Know a fan of Ace of Cakes?
Then, they’d probably adore Duff Bakes: Think and Bake Like a Pro at Home (William Morrow 2015). Ace of Cakes isn’t a cooking show – it is really a soap opera about the people who work in Duff’s Baltimore bakery and how they solve problems and create imaginative, super-realistic cakes. There is some baking on the show, but often a sheet cake just appears and the real action is cake decoration. Still, Duff Goldman and his co-writer Sara Gonzales can teach you a thing or two about baking at home. And so, this book is great for fans, kids, and anyone else just starting out in the sweet part of the kitchen.
There is a section at the end of the book on cake decorating, but most of the book is full of homey recipes for cookies, bars, pies, and cakes – the kind that you could serve at the end of any family meal or bring to a cookout or school bake sale.
Plus there are some fun recipes for faux packaged desserts. Jam-Filled Toaster Pastry-Like Items (p. 204) are a shoe in for you know what complete with white glaze and colored Jimmies. Perpetually Fresh Yellow Submarine-Looking Pastry/Doughnut/Cake Things (p. 211) are a more edible version of Twinkies with marshmallow cream inside. Duff shows you how to make Funnel Cakes (p. 215), Churros (pp. 216-7), and Duff’s Good-Ass Fudge (p. 225). Who needs a country fair? If your kids bring home a vegan or gluten-free friend, then turn to a chapter full of versions without offending ingredients. Thing Vegan White Cake (p. 259) without butter or eggs, or Vegan & Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (p. 247) with garbanzo bean flour and bananas.
As for that final chapter on Making Cakes Pretty, let your kids try their hand at Rolled Fondant (p. 206) or Pastillage or Gumpaste (p. 307) then they can learn to make roses, leaves, butterflies, and all sorts of brightly colored sugary things. Think about letting their imaginations loose on cakes, not video games.