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

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

by Erin McKenna


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Forget everything you’ve heard about health-conscious baking.

Simply, BabyCakes is your key to an enlightened, indulgent, sweets-filled future. This is important news not only for parents whose children have allergies, for vegans, and for others who struggle with food sensitivities, but also for all you sugar-loving traditionalists. The recipes in these pages prove that there is a healthy alternative to recklessly made desserts, one that doesn't sacrifice taste or texture.

Having experimented endlessly with alternative, health-conscious sweeteners, flours, and thickeners, Erin McKenna, the proprietress of beloved bakery BabyCakes NYC, developed these recipes–most are gluten-free, all are without refined sugar–in hopes of combating her own wheat, dairy, and sugar sensitivities. In BabyCakes, she shares detailed information about the ingredients she uses (coconut flour, xanthan gum, and agave nectar, for example) and how to substitute them properly for common ones–all the while guiding you safely through techniques she’s spent years perfecting.

When BabyCakes NYC opened on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 2005, it helped propel the gluten-free and vegan baking movement into a new stratosphere. Suddenly there was a destination for those with wheat allergies and other dietary restrictions–and, soon enough, celebrities and dessert lovers of every kind–to indulge freely in delectable muffins and teacakes, brownies and cookies, pies and cobblers.

Enclosed within these pages are all the “secrets” you’ll need to bring the greatness of BabyCakes NYC into your own home as well as raves and recommendations from devotees such as Natalie Portman, Jason Schwartzman, Mary-Louise Parker, Zooey Deschanel, and Pamela Anderson.

For confectionists of all kinds, delicious alternatives lie within: Red Velvet Cupcakes, Chocolate Shortbread Scones with Caramelized Bananas, Strawberry Shortcake, and BabyCakes NYC’s celebrated frosting (so delicious it has fans tipping back frosting shots!), to name just a few. Finally, Erin’s blissful desserts are yours for the baking!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307408839
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 05/05/2009
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 456,055
Product dimensions: 7.70(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

ERIN MCKENNA is the chef and owner of BabyCakes NYC, a bakery with outposts in New York City and West Hollywood. She received the prestigious Best Cupcake award in 2006 from New York magazine. Erin has been a guest on Martha Stewart Television and Food Network and has been featured in the New York Times, Food & Wine, Modern Bride, VegNews, Harper’s Bazaar, In Style, and O, the Oprah Magazine.

Read an Excerpt


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

Clarkson Potter

Copyright © 2009 Erin McKenna
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780307408839


This recipe’s dynamic is hard to explain, and I really like that. This is the charm of the blondie. The vanilla and chocolate have a subtle repartee, with neither really dominating nor giving way to the other. Initially, the vanilla seems to cede center stage to the chocolate, but if you pay close attention, you’ll notice how the vanilla rounds out the chocolate with a seductive mellowness, ultimately creating balance. Making them bite-size gives a great crunchy texture, but you can also bake them in a cake pan and serve them as squares. Either way, blondies are best served warm.

   • 1/2 cup garbanzo–fava bean flour
   • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
   • 1/2 cup potato starch
   • 1/4 cup arrowroot
   • 1 1/4 cups evaporated cane juice
   • 2 teaspoons baking powder
   • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
   • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
   • 1 teaspoon salt
   • 1/2 cup coconut oil, plus more for the tins
   • 1/3 cup homemade applesauce or store-bought unsweetened applesauce
   • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
   • 1/2 cup hot water
   • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease three 12-cup mini-muffin tins with oil.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, potato starch, arrowroot, evaporated cane juice, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Add the ½ cup oil and the applesauce, vanilla, and hot water and stir until the batter is smooth. Using a plastic spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chips just until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Using a melon baller, scoop the batter into each prepared mini-muffin cup. Bake the blondies on the center rack for 9 minutes, rotating the tins 180 degrees after 5 minutes. The finished blondies will be golden brown and firm to the touch.

Let the blondies stand in the tins for 10 minutes. To maintain freshness, leave the blondies in the muffin tins until ready to serve. Cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.


Excerpted from BabyCakes by Erin McKenna Copyright © 2009 by Erin McKenna. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

