If I see a cake that looks good, or a recipe that sounds good, I am going to jump right into baking. You might do the exact same thing. After all – baking is easy and fun, isn’t it? But some people need a little more persuading to get into the kitchen and pull out their baking ingredients because baking from scratch seems like a challenging and time-consuming task. Cakes from Scratch in Half the Time is a cookbook that is written for people who don’t bake from scratch with the goal of dispelling some of the myths about scratch-baking. It’s about making impressive seeming recipes seem accessible and easy – and like a viable alternative to, say, a cake mix.
The book accomplishes its goal by streamlining its recipes as much as possible. It clearly sets up the prep process for baking – preheating the oven, preparing the pan, etc. – and then gives succinct instructions for making the batter and baking the actual cake. The instructions aren’t quite as precise as found in some cookbooks, but they are clear and will still produce good results. One particularly useful ingredient called for frequently is cake flour, which is low protein and helps to ensure a more tender cake, as it helps prevent a tough cake and can (in a way) counteract overmixing, like a safety feature of cake baking. The cakes included in the book aren’t necessarily basic or plain when it comes to flavor and everyone should be able to find some inspiring recipe here. The photography is excellent, as well.
I suspect that more experienced bakers will get slightly better results from the book than less experienced bakers because, while the instructions are easy to follow, experience is going to give bakers who already know the perfect consistency of batter a slight edge. That said, the same is probably true of most cookbooks. The setup of this book definitely makes the recipes seem approachable and novice bakers and advanced alike are going to do quite well with this one