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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Confessions from a bake-from-scratch snob
I used to think that baking from a box was beneath me--until I found this book. This book never fails to impress and now I enjoy "celebrity baker" status among my friends and family. This book also taught me to improvise and make my own creations as well. The lemon cake is great, as well as the coconut layer cake. I still bake from scratch, but the book has...
Published on Nov. 19 2003 by Me

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book for what it is -- but a few caveats...
This book is VERY well written and fun to read, and loaded with good hints on baking in general, why cake mixes taste and perform the way they do, etc. But my results have been mixed. So far I've tried the Fresh Orange Cake, the lemon cake that follows two pages later, and the Macadamia Fudge Torte, all of which were outstanding. But the Double Chocolate Chewies...
Published on March 6 2002 by jeffsdate


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Confessions from a bake-from-scratch snob, Nov. 19 2003
By 
This review is from: The Cake Mix Doctor (Paperback)
I used to think that baking from a box was beneath me--until I found this book. This book never fails to impress and now I enjoy "celebrity baker" status among my friends and family. This book also taught me to improvise and make my own creations as well. The lemon cake is great, as well as the coconut layer cake. I still bake from scratch, but the book has taught me with a little extra ingredients you really cannot tell the difference between from scratch or from box taste. The book is worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little help for the semi-baker..., April 12 2004
This review is from: The Cake Mix Doctor (Paperback)
Usually I'm a great proponent of doing things from scratch, but there are some good reasons why people might want to use Byrn's recipes that turn cake mixes into... well, cakes, but not quite the cakes you'd get if you just followed the directions on the box.
Byrn makes a good case for the benefits of cake mixes. For example, they're made to be very mistake-tolerant. You can mix them too long or not enough, have an oven that's a bit off temperature-wise, or muck up the amount of liquid, and as long as you haven't gone *too* far off you'll still end up with an edible product. More often, anyway, than if you were starting from scratch. Also, while many from-scratch cakes are actually quite simple and easy, some cooks simply feel daunted by them. Starting with cake mixes can feel less like making a real commitment to something. And in some cases, the cake mix version really is easier or quicker or cheaper.
Of course I mentioned that these cakes don't come out tasting like cake mix cakes. Ann makes sure to add things to her cake mixes that you won't find on the box. One of these ingredients is usually butter--lots of butter--so these aren't diet recipes. She also adds a dash of something flavorful. Then she combines her cakes with other things, such as the wonderful icing and frosting recipes she includes.
There are only a couple of things that keep me from giving this cookbook 5 stars. One is that really, most cake mix cakes aren't that much simpler than starting from scratch--this cookbook is great if you aren't a very good cook and your cakes tend to mysteriously fail, but not so amazing if you know what you're doing. The other is a structural problem. Some of the recipes had odd little structural issues that I've never had with "normal" recipes, like a grainy icing or a "chocolate syrup cake" (syrup baked into the middle of a ring-shaped cake) that simply fell into pieces when we attempted to remove it from the pan.
There are handy tips and hints for working with cake mixes and cakes. There's a huge variety of recipes for almost every cake imaginable. The front of the book includes tiny color photos of (I think) all of the recipes. The recipes are uniformly delicious, but they do sometimes have other issues. Buy the cookbook if you need a little help when baking, and make sure to try a recipe ahead of time before making it for company.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book for what it is -- but a few caveats..., March 6 2002
This review is from: The Cake Mix Doctor (Paperback)
This book is VERY well written and fun to read, and loaded with good hints on baking in general, why cake mixes taste and perform the way they do, etc. But my results have been mixed. So far I've tried the Fresh Orange Cake, the lemon cake that follows two pages later, and the Macadamia Fudge Torte, all of which were outstanding. But the Double Chocolate Chewies (cookies), Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars, Pumpkin Spice Cake, and Banana Loaves were just OK. The Apple Walnut Crisp, while extremely easy, was not very good -- it tasted like what it was: apple pie filling with dry cake mix on top and then a full cup (ouch!) of melted butter poured on top! And my real disaster was the Zesty Cranberry Cake (one of the few low-fat ones). It tasted like baby aspirin, besides being dense and heavy, and my husband and I couldn't swallow it, even though we love cranberries.
I have a few general complaints also. One, I wish there were more light/ low fat recipes. Most of the recipes are "doctored" by adding extra eggs and LOTS of fat to them (among other things), and I can't bring myself to put that stuff into my body very often.
Second, she recommends using an electric mixer for just about every recipe (I assume to give the illusion of "quick and easy"), but some of the doughs are much too stiff to use the mixer unless you have a very strong commercial machine. Third, there are a LOT of repeats in the book! For example, the Chocolate Better-than-Sex Cake is exactly the same recipe as the Darn Good Chocolate Cake, and there are many other repeats, sometimes with tiny variations, and sometimes with nothing more than a name change or a different type of pan. And finally, I do a lot of from-scratch baking and I really don't find that using a mix saves me that much time. After all, mixing your dry ingredients only takes a few minutes. With Byrn's recipes you still have to zest the lemons, melt the butter, grease & flour the pan, wash the dishes, etc.
I think this book is best for those whose scratch recipes mysteriously fail, because Byrn's recipes are pretty foolproof and avoid your having to measure dry ingreds precisely (which is often the cause of scratch-baking failures). If you're good at scratch baking and have the few extra minutes to mix your dry ingreds., you should probably stick with scratch for best results!
PS: My review should be *3* stars -- for some reason Amazon has kept it at 4 despite my trying to change it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars For novice bakers and more experienced scratch bakers too ..., Jan. 11 2011
This review is from: The Cake Mix Doctor (Paperback)
This book is great for relatively quick and easy cake baking. I'm always dealing with short notices for unexpected company or last minute invites so the bundt cake is my pal :) The recipes within are easy to follow though with some, the ingredients are not usual staples. Once you read the various recipes, you'll soon be concocting your own variations. I especially love the cakes with alcohol .. yummm!

