Gateau: The Surprising Simplicity of French Cakes

Scribner. Sept. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9781982169732. $30. COOKING
French bakery cakes are often awe-inspiring but may be beyond the skill of an average baker and can be pricey to buy. Crapanzano (The London Cookbook; Eat. Cook. LA.) lived in Paris for many years and offers the recipes that French home bakers know well and make in their kitchens. Some she even describes as being learned by small children in school. The scope of the book is broad, from the schoolchild’s basic yogurt cake to elaborate Pavlovas, Charlottes, and bûches de Noël. There are recipes for cakes for all occasions and all sizes, introduced with long and informative descriptions that give encouragement and extra instructions. The author claims that anyone can bake these, but however confident she may be in the abilities of her readers, this book is not for rank beginners, as there is an imprecision in the ingredient specifications that might throw novices into a tizzy; however, experienced bakers should be okay.
VERDICT Full of charming gouache illustrations and a wonderful friendly tone to the text. Public-library patrons will like this one.
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