Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse: Cupcakes, Small Cakes, Muffins, and Other Mini Treats Hardcover – Feb 19 2008
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About the Author
Kaye Hansen is a self-taught baker and the owner of the Riviera Bakehouse in Westchester, the bakery of choice for devoted customers from Albany to New York City.
Liv Hansen was trained as a painter before turning her eye for color and composition to buttercream and melted chocolate. The bakery has been featured in the New York Times, and the Hansens have appeared on Today, the Food Network, and The View. Both Kaye and Liv reside in Rockland County.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The corn muffin recipe was delicious, and their decorations are phenomenal.
Just to give you an idea of the recipes offered, here's a selection. . .
Anytime Little Cakes & Muffins. .
Corn Muffins, Blueberry Muffins, Zucchini Muffins, Banana Muffins, Whole Wheat Blackberry Muffins, Oatmeal Muffins, Pumpkin Muffins, Coffee Chocolate Chip Muffins, Almond Coffee Cakes, Blueberry Crumb Cakes. .
Special Occasion Little Cakes
Strawberry Shortcakes, Raspberry Cheesecakes (miniature, of course), Falling leaves (melted candy painted to look like leaves!), Pumpkin spice cheesecakes, Matt's upside-down cakes (they look soooo delicious!), Nostalgic nibbles and Devilish delights (basically their nod to the twinkie and a chocolate counterpart), Make a wish cupcakes (their interpretation of their "mini" cake from their first book, only in cupcake form), halloween cupcakes, Pate a Choux nests and Pastry Cream, Wild Meringues, and Dulce De Leche, and more!
There are even 3-d Apple bushel cakes (the actual cupcake looks like a bushel of apples - so cute!), Flower pots (the actual pot is candy coating!), and there are directions on how to make your cupcakes look like several different flowers (gorgeous!), and then there's the 3-d Christmas trees, & the much desired Tiered mini cakes (one's a dragon - it's gorgeous, another one has a Paisley design, and the final cake is decorated in beautiful Lilacs.
And all of the frosting and filling recipes they suggest using are here, plus the cake batters. I think you'll find their books inspiring, easy to use, and fun to look at over and over again.
Also, the recipe for Kaye's buttercream is in here (it is out of this world!) and it's scaled down from the version in their first book, to make half a recipe.
I can't stress this enough, this is a miniature bakery book - think cupcakes, mini muffins, muffins, and single portion desserts. If that interests you, then you're going to absolutely love this book!
As a sidenote, as anyone who owns any of their three cookbooks can tell you, the photos are fabulous! You never have to guess what your dessert is going to look like, and the templates are included in the back of the book.
Just buy it!
As usual, the book has all those bright neon colors that get you thinking outside the realm of the frosting standards. To help you get started, they have the first section, aptly named "Getting Started". It covers all the specifics of what equipment and supplies you would need to make all the stuff in this book; every template is included as well. One of the most appreciated sections within this book is the chart of cake pans, sizes, and batter capacity needed; cupcakes are always a plural adventure, and for this, you need to know what you're working with. Plus there is the color chart to help you make every wild, bright, and wonderful color you want, plus icing color standards. Kaye and Liv include all sorts of tips on baking (how not to overmix certain batters, adjusting your timetable to meet your timeline, etc.) as well as tips on fillings, icings, piping (from simple to detailed), and the actual recipes themselves.
I need to really emphasize the lesson they give you in "The Chocolate Method". If you've ever seen edible designs and wondered how they are made, this section alone was worth the price of the book. It seems so simple once you get it, but until a really great baker tells you how, it can seem too much to attempt.
ANYTINE LITTLE CAKES & MUFFINS
The best recipes for muffins: blueberry, zucchini, banana, whole wheat blackberry, oatmeal, pumpkin, and coffee chocolate chip. Then there are the cakes: almond coffee, blueberry crumb, coffee pecan pound cakes, and plum kuchens.
SPECIAL OCCASION LITTLE CAKES
Raspberry cheesecakes, pumpkin spice cheesecakes, Matt's little pineapple upside-down cakes, and one of the best ever....TWINKIES and DEVIL DOGS (the delicious way they used to taste)!!! Also, Devil's Food cake, caramel cake, the Big Bang cake (chocolate and caramel on a Pistachio Ganache Truffle cake (mercy!), cream puff nests, pate a choux nests (custard puffs), "ice cream" cupcakes (cake batter cones w/ ice cream on top) along with the ice cream recipe and the topping shell for the ice cream.
THE FUN CUPCAKES
Make-A-Wish cupcakes (the ones on the front cover)
Mini Acorn cupcakes
Chocolate Coconut cupcakes with German Chocolate Icing
Wild Meringues cupcakes (animal print look made with chocolate---grrrr!!!)
Little Present cupcakes (cute little "gifts" with a chocolate bow)
Caramel Popcorn cupcakes
Construction cupcakes (this presentation used "the Chocolate Method" of designs to place on a sea of chocolate cupcakes; a definite boy's dream!)
Spider and Ladybug cupcakes
Beach Pail cupcakes (soooooo adorable and sooo real-looking!)
Flower Power cupcakes (gorgeous floral masterpieces that looked like a real garden of dahlias, poppies, daisies, etc)
"A Rose is a Rose" bouquet of cupcakes (very, very clever!)
Hat cupcakes (witches, fedoras, baseball caps, etc)
A Bushel of Apples (literally a cupcake that looks like a apple bushel!)
Flower Pot cupcakes
Christmas Tree cupcakes
and........the Grand Finale...................
Tiered Mini-Cakes (3 basic designs to work from and they are gorgeous!)
These would be great ways of spending time with family and friends, and the delicious joy that these will bring will be sooo worth it!! Thanks to Kaye and Liv!
There are a few recipes that use shaped pans (ice cream cones, rose, heart) which can be costly. They do provide alternatives if the user doesn't have the pans. I do not like the book's size. It's only 8" x 9 1/2" and the print is smaller than many of my other cookbooks. However, the content is so good that I can overlook both issues.
It is a great book and I would definitely buy it again.
I've enclosed photos on the first cupcakes I made. The flower cupcakes with the red velvet and lemon coconut recipes. They were a hit! The cakes tasted great and I love their butter cream. Most people find frosting too sweet but their version is the right balance between sweetness and creaminess.
At first I didn't think I could make them as the flowers looked difficult. Plus this book did not have the "how to" photos like their cake book did so I had to read the instructions carefully.
I give this book 4 stars instead of 5 because you do have to have some basic baking knowledge/skills to follow the recipes both baking and decorating. Beginners might have a hard time trying to follow the decorating techniques. My advice is to start with the basics and work your way up to the more difficult cakes.