Monday, May 17, 2010

Book Review:: Babycakes

The fact that I finally have direct, local access to an Anthropologie and the only thing I can justify buying is a cook book featuring baked goods should say something about how tight fisted I am with money. It's also probably evidence that I'm kind of a pig.

I purchased this book for two reasons:

*My best friend checked it out from her local library three times and was constantly talking about it and I wanted to participate in the conversation.

*All of my life I've had some tummy issues that I'd like to get to the bottom of. Thinking the problem may be gluten related, I thought I'd invest in a book of gluten free recipes.

It turns out though, that not all the recipes in the book are gluten free. Many of them call for spelt flour, which most people with gluten problems can't tolerate. For my purposes, this is no big deal since I can (and usually will) eat just about anything. But if you're searching for a true gluten free cook book, you might want to spend your $24 elsewhere.

So far, I've made two things from this cookbook, the Lemon-Poppy Teacake and the Johnnycakes.
Lemon Poppy Teacake

Both came out tasty and the recipes were clear and easy to follow. In fact, that's probably one of my favorite things about the book. The directions are precise and exact and the author tells you to follow them word for word. Good to know since you'll be working with expensive, unusual, or hard to find ingredients like xanthan gum, potato starch, coconut oil, and arrowroot.

Which brings me to my biggest complaint, which isn't so much about the book itself, but maybe gluten free or specialty baking in general: It's super costly. On the day that I bought the ingredients for the Lemon Poppy Teacake I spent about $60. Granted, I had just moved in and my kitchen cabinets weren't stocked, so I had to buy everything, right down to basics like vanilla extract......but still. Yikes. Again, if you actually need to eat this way, this isn't a surprise to you and you probably already have a lot of the needed ingredients. But for me, the casual baker, the investment got me a bit choked up. Also, living near a big city, I had no trouble finding the needed items, but if I were still back in Gainesville, I don't know if I would have had as much luck. I may have had to order certain items off the interwebs, which can be a drag.

The book itself is very stylish and trendy and the pictures are gorgeous. I occasionally love to just read a cookbook much like I'd read a novel, so this appeals to me. That being said, I don't know if any of the recipes in this book are going to be awesome enough for me to keep the specialty items on hand. They're good, but I'm sure I could find yummy recipes online that don't need the expensive ingredients.

All in all, I like this book and have enjoyed stepping outside my comfort zone in regards to the way I bake. But I liken baking from this book to going to the opera-It's an intriguing idea, but not something I desire to do on a regular basis.

(I wrote this post in conjunction with Krafty Kash's Holy Scale Mondays. If you read Kashoan's blog regularly, you know she's lost over 30 pounds in the last few months. In order to keep herself motivated she's started an online support group of sorts where we can all share tips, recipes, stories, basically anything related to weight loss or healthy living. If you're interested in joining, check out Kashoan's blog.)


R.H. Ducky said...

this line, "It's also probably evidence that I'm kind of a pig." totally cracked me up. i really have nothing useful to contribute to this topic because i can honestly say that i have never baked anything in my life. ever.

kraftykash said...

I hate when recipes call for things that I will only use 1 or 2 times. Its frustrating. I think that teacake looks yummy. Thanks for linking up!! :)

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

I live in a small town -- finding "exotic" ingredients is so challenging, plus my kids are so adverse to trying new things.

Like you, I love reading a good cookbook.

Maria Rose said...

I hate re-stocking my cupboards when I move. So I now pack most every food item I can that won't grow something on the move. Too bad about the book--- I am always looking for a vegan cookbook, but I can't find specialty ingredients out here in hicksville.

Hotch Potchery said...

I love to read cookbooks!!!

Daphne said...

I am going to pick this up from the library today. Hopefully the bulk-foods market will have most of the exotic ingredients available so it won't be quite so dear! can't wait to try it, though...

hester said...

What a gorgeous looking shop - I've just added it to my favourites. The cake you made looks delicious - that's the best bit about baking, hey?

mandy said...

man oh man.
we just moved from philly, the anthro headquarters, it is a beautiful store though I never could part with the cash to buy anything there.

i have checked that book out a few times from the library but haven't baked anything in it yet, so far just baking porn...maybe next time.

Aleta said...

Thanks for the information on the book. I'm not much of a cook, but I like to know when a cook book has easy to follow instructions. But finding specialty ingredients isn't easy around here :(