BABYCAKES - ERIN MCKENNA
Review by Barb & Ron Kroll
BabyCakes - vegan, gluten-free and (mostly) sugar-free recipes
(Clarkson Potter) ISBN 978-0307408839 0307408833
Erin McKenna provides recipes from BabyCakes NYC bakery for people with food sensitivities and celiac disease. Made without refined sugar and gluten-free, the dessert recipes are suitable for vegans and people with food allergies. BabyCakes uses coconut flour, xanthan gum and agave nectar as alternatives to flour and sweeteners in recipes for people with wheat, dairy and sugar sensitivities.
The tasty recipes in BabyCakes will benefit vegans, people with celiac disease and allergies to wheat, gluten and dairy products. All recipes are vegan but a few recipes, made with spelt flour, are not free of gluten.
Erin McKenna introduces each chapter and recipe with advice and tips. Some examples? Coconut oil mimics the flavor of butter. Applesauce and pureed pumpkin add moisture and bind ingredients in vegan cookies and gluten-free desserts. Adding minced fresh mint to double chocolate chip cookie dough makes the cookies taste like Girl Scout Thin Mints.
Detailed, close-up color photos, by Tara Donne, illustrate delicious gluten-free and vegan recipes and scenes from BabyCakes NYC.
Sugar, flour and dairy substitutes
BabyCakes recipes contain substitutes for milk (rice milk, coconut milk and soy milk), substitutes for sugar (evaporated cane juice and agave nectar) and substitutes for corn starch and flour thickeners (potato starch, arrowroot). Erin McKenna uses garbanzo fava bean flour, rice flour and Bob's Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose flour to make gluten-free recipes.
BabyCakes includes sidebars with useful tips, such as bananas can never be too ripe and caramelizing apples, pears and peaches enhances their flavor prior to baking. Natural food colors for vegan frostings include turmeric for yellow, blueberry juice for purple, and beet, raspberry, cherry, cranberry and pomegranate juice for pink or red.
The resources chapter of the 144-page gluten-free cookbook provides websites for places where you can buy gluten-free flours, coconut oil, organic agave nectar, gluten-free oats and soy ice cream.
Sample recipes for celiacs
Zucchini muffins. Spelt biscuits. Chocolate shortbread scones with caramelized bananas. Jalapeno cheddar corn bread. Banana chocolate chip bread. Sugarplum cookies. Agave sweetened brownie gems. Red velvet cupcakes. Carrot cupcakes. Double chocolate crumb cake. Strawberry rhubarb pie. Agave lemonade. Soy milk vanilla frosting and chocolate frosting.
- Notes on using BabyCakes' recipes: tools, ingredients & tips
- Tools of the trade
- Advice on ingredient substitutions
- Spelt versus gluten-free
- Biscuits & scones
- Cookies & brownies
- Cupcakes & frostings
- Cakes & crumbles
- Pies & cobblers
Erin McKenna is chef and owner of BabyCakes LA, BabyCakes NYC and BabyCakes in Downtown Disney, Lake Buena Vista, Florida.