Monthly Archives: July 2017

Cake Decorating Taken to New Heights!

gravity cakes

Gravity Cakes

By Jakki Friedman and Francesca Librae

Robert Rose Press

ISBN: 978-0778805496

Suggested Retail: $24.95

 

Review by Joan Leotta

 

The authors of this book note that “gravity cakes” (which might be better called, cakes that defy gravity) are popular now in most of Europe and will soon be the next “big thing” on our shores.  No wonder! These cakes are so much fun! As you can see by the cover, the design of the cake gives the illusion that something is being poured out onto the cake. Others make it look as though a piece is being taken out. This book presents 45 cakes ideas with gravity-defying designs. The inspiration of r this book is said to be the friendship of the co-authors. Jakki Freidman is a professional baker and Francesca Librae is an international reporter now residing in party-central city of New Orleans. The pair bring baking expertise and spectacular ideas to cake design.
You can use their delicious cake recipes as the basis for the designs, or simply follow the directions on a box cake mix for the prime material. Best of all, the introduction to the book carefully explains the process so well,  each design is explained and accompanied by step by step photos, so that once you have tried the techniques, using a couple of their patterns you will be able to create your own designs. The co-authors have a Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/Gravitycakes/ where they post pictures of their newest creations and encourage you to send in photos of your designs to share with the community.

If you have children, if you love to entertain, if you simply like to put beautiful things, amazing things on your dinner table, well then, this is the book for you.

Have fun!

 

Measurements are given in both Metric and US styles.gravity cakes

Book Review! Vegans Take Note!

cover aquafabulousAquafabulous

100 Egg-Free Vegan Recipes Using Aquafaba

By Rebecca Coleman

Robert Rose Publications

ISBN 978-0-7788-0564-9

Suggested Retail $19.95

 

Review by Joan Leotta

 

This is a book all vegans will want to have on their shelves, especially vegans who want to bake.

Making eggless meringue with bean juice and how to “bind” mixes without the addition of eggs. May not sound appealing on the face of it, but truly, Agquafaba is a godsend to those who want to make dishes that in the non-vegan world, use eggs.

As such, committed vegans have a strong ally in the form of the book Aquafabulous by Rebecca Coleman published by Robert Rose Press.—- A luscious looking photo of a cake slathered in meringue graces the aqua blue cover of this book, which according to its press release, “has blown open the world of vegan baking. Things that were once considered impossible, are now possible and the options are endless.”

 

As I have come to expect from any book published by Robert Rose,  the first pages of this volume describe the element in question and tell us the why and how of it. The rest of the book is devoted to a stellar collection of recipes ranging from breakfast to desserts. Her baked goods selection includes such delights as French macaroons, strawberry shortcake and donuts

 

The recipe portion is a wonderful exercise in exploring the use of this ingredient—new to me, but oh so useful to vegans everywhere. Of course, it is no surprise that someone with Coleman’s credentials has created such delightful recipes with easy-to-follow direction and helpful hints. Coleman is a Vancouver BC food blogger and the author of a foodie blog, “Cooking by Laptop” that focuses on recipes and her love of cooking. In addition she loves to travel, enjoys eating baked goods (especially donuts) herself.

 

If you know any vegans, steer them toward this book or purchase it for them as a gift. They will thank you for it—if you are lucky, they will thank you with one of the baked goods she mentions.

 

Here is a sample of one of the recipes in the book

 

S’Mores Cups (from Aquafabulous by Rebecca Coleman. Used with permission of the publisher)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get out a 6-cup muffin pan, lined with paper liners

Ingredients

1-cup vegan graham cracker crumbs

¼-cup vegan butter alternative, melted

½ cup chopped 70 percent bittersweet (dark) vegan chocolate

3 TBSP unsweetened non-diary milk

¼-cup aquafaba

2 TBSP granulated sugar

1/8 tsp cream of tartar

1/8 tsp vanilla bean seeds

Method

In a small bowl, stir together, graham cracker crumbs and melted butter to combine. Place two tablespoons of the crumb mix in the bottom of each muffin cup, then pack down with a glass. Bake in the preheated oven for ten minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in pan on a wire rack/

Fill a small saucepan with 1-2 inches of water and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat. IN a heatproof metal bowl, combine chocolate and non-diary milk. Set metal bowl on saucepan so that it fits tightly and does not touch the water below. Stir chocolate until melted and smooth. You want the ganache to be smooth, glossy, and fairly runny, not thick and lumpy. If it is too thick, add a bit more milk. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of melted  chocolate over each graham cracker base, then shake pan to spread it around so that it forms an even layer. Transfer to freezer for at least 30 minutes.

In a mixer bowl, combine aquafaba, sugar, cream of tartar and vanilla seeds. Set mixer speed to low and beat for two minutes. Turn up speed to medium and beat for two minutes. Set to highest speed and beat mixture until fluffy and peaks form, about four to six minutes. It will have a similar texture to marshmallow  fluff.

Spoon as much fluff as possible into each muffin cup, then return to fridge for at least thirty more minutes or overnight. You may have leftover fluff.

Just before serving, pop cups out of muffin tins, peeling back the paper liners. Use torch to toast the tops if desired, and serve.