Piece of Cake: Home Baking Made Simple

Piece of Cake: Home Baking Made Simple by David Muniz and David Lesniak, Rizzoli 2012, $29.95 hardcover, 223 pages

Home baking, in all its lopsided, crumb-scattering glory is captured in this eminently cookable book. If you’re one of those bakers who weighs eggs and pulls out a ruler to measure cake layers, this is not the book for you. But if you find tossing together eggs, flour, butter, and sugar more relaxing than yoga or even a martini, you’ll be happy here.

I’m the first to admit it. Part of the reason I bake is for the complements, the pleasure it brings other people pleases me. And these are all people-pleasing recipes—Abuela’s Italian Cream Cake, Chocolate Scones, and whoopee pies in all their variations from pumpkin and oatmeal to vanilla and red velvet. These are the cakes and sweets you’ll bring to office parties, potlucks, and birthdays. In fact, that’s how these two Davids got started baking.

Following opportunities and daydreams, they’ve opened an American-style bakery in London with recipes developed at home, tested on friends and co-workers, and rolled out at a booth at a local farm market. Now at Outsider Tart, they sate hungry expats with Cheerios and Hershey bars and win new customers with cookies, brownies, and cupcakes.

For burgeoning bakers, they distinguish between a recipe’s foundation and the ways you can successfully embellish it. The recipes include plenty of basics, but with a twist that will get you into the kitchen—Chocolate Snickerdoodles, Guinness Brownies, and a chapter of idiosyncratic layer cakes like Dobosh Torte, Cannoli Cake, and Apple Stack Cake.

You don’t have to be baking for homesick expats to appreciate the homey love in every one of these recipes. Cookies sprinkled and chewy, gooey brownies, or tottering, over-the-top layer cakes will please whoever you share them with.


About Appetite for Books

read, cook, eat, repeat
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