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Cake: A Cookbook

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With great style, wit, and joy, Maira Kalman and Barbara Scott-Goodman celebrate their favorite dessert. In Cake, renowned artist and author Maira Kalman and food writer Barbara Scott-Goodman bring us a beautifully illustrated book dedicated to their love of cakes. Filled with Kalman's inimitable illustrations and memories, from chocolate cake on a terrace in Tel Aviv as a With great style, wit, and joy, Maira Kalman and Barbara Scott-Goodman celebrate their favorite dessert. In Cake, renowned artist and author Maira Kalman and food writer Barbara Scott-Goodman bring us a beautifully illustrated book dedicated to their love of cakes. Filled with Kalman's inimitable illustrations and memories, from chocolate cake on a terrace in Tel Aviv as a child to a gorgeous pink cake enjoyed over Lucretius and Nietzsche in Rome, and sprinkled with seventeen mouthwatering recipes prepared by Scott-Goodman, Cake is a joyful and whimsical celebration of a timeless dessert.


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With great style, wit, and joy, Maira Kalman and Barbara Scott-Goodman celebrate their favorite dessert. In Cake, renowned artist and author Maira Kalman and food writer Barbara Scott-Goodman bring us a beautifully illustrated book dedicated to their love of cakes. Filled with Kalman's inimitable illustrations and memories, from chocolate cake on a terrace in Tel Aviv as a With great style, wit, and joy, Maira Kalman and Barbara Scott-Goodman celebrate their favorite dessert. In Cake, renowned artist and author Maira Kalman and food writer Barbara Scott-Goodman bring us a beautifully illustrated book dedicated to their love of cakes. Filled with Kalman's inimitable illustrations and memories, from chocolate cake on a terrace in Tel Aviv as a child to a gorgeous pink cake enjoyed over Lucretius and Nietzsche in Rome, and sprinkled with seventeen mouthwatering recipes prepared by Scott-Goodman, Cake is a joyful and whimsical celebration of a timeless dessert.

30 review for Cake: A Cookbook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie Ehlers

    Cake is a collaboration between artist Maira Kalman and cookbook author Barbara Scott-Goodman. Kalman contributes illustrations and vignettes about various cakes she has eaten in her life, and Scott-Goodman contributes 17 recipes and some baking tips. This could have been really great! Kalman's food illustrations are typically mouthwatering, and I even bought a piece of cake at the supermarket to have on hand while reading this, so sure was I that this book would cause intense cake cravings. But Cake is a collaboration between artist Maira Kalman and cookbook author Barbara Scott-Goodman. Kalman contributes illustrations and vignettes about various cakes she has eaten in her life, and Scott-Goodman contributes 17 recipes and some baking tips. This could have been really great! Kalman's food illustrations are typically mouthwatering, and I even bought a piece of cake at the supermarket to have on hand while reading this, so sure was I that this book would cause intense cake cravings. But no. There are actually very few cake illustrations in this book; most of the illustrations are of people, and the cake plays a very small role in the pictures. The recipes seem good, but again there are only 17 of them, so this book seems destined to disappoint both fans of Maira Kalman's food illustrations and fans of cake. It was fun for the few minutes it took to read, but I'm quite glad I checked it out of the library rather than paying for it. Final complaint: In her introduction, Barbara Scott-Goodman describes a luscious-sounding peach-cinnamon cake she made for her daughter, but then she doesn't include a recipe for it! That's so wrong.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    "What have I learned? It is not a party without cake. It is not a holiday without cake. It is not an auspicious occasion without cake. Things are much nicer with cake. Bring on the cake. We really want to live."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kath Lau

    Cake is an illustrated cookbook which contains seventeen mouthwatering cake recipes and beautiful illustrations. Kalman tells us how cake has become an important part of her family’s life and how it can bring back wonderful and even painful memories. There are also baking tips and some cake-related facts in this book. Do you know that Pavlova, a meringue-based dessert, is named after the Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova? And that “mit schlag” means “with whipped cream“? I’m not a professional Cake is an illustrated cookbook which contains seventeen mouthwatering cake recipes and beautiful illustrations. Kalman tells us how cake has become an important part of her family’s life and how it can bring back wonderful and even painful memories. There are also baking tips and some cake-related facts in this book. Do you know that Pavlova, a meringue-based dessert, is named after the Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova? And that “mit schlag” means “with whipped cream“? I’m not a professional baker but I can totally say that the recipes are simple and easy to follow. Plus, the colorful illustrations will make you crave for more than a slice of cake. I highly recommend this book especially if you love baking and/or eating cake. This can also be a perfect gift for someone special.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rhea

