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Are official bakery cookbooks trustworthy?


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Can I trust Books like The Sprinkles Baking Book or the Magnolia Bakery cookbooks? The cupcakes from the cookbooks all seem to use the famous 1-2-3-4 cake recipe. Do you guys think that these recipes are the real recipes from those famous bakeries? Thoughts?

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Probably pretty close. I believe Magnolia was founded by home bakers or people with not a ton of professional experience.  A cupcake is a simple thing, why would you doubt their use of a common cake ratio?

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1 hour ago, BooBear said:

It just confuses me that no one is reinventing the wheel (to make it better).


There are plenty of other bakers doing more complex things. Simple & nostalgic sells. 🤷🏻‍♀️
 

I hear Brave Tart’s new book is pretty fussy, or anything by Francisco Migoya … 

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37 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:


There are plenty of other bakers doing more complex things. Simple & nostalgic sells. 🤷🏻‍♀️
 

I hear Brave Tart’s new book is pretty fussy, or anything by Francisco Migoya … 

So, can being a 1-2-3-4 cake recipe can be trusted? I don't understand why some people on amazon say that the recipes don't work.

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2 hours ago, BooBear said:

It just confuses me that no one is reinventing the wheel (to make it better).

 

Some things are good as they are. 

I wouldn't re-invent the corn flake for example.

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51 minutes ago, BooBear said:

I checked the bravetart book. Even bravetart uses the 1-2-3-4 cake recipe for it's yellow cake.


Now, this might be just me (and I am very supportive), but … what is your goal ? You are collecting cookbooks, or trying to optimize your cupcake recipe or …

 

Curious minds start to wonder 🤔

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4 hours ago, BooBear said:

So, can being a 1-2-3-4 cake recipe can be trusted? I don't understand why some people on amazon say that the recipes don't work.

 

idk, some people on Amazon can't count to 4? 

 

I think Magnolia's success is due more to marketing and being in the right place and time than amazing recipes.  Maybe after the low-fat '80s, using real butter made it special, a cut above grocery store cake.

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IMHO there are a lot of people who don't follow recipes carefully and then squawk about the results.  Some recipes aren't tested enough (or by a wider skill set from novice to passionate amateur)  or proofread carefully during the editing process and mistakes happen.  As a method, 1234 works; does it produce a wonderful cake?  That depends on how you define wonderful.  If reviewers are saying what they made from the book doesn't match the shop product, that's one thing.  If the recipes produced utter failures (and some recipes work, some don't) then did the reviewer try all the recipes or just a select few and give up after one or two?  I remember buying Johnny Iuzzini's book and trying the coconut curd; the recipe worked but I didn't like the result.   Maida Heatter tells a story about a lemon buttermilk cake that was an abject failure when  made from  her book; they deleted the recipe from subsequent reprints of the book; she rewrote the recipe and never did figure out what went wrong.

 

Are you trying the recipes from these books?  What is your experience with them?

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First time I had a Magnolia cupcake was from their original store in NY, when people were still lining up outside to get one. It was...nothing special. At all. I'm not saying it wasn't a decent cupcake but it was typical of a homemade type of cupcake that just about anyone would have had at a kids birthday party in the 80's. I think the popularity - never mind hysteria - around these cupcakes were strictly a nostalgia thing amplified by the fact that few young New Yorkers could be bothered to make a cupcake from scratch in those days. The recipe would obviously be something that any halfway decent home cook would be familiar with. If you're looking for something revolutionary, this ain't it.

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13 hours ago, Duvel said:


Now, this might be just me (and I am very supportive), but … what is your goal ? You are collecting cookbooks, or trying to optimize your cupcake recipe or …

 

Curious minds start to wonder 🤔

I collect cookbooks for reference. I want to make the best cupcakes so I look at the recipes in the books to compare the recipes. I also look at reviews on amazon and other websites.

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1 hour ago, BooBear said:

I collect cookbooks for reference. I want to make the best cupcakes so I look at the recipes in the books to compare the recipes. I also look at reviews on amazon and other websites.


You can certainly compare the recipes on paper (or screen), even triangulate the common steps and create your own, but ultimately you will need to apply the recipe and bake a cupcake.

 

If 1-2-3-4 is the common denominator, why not start from there, and tweak crumb, moisture content, taste and whatever from there. These things will depend on much more that the recipe, e.g. your flour, milk, oven setup.

 

I am also quite sure that most of the cookbooks referenced will describe how to tweak your recipes or which factor will influence which part of your product. You‘ll need to read more than the recipes for that, though …

 

What I am trying to say is: bake a cupcake and bake a better one after that, until you are happy.

 

 

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I don't want to make a new topic for this: Anyone ever try making cupcakes from food network's cupcake wars archives? If so, how delicious were they on a scale of 1-10 (10 being most delicious)?

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It would help if you defined what YOU think of as a delicious cupcake.

