I have a little confession to make: I’m a bit of a TLC addict. Whenever there is nothing else I want to see, I watch whatever is on on TLC. That’s how I discovered the ‘Cake Boss’ series. Buddy Valastro and his team bake the most wonderful things in Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey, but I especially love their specially designed cakes. It simply mesmerises me to watch them create all these marvellous cakes. So when I accidentally stumbled upon this book in Dutch (not even in a book or food related store!) I knew I would regret it if I didn’t take it home with me.
‘Baking with the Cake Boss‘ offers readers the same education earned by everyone who comes to work at Carlo’s Bake Shop. It builds up from simple cookies and pastries to pies, flower-adorned cupcakes, and basic fondant cakes, to the amazing cakes you see in the tv-show. Because of this, the book is suited for both the apiring and the expert baker. If you work your way through the book, like Buddy advises you to, you should gain more and more skills along the way. The build up of the book is based on the the education new bakers get in the shop. The book is loaded with photos, that guide you through the process of baking. The instructions are step by step and easy to read, which makes it almost impossible to make mistakes. There is a lot of background information on how to work with the ingredients and equipment, which I found very usefull. I still have a lot learning to do on the decorating part of baking and a huge part of this book is about this, so I am very pleased with that. Buddy also provides the tools to make your cakes the way you want them, with a chart that lets you mix and match cake, frosting, and liqueur syrup for cakes. Of course, you could think of your own combinations, but it is nice to get inspired by this.
So after reading through the entire book, yes, I did, I decided it was time to bake my first Cake Boss cookies! Like Buddy suggests, I started with the first recipe in the book: Butter cookies. This is a recipe with very few ingredients and not too many steps in preparing them. Making the dough was really easy and it turned out just like it should have. Then I had my first attempt on piping the dough on my baking tray. The first batch went great: nicely shaped and even-sized cookies. Then I had to do the second batch after I added some cacao and BAM! My piping bag ripped… So I had to scoop the second batch on the tray with two spoons. That’s why the cacao ones don’t look as nice as the natural ones. They went into the oven and in 12 minutes they were perfect! They tasted so nice! The recipe involves almond paste and even though you do taste it, the almond is not overpowering the cookies. The cocolate version is also really nice, even when misshaped. I would add a little bit more cacao powder the next time for a more chocolatey taste.
I will definetely be baking my way through this book and see what I will learn along the way, as I really like almost all of the other recipes in it! I would recommend this book for everybody who wants to learn more about the ins and outs of baking. You can get the book in Dutch here. And in English here