06 July 2019

Weekend Cooking: Steak and Cake by Elizabeth Karmel

Review of Steak and Cake by Elizabeth KarmelI love the premise of Elizabeth Karmel’s newest cookbook, Steak and Cake (Workman, April 2019). Let’s face it, if you eat meat, you probably like steaks—at least every once in a while. And after you’ve savored a lovely T-bone or porterhouse or flank steak dinner, you might as well go all the way and have a piece of cake to top off your meal.

Karmel wrote Steak and Cake because, for her, these two dishes are almost always better when made and eaten at home. In addition, they're easy to cook (grill, bake), and they form a strong foundation for a dinner party or any special meal with family and friends.

Your success with steaks and cakes is pretty much guaranteed thanks to Karmel's excellent advice; in fact, she devotes a chapter each to the meat and the dessert. In the beef chapter, you'll find tips on how to buy steaks, tricks for proper cooking (indoors and outdoors), and a temperature chart for doneness. In a similar chapter all about cakes, you'll learn about equipment and the proper way to measure ingredients. Here too is where Karmel provides the basic batter and icing recipes you'll use throughout the cookbook.

The bulk of the cookbook contains Karmel's steak and cake pairings. The dishes run from fancy to casual:

  • Downhome: Cowboy steak with whiskey butter paired with whiskey buttermilk Bundt cake
  • Celebration: Steak and truffled eggs paired with latte loaf with hazelnut glaze
  • Fall feast: Beef tenderloin kebabs with bacon, shallots, and mushrooms paired with pumpkin palooza cake walk
  • Saturday lunch: Luck of the Irish flank steak sandwich with charred red onions paired with double-dutch chocolate Guinness Bundt cake
Review of Steak and Cake by Elizabeth KarmelEach steak recipe is matched up with a cake that complements the flavors of the meat or that otherwise makes a good pairing. Karmel, however, suggests alternative desserts and encourages you to create your own combos.

The recipes in Steak and Cakes are easy for almost every home cook. Except for the truffles and the lobsters (for the surf and turf), the ingredients are easy to find no matter where you live. Don’t miss the many recipe notes and information boxes, where Karmel shares her knowledge and experience, such as how to safely flambe and how to turn a layer cake into a sheet cake.

The cookbook also contains a couple of features on adult beverages and a chapter for side dishes.

Because Steak and Cakes is published by Workman, you know it’s beautifully put together. I love the rust and French blue color scheme and the fun, but easy-to-read, title fonts. The photographs by Stephen Hamilton are gorgeous and make you want to head for the kitchen to start grilling and baking.

Review of Steak and Cake by Elizabeth KarmelRecommendations: Elizabeth Karmel’s Steak and Cake is perfect for summer entertaining, but because many of the steaks can be made indoors, you’ll turn to this book all year round. The cake flavors are amazingly hard to resist, and you'll be inspired to bake no matter the season (make the berry cake in summer, the carrot cake in winter) or occasion (try a Texas sheet cake for graduation).

Whether you're hosting a birthday party or holiday celebration, you'll find a steak and cake matchup to suit you and your guests.

For obvious reasons, vegetarians won’t find any main dishes in Steak and Cake, but I encourage you to check out the dessert recipes; there are so many desserts here to love. Note too that the side dishes and cocktails will fit comfortably on your table.

Recipes: For a sampling of Elizabeth Karmel’s recipes (including vegetarian and poultry mains and non-cake desserts), check out her website.

Credits: Thanks to Workman for providing a finished review copy of Steak and Cake. The photos are used here in the context of a review, and all rights remain with the original copyright holders.
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rhapsodyinbooks 7/6/19, 6:05 AM  

Oh! Did you make steak and cake to celebrate the specific shout-out you were given by author Beatriz Williams, as you told us about in your last post? Sounds like a perfect way to mark the occasion! :--)

Mae Travels 7/6/19, 7:26 AM  

Although I agree that a steak dinner deserves a good dessert -- I rarely have enough appetite for both, unfortunately -- the limits of that book seem very odd and arbitrary. I would be more interested in appropriate vegetables to go with the steaks. The cake recipes you described do sound original, though. I definitely don't need that cookbook!! But enjoyed your review.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Tina 7/6/19, 7:49 AM  

That’s an original concept for a cookbook. We do indeed enjoy a steak every now and then. Watching my cholesterol means it’s only occasionally but man, that’s a treat.
Gorgeous chocolate cake and it looks like coconut on the cover. I will check her website for the chicken recipes too.

bermudaonion 7/6/19, 8:15 AM  

How interesting to pair steaks with cakes. We eat steak every once in a while but very rarely have cake (or any other dessert.)

Jackie McGuinness 7/6/19, 8:32 AM  

Sounds like a great book to browse!

Mary R. 7/6/19, 10:54 AM  

Double-dutch chocolate Guinness Bundt cake sounds amazing. Thanks for the review.

Deb in Hawaii 7/6/19, 11:25 AM  

The photos look gorgeous in this one and I'd browse it for the pictures and to see the pairings and cake types. Thanks for sharing! :-)

Abigail Pearson 7/6/19, 12:44 PM  

I've been meaning to read this cookbook!

Greg 7/7/19, 1:51 AM  

I love steak, and as a fairly new vegetarian it's something I miss- although to be honest I didn't have it that often- more as a once in a while thing. Still, those recipes sound delicious! The Fall Fest especially- yum!! :)

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