20 August 2011

Weekend Cooking: Review: Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe by Alisa Huntsman

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I've never been to Nashville, but when I get there, I know where I'm heading for dessert, even if I have to wait in line to be seated. The Loveless Cafe (named after the first owners) has been a go-to spot since it opened its doors in 1951. In 2004, Alisa Huntsman came onboard as the baking queen of the cafe, and in her Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe she tells you how you can bake her signature sweet treats at home.

From its raspberry red and robin's egg blue color scheme to the beautiful photographs, Desserts invites you to pull up a kitchen chair and start dreaming of your next baking adventure. Unlike many restaurant cookbooks, this one has a comfortable, down-home feel, which is telegraphed by the simplicity of the cover photograph. Look at that red velvet cake on its vintage cake stand! I'm sure I could re-create both the dessert and the presentation.

Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe will soon be a batter-splattered, well-used cookbook in my house. Pretty much every single recipe looks tasty and easy to make, and the variety promises the perfect dessert no matter what the occasion or season.

The categories are classic (such as pies, cakes, crisps, and puddings), but the choices will appeal to the most modern of bakers. Besides the rich heaven that is Root Beer Float Cake, you'll also find plenty of seasonal fruit pies and cobblers as well as snack-type desserts, such as thin, buttery Coconut Chews.

The ingredients are easy to find at the grocery store, but just in case, Huntsman provides a short list of sources. The recipe directions are numbered and detail each step, including tests for determining doneness and ideas for serving. Even the recipes with the longest titles, like Biscuit Pudding with Drunken Caramel Sauce, are broken down into just a handful of easy-to-follow instructions.

Home bakers will appreciate the extras that Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe offers. Throughout, Huntsman includes tips, general information, and interesting facts about the Loveless Cafe. Thanks to the well-constructed index and chapter tables of contents, it's a snap to find your next dessert, whether you search by ingredient, category, or title. (Note: photo was scanned from p. 99 of the cookbook.)

After reading the introduction to the cookie chapter, I started gathering the ingredients for the One-Bowl Brownie Drops:
What can't a good cookie do? It staves off hunger, it's perfectly portable, and, crumbs be damned, you can even sneak one or two into your pocket. Put out a plate of cookies in any room, and it will demonstrate a gravitational pull that rivals celestial bodies. (p. 160)
I plan on baking later in the weekend; I'll let you know how they turned out.


Published by Workman / Artisan, September 2011
ISBN-13: 9781579654344
Source: review (see review policy).
Rating: A
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)



31 comments:

Rikki 8/20/11, 6:40 AM  

This sounds so elicious. I am hungry now and need something sweet.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 8/20/11, 7:04 AM  

I'm not familiar with the Loveless Cafe, but my sweet tooth tells me I need avtrip to Nashville (or to the bookstore to pick up the cookbook, I suppose!)

TheBookGirl 8/20/11, 7:05 AM  

This cookbook sounds like it has everything -- wonderful photos, easy to follow recipes that don't require obscure ingredients, and the part I love, anecdotes about the cuisine and/or the locale.

I much prefer baking to cooking, and I love me some dessert, so this is a must for me. Thanks for spotlighting it!

caite 8/20/11, 7:37 AM  

A couple of those Brownie Drops would be so nice with my tea this morning..love the One Bowl part too!

Looks like a delightful book..at least until it gets covered with batter..lol

Michelle 8/20/11, 8:45 AM  

Egads! Now this is the kind of cookbook I can get into. ;)

Beth S. 8/20/11, 8:46 AM  

Mmmm... your post has me drooling. Definitely going to check this book out!

Heather 8/20/11, 8:59 AM  

This is my kind of book. i don't think I could have too many baking books.

Kate 8/20/11, 9:26 AM  

I haven't had a good red velvet cake in years - looks so tempting!

girlichef 8/20/11, 9:54 AM  

I wish I'd have known about the Loveless Cafe when I went to Nashville a few years back...my mouth is watering just reading your review. I'm on the lookout for this book :D

Esme 8/20/11, 10:58 AM  

These recipes sound lovely, except for the Root Beer one. That blueberry cobbler has me drooling.

