5.0 out of 5 stars Chocolate Lover's Heaven
It would be hard not to like this cookbook. I've made six cakes and one icing so far, and each one has been my "favorite cake ever" until I made the next.
Until I looked through this book, I had no idea there were so many different varieties of chocolate cake. Even if you take away the cakes made from white chocolate, the white and yellow cake layers destined...
Published on Aug. 31 2003 by Hanah
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
I tried three recipes and only one worked reasonably well.I am a fairly accomplished and determined baker, but I couldn't figure out what went wrong. I tried making Michele's favourite Chocolate Chocolate Tea Cake three times and each time it ended up looking like a molten chocolate cake as did her recipe for her Super Rich Chocolate Pound Cake. The only cake worth the...
Published on Dec 15 2002 by Terrence L Maioni
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5.0 out of 5 stars Chocolate Lover's Heaven,
This review is from: Chocolate Cake (Hardcover)It would be hard not to like this cookbook. I've made six cakes and one icing so far, and each one has been my "favorite cake ever" until I made the next.
Until I looked through this book, I had no idea there were so many different varieties of chocolate cake. Even if you take away the cakes made from white chocolate, the white and yellow cake layers destined to hold chocolate frostings, and the pudding made with leftover chocolate cake crumbs, Urvater has compiled dozens of exciting recipes that can each undeniably be called chocolate cake. Some are quite exotic - one is made with potatoes, another with beets, still another with tea leaves - while others are straightforward.
Grading the recipes by difficulty level is a nice touch, as are the "plated dessert" suggestions on many of the recipes. The information about ingredients, equipment, and the different categories of cakes is also very useful. I could wish for more pictures, but it's also exciting to make something new and see what it looks like afterwards.
5.0 out of 5 stars Chocolate Cake for Dummies,
This review is from: Chocolate Cake (Hardcover)This is an excellent book for those who like to make chocolate cakes but may not be a skilled, experienced baker. If you are an average person who is trying to bake that chocolate cake at home, then I can happily recommend this book.
The most important feature of this book is that all recipes are rated according to difficulty. Those who are beginners can choose easy recipes, while those who are already adept at angel food cakes and butter cream frostings can go directly for the complicated ones. Bakers of all abilities will be able to find a recipe that fits your skill level. For example, she correctly identifies French butter cream frostings as difficult. Other recipes that are impressive and seem to be hard are actually easy to do, and this book will rate them as such.
This book has a lot going for it besides the rating system. The first 50 pages or so give you just the right amount of information so you can do the recipes. It is also very good about telling you what kind of equipment you will need for the various recipes. The recipes are clear and easy to follow most of the time. It also has a good dissertation on various types of icings and frostings, and matching them up to various cakes. The only short point here is the subject of matching up refrigerated versus cakes that can be stored at room temperature and what icings and frostings will match them.
There are a few problems, but they are minor. The description of semisweet and bittersweet chocolate is not correct. The statement that margarine can be substituted for baking in all recipes is also not correct, since the margarine can have wildly differing amounts of water that will have unpredictable results on any one recipe. The author is a trained, professional baker. This is often good, as the instructions are based on tried and true professional techniques that really work (which is sadly not true of many books about baking), but she often overestimates the abilities of beginner bakers. The vocabulary can have professional terms or techniques not otherwise explained, and the difficulty rating of some of the recipes should be increased; for example, anything that involves whipping and folding egg whites should be intermediate, not easy.
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed,
This review is from: Chocolate Cake (Hardcover)I tried three recipes and only one worked reasonably well.I am a fairly accomplished and determined baker, but I couldn't figure out what went wrong. I tried making Michele's favourite Chocolate Chocolate Tea Cake three times and each time it ended up looking like a molten chocolate cake as did her recipe for her Super Rich Chocolate Pound Cake. The only cake worth the effort so far is her Chocolate Pain de Genes. I would like some feedback. Is there any way I can get her email address?
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read, recipes work,
This review is from: Chocolate Cake (Hardcover)This is an excellent and highly readable cookbook that combines great recipes with interesting social history tidbits that inform without being too esoteric. I have made several cakes from it already, and have been impressed with how well the recipes are written and what a pleasure it is to browse.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book, bad Design,
This review is from: Chocolate Cake (Hardcover)I recently purchased a copy of this book and found the recipes to be quite scrumptious. However, aesthetically it left much to be desired.
Chocolate Cake has nearly 400 pages, and only 8 color photos, jammed in the center section. This is certainly not enough for a book of this caliber. As a baker who likes to look at photos of the finished product... I was disappointed.
Don't get me wrong, I DO recommend this book. The recipes are divine. Particularly the Chestnut Chocolate Meringue Cake and the Raspberry Scented Cocoa Cake, but I felt let down by the overall lack of photos and illustrations, which usually make books like this, great.
