Coffee and Cake
by Rick Rodgers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Coffee and Cake / 978-0-06-193832-0
I sort of feel bad only giving this book 3 stars - the writing is really well done and the *incredibly* detailed information on coffee- and cake-ingredients is extremely detailed and helpful if you're an aspiring cook and really wants to know why all the ingredients have to be "room temperature" or why you're supposed to alternate dry- and wet-ingredients. This is possibly one of the most "scientific" cookbooks I've ever owned, although of course the science is limited to coffee and cakes.
Overall, though, this lovely little book seems a little too short and a little under-illustrated - I agree with the reviewer that called it "not quite a coffee table book, not quite a recipe book". There aren't very many recipes here, and there's a distinct lack of pictures, which is something that I personally am starting to take a really hard-line with in my cookbooks - I know pictures cost money to stage, take, and print, but if I don't know what the outcome is supposed to look like, I can't get there myself, and I usually can't even tell if I want to *try*.
Of the coffee recipes, there are 11 recipes and 4 pictures; the cakes are divided into "types" (coffee cake, cupcakes, "all-American favorites", and "European treats") but total feature 26 recipes with 15 (I think!) pictures. I say "I think!" because 4 of the pictures are shown at the beginning of the chapter sections and seem to be repeats of dishes that are later pictured, so it might actually be 11 pictures total. The pictures aren't labelled, which I consider to be a cardinal sin of cookbooks, but it's usually pretty easy to link them to their given recipe.
If you're mostly interested in the chemistry of coffee- and cake-making and want a clear manual on how to make the best of each every time, then this is a good primer book, but I'm not sure that you couldn't get the information elsewhere. This might make a good gift book for someone really interested in the two themes, but overall I just feel a little underwhelmed with it. If there had been more pictures for the recipes, I would have given 4-stars, so if you don't mind the lack of pictures in a cookbook, take that into account and go wild.
NOTE: This review is based on a free Advance Review Copy of this book provided through Amazon Vine.
~ Ana Mardoll
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