I also bought the Chocolate Cake Mix Doctor .. more fab recipes!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Do yourself a favor and buy this book, July 19 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Cake Mix Doctor (Paperback)
This book has made me a cake lover. Every cake comes out perfect and yet the best part is that every recipe starts with a boxed mix. However, you would never guess as each cake is decadent. The pictures of each cake listed in the front of the book is a bit cheasy but can be really fun if you let friends pick which cake they want for thier birthday based on the pictures. This book rocks.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!, May 10 2004
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Amy Shopland (Vt, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cake Mix Doctor (Paperback)
This is an excellent cookbook! Any recipe I have made- cakes, frostings, bars, comes out wonderful. They always get rave reviews! It also has great tips on all aspects of cake baking. I am so glad I have this cookbook, and I use it all the time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dessert Lover's Dream Come True!, April 24 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Cake Mix Doctor (Paperback)
I love this cookbook! It is full of easy recipes that take just minutes to prepare; and require ingredients I almost always already have in my pantry. Anne Byrn also made it interesting reading by filling the book with facts about the recipes and the cake mix industry. I have tried many of the recipes and so far have only found one "bad" recipe...don't use her Cream Cheese Frosting recipe, it is more like a sauce than a frosting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This Book is a Treasure!, Feb. 21 2004
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Mary K. Lucas "mtlucai3" (Columbia, South Carolina United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cake Mix Doctor (Paperback)
I purchased this book three weeks ago, and have been in the kitchen, churning out Ann Bryn recipes, ever since. I have spent years curling a lip at cake mixes, sifting, incorporating dry ingredients,and spending long periods of time baking cakes from scratch. These cakes are every bit as good as cakes made from scratch (and some are better). My husband swooned over the Double Chocolate Rum Cake, my friends said that the Applesauce Spice Cake with Caramel Glaze was the best that they had eaten, my team loved the Buttermilk Devil's Food Cake with White Choclate Frosting.....I could go on and on. But, I won't. :-) Instead, I'm going to get busy and order all of the rest of her cookbooks.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Cake Doctor Review, Feb. 18 2004
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Harley (Navarre, FL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Cake Mix Doctor (Paperback)
I bought this book thinking that it would contain some easy and quick recipes. It does, however, the ingredients lists for the recipes are as long as recipes you make from scratch. I would have been more satisfied with a recipe book that required a pre-packaged cake mix + 3 or 4 ingredients, not 5-8!! You might as well make them from scratch.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great for easy baking, Jan. 31 2004
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A. Spry "dydemus" (Glenview, IL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cake Mix Doctor (Paperback)
I love to bake cakes, but don't always have the time to bake from scratch. This book is great!! It begins with a color picture of each cake ( so I've ended up making some I never thought of wanting to make before because they just looked so good). The recipes are easy, the cakes are good, and there are lots of extra tips for making a cake original, for storing a cake, and to make baking the cake a success.
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The Cake Mix Doctor
The Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn (Paperback - Jan. 11 1999)
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