    This book gave me such a desire for casual hospitality. I whipped up a cake for no reason and invited friends over to watch Steel Magnolias. They rushed over. I am excited to try the rest of the recipes in this whimsical cookbook. I love the drawings, and the stories.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    While this is a great book, I was disappointed to find out it was a cookbook. I'd have preferred a larger format book just devoted to Kalman's musings and paintings on cake - but this is pretty nice.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Lovely paintings by Maira Kalman, as always, and as always, it's her connections between the deeply felt events of life and its everyday objects that make her work so poignant. "What have I learned? It is not a party without cake. It is not a holiday without cake. It is not an auspicious occasion without cake. Things are much nicer with cake. Bring on the cake. We really want to live."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Burkhart

    Just the best! Perfect for any cake lover who also delights in Kalman's art and writing. I can't wait to get myself a copy!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Yum! This slim book, picked up on a whim whilst at the library, is the Cake that launched a thousand (okay, maybe not quite that many) cakes. I have loved baking since I was in pigtails but honestly, I stopped doing it a few years ago. I'm not sure why - nothing really sounded fun or appetizing to eat, I suppose. But Cake was able to pick me up, dust me off, and set me back on my flour-y feet. It's a hybrid little treasure - part memoir, part wistful and lovely picture drawings, and part recipes Yum! This slim book, picked up on a whim whilst at the library, is the Cake that launched a thousand (okay, maybe not quite that many) cakes. I have loved baking since I was in pigtails but honestly, I stopped doing it a few years ago. I'm not sure why - nothing really sounded fun or appetizing to eat, I suppose. But Cake was able to pick me up, dust me off, and set me back on my flour-y feet. It's a hybrid little treasure - part memoir, part wistful and lovely picture drawings, and part recipes (the recipes are supplied by Barbara Scott-Goodman). The front cover features, of course, a layered chocolate cake with a cherry on top; whether it's an entire cake, a healthy slice, or a petit four will depend upon your mood and level of yearning for the delicious magic that happens when chocolate, butter, salt, and flour come together and have a party in a bowl. Perfect for a bridal shower, a housewarming, or a just treat for you that will result in treats for all, Cake is a sweet festive feast for the senses. So what are you doing sitting around reading this? Go get yourself some Cake. I've already ditched the library version for my very own copy to share with the kids. Yum!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sam Wescott

    So, I definitely thought this was a graphic novel when I picked it up and not a cookbook??? Oops! But it did some short little stories in there and some lovely art, so it was a sweet read, even though I had no idea it was gonna be 90% recipes, haha. This would be a great gift for the baker in your life. It’s really pretty.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kati Giblin

    I loved the sweet stories, poems and illustrations. More cookbooks should follow this format.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    Chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting? No, olive oil cake. Well, maybe the Pavlova. Or the Broken Heart Cake. My love of Maira Kalman's illustrations knows no bounds. Honey cake! Gingerbread cake! One of each, please and thank you. Maira Kalman plus cake is an unbelievable combination:)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Melana

    Best lemon pound cake and coconut cake recipes that I have ever found.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bléu

    This book is pure art. It reminded me of my love for cake and the memories I associate them with. There are moments where cake was a part of my life and i will never forget that. Cakes. I adore them. I had them on my birthdays, on special occasions only as we can't afford them. Based on the photographs, i had my first cake when i turned one. It was Disney princess themed, a gift from my aunt. I can barely remember what it taste like but still it was a cake. When i turned seven, i had this giganti This book is pure art. It reminded me of my love for cake and the memories I associate them with. There are moments where cake was a part of my life and i will never forget that. Cakes. I adore them. I had them on my birthdays, on special occasions only as we can't afford them. Based on the photographs, i had my first cake when i turned one. It was Disney princess themed, a gift from my aunt. I can barely remember what it taste like but still it was a cake. When i turned seven, i had this gigantic chocolate cupcake cake where i didn't even got to try as all the guests ate it. But the most memorable cake i had was when i turned eleven. My aunt bought me this sweet marshmallow chocolate cake out of the blue. It made me really happy as it's the only time where i had a cake for my birthday that i actually got to savour with my family. Since then, as we got stable financially, cake came annually to our table. Baking is my aunt's passion and she experiments with it every time. We enjoy yema and ube cakes occasionally and it is lovely :-)) ~*~ "A day spent without dancing is a wasted day." "-then you can tell her your troubles and she will offer sage advice. Usually. But not always. She is human, after all."

