Snacking Cakes by Yossy Arefi. New York: Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2020. 192 pages.
Have you ever found yourself craving cake on a weeknight, but making one seems like too much effort? Snacking Cakes is here to save the day. With easy to follow recipes and sophisticated recipes, Snacking Cakes is sure to be a favorite cookbook for years to come.
Yossy Arefi defines snacking cakes as cakes that are a single layer with either a simple topping or no topping that can be made very easily. She presents 50 recipes, all of which come together in a single large bowl and are designed for an 8×8 inch pan, and generally have a bake time of around 35-45 minutes. The recipes are divided into four categories- fruit cakes, which highlight various fruit combinations; warm and toasty cakes, which includes lots of cozy, spice driven cakes; chocolatey cakes; and not your average vanilla cakes. The introduction discusses how to know when cakes are done, how to store cakes, and provides tips for choosing the best ingredients. Measurements are given in both cups and metric measurements, and a metric conversion chart is available in the back. There is also an index in the back for quick reference.
Most of the ingredients for the recipes in Snacking Cakes can be easily found at any grocery store, and no special equipment is needed for any of the recipes. There are also variations presented for each recipe, including baking in different sized pans, flavor substitutions, or ways to dress up the simple cakes. The recipes are very clearly written, and are easy enough that beginner bakers could easily follow.
One of the simplest and best cakes in Snacking Cakes is the swirled jam cake. The cake is buttery and the addition of sour cream produces a light and fluffy cake. Any jam can be swirled in, making the flavor possibilities endless. A dusting of powdered sugar covers this simple cake. This cake is sure to impress anyone, and it is easy enough to make on a weeknight.
Snacking Cakes is a great book for a baker of any experience level. Unlike many cookbooks that feature complicated recipes that take hours to make, Snacking Cakes shows that great cakes can be achieved without a lot of effort. This would be a great first cookbook for someone wanting to start their baking journey, but the recipes offered are great for experienced bakers as well. The only downside to this excellent book is trying to decide which cake to make first!
Elizabeth Weislak is the Youth Services Coordinator for Alamance County Public Libraries. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org