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and thorough chocolate cake book,
This review is from: Chocolate Cake (Hardcover)Michele Urvater's "Chocolate Cake" is subtitled "150 Recipes from Simple to Sublime." It briskly trots the globe from Austria (Walnut Chocolate Torte) to France (Reine de Saba, or Queen's Cake) to Mexico (Aztec Devil's Food Cake) to Hungary (Rigo Jancsi). Naturally there are scores of prototypically American cakes too, from Pillsbury Bake-Off finalists to cheesecakes and beyond.
Urvater came to write her cookbook in a roundabout manner. After having spent years working as a chef, hosting television programs on cooking and so on, she decided to enroll in New York City's famed French Culinary Institute. After having earned her FCI diploma as a pastry chef, she had a new, more specialized outlook on her work.
Despite her considerable expertise, Urvater doesn't scare off the home cook who has never made anything other than a boxed mix before. In fact, the book is a calming presence in the kitchen. "Chocolate Cake" is arranged so that the easiest cakes are in the beginning. One wonderful recipe called Wacky Chocolate Cake is an excellent start for any beginner, and is particularly well-suited to a child baking with minimal adult supervision (my 7-year old and 4-year old actually made it ALL BY THEMSELVES--all I did was read the directions out loud to them and preheat the oven--an added bonus of this cake is that it's eggless, perfect for times when you need to serve dessert to someone with an egg allergy or cholesterol problems). All the cakes have a degree of difficulty indicated--one star denotes easy, two stars intermediate, and three stars advanced.
Urvater is relaxed about her chocolate choices. She prefers bittersweet chocolate to any other kind, but admits that when it comes to unsweetened chocolate, "Any one of the national brands is acceptable. At various times I have used Baker's, Nestle's, and Hershey's unsweetened chocolate. I tend to buy the cheapest one."
What kind of niche does a book like "Chocolate Cake" occupy in a world where anyone can pick up a very decent cake at the bakery or even the grocery store? It will give pleasure to the experienced baker who wants to round out her repetoire with more dessert recipes, but it will also give confidence to the inexperienced cook who wants to make something splendid for a special someone's birthday. My only complaint is that I would have preferred more photographs--but overall, this is a super book.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Luscious Experience,
This review is from: Chocolate Cake (Hardcover)A perfect book to curl up with this winter! Not only is it beautiful to peruse, but it is interesting to read and comprehensive in its scope. If you love chocolate, it's a perfect find. From the history and detailed explanation of what chocolate is derived from, to the annotated shopping- by-mail guide (that means a lot to those of us living in remote parts of the country), this book is invaluable.
Then come the recipes. The range, once again is complete. Urvater is careful to rate the difficulty of each recipe, satisfying the beginner pastry chef to the most adventuresome. Her personal notes make it a special read. And the cakes are incredible. Flourless ones, cakes with ghianduia creams, to multiple brownie recipes. I always look forward to trying new ones.
5.0 out of 5 stars chocolate heaven,
By A Customer
This review is from: Chocolate Cake (Hardcover)My sister gave me this cookbook knowing my passion and weakness for chocolate and I am so happy that she did. I immediately tried the coconut cake and although there were many steps, it was clear and easy to follow and it also produced a delicious cake. Just reading through the index makes my mouth water and I can't wait to try more of the recipes. This is a great baking book for those of you who love desserts and wish baking recipes could be more clear. Well done Michele. Thanks
5.0 out of 5 stars Recipes for Success,
By A Customer
This review is from: Chocolate Cake (Hardcover)I loved this book, in which Ms. Urvater shares her sophisticated appreciation of chocolate without any of the "foodier-than-thou" attitude of a lot of professional chefs. But more than that, I loved the recipes, all of which turned out flawless (and delicious) cakes. This woman knows chocolate!
5.0 out of 5 stars sublime indeed,
By A Customer
This review is from: Chocolate Cake (Hardcover)If you love cake, if you love chocolate, if you love to bake, this book is one you cannot do without. It is the best dessert book I have read in years. Urvater is a superb writer, whose recipes are clear and always work. Her obvious love for her subject comes through in every recipe I have tried. I did not try the coconut cake because I don't like coconut, but Potato Chocolate Chip Cake, Yeasted Chocolate Cake, Autumn Chestnut Cake, to take just three, are divine. Her chapters on frostings and decorating are excellent and easy to follow. I come from a long line of chocolate cake lovers, and I have to say, this book really went straight to my heart. I will use it gratefully and sinfully for years to come.
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Chocolate Cake by Michele Urvater (Hardcover - Oct. 9 2001)
Used & New from: CDN$ 5.71