  14. 4 out of 5

    Pixie

    I picked this up because it was on a year-end list of recommended cookbooks. How did this ever get published? Folksy-style paintings of people with cakes, often looking as if painted from photographs. Shakily-written journal entries (the font is hard to read) of her own cake memories. I'd rather write and illustrate my own. The blurb said "witty," but I didn't find any wit. I did find a couple of useless "notes" that are infuriating to read as they are so basic and not note-worthy, like "you'll I picked this up because it was on a year-end list of recommended cookbooks. How did this ever get published? Folksy-style paintings of people with cakes, often looking as if painted from photographs. Shakily-written journal entries (the font is hard to read) of her own cake memories. I'd rather write and illustrate my own. The blurb said "witty," but I didn't find any wit. I did find a couple of useless "notes" that are infuriating to read as they are so basic and not note-worthy, like "you'll save a lot of time and effort if you grate carrots in a food processor with a grating attachment [talk about filler words!] instead of using a hand grater." She hired a recipe writer to write 16 cake recipes. Yes, that's all, and less than 100 pages total in the little book, which they charge $25 for.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    If you're the type of person who think you will never read an entire book, have I got the book for you! This is a delightfully short, focused title with wonderful sounding recipes and gorgeous illustrations and recollections from the illustrator sprinkled throughout. This is a great book for giving too, in my opinion.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Linda Shaughnessy

    I adore Kalman's paintings and style. And maybe I'll try some of the recipes, especially the coconut cake!

  17. 5 out of 5

    patricia

    it has luscious illustrations it is a cookbook it is an ode to cake

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    Barbara Scott-Goodman, a food writer, observes in a forward: “People think that cake is kind of a big deal, and it is. Serving cake for dessert can turn a simple dinner into an occasion, and nothing says ‘Let’s celebrate’ quite like it.” For the most part this is a cookbook for cakes, interspersed with Kalman’s vibrant Matisse-like paintings and reminiscences from her childhood. Kalman points out that many of the big occasions in life are marked by cake, from happy times to mourning, to visiting, Barbara Scott-Goodman, a food writer, observes in a forward: “People think that cake is kind of a big deal, and it is. Serving cake for dessert can turn a simple dinner into an occasion, and nothing says ‘Let’s celebrate’ quite like it.” For the most part this is a cookbook for cakes, interspersed with Kalman’s vibrant Matisse-like paintings and reminiscences from her childhood. Kalman points out that many of the big occasions in life are marked by cake, from happy times to mourning, to visiting, to when you need a “talking cure.” Kalman recounts: “If you go to visit an elderly aunt in a crisp dress (who earlier hauled the wet laundry up to the roof to hang and dry), she will serve you cake that she made at dawn. No doubt about that. Cheesecake or honey cake or fruitcake. Then you can tell her your troubles and she will offer sage advice. Usually. But not always. She is human, after all.” The recipes are simple and classic - arguably what one should have for a basic cake repertoire (if there is such a thing). They all sound delicious, from “Lemon Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze” (2 sticks of butter in that one - what could be bad?) to sour cream coffee cake and chocolate cakes - both with and without flour. And since I bake cakes more than I do any other activity in the kitchen (aside from eating) I have tried most of these (or very similar) recipes at some time or other and can vouch for them. Some of Kalman's comments are whimsical, like her art. She shows a cake iced with the quote “A day without dancing is a wasted day,” explaining: “When we lived in Rome we had a party and we made a gorgeous pink cake. Lucretius was on our mind. And Spinoza. His search for happiness. And someone mentioned Nietzsche’s quote. He said a day without dancing is a wasted day. You don’t think of philosophers dancing, especially Nietzsche. But apparently they do.” Evaluation: This homage to cake is also a paean to relationships and shared celebrations and the comfort that can come from the little things. But most of all, it is a collection of recipes worth having. I would call this an “enhanced” cookbook, highly recommended!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed and you are in #COVID19 #socialisolation, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. (I have played a zillion games of scrabble, done a zillion crosswords and I AM BORED!!!) I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the aut When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed and you are in #COVID19 #socialisolation, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. (I have played a zillion games of scrabble, done a zillion crosswords and I AM BORED!!!) I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. With great style, wit, and joy, Maira Kalman and Barbara Scott-Goodman celebrate their favourite dessert. In Cake, renowned artist and author Maira Kalman and food writer Barbara Scott-Goodman bring us a beautifully illustrated book dedicated to their love of cakes. Filled with Kalman's inimitable illustrations and memories, from chocolate cake on a terrace in Tel Aviv as a child to a gorgeous pink cake enjoyed over Lucretius and Nietzsche in Rome, and sprinkled with seventeen mouthwatering recipes prepared by Scott-Goodman, Cake is a joyful and whimsical celebration of a timeless dessert. What a DELICIOUS book!! Sweet stories, sweet cake and recipes that look amazing to make: if I could find some eggs or even get into a grocery store without a 3 hours wait, that would be amazing: #COVID19 insanity is real, people! The illustrations/drawings are a nice change from the usual food-styled-to-death photos as well: I can never make a cake that looks like the ones in magazines and on "baking championship" shows. A delightful book, all in all! As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🎂🎂🍰🎂🎂

