08 September 2012

Weekend Cooking: SprinkleBakes by Heather Baird

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What happens when an artist takes to the kitchen? You get beautiful desserts that pop with color and design and delight with flavor and aroma. In short, you get Heather Baird, the genius behind the Sprinkle Bakes food blog. Her debut cookbook, SprinkleBakes, was published in May.

One of the first things you notice when you open SprinkleBakes is the absolutely gorgeous photography. From the completed desserts to the close-up details of specific techniques and ingredients, the pictures invite you to sit a while and dream of your next baking adventure.

Then when you turn to the table of contents, you'll see that the cookbook has a unique format. The chapters are not divided by type of dessert but rather by technique or medium.

What does that mean? Well, for example, the section titled "Blank Canvases" contains recipes for undecorated cookies, cakes, and candies. Other chapters and sections provide recipes for icings and toppings as well as decorating techniques that turn a plain dessert into a work of art. So you could make Baird's simple sugar cookie recipe and then turn to a technique chapter to learn how to use a variety of pigments, food colorings, and icings to create such things as postcard cookies with exquisite line drawings and exotic-looking cookies with intricate designs inspired by henna tattoos.

Here are some of my favorite recipes/techniques:
  • Origami cookies
  • A book cake
  • Individual grasshopper pies
  • Beautifully colored free-form lollipops
From front to back, SprinkleBakes is inspiring and a joy to look through. I particularly appreciated Baird's well-written and clear instructions for mastering her techniques and tips for using decorative ingredients. Between the beautiful photography and excellent directions, the cookbook is a great resource for the creative baker.

But now comes a moment of confession. I'd like to think that I'd actually make a stunningly beautiful dessert that required multiple master baker techniques, but the truth is this: I'm pretty much a casual (or should I say lazy?) baker. Don't get me wrong, I like a pretty icing, and I think it's fun to play around when decorating a birthday cake; it's just that I tend to put the bulk of my culinary energy into the meal itself. On the other hand, I can easily picture my artistic niece taking the time to mix the perfect colors to decorate cupcakes to fit a party theme.

If you have an artistic bent or are looking for ways to be more creative in the kitchen, Heather Baird's SprinkleBakes is the cookbook you've been looking for.

Buy SprinkleBakes at an Indie, at Powell's, at Book Depository, or at bookstore near you. These links lead to affiliate programs.
Published by Sterling Publishing / Sterling Epicure, 2012
ISBN-13: 9781402786365
Rating: B
Source: Bought (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


24 comments:

Uniflame 9/8/12, 6:45 AM  

Oh, I wish! I love it so much when I see it, but there is no way I can do such things myself. Such a shame, really.

Pierce 9/8/12, 6:55 AM  

I had not heard of SprinkleBakes and will be glad to check it out. I have the desire to be more creative, but alas, that gene skipped a generation and my decorative skills look childish sometimes.
Looking forward to reviewing this.

Patty 9/8/12, 7:20 AM  

I would love to get into this sort of baking, and if the photos are great as you say, this is definitely a book for me! thanks!

bermudaonion 9/8/12, 7:32 AM  

I got distracted by her web site. Holy cow! Her creations are just gorgeous. I guarantee mine wouldn't look that good.

caite 9/8/12, 7:44 AM  

that books sounds so cute! and I love that cover.

Carol @ Always Thyme to Cook 9/8/12, 8:06 AM  

I'm with you, I can't do fussy baking. For that matter I really can't do simple baking all that well but do I love to read baking books. Her blog pictures are gorgeous, I can only imagine what a beautiful book it is!

softdrink 9/8/12, 8:15 AM  

Just like Kathy, I got distracted by the blog. Oh my! Is it wrong to now want Chocolate PB Cake for breakfast?

(Diane) bookchickdi 9/8/12, 8:29 AM  

I too appreciate a beautifully decorated baked good, but lack the talent or patience to do it. The organization of the book is unique, and the cover is lovely.

Beth S. 9/8/12, 8:40 AM  

Yes, lazy baker is the perfect way to describe me too. I am definitely a cook and not a baker. I like just throwing stuff in without having to measure. I think this book would be fun to look through but frustrating to try to make something from.

Cecelia 9/8/12, 10:51 AM  

Ah, now baking is the thing I'd rather spend my time on... so I shall probably LOVE this cookbook. Checking my library for it right now. Thanks for sharing your review!

Trish 9/8/12, 11:09 AM  

I just popped over to Heather's blog and oh my goodness is it gorgeous! I'm not familiar so thanks for the introduction.

Several years ago I took a series of cake decorating classes and loved learning the techniques but since then I think I can count the times I've used the skills on one hand. I think they'll come in hand once the babe is older and "needs" birthday cake but otherwise...I'm kind of lazy, too.

What I want to know is how these foodie bloggers stay trim! I admit that since I started doing the Operations and cooking/baking much more this year I've been holding on to five pounds that I just can't drop. Bah!

Christine 9/8/12, 12:23 PM  

Uh oh. I just clicked over to Heather's blog and I think I just found sugar rush heaven! I bookmarked her site and will definitely be popping over regularly to admire her beautiful and delicious looking treats. Maybe I'll even make something someday. I used to be more adventurous--or shall I say industrious-- with my baking endeavors. These days I simply don't eat as many treats and I prefer quicker, simpler recipes. Unless it's for a special occasion.

Hoping to make homemade ice cream today (finally!) so will come back to link up later. Hopefully. LOL.

Fay 9/8/12, 3:23 PM  

Added Sprinkle to my blog reader based on her food photography alone. So inspiring.

Carole 9/8/12, 4:37 PM  

I do admire people that are good bakers. I am so indifferent at it that I don't try often. Have a great week.

Anita 9/8/12, 4:39 PM  

I love the look of fancy deserts but I'm like you...so much work. This looks like a gorgeous cookbook though.

Heather 9/8/12, 6:26 PM  

Greeat title for this book. I am seriously into adding sprinkles to just about anything that might be considered dessert.

Cecelia 9/8/12, 7:30 PM  

My apologies for linking twice! Feel free to delete one (they're the same link).

Julie P. 9/9/12, 7:49 AM  

I bet I'd love looking through this cookbook! Sounds so original.

Joy Weese Moll 9/9/12, 10:01 AM  

I like the idea of food as art and this cookbook looks like a fantastic expression of that.

Les 9/9/12, 12:29 PM  

I don't bake a lot, but that Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cake has me convinced that I need to dig out my cake pans. Yummmmmm! Thanks for directing me to Heather's blog. I'm sure I'll be adding quite a few items to my Pinterest board. :)

Vasilly 9/9/12, 1:19 PM  

The Simple Bakes blog looks fantastic and the book sounds amazing! I can be a lazy baker too but I think this book would be real good for the budding bakers in my home.

Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez 9/9/12, 1:43 PM  

This sounds like a fun one...I think it'd make a great gift for aspiring bakers! :D

Chinoiseries 9/9/12, 2:07 PM  

What a fantastic(al) cookbook! This is so going onto my wishlist :) Where are the photos of your own creations? :p

Becky 9/9/12, 8:08 PM  

Going to check this one out for sure. Photography can sure make or break a cookbook!

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