Cupcake Book Reviews
Don’t waste your money
Borrow it from the library
Buy it used
Buy it on Amazon. You won’t regret it.
Run to the nearest bookstore. Pay full price. It’s worth it.
::Cupcakes!:: by Elinor Klivans
This is the first official cupcake cookbook that I ever bought. I think if my memory serves me correctly (I wouldn’t bet on it though) I bought it from Crate and Barrel as an impulse buy. Probably wasn’t a good idea to browse cookbooks when I was hungry huh? Lucky me I really have nothing bad to say about this book. I’ve made the Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes, Chocolate Hi-Hats and Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes. All delicious! It is a great book for a beginner or even an advanced baker b/c the recipes range from simple classic cupcakes to filled cupcakes to special occasion cupcakes. Another great plus is the photography. I am a very visual person so one sure fire way to make me love any cookbook are pictures. There is a picture about every 5th recipe. The recipes are easy to read, understand and execute.
Crazy About Cupcakes by Krystina Castella
Probably one of my favorite cupcake cookbooks if post-its, pen marks and dog eared pages are any indication. I find myself reaching for this book every time I need inspiration for a specific recipe or cupcake idea. I like the photography but I wish it had more pictures for individual recipes rather than group shots. The recipes and instructions are easy to understand. I love all the variations using different recipes and frosting combinations that the author suggests throughout the whole book. She has crunkcake recipes too! I’ve made countless cupcake and frosting recipes and all have turned out wonderful. I’d say that I use it more for the recipes than the decorating tips though. I think the decorating is fun and whimsical but not exactly my style. Hmmm… maybe I’m turning into a cupcake snob? Naaaaahhhh…
500 Cupcakes by Fergal Connolly
On the cover of the book, Connolly boldly states, “the only cupcake compendium you’ll ever need” but I am not so sure. I have made 3 cupcake recipes (oreo cookie, jelly donut and chocolate buttercream) from this book and all of them have been mediocre. Not sure if it’s my inability to substitute (I don’t do self-rising flour so I subbed with AP flour+baking powder+salt) but all of them have been dry and tasteless. But I will say that all 3 “frosting” recipes were pretty good. Even though there are tips, techniques and great photography for many recipes (I love having pictures in any cookbook), I also feel a little mislead because there aren’t really 500 unique cupcakes. Trust me. I wasn’t naive enough to think there would be 500 cupcake recipes but there are definitely multiple filler cupcakes by simply adding an ingredient(s) to each base recipe and a whole chapter dedicated to muffins. Uh… hello? Muffins are NOT cupcakes. Muffins are ugly cupcakes. Just saying…
Confetti Cakes for Kids by Elisa Strauss
Even though this book is mostly cakes, there is a chapter (about 25 pages) dedicated to cupcake decor ranging from “beach” to “ice cream” to “burgers and fries” and more. Elisa Strauss uses various decorating techniques to design her cupcakes from frosting, fondant, royal icing, etc. I think the beginner cupcake-er might be a little overwhelmed with all the ingredients and steps but the intermediate and advance cupcake-er will be tickled pink over the techniques and design for each cupcake. What I love the most is the picture(s) for every design so you can visually see what you are attempting to create. The author also offers various cupcake, frosting recipes and techniques in the first chapter that I refer to all the time. I would buy the book just for the first 2 chapters: techniques and basic recipes.
Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunksi
I bought this book from William Sonoma but the picture I posted is from Amazon so the covers are slightly difference but I am told that it’s the same book. Maybe I got the special edition cover and it will be worth millions someday! (Wishful thinking?) I remember barely glancing at the bookshelf while browsing WS when my eye caught the cover title: Cupcakes and all the sudden I slowed down to grab the book. I had no idea I’d trained my eye-brain that well. HAHA. The thing is… I rarely buy books from stores. I usually deal exclusively with Amazon for the better deals but after flipping through the book for a good 20 minutes in the store, I bought it. The pictures sucked me in. There is almost a picture for every cupcake in the book. The chapters are broken down into Basic, Fruit & Nut, Chocolate, Special Occasion, Frosting & Fillings and Presentations. I’ve made countless recipes from this book and have never regretted paying full price (although my frugal side says it wouldn’t have killed me to wait for Amazon shipping… LOL)
Hey There, Cupcake! by Clare Crespo
I got this book as a gift from a fellow cupcake loving friend. I am not sure why I didn’t have it in my book collection already so I was giddy to receive it from her. I like that the author has a variation of cupcake recipes besides the classics: cola cupcakes, honey cupcakes, citrus cupcakes, savory cupcakes etc among various frosting recipes too. Of course I love when there are pictures for every cupcake. I’ve only made one recipe from this book b/c to be honest sometimes I forget I have it but the one I made was yummy. I am the most intrigued to make the author’s Candy Dough recipe soon. Guessing it’s her alternative to fondant?
