Hilfreichste positive Rezension
5-Star Idea, 3-Star Execution
am 11. Mai 2000
I share the other reviewersÕ enthusiasm for this book and will no doubt continue to use it from time to time. ThereÕs a sound idea here, and IÕm surprised no one thought of enhancing cake mixes with added ingredients until now.
What disappointed me was the authorÕs exclusion of old favoritesÑ even the obvious ones Ñ at the expense of too much variety and too much innovation. The cookbook author in her got the best of her and decided to eschew old standards like yellow cake with chocolate frosting (who doesnÕt like that?) or white cake with chocolate frosting (ditto). Instead, we get less crowd-pleasing combinations such as lemon and chocolate or less kid-friendly items such as biscotti (not a cake anyway). At the risk of being redundant: Would it have been too much to include a basic yellow cake and chocolate frosting among the dozens of other recipes?
Some of these recipes are conceptually and technically flawed as well. One of the authorÕs favorite methods of making cakes moister is to add a box of instant pudding to the cake mix. Fair enough, but for the fact that the cake mix manufacturers were onto this idea even before the author was -- itÕs difficult to find a cake mix these days that doesnÕt already have pudding in it (both Pillsbury and Betty Crocker mixes have pudding). Thus, weÕre left with the (unanswered) dilemma: Do we add pudding mix to the pudding in the mix, or leave well enough alone with whatÕs already in the mix? This sounds silly, I know; but precision and exactitude are, after all, important in baking.
The author uses the Òinstant pudding mixÓ trick very frequently, asking us to add instant lemon and pistachio puddings to various cake mixes to create new flavors. In my last trip to a very large supermarket, those items were not in stock. IÕm not even sure they exist. There were lemon and pistachio puddings, but not instant ones. Again: do we go ahead and use the non-instant ones? Should we only use instant puddings? What if we canÕt find instant pistachio pudding?
Finally, I even found that something as rudimentary as the baking times for some of these cakes were off. In one, the cake mix box said to bake for 32-35 minutes, but the ÒdoctoredÓ recipe said to bake for 45-47 minutes. You would think that the ÒdoctoredÓ recipe would supersede the undoctored one, but not so. The cake would have been burnt -- inedible -- if I had left it in for 45 minutes. It was already golden brown at 32 minutes. How does an author make a 13-minute mistake like that? Mistakes like that donÕt inspire confidence to follow other recipes.
Despite these criticisms, thereÕs much here that is good. Use vanilla instant pudding and flavored extracts if you canÕt find the more ÒexoticÓ ones the author requires. Try to find cake mixes without pudding in them already. Check cakes for doneness according to both the cake mix recipe and the cake doctorÕs recipe. YouÕll probably have good results.
And if you come up with a great, time-saving yellow cake and chocolate frosting cake-mix enhancement recipe, let me know!