I bought this book along with two other books at 30% off from Borders bookstore. Bakebooks in Singapore certainly do not come cheap. The better well-known ones can easily cost SGD 45 - 60. Very often, the price is enough to make me think twice before buying. After the discount, it was at a more affordable price of SGD 31.
All cakes considered is one book that is distinctively different from other cake books. It is structured in such a way that it feels like a baking journey, filled with anticipation and adventure. The author Melissa Gray narrates her experience of baking and bringing cakes to her colleagues at NPR - National Public Radio, and how her colleagues are wowed by her baked goods.
At the start of the bakng journey, she guides the reader meticulously into baking a sour cream pound cake. Every single step of the instruction is well explained - steps on preparing the pan, creaming butter and how to check when the cake is done. The book starts off with simple cake recipes that require simple techniques. Slowly, the difficulty of the recipes steps up and new baking terms are introduced.
I really like the way she varies her repertoire of recipes. As Melissa mentions, every colleague has different taste buds. Therefore, she tries to bring a different cake each time to satisfy them. To me, her recipes seemed so fascinating that I am at a lost of what to bake for a start. Among the recipes, there is the tunnel of fudge cake baked in a tube pan with oozing cake batter in the middle, somewhat a bigger version of a chocolate lava cake; the Heaven and hell cake - a cake with layers of peanut butter mousse, angel food cake and devil's food cake glazed with a layer of chocolate ganache ; the Agroves manor coffe cake - a yoghurt flavoured pound cake with stewed blueberries and apples and a layer of streusel in the middle, all baked in a tube pan.
Amidst the variety of recipes, detailed explanations and mouth- watering pictures, there is something that I feel is lacking. Regrettably, there is no sight of cheesecakes or cupcakes to make the book more complete. On the whole, it is an enjoyable experience reading All cakes considered - yes, this book is actually a cake book that one can read. I would recommend it to amateur bakers who will have a much easier time baking cakes for the first time.
*(Added on 31st Aug 2010) I have tried one of the recipe, a butter rum cake. The taste is good, however, it is very much on the sweet side. After browsing through the book and analyzing the cake recipes, I realised that most of them tend to be very generous with sugar. Perhaps it might be a good idea to cut down on part of it.