 

I own a bakery.  I have several options for topping cupcakes - ganache, American buttercream made with butter and confectioners sugar, milk, vanilla or Vegan American buttercream  made with vegetable shortening, confectioners sugar, water, salt and vanilla; or Italian Meringue buttercream (our house buttercream).  I have various recipes for cake - some call for butter, others use shortening, some  use oil -  but despite all of these choices, what I offer may not appeal to everyone.  Just the other day, during a bridal consultation, the groom loved the Italian Meringue while the bride, who needed a dairy free option - thought the vegan buttercream was out of this world delicious (the groom spit it out LOL!  He wasn't a fan of shortening!).  So while I might tell you a recipe produces a delicious result, you might not care for it.

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9 hours ago, JeanneCake said:

It would help if you defined what YOU think of as a delicious cupcake.

 

I own a bakery.  I have several options for topping cupcakes - ganache, American buttercream made with butter and confectioners sugar, milk, vanilla or Vegan American buttercream  made with vegetable shortening, confectioners sugar, water, salt and vanilla; or Italian Meringue buttercream (our house buttercream).  I have various recipes for cake - some call for butter, others use shortening, some  use oil -  but despite all of these choices, what I offer may not appeal to everyone.  Just the other day, during a bridal consultation, the groom loved the Italian Meringue while the bride, who needed a dairy free option - thought the vegan buttercream was out of this world delicious (the groom spit it out LOL!  He wasn't a fan of shortening!).  So while I might tell you a recipe produces a delicious result, you might not care for it.

Yeah, I don't really know what I'm looking for. I just thought that if I have good cake books, the cakes would turn out to my liking. My favorite cake was a lemon sponge with vanilla whipped cream and vanilla pastry cream and fresh fruit. I haven't found a recipe for it yet and I am not sure if I want to look up those components on their own to make that cake. If you see a recipe for that type of cake, please post it. I miss it so much. The bakery I used to get that type of cake from went out of business. 

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2 hours ago, BooBear said:

I haven't found a recipe for it yet and I am not sure if I want to look up those components on their own to make that cake. If you see a recipe for that type of cake, please post it.

 

The best way to learn or improve cooking is to cook, not to charge around the internet looking for the 'perfect' cookbook. That doesn't exist.

This applies to baking and all other sub-genres of cooking.

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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49 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

The best way to learn or improve cooking is to cook, not to charge around the internet looking for the 'perfect' cookbook. That doesn't exist.

This applies to baking and all other sub-genres of cooking.

I like to do my research before baking or cooking anything. I then modify recipes after I've done my research & cooked/baked the first round of recipes.

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11 minutes ago, BooBear said:

 

I like to do my research before baking or cooking anything. I then modify recipes after I've done my research & cooked/baked the first round of recipes.

 

We all do to an extent, but we don't all start a series of threads looking for cookbooks. You have already said that
 

On 3/23/2022 at 8:27 PM, BooBear said:

cookbooks all seem to use the famous 1-2-3-4 cake recipe

 

Perhaps there is a reason for that. When you show us why they shouldn't do that and tell us what they should do instead, then write your own cookbook.

You can't learn to cook from cookbooks alone! You got to get in there and get your hands dirty.

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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5 hours ago, BooBear said:

My favorite cake was a lemon sponge with vanilla whipped cream and vanilla pastry cream and fresh fruit. I haven't found a recipe for it yet and I am not sure if I want to look up those components on their own to make that cake.


From what people share in online baking forums, including this one, it is more common to pull favorite component recipes from different sources than to find a single cake recipe with cake, filling, frosting, toppings and glazes that perfectly suit individual tastes. So go ahead and dig into all those reference books you’ve collected and assemble your masterpiece!

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46 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:


From what people share in online baking forums, including this one, it is more common to pull favorite component recipes from different sources than to find a single cake recipe with cake, filling, frosting, toppings and glazes that perfectly suit individual tastes. So go ahead and dig into all those reference books you’ve collected and assemble your masterpiece!

The likelihood that you're going to find a recipe that is exactly what you have in mind - lemon sponge with vanilla whipped cream, vanilla pastry cream and fresh fruit - is pretty remote. Only you know how that cake was assembled, and unless it's some very specific "classic" cake which are sort of formulaic (like a sacher torte or an opera torte) you'll have to put it together yourself from different sources. A good lemon sponge from one book or website; a vanilla pastry cream from another; whatever fresh fruit you remember...

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9 minutes ago, Nyleve Baar said:

The likelihood that you're going to find a recipe that is exactly what you have in mind - lemon sponge with vanilla whipped cream, vanilla pastry cream and fresh fruit - is pretty remote. Only you know how that cake was assembled, and unless it's some very specific "classic" cake which are sort of formulaic (like a sacher torte or an opera torte) you'll have to put it together yourself from different sources. A good lemon sponge from one book or website; a vanilla pastry cream from another; whatever fresh fruit you remember...

I see. I guess I should stop hoping for a bakery to put out a cookbook with that type of cake in it.

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