6.09.2009

Cookbook Review: Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes
Published in 2009 by Clarkson Potter/Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-307-46044-8
List Price: $24.99
352pp

Rating(1 = Worst,
5 = Best)
PresentationIllustrations
Depth of InformationPracticality
ValuePermanent Library
Gift GivingLevel of DifficultyAverage
Overall




I’ve waited in anticipation—at a level reserved only for Harry Potter and Chuck Palahniuk—for months for this book! If you’ve read pretty much any of my other posts, you know I have an almost unhealthy love for all things Martha. So when I heard Martha was coming out with a cupcake book? Martha + Cupcakes = OMG. My head just exploded. How could I possibly not love this book? I absolutely adore her cookie book, and the Baking Handbook is my bible. There’s no way this book could be anything less than perfection, right?


I know I’m obviously more than a little biased when it comes to writing this review, but I’ll try my best to push aside my Martha love for a moment, and view the book as I would any other. It’ll be hard, and I might slip up once or twice, but bear with me. I’ll try to make this as fair as possible.

The first thing I noticed about this book? It’s gorgeous; I mean it’s absolutely beautiful. Every single recipe has a full page color picture to go along with it. I love being able to see what I’m making! That’s really how I figure out what I want to make! Does it look amazing? Does it make me want to lick the page? With these recipes, yes it does. Every single one of them. These pictures are fabulous. The whole book is laid out very well. Separated into 8 categories, such as Swirled and Sprinkled, Filled and Layered, Piped and Topped, Holidays, and Celebrations, there’s a cupcake for every occasion, or even just because.

I’m kind of jumping the gun here doing a review without trying out some recipes first… Forgive me. I’m just so excited about this book! But I promise, there will be recipes made—many of them. I’ve had the book for 4 days and I’ve already gone through it cover to cover at least a dozen times. I have about 15 recipes marked to try immediately! I just can’t decide which one to try first! So I can’t say right away how the recipes turn out, but if it’s anything like past experiences, they’ll be great. Martha has never failed me. I’ve made many of her recipes in the past from several books, magazines, shows, and her website, and they’ve almost all turned out beautifully. There have been some close calls, but I know that those were all my doing, rather than Martha’s. I trust that this book will be no different in its level of research and testing to bring the very best to you. The recipes are written clearly and simply, with the beginning to average baker in mind. There are a few recipes in the mix that may push the boundaries up into the above average baking category though. I can’t see a lot beginning bakers feeling confident creating Spun Sugar Crowns or Candied Hazelnut Spears, no matter how easy Martha makes it seem. Honestly, I don’t know how confident I feel making Spun Sugar Crowns… or even serving the bird’s nest looking things to others… Sorry Martha. It’s just a little too “elegant” for me.

In true Martha style, not only does she give you great recipes to make, but also creative ways to package and present your creations. There’s a whole section in the back called Displaying and Giving. There are a lot of cute ideas such as using photos to top your cupcakes, or using them as place settings at a dinner party. I absolutely love the idea of using the Chinese Food Take-Out box as a to-go container for cupcakes. Just stick a small cardstock insert with a hole in it down in the bottom. Sit the cupcake in the hole, and now it won’t fall over and wreck the icing! I’ll totally have to remember that if I ever open a bakery. I can definitely see myself using those! There’s even a section of templates and clip art to copy and cut out! And of course, there’s the obligatory section for true beginning bakers, identifying various ingredients and tools you’ll use in the course of your baking. Every book has this, so it's not a real surprise to find it. And they're even showcased with pretty pictures... But these are definitely meant for beginners. Or even less than beginners... If you need a picture to help identify chocolate, maybe you shouldn't be playing with the fiery box those of us not living in a cave call an oven. There is some good information about what to look for in ingredients, and which brands may be best, but most average bakers won’t find a lot of new information in this section. I do however, like the page that shows the different piping tips and designs they create. This is really helpful for those bakers who don’t do a lot of decorating with icing. I know when I was first ventured into the world of piping, I had a whole set of tips, and no idea what any of them did. At least this shows you the styles you’ll get using each one.

With 175 ideas, there’s a lot in this book to come back to over and over again. It’s slightly on the high end of a trade (soft cover) cookbook at $24.99—most run anywhere from $15 to $20—but there’s a ton of stuff in here to make it worth it. It’s definitely one that I would recommend owning if you’re a baker, and definitely if you’re a cupcake lover! With its multitude of beautiful pictures, it makes a great gift as well! I say definitely check this one out! And get ready to see a lot more cupcakes featured on the blog, cause I’ve got a lot of baking to do! I think I’ll start with these. Mmm… Snickerdoodles...

Stand-Out Recipes:
  • Tiramisu Cupcakes
  • Tres Leches Cupcakes
  • Stout Cupcakes
  • Raspberry Marble Cheesecakes
  • Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes
  • Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes
  • Mint-Filled Brownie Cupcakes
  • Black Forest Cupcakes
  • Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
  • Chocolate Salted Caramel Mini Cupcakes
  • Smores Cupcakes
  • Gingerbread Cupcakes
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10 comments:

Kiesha Jenkins-Duffy said...

HOLY COW DO THOSE S'MORES CUPCAKES LOOK GOOD.

I can't wait to make them. And it's only partially because it means I get to buy a torch!

Danae - The Busty Baker said...

I know!! I so want to make them too! And I REALLY want a torch! Any idea if you can get graham flour in the regular grocery store?

Saucy said...

I agree, it is one of her better cookbooks. A sweet friend (who probably realized that the implosion of my head was eminent) gifted it to me the day it was released. Gorgeous photos. I'm so glad to have it and will probably attempt almost all of them...

That said, is anyone perturbed that each and every recipe comes via email anyway? I just wonder what the incentive is to actually purchase the cookbook, unless you are a food nerd like me.

Little Miss Cupcake said...

I just got my copy yesterday and am looking forward to trying the recipes. Do I care that many of these recipes are already online on her site for free? Nah! I love cookbooks, especially cupcake ones, and the joy of being able to flip through the pages and finding something new and pretty to look at every time!

Kiesha Jenkins-Duffy said...

I'm pretty sure I saw graham flour at that Giant Eagle on Stelzer...it's probably more expensive, of course.

Ingrid said...

Great job Danae! The snickerdoodle cupcakes are a first for me too!

FYI, Taste and Tell has reviewed two recipes from this book. You should check it out. Can't wait to hear YOUR take on them.
~ingrid

Natalie said...

I can't wait to get my copy in the mail!!!

Heavenly Housewife said...

I WANT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I totally love everything martha! I even watch her cooking on my ipod when i am on the treadmill. A bit naughty, I know. Some of her cupcakes in this book are currently downloadable as podcasts. Theres this one cupcake with a cookie crust bottom that i am dying to eat.

Danae - The Busty Baker said...

HH- Is it the one with the Oreo bottom? Cause that one is definitely high on my list of things to make!

Sana Ali said...

I have to buy this book but m confused between this martha book and 125 cupcakes...
Please Help me out
urzsana@yahoo.com

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