When offered cake, my policy is to always say "yes." And when Martha Stewart offers a book of her best layer cakes, quick breads, and bundt cakes, you best believe I am jumping up and down with both hands in the air. With fall officially here, my baking switch has been flipped and I am all about butter, sugar, and eggs. Martha's new book has arrived right on time.
• Who wrote it: The Editors of Martha Stewart Living
• Who published it: Clarkson Potter
• Number of recipes: Over 150
• Recipes for right now: Cranberry-Orange-Walnut Tea Cakes, Coconut Rum Raisin Cake, New York-Style Crumb Cake, Vanilla Sheet Cake with Malted-Chocolate Frosting, Honey Cake with Pears, Apple Pie Upside-Down Cake
• Other highlights: I always find myself a little stumped when it comes time to bake a cake. I fall back on the same old, same old... but grumpily. What's new? What's different? What's exciting?!
Here is our answer. I flip to any page of Martha Stewart's new book and find myself inspired. It's party due to the gorgeous full-page photographs of every single recipe in the book and partly the fact that these recipes just sound so darn good! If anyone has mastered how to capture our attention at first mention of "caramelized" or "glazed" or "chocolate," it's the folks at Martha Stewart. These cakes look incredible.
The book is very easy to navigate. Step 1, decide what kind of cake you want to make — there are chapters covering loaf cakes, bundt cakes, coffee cakes, single-layer cakes, cheesecakes, icebox cakes, cakes with fruit, and last but not least, layer cakes. Take your pick! Step 2, decide what you want in your cake — I love all the variations on each basic cake. No matter the season, whether you're craving warm winter spices or fresh summer fruit, there are cakes in each chapter to satisfy.
It sounds silly, maybe, but I really appreciate the layout of each recipe. For one thing, the ingredients and the entire recipe are all on one page so there's no awkward flipping back and forth while assembling a tricky recipe for the first time. The ingredients are also divided into the major components of the recipe: the cake, the glaze, the filling, the fruit and so on. This makes it easy to quickly reference what is needed for each step. The steps themselves are all succinctly explained without getting overly complicated.
I could hardly believe that this was Martha Stewart's first all-cake cookbook when I read it on the cover. But it's true! She's done wedding cakes, cookies, pies, and even cupcakes, but strangely, not cakes. I for one am glad this gap in our Martha Stewart lore has finally been filled.
• Who would enjoy this book? Anyone needing some new cake inspiration or wanting a definitive compendium of cake recipes for their cookbook shelf; fans of Martha Stewart
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Martha Stewart's Cakes by the Editors of Martha Stewart Living
• Visit the author's website: Martha Stewart
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Emma Christensen)