Hello, Cupcake! by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson
I absolutely LOVE this book! I love that the authors take simple techniques and equipment to create some amazing works of cupcake art. I can relate to what they do b/c that is my design aesthetic too. Even though I tend to focus on flavors and not spend too much time on decorating with complicated techniques, this book has taught me that I can do a lot with imagination, a ziplock bag and candy. Who needs fondant when you can roll out a starburst? Genius! There are instructional pictures to re-create everything in the book ranging from dogs, penguins, vegetables, faux dinner, sunflowers, shark etc. They do have some cupcake and frosting recipes but the authors honestly admit that they usually use canned frosting and cake mix. I think this book would be enjoyed by all baking levels, parents and kids. I can’t wait for the 2nd one… Coming soon?
Cupcakes by Martha Stewart
No matter how you feel about Martha. Love her or hate her. The woman knows how to bake! When I found out that Martha Stewart had a cupcake book in the works I knew I’d be buying it. I pre-ordered it via Amazon and have since bought her cupcake book 3 more times for friends. FYI Costco is selling them (at the time of this review) for $14.99. You really can’t beat that price for this book! Regular price $24.99. Honestly I’d probably pay $24.99 for it if I couldn’t find it cheaper via Costco or Amazon. It’s “that” good. Her 1-bowl chocolate cupcakes are my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe, her meyer lemon cupcakes are sweet&sour-licious, her snickerdoodle cupcakes are AH-MAZING and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made her buttermilk cupcakes, all to rave reviews. One of the things I always say about my book reviews are the pictures. Note to aspiring cookbook authors: Pictures are a must. And Martha doesn’t disappoint. There are pictures for every cupcake recipe in her book. I get so inspired whenever I flip through this book. Great recipes and fun decorating ideas. What more could you ask for?
Another winner for the cupcake duo of Karen Tack and Alan Richardson! I’ve been waiting for their 2nd book to come out ever since I bought their first book: Hello, Cupcake! (you can read my review above). True to the style of their first book they use simple decorating “tips” for the novice baker but even the most experienced baker will enjoy this book. One of the noticeable differences in their 2nd book is the addition of the “EZ cupcake” nomenclature for each chapter. There is a range of EZ to more difficult but realistically all the cupcakes in the book will seem easy with their straightforward instructions. Other than that, it’s still the same recipe for success as their 1st book. Simple techniques+candy decorations=amazing cupcake creations! If the pictures don’t inspire you then I don’t know what will. I could stare at the pictures for hours. (Pssst… Just between you and me. Insider gossip tells me that they have Book 3, 4, 5, 6 currently in the works! I can’t wait.)
Angie (or as she’s more fondly known as Bakerella) brings us a hard cover book version of her popular blog. Most readers in the confectionery blogging world know Bakerella’s blog but if you don’t you can find it (here). So was I surprised she got her own book? Not in the least. She’s friendly, talented and funny. A great recipe for an author. Even though I tried not to give into the cupcake pop hype, I found myself succumbing to the teeny cupcake temptress. And it was delicious. You can see my own cupcake pops creation inspired by Angie’s book (here) and (here). Being a visual person, I love the picture step-by-step instructions in the beginning of the book when she takes you through how to make a cupcake pop from an 9×13 sheet cake. Even though she primarily uses boxed mix for consistent results she also provides some scratch recipes as well. I think my favorite parts of the book are the “tips” for each creation and the picture index in the back.
Do you have a cupcake book you want me to review?