Though I have many cookbooks, I never do a straight comparison of the recipes given in them. Since I often bake multiple dishes, I might have a batch of chocolate chip cookies from one book and a batch of brownies from another, causing tasters to declare a preference for one over the other. I don’t purposely bake and compare chocolate chip cookie recipes side-by-side, however. Perhaps I should, though, as an article in the Dallas Morning NewsÂ did this type of side-by-side comparison with several cake recipes and it was very interesting to hear the differences between them.
The recipes used were for Pound Cake and Chocolate Cake, each taken from The Cake Bible, Cook’s Illustrated and Joy of Cooking. I’ve had success with recipes from all cookbooks, so I wasn’t surprised to hear that all cakes turned out well. The more interesting thing – especially for novice bakers – is to read the results that different mixing techniques make on the finished product. For instance, the Cake Bible Pound Cake has butter mixed into the dry ingredients for a tight and tender crumb. And cocoa, when used in conjunction with melted chocolate, makes for a much bolder chocolate flavor than chocolate alone in a Chocolate Cake.
The full results, in table form, can be seen below:
ChelseaMarch 6, 2008
I love the comparison tables! Thanks.
amandaMarch 6, 2008
This makes me want to do my own baking comparisions!!
Cecily TMarch 6, 2008
Ha…I gotta say, CI is always my first choice for recipes, but they don’t always have very adventurous things! The only thing I’ve disagreed on so far is their angel food cake recipe; I like it, but it’s not my favorite angel food recipe.
Joy the BakerMarch 6, 2008
So interesting! Thanks for sharing!
trishMarch 7, 2008
C.I. has been my regular “go to” source for the past several years. When looking for a specific recipe or idea, it’s usually one of my first destination sites and both husband and I enjoy the magazine.
lcsa99March 7, 2008
I always compare the ingredients when I am trying to decide which recipe to try, but I have always done it visually, never baking both and comparing them side-by-side. But be a fun indea though
RainMarch 9, 2008
I love Cook’s Illustrated recipes. I’ve had such great success with them and so far everything has turned out great.