I've baked quite a few of the cookies and cakes from this book and they've always turned out great! The directions are always clear and Maida introduces each recipe with some background information, telling the story of how she came upon the recipe, what the finished product looks like, serving and storing suggestions, etc. These descriptions help when trying to decide which chocolate dessert to make when choosing from such a wealth of choices. I love the orange chocolate loaf cake and since Maida says the recipe can easily be doubled I always do. This cake goes quickly and it pays to have a spare! A friend of mine gave one of these recipes to her caterer for her wedding cake -- people are still talking about that incredible cake!
Maida Heatter has written an excellent book on chocolate desserts. I made the chocolate buttermilk cake for coworkers, and two people told me it was the best chocolate cake they had ever tasted. That's worth the cost of the book alone! I can't wait to try more of her chocolate dessert recipes.
The greatest virtue of Heatter's cookbooks is that the recipes work flawlessly if the directions are followed. This is a great beginner's book. Although the long descriptions may intimidate beginners, the detail informs and encourages.