Bake It Like You Mean It by Gesine Bullock-Prado

After reading Sugar Baby (see the review here), I was excited to read another book from Bullock-Prado. And I wasn't disappointed (except for all the errata, see more below) when I had the opportunity to read Bake It Like You Mean It. From her own words, this is her philosophy:
My baking philosophy - my mantra - has always been 'bake it like you mean it.' To bake with an eye for the details and the pleasure of the process. To bake with the intent to create desserts that are delicious and beautiful from the inside out....Bake It Like You Mean It is the next wave in making, baking, and building cakes that are masterpieces from the inside out.
And how does she do it? Keeping with the basics and expanding on that theme. After all if a baker has that down, the rest just flows. Her notes throughout make it easy for even a very beginner to grasp both terminology and technique. And she doesn't just begin and end with 'traditional' cakes.

Her topics cover a range of cakes, both traditional and new, and are grouped by chapter category:  Airy and Marvelous - Meringues; Light and Scrumptious - Sponge Cakes; Rich and Decadent - Butter and Pound Cakes; Smooth and Creamy - Cheesecakes and Mousse; and Springy and Yummy - Yeasties. She ends with Conversion Charts: basic weight and volume, and weight equivalents for all-purpose flour, superfine granulated sugar, and other ingredients.

I especially loved her opening stories for her recipes ("I'm going to indulge in some gossip here, of the 1890s type...") which made some recipes sound like the stuff of legend ("...the marriage lasted just a few years, but the cake will last forever."). The recipes are detailed, so if you've just picked up a baking book and want to experiment, give yourself some time. Those with some experience may just look over the procedures, but even those are pretty much to the point leaving little chance for error even for the most extreme beginner. Except for the mistakes.

And while I really did enjoy this book, depending on which version you got/will buy there may be mistakes. Quick readers may not pick up on them and, quite frankly, anyone spending time in the kitchen deserves a well-written recipe. The publisher Abrams has put together a list of mistakes in an 'errata' list. Here is the Errata in pdf form for you to download and go over with a fine tooth comb (there's quite a few). I'm hoping that with the success she has had with her previous books that both editor and proofreader will take more time on the next ones to avoid this mess. But even with all that, I still enjoyed it. Tina Rupp, the photographer, did a great job.

Here is one of the recipes, a variation of sorts from her croissants. Basically a procedure of what to do with the scraps of croissant dough that would otherwise be tossed. The recipe is truncated, but the idea is sublimely simple.

Scrap Tartlets (Extra Croissant Dough)

  • Leftover croissant dough, cut into 1/2 inch-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter, cooled
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Currants, as desired
  • Turbinado sugar, as needed for sprinkling, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Toss the scraps with the butter, granulated sugar, and currants, if using.
  3. Place in a random pattern into the bottom of 4-inch tart non-stick molds that have been sprayed.
  4. Proof for 45 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar, if using.
  6. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Serve.
Book Information:

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own.


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