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Babycakes 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 85 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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 ...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
supersarah More than 1 year ago
I've made the banana bread and the vanilla cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies and brownies so far! So yummy, all of it! The frosting was amazing!!! My only complaint is that I'm going to get fat! Or am I?
AuntSarah More than 1 year ago
This cookbook requires the diligence and experience of a seasoned baker. Many of the special ingredients will not be found at your local grocery store. Be prepared to shop around. That said, I would not recommend this cookbook to an amateur baker. I have tried just a few recipes from this cookbook and found the hunt for special ingredients to be time consuming. Warning! The instructions must be followed exactly as written. There can be no eye-balling of measurement with these intricate recipes. If you do not follow instructions to the letter, you will deprive yourself of the pleasing end product. Are you up for a challenge? The Midas touch can be earned with practice.
Momofcelaicandautism More than 1 year ago
I had read about this book on the newsgroups before it came out, and was very excited to order it the minute it came out! It was worth the wait. It is important to know that spelt isn't gluten-free, which Erin McKenna tells you in the book. If you have Celiac you already know that, but there are people who will not. I have used this book over and over since I got it, and I highly recommend it to anyone with a wheat allergy, Celiac, and Vegans! I did gain about 6 pounds the first month I owned it! But so did my skinny kids! I cherish this cookbook unlike any I have ever owned. It is a must in the gluten-free kitchen. There are simple recipes and very elaborate recipes that are worth the effort. It makes me excited to know that I can make and take something everyone will love and not turn their noses up because it is gluten-free and vegan. If you are vegan, gluten-free, or you are an adventurous eater and looking for something new, this is the cookbook for you.
ellasmommy More than 1 year ago
When I saw this book at my local B&N I got really excited. It looked amazing, but I couldn't buy it that day because it was out of my budget. It seemed a little expensive for such a small cookbook, but I thought I would save for it and get it online. So I waited and waited and when it came in the mail I was so excited. I made the chocolate cupcakes which were pretty okay for being gluten free and vegan. I next made the chocolate frosting, which was really hard, and there were some tricks to it that I had to experiment with it. Anyways, it just never looked as good as the picture, and didn't taste very good either. I made the blueberry muffins which were eatable but not gluten free, which is explained on the cover that this book has mostly-gluten free. They were vegan which is the only thing I am concerned about. They were eatable, but not as good as other vegan recipes I have tried. The zucchini muffins were uneatable and kinda gross. The number one thing that turns me off to this book is how expensive it is to bake these recipes. The ingredient in this cookbook are hard to find and very very expensive. Anyways, all in all I was pretty disappointed. If you want good vegan baking there are better recipes out there that have less expensive ingredient. I would like to try more recipes in the cookbook, but I can't afford to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is such a great resource for vegans! I just made my first recipe, the double chocolate chip cookies and they were amazing! who knew being a vegan could be so delicious! i definitely recommend this book to anyone, even if you aren't a vegan or have food allergies. the recipes are amazingly delicious!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of all the recipes I made they have all come out wonderfully. I love that they are vegan and mostly gluten free.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been a vegan for years and have had my share of delicious vegan cupcakes. That surprised me! I thought when I became a vegan for health reasons that I would be sacrificing taste for health. But I was wrong! I have found amazing cupcake and icing recipes online. I read awesome reviews about this book and their store in New York and decided it was time to invest in a cookbook. I was utterly disappointed. I went shopping at Whole Foods, which was the only place near me that had the specialty items asked for in this cookbook, and spent a lot of money on a small amount of ingredients. As I handed the clerk my debit card I prayed that the cupcakes would be as divine as people were raving about as I had spent so much money on those ingredients I would be making cupcakes for weeks to come... I am so sad to say that the cupcakes were awful. I had such hi expectations. The frosting was dry, overwhelmingly coconutty, and a little mealy. The cupcakes dried up after an hour, the tops got hard, and the bottom crumbled. I think this might have to do with the large amount of coconut oil in the cupcakes. I'll try it again, just to make sure that the results weren't due to user error. However I just recently purchased Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and may end up living out of that book instead of Babycakes. Sigh. I was so hoping that these would be good...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been waiting for this book. As a gluten free vegan I have tried for years to find great tasting baked goods, I thought I would never be able to enjoy my KitchenAid mixer again. Then I bought this book. This is the best gluten free and vegan cookbook I own. Every thing I have baked has been loved even by the most ardent junk food lovers I know.
MagdaNY More than 1 year ago
Finally there is a "sweet" book for all of us with food allergies. The recipes are very easy to follow even for a child and the goods always come out delicious. I have never been a big fan of cupcakes before and never understood what the fuss is all about. That changed when I tried Erin's cupcakes. I bake with my daughter on a weakly basis and once a month we make a special trip to the bakery. We love this book and can not wait for a part two.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well, I just got the book, so I haven't yet had the chance to try any recipes, which honestly do look amazing...with the exception that I noticed SPELT FLOUR in a number of the recipes. FYI, spelt is NOT gluten-free!!! I'm sure most people with celiac disease already know this, but for the novice, this could get someone REALLY ill. What a disappointment. So close...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Haven’t tried a recipe yet but my niece says it’s good.
crazybatcow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you want to be gluten free, and you don't eat chemical companies version of "sugar", this book will be useless.The "mostly" in the title is accurate... MOSTLY the recipes require Spelt which is not gluten free (but is wheat free) and ALL of the "sugar-free" recipes use a man-made sugar substitute. There are a couple gluten free recipes (which are not very good) but the ones they are "famous" for require spelt so I couldn't try them. There are better cookbooks out there (Washburn and Hagman come to mind).
angelitamay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This cookbook is amazing!
391 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic vegan baking book! I'm not gluten free, so currently I've been subbing flour for the gluten free ingredients, but as soon as I get enough money to go out and buy arrowroot and rice flour and xanthan gum I will definitely try them sans-gluten as well. The food is delicious, and the photos are just to die for. I've made the donuts (which were a HUGE hit with my omni roommates) and a few of the simpler cakes and cookies, and can't wait to try out a few of the more complicated recipes. This is a solid baker's cookbook with quite a few workarounds and troubleshooting for any novices looking to create fantastic food.
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