27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I agree with the previous reviewer, and I think the reviewer performed a valuable service in pointing out that "Wacky Cakes and Kooky Cookies" is the same book as "Cake and Cookie Decorating." I would merely like to add my own experiences in using the book. Bear in mind that, although I love to bake at home, I'm by no means an expert baker. First, the cakes. I've made two: the chocolate sponge, and the lemon victorian sponge. The chocolate sponge was indeed chocolatey, but much too heavy for my taste. The lemon sponge was much more successful. It was nice and light, and well-flavored with lemon. It's also one of the easiest cakes you can make from scatch. It does use self-rising flour, and therefore doesn't have the perfect crumb that you'll get from the sponge cakes in "The Cake Bible." But it's still very good, and quick! Another plus: This recipe only calls for four eggs. Most sponge/angel cake recipes call for 6-8 eggs. If you want a good, quick cake for dinner, without having to run out and buy more eggs, or borrow from the neighbors, this is the recipe to make. Frostings: Very strong. I tried everything but the fondant frosting, and they were all good. The granache was delicious, and surprisingly easy to make. My favorite was the lemon water frosting: VERY quick, easy and tasty, and the lemon juice cuts the excessive sweetness of the sugar. This frosting is perfect for the Happy Sun cookies. It dries nice and solid, and you can decorate on top of it. Cookie doughs: I tried the gingerbread dough and the lemon almond shortbread. The gingerbread dough as excellent, like most gingerbread doughs. What sets this recipe apart from most others is that it doesn't require eggs, so it keeps well, and you can use corn syrup instead of molasses, which people are more likely to have in their kitchens. Don't skimp on the flavorings. We (my daughter and I) made the lemon almond shortbread cookies twice; we consider this recipe a failure. Even after chilling, the dough was VERY crumbly and hard to roll out. And even after we (finally) rolled it out thin, it still produced a very heavy cookie. Also, we found the taste bland: a disappointment, considering that it's so expensive - 1 1/3 cups ground almonds. We made the Happy Sun and Sunflower cookies, and both turned out great: truly unusual and spectacular-looking. The sunflower cookies are very rich, with the royal frosting and chocolate centers. They're more like a pastry than a cookie. I suggest using any cutout cookie dough you're comfortable with, rather than the almond shortbread one. If you have oodles of time, and don't mind enlarging the templates in the back of the book, then transferring them to plastic and cutting around each cookie with a knife, that's fine. Otherwise, just buy a sunflower cookie cutter. In a way, the Happy Sun cookies were my favorite: Impressive but easy, and you don't have to fool around with templates or special cutters. Also, if you're pressed for time, you can use the lemon-water frosting, and then draw faces with store-bought cake-decorating tubes. The large illustration is very helpful here. The best part of this book, for me, was in presenting really unusual yet doable cookies. I highly recommend "Wacky Cakes and Kooky Cookies."