Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Buzz on "Booze Cakes" by Krystina Castella and Terry Lee Stone

I have written extensively about my inability to bake.  I try and fail miserably,  then I try again.  Therefore, when I was offered the opportunity to review Booze Cakes by Krystina Castella and Terry Lee Stone, I hesitated.  Who the hell am I to review a book about baking?  However.  While I may not be a baker, I do love reading cookbooks in general and seriously,  I just could not resist this book.  I mean, look at the cover.  Are you not craving cake right now?

I suspected this book would be chock full of luscious food photography and I was correct.  Every page is accompanied by a lovely photograph and several of the recipes feature "how-to" photographs to help you with preparation.  The book has four main sections (Classic Booze Cakes, Cocktail Cakes, Cake Shots, and Cakes with a Twist)  but I found the supplemental sections to be helpful as well.  There are recipes for homemade liqueurs and mixers (i.e. limoncello, sour cherries) and there are directions for toppings, frostings and fancy garnishes ( i.e. candied items such as cherries, flowers; flavored sugars such as lavender, herbal; specialty decorations such as marzipan carrots, meringues).

The recipes that appealed to me the most were the recipes for the English Trifle (drizzled with brandy), the Tres Leches cake (involving cachaça, a Brazilian distilled spirit) and the Chocolate Lava Cake (using port wine!)  In fact, including variations, there are 108 cake recipes and 32 cake shot recipes!   This book will not become boring anytime soon.

If there is a baker in your life, this would make such a thoughtful gift and I do believe an inventive baker would have fun with this book, its variations and the supplemental sections that can be used for other recipes.  Besides, if you present this as a gift, perhaps they might return the favor by leaving a cake on your doorstep?  At least, that is what I am hoping for as I pass this beautiful book to my baking friend Caroline! 

I wish I could have tried at least one recipe before posting this review - I promise to update this post with my friend's thoughts as she tries her hand at baking from this (I am curious what she will think of the Carrot Cake recipe, in particular, since that is one of her favorite cakes.)

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