Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review: Organic and Chic by Sarah Magid

Organic and Chic: Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets That Taste as Good as They Look"When I bring one of my sweets into the room—whether at a wedding or an intimate dinner party—the expressions on people's faces turn that celebration into a memory I'll never forget. That's what baking should be."

Many people are coming to recognize the merits of eating organic ingredients, but the idea of "organic baked goods" may bring to mind food that is more boring than beautiful and delicious. But in Organic and Chic, custom cake baker Sarah Magid uses her background in jewelry and shoe design to create vibrantly colored, highly original, delicious organic cakes and other desserts that are perfect for all kinds of celebrations.

Filled with gorgeous photographs, Organic and Chic features recipes for delectable baked goods you'll be excited to re-create and serve to family and friends, from modern floral cakes and cupcakes to rustic farmer's-market sweets made with seasonal fruits:

  • Red Velvet Love Cake frosted with Vanilla Whipped Buttercream and garnished with edible flowers
  • Vanilla-Bean Butter Cake filled with Sweet Chocolate Ganache and decorated with hand-sculpted butterflies
  • Minty Strawberry Shortcakes, celebrating the bounty of the summer
  • Goldies, a tasty tribute to America's favorite cream-filled sponge cake

Whether you're preparing some simple Double Ginger Cookies for a block party or bake sale, or experimenting with a rich and luscious dark chocolate birthday cake, you can be confident that you're serving desserts that are gorgeous and flavorful without resorting to fake, chemical-laden ingredients. Magid offers detailed step-by-step decorating instructions and enough inspiration to help even the most novice baker create bold cake-decorating effects, including eye-popping flowers, hand-sculpted leaves, and metallic-painted brushstrokes.

A must for every health-minded baker, this unique cookbook balances exquisite flavors, organic ingredients, and stunning visuals to help you create your own masterpieces.

From the library.

I saw this on display at one of the nearby libraries that I frequent and after seeing that it was a) a cookbook and b) about desserts I immediately had to check it out.

First, the pictures are absolutely beautiful.  The cakes and such are rather fussily (aka you need to actually be Martha Stewart or have the patience of a saint) decorated but they are quite stunning.  The cakes themselves (undecorated) are quite reasonable for the average baker with a KitchenAid mixer.  The cookies and bars are significantly easier.

As for the organic aspect, yes you can obviously make these recipes with all organic ingredients as intended, or you can just use traditional baking ingredients as well.  I know, horror of horrors to the Whole Foods crowd, but not everyone has organic vanilla extract or vegan powdered sugar in one's pantry.

I found a handful of recipes that I'm looking forward to trying (with a mix of traditional and organic ingredients):  Chocolate Explosion Cookies, Crispy Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, and Easy "Posh" Pudding.

This one gets three stars.  The recipes themselves are quite good and reasonably achievable for most bakers, but the organic aspect can be difficult for some, bringing the rating down from four stars.  I would certainly recommend this for bakers, and those particularly interested in an organic lifestyle.

★★☆☆ = Liked It


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