Book Review: Babycakes

I had waited a long time to read BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York’s Most Talked-About Bakery, which was published in 2009:

To say the least in our library system (which is one of the largest in the United States) vegan and gluten-free cookbooks are on long waiting lists, even more so if you want the two combined. So I was happy when I saw it was also available on a ‘digital’ checkout and I signed up for that. King County Library System is building a massive digital collection, which I have to say…I like it! I can reserve online and when my turn comes up, I simply go online and “check out” the book – and can read it for up to 21 days. No driving to the library! And a sneakier thing is that the digital versions don’t seem to have the longest wait times either. So definitely a shout-out if you live around here, check it out!

So…I “opened” up my copy to read – I have an ipad I use in the kitchen and in bed at night – and got reading. The book is very stylized, trendy and full of lushly photographed photos – of gorgeous women playing in a bakery (I kid not) making rustic looking treats. As a coffee table (or kitchen shelf) cookbook it is lovely to look at.

Then I hit a stumbling block. The heavy use of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour. Oops, need to go buy some. I have many GF flours and stabilizers in the kitchen but for me buying a mix is like buying Bisquick© now, it doesn’t occur to me to do it – raw single ingredients over combination items. So until that happens I won’t get to truly review the book. As well….when the recipes call for evaporated cane sugar, you can sub in plain sugar. From reading up reviews on Amazon (quite a few of them) one thing not mentioned in the book is that with coconut oil you must melt and cool it before using – or it just doesn’t turn out. One of the recipes, Vanilla Frosting, is posted on Martha Stewart’s website where it being melted is added in. Virgin cold pressed coconut oil isn’t cheap so consider how badly you want a treat before setting out – and don’t substitute cheaper refined coconut or palm oil, it may be cheap and scentless but it also could be hydrogenated, which is not what you want. And while I love the scent of pure virgin coconut oil, if you don’t…don’t consider the cookbook as most recipes call for it. There are other options of GF cooking/baking that call for Earth Balance or plain oils without flavor (and that cost a lot less as well).

Now though….coming out in 10 days is the followup book: BabyCakes Covers the Classics: Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes from Donuts to Snickerdoodles:

From reading the sections over on Amazon it looks to be better than the first book even if it is full of gorgeous women looking perfect while working in an airy bakery :-D

~Sarah

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