BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York's Most Talked-About Bakery (Anglais) Relié – 5 mai 2009
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This recipe’s dynamic is hard to explain, and I really like that. This is the charm of the blondie. The vanilla and chocolate have a subtle repartee, with neither really dominating nor giving way to the other. Initially, the vanilla seems to cede center stage to the chocolate, but if you pay close attention, you’ll notice how the vanilla rounds out the chocolate with a seductive mellowness, ultimately creating balance. Making them bite-size gives a great crunchy texture, but you can also bake them in a cake pan and serve them as squares. Either way, blondies are best served warm.
• 1/2 cup garbanzo–fava bean flour
• 1/2 cup brown rice flour
• 1/2 cup potato starch
• 1/4 cup arrowroot
• 1 1/4 cups evaporated cane juice
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup coconut oil, plus more for the tins
• 1/3 cup homemade applesauce or store-bought unsweetened applesauce
• 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup hot water
• 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease three 12-cup mini-muffin tins with oil.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, potato starch, arrowroot, evaporated cane juice, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Add the ½ cup oil and the applesauce, vanilla, and hot water and stir until the batter is smooth. Using a plastic spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chips just until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Using a melon baller, scoop the batter into each prepared mini-muffin cup. Bake the blondies on the center rack for 9 minutes, rotating the tins 180 degrees after 5 minutes. The finished blondies will be golden brown and firm to the touch.
Let the blondies stand in the tins for 10 minutes. To maintain freshness, leave the blondies in the muffin tins until ready to serve. Cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Revue de presse
—Tom Colicchio (from the Foreword)
"At BabyCakes NYC I can eat what I crave without harming my lovely animal friends–or myself. Every since that first fateful day, I’ve been waiting for this cookbook."
"I have multiple food sensitivities…and I’d pretty much given up on the idea that I might be able to have a worthy treat every again. I was so excited to discover BabyCakes NYC, because not only can I eat everything they bake, it’s all delicious!"
"The BabyCakes NYC banana bread is the best I've ever had and something I simply can't live without."
—Mary Louise Parker
"Thank all that is holy for BabyCakes NYC…"
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1) As mentioned by many others, the book is only about 2/3 gluten-free. I know that Babycakes bakery bakes spelt items, so this was not a surprise to me. However, the book sub-title calling it Gluten-Free is misleading.
2) A large amount of the recipes call for Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour. There are two problems with this. First and most important to me, this flour is N A S T Y. It has garbanzo and fava bean flour in it, and those have a very strong and bitter taste. Many bakers, including myself, hate this stuff. Second, I was dissapointed to see that the book even suggests using a mix at all. On the Martha Stewart show when Erin and Martha make the Allergen-Free Cinnamon Toasties, Martha asks as she is stirring the flours together, 'Do you use mixes at your bakery?' Erin answers no. If this is the case, then why on earth is the cookbook directing me to do so? If the recipes had the true list of flours and starches used at the bakery, I would have an easier time making substitutions, like swapping garfava flour for, say, a combo of sorghum or rice flour, or subbing potato starch for arrowroot or cornstarch.
3) Coconut oil and agave nectar. These fabulous, spendy, and sometimes elusive ingredients are frequently used in hefty quantities in the book, and unfortunately we are left a somewhat in the dark about the details. Yes, the resources give us brand recommendations (aside: Did you look into the coconut oil source? small jar and big $$), but does not specify if it matters if we use virgin coconut or regular coco oil or light or dark agave. Since I don't want to go broke buying coconut oil, I googled and found an extra-virgin organic coconut oil by Nutiva that comes in 54 oz. containers and is reasonably priced. The same goes for the agave nectar. Madhava has a raw organic agave nectar that you can find right here on Amazon in bulk for a decent price. Hopefully these will so the trick.
4) Frosting. I do not believe these are the frostings used at the bakery. For example, a red flag to me is that the cookbook recipe for vanilla frosting is called 'Vanilla Frosting/Vanilla Sauce" but the Babycakes bakery frosting is called "Creamy Vanilla Frosting". While on Martha Stewart (the episode where they made the Allergen-Free Cinnamon Toastie loaf), Erin casually mentions some of the ingredients of her famous frosting. Among the ingredients is coconut milk. Unfortunately, there is zero coco milk in the book recipe, but there is liquid and dry soy milk. Babycakes NYC is a soy-free bakery. This is so disappointing to me, as I was really looking forward to making the real deal.
While I enjoy the aesthetic and the creativity of the book, I think it fell short in a number of critical areas.
I have celiac disease and wanted to be able to quickly identify which recipes I can't use, so I highlighted them (both the flour ingredients on the recipe pages, and the page numbers on the chapter header pages) - spelt recipes pink, gluten free recipes yellow.
Some sort of notation like this in the second edition would be helpful. As well as some information on how to substitute for the spelt flour in any of these recipes, if that's even possible (personally, I don't think I'll bother trying). And if it isn't possible, at least a sentence saying so. And of course adding a "Mostly" in front of "Gluten Free" in the book title, or some sort of subtitle/disclaimer indicating that all the recipes are NOT gluten free.
