Customer Reviews for

BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York's Most Talked-About Bakery

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

20 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

Set aside some time, money, and patience when you buy this cookbook...

I hate to be the one to rain on the Babycakes-is-so-great parade, because I still have high hopes for my relationship with these recipes, but I think that a few suggestions based on my own experiences could help future buyers of this book:

1. The book says that you ...
I hate to be the one to rain on the Babycakes-is-so-great parade, because I still have high hopes for my relationship with these recipes, but I think that a few suggestions based on my own experiences could help future buyers of this book:

1. The book says that you need to follow the instructions to the letter. Yes, that's true. Unfortunately, some instructions are wrong or missing. Advice on working with coconut oil was a very frustrating omission. The coconut oil needs to be the extra-virgin variety, which isn't mentioned anywhere, and needs to be in its liquid state at all times. This can be tricky when working with cold ingredients (like applesauce and rice milk just out of the fridge). It takes some practice to get it right. Heating up all of the liquid ingredients to 90 degrees or so before mixing is the best way I've found. Also, if you don't want your frosting to taste as much like coconut, try using regular coconut oil in place of half of the extra-virgin.

2. The recipes are wrong in places. Compare the vanilla frosting recipe to the chocolate frosting recipe, for example. Both should have soy milk of 3/4 cup, and coconut oil of 1 1/2 cups. The bananas in the banana bread should be 1 1/2 cups, NOT 6 bananas. The lemon poppy teacake lists tablespoons of baking powder where it should be teaspoons. There are various other errors similar to these that I have read about online but not tested yet for myself.

3. Baking times for the teacakes seem to be off. Use an oven thermometer to verify the correct baking temperature (my oven's temp jumps around spontaneously), and leave the cakes in the oven until they are golden brown, regardless of how long it may take. Do not attempt to bake at a higher temperature to offset strange cooking times. I'm going to try baking my teacakes in a muffin tin or mini loaf pans next time to see if that works better.

4. Check your baking powder. If it's not fresh, your recipes will be awful. If it's been open for more than six months, do yourself a favor and buy a new can.

5. Don't give up! My first chocolate cupcakes were fallen, but still completely delicious. My first corn bread attempt more closely resembled a gummy rock than a tasty treat. Before I realized the errors in the frosting recipes, I trashed two batches, which was not an inexpensive mistake, given the price of the coconut oil involved. My first try at the lemon poppy teacake resulted in a perfectly golden-brown loaf surrounding a runny, uncooked center. The chocolate chip cookies, though, were darned good. Everything got better from there.

For me, a person with allergies to gluten, eggs, dairy, yeast, cane sugar, and agave (I substitute granulated fructose), the sweet treats in this cookbook are the closest thing I've had to baked treats in a really long time. It's worth it to me, and to my gluten-free daughter, to get the recipes to work. I can see the potential here - the ingredients are quite expensive, but the flavors are fabulous. I hope that a second version of the book will be forthcoming, hopefully with better-tested recipes that are closer to those actually used at the Babycakes bakery locations.

posted by 1763433 on August 16, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

please don't waste your money on this one ...

i am an avid baker and feel very comfortable around the kitchen ... i am vegan and have tried many vegan cook books .. unfortunately this is one i wish i had not spent money on ... 1. recipies for cupcakes are for a batch of 24, way too many to eat, especially given, th...
i am an avid baker and feel very comfortable around the kitchen ... i am vegan and have tried many vegan cook books .. unfortunately this is one i wish i had not spent money on ... 1. recipies for cupcakes are for a batch of 24, way too many to eat, especially given, they go stale by day two; 2. with all the accolades it includes from celebrities and chefs i thought it was going to be good, but it is not, the food tastes like pasty, dry health food; 3. ingredients are not your everyday ingredients, even in a vegetarian household, they were pricey and even with my baking experience only one out of three recipies was worthy to keep out of the trash can, and it was stale by the next day ... sorry to say my expectations were high and remained unmet ...

posted by 557345 on July 25, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2010

    I also have to be one to rain a little on the Baby Cakes book.

    I agree with the other poster who said some of the necessary instructions are missing, inadequately explained or even just wrong. If you are VERY experienced with gluten free cooking, I suppose these recipes would provide a "nice place to begin" before needing to adjust them some. If you just skip to the recipes without reading the full introduction, one might indeed fail to realize that Spelt is not gluten free. Though the author does include her explanation for providing spelt recipes in the book, my personal opinion is that they really do not belong in a "gluten free" cookbook -- or should at least be relegated to their own section. The carrot cake recipe WAS quite good...except that the instructions called for far too much baking soda, and the cake tasted VERY strongly of it... an expensive mistake the reader ends up paying for.

    At my health food store (the one which originally recommended the book) one of the associates mentioned that she's had 3-4 customers relay their experiences with it, all of them less than glowing, with the basic feeling being that the author either purposely or inadvertently left out important information necessary to make the recipes a success at home.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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