A Piece of Cake

Susan Gold Purdy, Author Atheneum Books $24.95 (498p) ISBN 978-0-689-11766-4
Many cakes rise in this superb collection--``Marvelous Mud Cake,'' ``Crazy Mixed-up Chocolate Cake,'' ``Jo's Blitz Torte,'' even ``Parsnip Cake''; sponges, charlottes, ladyfingers, scones. From the simplest to the many-tiered, Purdy ( As Easy As Pie ) enlists over 200 of her ``personal favorites,'' combining lucid advice on basic equipment, ingredients and techniques (``What Happens When a Cake Is Baked'') with detailed directions and playful asides on cake history. We learn that the modern custom (or folly) of ``girls jumping out of cakes'' at stag parties originated in medieval banquets made merry with ``live rabbits, frogs, other small animals, and occasionally dwarves . . . encased in pastry crusts,'' while American frontier corn dodgers were so called ``because they were so hard you had to dodge or risk injury if one was thrown at you.'' Glamorous French (hazelnut white-chocolate marquise) and Viennese (Sachertorte) pastries serve as divas, yet the most appealing may well be the old-fashioned jam cake, buttermilk spice cake, devil's food cake, caramel cake with penuche icing and their cousins. Illustrations not seen by PW. BOMC Cooking and Crafts Club main selection. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
Paperback - 512 pages - 978-0-02-036085-8
Paperback - 498 pages - 978-0-7679-0537-4
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