When we first picked up this book by lawyer turned cake baker extraordinaire, Warren Brown, the title read like a cookbook for dummies. But once we opened its beautifully designed pages, it had us hook line and sinker. Like any good book should, this one had us camped out on the couch reading it page by page and cover to cover.
The book is packed with recipes, along with tips, tricks and a few science lessons behind his methods. It takes a straight forward and less intimidating approach to making the three types of basic cakes: pound, butter and foam with chapters on frostings, glazes, fillings and assembly...
Warren Brown had a quick life on Food Network, but just because he didn't make it there, doesn't mean his Cake Love bakeries aren't doing booming business. He has 7 bakeries in DC, Maryland and Virginia and there's no sign of their success stopping any time soon, and for good reason. Warren brings a bit of his bakeries into your home with the recipes in his new book, sharing the same name as his bakeries, Cake Love.
It became quickly obvious that the cakes in this book were all created with love and great attention to detail. The depths of flavor that each one contain are hands down some of the best we've ever had (and we're really, really into cake). Baking a splendid cake can sometimes be intimidating and you're always left wondering when trying a new recipe if it will be moist enough, if it will release from the pan alright, how it will hold up once frosted, but Warren Brown takes the anxiety out of baking as he breaks down his process into grouped ingredients and steps.
Insisting that all ingredients be laid out ahead of time, he combines dry ingredients together, liquid ingredients together and flavorings together. This process not only simplifies the steps but forces you to be exact every time you bake. No longer are you sorting through a long list of ingredients, you merely focus on one category at a time. He also makes notes of liquor-free substitutions to go along with each cake (which aren't as easy as just leaving something out).
Although, if we were forced to sing only one praise for this book, it would be for the small quirky methods in how his ingredients are combined and chosen. He speaks with passion and science in his back pocket to help the reader learn why his methods to baking will provide exceptional results every time if followed. From insisting that using AP flour is the best way to go as long as it's weighed to using regular unsalted butter (nothing snooty as there's no real change to the taste of the cake) and using Extra Fine Baking Sugar to provide extra lift in the creaming stages of the process.
After reading it cover to cover, we made a list for every ingredient in the book and headed to the store. We haven't stopped baking since and have developed a ridiculous passion for his Citron Bundt Cake with supremes of lemon, grapefruit and orange added to the batter. You're sure to love it as much as we have, as will your neighbors and friends, because we promise once you start baking the recipes this book holds, there won't be any stopping until you've conquered them all!
Related: Weekend Cooking: Bake a Cake!