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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Review: One Sweet Cupcake by Janell Brown

One Sweet Cupcake by Janell Brown, NF -Cookbook, Hardcover, 160p, Rating=3.5
Source: provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Winner of Food Network's Cupcake Wars, Janell Brown, gives expert advice on all aspects of cupcake baking, including ingredients, techniques, and equipment. You'll also learn the basics of cupcake decorating, along with ideas for themes, seasons, and holidays. Discover all these sweet secrets for making your cupcakes look professional and taste great.

This cookbook is absolutely beautiful!  I gained 10 pounds just looking at the professional photos of the cupcakes!  Then there's something to owning the manual that will show me how to make them that made me giddy with excitement.  After all, it imparted professional tips like using proper ingredients and tools.  Also, it had some decorating ideas (this one I'll have to try another time ...can't find my piping tools at the moment).  Just bummed that it didn't get to me before my daughter's birthday.

There's about 50 different yummy looking cupcakes so I didn't know where to start.  Subsequently, I looked at what I had in my pantry and went from there.  I discovered that I had the ingredients to make vanilla based cupcakes so I started there and made Cranberry Orange Cupcakes and Banana Cupcakes.  The next day I went to the store and bought ingredients to make chocolate based cupcakes.  Then I tackled the recipe for S'more Cupcakes. 

I followed the easy to read directions and ended up finding oversights.  For example, the instructions for the Cranberry Orange cupcake recipe paired it with Citrus Glaze icing but the picture looks like it paired it with maybe Cream Cheese icing.  I had already started with the glaze recipe so I just went with it.  Also, the Banana cupcake just didn't quite fully rise (perhaps I didn't measure the baking powder correctly?).  Then, in the S'mores cupcake, I was at loss when it didn't tell me how long to bake it for in minutes (just stated "until the tops spring back...")!  I browsed the book and some recipes had them, some didn't.  I thought that was not agreeable for a cookbook.  Oh, I did not like that the first ingredient in many of the recipes were included in red ink in the directions but should have been in black ink to uniform as ingredients (ex. Stir together sugar, corn syrup, etc.).  My eyes didn't see the sugar because it blended with the red ink direction words so I was going crazy wondering where the heck to put the sugar!  My fault but still.

Overall, I'm not going to quit my day job.  For some reason my cupcakes wasn't as moist as I would have liked them to be.  In fact, with the first two cupcakes, the texture was slightly dense that I ended up telling people that they were scones!  My chocolate cupcakes turned out better in texture, yay!  Additionally, I think baking from scratch takes a lot of patience and practice plus certain factors or conditions just needed to fit ME and MY kitchen (weather, altitude, technique, timing, love, taste buds, etc.). But the cupcakes tasted good!  Not as fabulous as I'd hoped they be but again I think that will come through trial and error.  So if you're patient and passionate about baking then I think this cookbook will pump up your baking and creative skills. 

Cranberry Orange Cupcakes with Citrus Glaze

Banana Cupcakes
I skipped the icing ..didn't have the right ingredients

S'mores Cupcakes with Marshmallow Icing
Yikes, I forgot to put a piece of graham cracker and chocolate!
Oh, I didn't have a blow torch on hand so I made do with waving it over my stove burner flame

Just because ...
I've wanted to do this and I finally did!
(Whipped egg whites and cream of tartar --
part of marshmallow icing)

1 comment:

  1. Great review! My experiences sound about the same. It must take a lot of practice to make them as good as they are in the store.


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