by Maida Heatter
If you already own several of Maida Heatter’s dessert cookbooks, you can stop reading this review. Maida Heatter’s Cakes is a compilation of 175 cake recipes reproduced virtually verbatim from previous publications. The format is updated, recipes are easier to read and layout is more modern, but the recipes are the same. If this book is a first cake book for you, the collection is large and includes far more than the eight different types of cakes covered, including sweet breads, muffins, cupcakes, gingerbreads, ice creams and sauces.
The 16 introductory pages (again, reproduced with only tiny changes from a previous publication) are a useful lesson on equipment, techniques and ingredients. The pages are plain, unillustrated, and the layout is not user-friendly with recipes spilling over to consecutive pages, sure to annoy the baker with sticky fingers.
This baking book is suitable for beginners as well as for more advanced bakers with recipes ranging from relatively simple (Ginger Ginger Cake) to complex (French Chocolate Loaf Cake). But don’t expect a short prep time in the kitchen; most cake preparations take well over an hour, not including icing. The subject index is extensive and well cross referenced.