I do it every time a family birthday rolls around: Start digging through my cookbooks for a cake recipe. And because I like variety, I'll end up making the cake from one recipe, the filling from another recipe, and the frosting from yet another cake recipe. Sometimes from different books, even -- or lately from different websites.
But I just came across a thing of beauty that gets the whole cake 411 together in one place. Real Simple's new cookbook, Easy, Delicious Home Cooking, has a "mix-and-match guide to cakes." Ten pages of recipes and ideas all together that will keep me baking different cakes for years without going to three different sources every time.
The guide includes:
- A yellow cake and a chocolate cake
- Lemon curd, pastry cream, and fresh strawberries for fillings
- 6 frostings (1 vanilla with 3 variations plus two chocolates)
- Instructions for 6 toppings plus a list of other topping ideas
- "Tricks of the trade" list of baking and layer cake frosting tips
- 11 tasty (and gorgeous) ideas for combinations
I'm thinking my next cake may have to be the chocolate cake with caramel frosting and gumdrop roses. Yes, they show you how to make little roses out of gumdrops. So cute!
More from The Stir: Sinfully Delicious Red Wine Chocolate Cake
I'm not a big enough baker to ever buy a whole cookbook just for cakes. So for me, this is the answer. I think once I play around with these recipes, it should be pretty easy to come up with even more variations based on the originals here.
And that's where a cookbook becomes most helpful -- when you can rely on it to help you riff with your own ideas.
What's your birthday cake go-to source for recipes and ideas?
Hungry? Need dinner ideas? Just love anything and everything food and recipes? Then you'll totally want to follow us on Pinterest! Our virtual pin boards on Kid Friendly Recipes , Sweet Treats and Easter 2012 are pure eye candy. Yum!
Image via Real Simple