Sunday, October 05, 2008

Whimsical Bakehouse: An Earnest Summation

This is what "Fling" looks two days later. Not even half eaten, picked at, melting, sagging, altogether depressing. 

Three pounds fatter and rather frustrated, I'm ending the Whimsical Bakehouse interlude. But before I do my breakdown of the recipes, a few words of appreciation.

It's a fun book to flip through, as the cakes are colorful, playful, unpretentious. The introduction by Meredith Vieira -- who randomly wandered into Liv and Kaye Hansen's Ardsley, New York bakery to buy a princess cake for her daughter -- is sweetly gushing: "You'll know you're there by the tinkle of the bell, the wave of warmth, and Kaye's smile. . ."

Okay, it's a little much, but sometimes nice is nice.

The tone of the book is encouraging and relaxed, as opposed to, say, Rose Levy Berenbaum's unforgiving Cake Bible, which implies you need a PhD to bake a butter cake.
Having said all this, Whimsical Bakehouse isn't precise enough for the amateur. I've detailed those lapses in my posts, and they're reflected below in my assessment of the "recipes" for finished cakes. 

On the other hand, almost all the recipes for the components of said cakes (chocolate glaze excepted) are excellent. 

Over the last week I made 9 recipes from the Whimsical Bakehouse:

Worth the Price of the Book: 1
Great: 1
Good: 4
So-so: 1
Flat-out bad: 2

A solid, middle-of the road performance.

I'm going to finish up Arabesque this week. Isabel has posted a poll on the right side of the page, so if you have an opinion, please vote.


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  2. I am not a proffesional baker and I try to buy books that accept the fact that I don't have all the tools or ingrediants to make thier recipes. They are few and far between sometimes. But this was such a delight to get and find that it was easier than I had expected to make a very special cake.
    Now that I found how easy this cake and icing were I am now making a Chocolate Glaze cake tonight. Will wonders never cease?
    The extra was that reading the Hansen's book was like being in their kitchen with them.Questions I had as I read were eventually answered.
    Excellent book!

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  5. Looking forward to making this today! Thanks for an easy and tasteful looking recipe.