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Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse: Cupcakes, Small Cakes, Muffins, and Other Mini Treats [Hardcover]

Kaye Hansen , Liv Hansen
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Feb. 19 2008
The mania for miniature sweets is gaining momentum–maybe due to happy memories of the magical tea parties of our childhood, or the intimacy of having our own tiny treat in a supersized world, with no need to share!

The mother-daughter team at the Riviera Bakehouse in Westchester, New York, and authors of The Whimsical Bakehouse and Christmas Cookies from the Whimsical Bakehouse now present an abundance of fabulous new recipes for little decorated cakes, cheesecakes, cupcakes, and more–all in fresh flavor combinations, like caramel cake with dulce de leche buttercream or spicy chocolate cake with cinnamon-chocolate whipped cream. This comprehensive introduction to baking in miniature also provides tips on glazing, icing, and making chocolate decorations and offers details on the equipment you need to get started (including a cake pan chart, so that you can use those mini rose pans, heart pans, and other fun shapes to bake unique creations).

The authors are famous for their over-the-top decorations, and they’ll take you step-by-step through the process of creating cakes piped and appliquéd with bumblebees (white chocolate wings and nonpareil stripes make them irresistible!), blooming roses (or, if you prefer, delicate hydrangeas with lifelike shaded petals), wild meringues (dressed with tiger stripes, zebra stripes, or leopard spots), and spiky dragons (right down to the serpentine tail). The recipes in Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse are categorized into three levels: one star for easy, two for intermediate, and three for challenging. So whether you want to start with a charming, super-easy star-shaped mini strawberry shortcake or strive for A Day at the Beach pail-shaped cake, complete with cookie-crumb sand, chocolate shovel, and edible seashells, you’ll find a cool confection that fits your skills. If you’re not ready for complicated decorating, this book also provides easy presentation ideas to make simple cakes look grander, ensuring the perfect finish to any occasion.

Little cakes are as fun to make as they are delicious to eat! After all, who’d turn down a bit–and a bite–of joy in their lives?

Product Details

Product Description

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.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas! Jan. 11 2012
I love the creativity in the Whimsical Bakehouse cookbooks. The only issue I found with this one is that you need all kinds of odd sized pans that I just don't have.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book! March 7 2008
By G. Shields - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First, as this book's title indicates, this is a book about little desserts. From cupcakes to muffins to small cakes. Dessert in miniature, which is pretty trendy right now. So if you're looking for a repeat of their first book, you'll find it here, only in miniature form.

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!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alot of big smiles in small packages! Nov. 26 2008
By Toni - Published on Amazon.com
Having just gotten this gem, it's another winner from the mother-daughter team of Kaye and Liv Hansen! Not finished with giving us unique and artistic big-people cakes, they have created little-people cakes, aka cupcakes and their equally delicious and tasty friends, the muffins.

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.

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.

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.

Make-A-Wish cupcakes (the ones on the front cover)
Halloween cupcakes
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)
Valentine cupcakes
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!)
Bumblebee cupcakes
Spider and Ladybug cupcakes
Shark 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!)
Basket cupcakes
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!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book April 27 2008
By L. Kelly - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I really want to give this book 4 and 1/2 stars. The technical information was comprehensive and easy to follow. I was also pleasantly surprised with the number of icing recipes provided - 3 kinds of buttercream, fudge icing, peanut butter, whipped cream and 3 kinds of glaze - as well as the fillings and cake recipes. The authors have phenomenal ideas for beautiful little cakes.

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.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best baking book April 14 2008
By Antoinette Puccio - Published on Amazon.com
Hi everyone I am a baker in new york went to school in london and have just about every book on baking a few weeks ago came across little cakes from the whimsical bakehouse all I can say is this book is wonderful every recipe in the book came out great and is very easy to understand putting together the recipes was to say the least a breeze not much can go wrong with this book I would recommend buying this book I plan on buying all her books and visting her bakehouse happy baking all

From brooklyn
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too cute! Aug. 3 2010
By Shannon L. Toohey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a great recipe book and cupcake decorating book.

It is a wonderful continuation of their original with lots of small cupcake ideas, muffins, etc. I actually love it more than "hello, Cupcakes!" because I feel like this one is a little more adult oriented. There are some wonderful ideas that I cannot wait to try on kids in the future in "Little Cakes" but it also covers a lot of muffin recipes and more adult mixes to make beautiful cupcakes.

It gives great decorating ideas, recipes and how to "fill" a cupcake - which I never would have thought of! Delicious!

For the reviews that are complaining about this book:

1) If you are looking for just completely cutesy (sometimes inedible by adults because there is so much icing) cupcake ideas then you should get "hello cupcakes" - very adorable, usually a little complicated to put together and tons of icing/candy. However, if you want something a little more artistic to make in a more classical "cake decorating" way - and still look and taste great - I think "Little Cakes" is the better option. Don't get me wrong - I think both books are great. I just think I'm more likely to use "Hello Cupcakes" for kids and "Little Cakes" for adults.

2) Some people have commented that the instructions aren't very good. Its true that I have found a few recipes that forget a small step or so (for example, remove the cupcake wrapper in the popcorn boxes) but its all really simple little steps that wouldn't be a big deal if you forgot, and if you read through the recipe ahead of time you would realize it was missing. Almost all recipe books miss steps here and there - this is actually one of the more complete books I've read.

3) Some people have commented that it doesn't explain how to do the decorations. I attribute this to the fact that this is sort of a "sequel" to The Whimsical Cakehouse. The Whimsical Cakehouse has an entire section on how to do every type of decoration (from writing to shells to flowers) in pretty elaborate detail. I think when they wrote "Little Cakes" they chose not to reinvent the wheel - so certain things (like the chocolate method and basic decorations) are just touched on because they presume you have already read the original. Having read the original first and being very new to cake decorating I had NO problem with the decorations.

I highly encourage anyone to buy this book - the recipes are just so creative and fun! Its not fondant and perfection like some cake decorating books but they sure are cute and sooo tasty!
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