Esme 8/20/11, 10:58 AM  

These recipes sound lovely, except for the Root Beer one. That blueberry cobbler has me drooling.

Julie P. 8/20/11, 10:59 AM  

I bet this cookbook is just gorgeous!

Uniflame 8/20/11, 11:31 AM  

I never ate a red velvet cake in my life, because I think this is something typical American, and I was never able to get my hands on it. But I want to try one!

Margot 8/20/11, 12:04 PM  

The Loveless is now on my list for the next time we visit Nashville, which by the way is a lovely place to visit.

Nan 8/20/11, 1:07 PM  

This is my kind of cookbook! I'll be buying it. Thanks so much.

Veens 8/20/11, 1:51 PM  

When you go, do post pictures :) because then we can all see it too :)

Sounds deliciously awesome book :)

Col (Col Reads) 8/20/11, 4:38 PM  

I'm looking forward to the review of the Brownie Drops! I'm not much of a dessert eater, but this sounds delicious.

Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews 8/20/11, 4:41 PM  

Looks like a great cookbook! Can't wait to hear how the brownies turn out!

Belle Wong 8/20/11, 8:19 PM  

Root Beer Float Cake sounds delicious! I think I might get the book just on the strength of the name of that recipe! (One Bowl Brownie Drops sound pretty good, too.)

bermudaonion 8/21/11, 8:01 AM  

I love to bake, so I adore cookbooks like that! I can think of several people who would like that root beer float cake.

Lisa@ButteryBooks 8/21/11, 1:01 PM  

I really love the colors of the cover. That Root Beer Float cake sounds awesome.

Sheila (Bookjourney) 8/21/11, 1:40 PM  

This book would be dangerous in my hands! YUM!

Rose City Reader 8/21/11, 2:07 PM  

Yum! That cover is enticing. And I like the idea of easy dessert recipes. So often the desserts that look so pretty are so impossible to make -- I just want something homemade and sweet.

Darlene 8/21/11, 5:11 PM  

Oh yeah, this one had me at Root Beer Float Cake! I like that the recipes are easy to follow and the ingredients readily available. I'm definitely putting this on the wishlist.

Serena 8/21/11, 5:19 PM  

Darlene and I are of the same mind, Root Beer Float Cake! Sounds like a book of yummy food for me.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 8/21/11, 7:59 PM  

Desserts are our weakness and this cookbook seems like a must-buy...sighhhh

natalie @book, line, and sinker 8/21/11, 10:27 PM  

oh, gosh! the loveless is everything you can imagine. ant and i visited in the summer of 2008 and treated ourselves to the southern fare that i've come to adore. i tried fried okra and we scarfed down biscuits with butter. we bought out the gift shop and to this day, the potholder hanging in my kitchen is the one from the loveless. it's off the beaten trail but worth the trip! the cookbook sounds awesome. i'm on a cookbook kick of late and will keep my eyes open for this one!

natalie @book, line, and sinker 8/21/11, 10:27 PM  

oh, gosh! the loveless is everything you can imagine. ant and i visited in the summer of 2008 and treated ourselves to the southern fare that i've come to adore. i tried fried okra and we scarfed down biscuits with butter. we bought out the gift shop and to this day, the potholder hanging in my kitchen is the one from the loveless. it's off the beaten trail but worth the trip! the cookbook sounds awesome. i'm on a cookbook kick of late and will keep my eyes open for this one!

Joy Weese Moll 8/21/11, 11:07 PM  

One bowl brownie drops sound terrific! I love the quote about cookies, too. I've always thought cookies were undervalued. They can be rugged or elegant, rich or crisp, complex or simple. It's hard to imagine an event or a mood that you couldn't find a cookie to suit.

Louise 8/23/11, 3:39 PM  

Yummy! When we went on our trip in May to Southern USA, we had Nashville on our schedule. Unfortunately we never got the time to go there, because when we had been to Memphis (and Graceland ;-) ) we had to head towards Atlanta again with not so much time to spare. So Nashville will be visited another time. I hope.

Kris 9/11/11, 9:04 PM  

I'm always up for a good dessert book! I just put in a hold request for this one with my library.

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