why Warren's unique ingredients truly make a difference to the overall taste and enjoyment of the recipes he includes.

I appreciated the lessons on gastronomy but loved indulging in the finished product of those lessons. The cakes are amazing and divided into sections. There are many pound cakes, some of which can be made in a bundt pan or rounds. There are also butter cakes and sponge cakes so certainly enough choice to satisfy your cravings. Some are traditional but others push the boundaries of what is expected in a cake and include ingredients like cayenne, mango and various others. The frostings are excellent although personally, I much prefer the custard based frostings to the traditional buttercreams (I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the fact that the featured ingredient is steeped in the milk!!).

My favourite is probably the chocolate butter cake with coconut buttercream frosting. A close second would be the Boston Cream Downfall (a yellow butter cake with vanilla pastry cream filling and chocolate ganache on top. We made the Boston Cream Downfall for my son's first birthday and topped it with a cookie monster made of rice krispies. Everyone raved about it.

I know that if I reach for this book and make something from it, that I'm bound to please whoever my audience is. I can trust that the recipes will work and the results will be nothing short of spectacular. Warren Brown is gifted and I'm in love with that gift. He has another book coming out in May, called United Cakes of America: Recipes Celebrating Every State and I can hardly wait for that!! I might not be from the USA, but I will certainly celebrate cakes along with Warren Brown!! Thanks for a truly great book!!

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