In any case, I decided to buy the book despite the spelt recipes and all the Bob's mix and garbanzo fava flour, which I've never been a big fan of. I know it will be a good resource for special occasions when I have the time and money to make some of these baked goods. This is also just a really lovely cookbook, I so appreciate that it contains photos of most of the recipes! And I can't help but like this girl for opening the bakery in the first place, and then sharing her gluten free recipes.
I thought I'd make a list of the specific gluten and not gluten free recipes in the book, for those who aren't able to look through the cookbook at a bookstore before buying it. Because had I ordered it not knowing that 1/3 of the recipes were not gluten free, I'd have been pretty bummed upon receiving it. Cupcake frosting and drink recipes are all gluten free. Hope this info helps at least someone out!
*Gluten Free Recipes (23):
Apple-Cinnamon Muffins, Ginger-Peach Muffins, Pumpkin-Spice Muffins, Cornbread, Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread, Banana Bread / Banana Chocolate Chip Bread, Apple-Cinnamon Toastie, Lemon-Poppy Teacake, Gingerbread, Gingersnaps, Chocolate Chip Cookies / Cookie Sandwiches, Double Chocolate Chip Cookies, Sugarplum Cookies, Macaroons, Brownies, Agave-Sweetened Brownie Gems, Blondies, Vanilla Cupcakes, Chocolate Cupcakes, Healthy Hostess, Carrot Cupcakes, Meyer Lemon and Bing Cherry Cupcakes, Ice Cream Pie
*Not Gluten Free Recipes (13):
Zucchini Muffins, Blueberry Muffins, Spelt Biscuits, Strawberry Shortcake, Raspberry Scones, Chocolate Shortbread Scones with Caramelized Bananas, Johnnycakes, Volcanoes (though you could make these with Vanilla or Chocolate Cupcake Crumb Base), Red Velvet Cupcakes, Cherry Cobbler, Apple Pie, Blackberry Peach and Oat Cobbler, Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie
It's beautiful; the photography is stunning, the products look amazing, it gets you in the mood to bake and have fun with it. I love the personality in it, I love the colour and food shots. It's so nice to have it feel part photo-book and part-recipe instead of the standard recipe books. And the size is nice whether you're cooking or curled up the couch reading up on it.
The recipes are laid out really well; most are just a page which is nice for those of us who don't like long directions and 17 steps. The write-ups about the items and little stories are fun. The celebrity-endorsements are kind of weird (except the "fat pants" - that's pretty awesome).
There are lots of different kinds of baked goods to make from cakes to cookies. Recipes I hadn't seen before that look incredibly delicious. No more boring cupcakes and cookies for me! The Myer Lemon and Cherry Cupcakes is on my baking list for sure.
The not so good:
As a few people have already said, none of Chapter 2 (scones) are gluten free and there's a couple more elsewhere that call for spelt flour. Although Erin makes a comment about spelt in the beginning of the book and how it's not gluten free, it seems odd to have as a tag line on the FRONT of the book "gluten free" - especially since it says "mostly sugar free." I found this to be very misleading and I felt kind of left out. Maybe that sounds silly but when you're anticipating a gluten free cookbook and you can't use a whole chapter, it's disappointing.
The ingredients are costly. I shop exclusively organic and at Whole Foods so high prices for ingredients aren't a new thing for me. But I found a lot of the ingredients in here either hard to find (even at Whole Foods) or very expensive. The soy milk powder she recommends for so many things is about $20 on average I've found (you can find it on Amazon). Coconut oil, which I already use, is about $10 a jar but her recipes can go through about half of it (a whole thing if you're making cupcakes + icing). A few of the supplies she mentions having on hand can also add up. I can understand using the best ingredients but it's something to consider when ordering this book. If you bake regularly or for a large family, your baked goods can add up quickly. GF baking isn't cheap by any standards but these recipes are definitely a little bit more.
I followed the instructions perfectly for the cupcake (of course this would be first!) and, like another reviewer, I was really disappointed by the vanilla frosting. Looking at the photographs in the book and recalling what I ate at the bakery, I was so excited to make this but really disappointed in eating it (and it takes at least 6 hours to chill and then come to room temperature so there's no instant satisfaction). The cupcakes were OK.
I haven't made any other recipes yet so I'm hoping the book redeems itself. I am very interested to try out the gingerbread and chocolate chip cookies (I just have to find some of the ingredients I haven't been able to find yet).
In any event, I would re-purchase this book as it has inspired me to get back into baking, to have fun with it, and more importantly, to share what I bake with my friends. It really is a beautiful, inspirational little book but it does come with a few flaws that I can live with but wish I would have known about ahead of time so that I wouldn't have been disappointed and more prepared for what I was getting into (IE can't bake right after getting it if you don't generally have all the things on hand).
(Update: Babycakes NYC has answered a lot of questions about the book on their site at [...]. I found this really helpful and hope it helps with the baking).
Update 01/03/10: I purchased a Kitchen Aid stand mixer a couple of months ago and I have to say, that (along with some of the edits in the link above) have made a HUGE difference in baking and in the icing. I really think when using the coconut oil, you really need to mix it really well in order for great results. I tried some recipes using a regular hand mixer afterwards and just could not get the same results. I have since had success with the cupcakes, the icing, cakes and banana bread. Yes, a stand mixer is a huge investment as is baking using this cookbook. But, for me, it's been well worth it since I can eat sweets in a healthy way instead of a process (gluten free) mix way.