Piece of Cake!: One-bowl, no-fuss, from-scratch cakes
Camilla V. Saulsbury
Robert Rose Publishing (2011)
Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views (10/11)
I was craving a piece of carrot cake when “Piece of Cake!” came in for review; I had a specific flavor and texture in mind. I quickly flipped through the book and saw “Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting” and decided to give it a try. The cake was moist, dense, and rich; exactly what I was craving. This is the first time I used a lemon-flavored icing on carrot cake and was pleased with the blend of flavors. I loved the taste of the toasted walnuts in this cake; I’ve never toasted walnuts for a carrot cake before. The note beside the recipe stated that “one of the secrets is oil, rather than butter, in the batter. In addition to keeping the cake exceedingly moist, it allows it to be kept cold without hardening (as would happen if it was made from butter.)” I didn’t know this.
For the purpose of the review we are asked to test three recipes. The second recipe I tested was “Candied Ginger Pound Cake.” The cake was rich (1 cup sour cream, 1 cup butter, and 2 cups sugar). The flavor was of strong ginger (4 tsp ground ginger and 1 cup chopped crystallized ginger) which I appreciated. For me, the taste was very comforting and went well with several cups of tea. I sliced half of the cake and froze the individual pieces. When thawed out, there was no difference from the fresh from the oven taste or texture.
The third recipe I tested was the “Oatmeal Cake with Chocolate Chips and Pecans.” The end result was heavy and moist. The combination of chocolate chips and pecans sprinkled on top created a self-made icing. This recipe also freezes well. It’s suggested in the recipe that this could be eaten for breakfast but I found it a bit too sweet for that purpose; in fact, I felt it was too sweet in general. I suggest cutting back the granulated sugar to 1/2 cup instead of 3/4 cup. The cake reminded me of the “old-fashioned” type of coffee-cake often served to field workers.
There are many interesting recipes in “Piece of Cake!” that I plan to make over time. As I flipped through the pages and looked at the pictures, I was reminded of bake sales at my children’s school where the majority of the items were cakes.
If you are a cake foodie and wanting to try a different cake each time you bake one, “Piece of Cake!” is the book I recommend. It’s doubtful you would be sorry.