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Mensing

    Full disclosure, I'm not a cake lover. I really can take it or leave it, and most often choose the latter. However, my "Literate Foodie" bookclub is discussing this one, along with sampling cakes made from the recipes, so I read it. I found it charming. The illustrations are adorable, and the musings about cake give the reader something to think about. Cake is seen as not just a food, but really more of a centerpiece for gatherings with the bonus of also being delicious. There are only 17 recipes Full disclosure, I'm not a cake lover. I really can take it or leave it, and most often choose the latter. However, my "Literate Foodie" bookclub is discussing this one, along with sampling cakes made from the recipes, so I read it. I found it charming. The illustrations are adorable, and the musings about cake give the reader something to think about. Cake is seen as not just a food, but really more of a centerpiece for gatherings with the bonus of also being delicious. There are only 17 recipes, and the majority of those seem to be nothing special. If you are a baker, though, perhaps you will see them as innovative in a way the I can't perceive. Each of the recipes comes with a few notes, and those provide a bit of information the reader may not already know. The illustrations have little to do with the specific recipes provided, and the personal narrative included with the illustrations references cakes for which there is no recipe included. It was a quick read (about 15 minutes if you spend some time looking at the pictures and you're not reading the recipes), so just a bit of a diversion. It might work well as a bookclub book, though, since everyone will have their stories of important personal events that included cake, I imagine.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    This short illustrated memory/recipe book was a delight. I love Maira Kalman's paintings, and I was happy to read through the different cake recipes by Barbara Scott-Goodman. Though I'm not much of a baker, this book made me want to try some of the "simpler" cakes just because, and BSG's tips for cake-baking made success seem possible. Also, I would like to try my hand at watercolor, thanks to Kalman. Her colors and simple-yet-profound figures always blow me away--and I LOVE illustrations that f This short illustrated memory/recipe book was a delight. I love Maira Kalman's paintings, and I was happy to read through the different cake recipes by Barbara Scott-Goodman. Though I'm not much of a baker, this book made me want to try some of the "simpler" cakes just because, and BSG's tips for cake-baking made success seem possible. Also, I would like to try my hand at watercolor, thanks to Kalman. Her colors and simple-yet-profound figures always blow me away--and I LOVE illustrations that feature food!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Glen U

    A great little book celebrating cake. Written and illustrated by Maira Kalman, it will take the reader back to their own reminiscenses, as Kalman evokes her own memories involving cake, family and good times. Short and sweet, like a single layer strawberry shortcake (sorry, I couldn't resist), it is a very quick and very good read. I have not tried the recipes that are included in the book, created by Barbara Scott-Goodman, but they all seem like they will be delicious. A worthy addition to anyb A great little book celebrating cake. Written and illustrated by Maira Kalman, it will take the reader back to their own reminiscenses, as Kalman evokes her own memories involving cake, family and good times. Short and sweet, like a single layer strawberry shortcake (sorry, I couldn't resist), it is a very quick and very good read. I have not tried the recipes that are included in the book, created by Barbara Scott-Goodman, but they all seem like they will be delicious. A worthy addition to anybody's cookbook collection.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Pinky

    This is pretty much perfect. I want to immediately bake and eat every cake featured in this book, especially the plum tarte that I already know I'm going to make with cranberries. The art is exquisite and the stories touching - I especially love the multiple appearances by Aunt Shoshanah who takes all of the kids to the beach each morning and serves them chocolate cake while they are lolling about on the cool tiles of a Tel Aviv terrace after, not even thanking her for the cake as kids are wont This is pretty much perfect. I want to immediately bake and eat every cake featured in this book, especially the plum tarte that I already know I'm going to make with cranberries. The art is exquisite and the stories touching - I especially love the multiple appearances by Aunt Shoshanah who takes all of the kids to the beach each morning and serves them chocolate cake while they are lolling about on the cool tiles of a Tel Aviv terrace after, not even thanking her for the cake as kids are wont to do. And especially her offer to make heart break cake. I wish I'd had some of that.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Candace

    I can't bring myself to give it a lower rating then 3 stars, but I am definitely disappointed by this. I feel like it tried to be both a few musings on cake their importance to the author's life/family, while throwing in some recipes. I feel like it should have been one or the other. I think in trying to be both, it didn't quite deliver on either for me. I should admit though to my bias of preferring cookbooks with lots of pictures so I know what something is supposed to look like when making it I can't bring myself to give it a lower rating then 3 stars, but I am definitely disappointed by this. I feel like it tried to be both a few musings on cake their importance to the author's life/family, while throwing in some recipes. I feel like it should have been one or the other. I think in trying to be both, it didn't quite deliver on either for me. I should admit though to my bias of preferring cookbooks with lots of pictures so I know what something is supposed to look like when making it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Becki Iverson

    This was a very easy read and a nice break between my long slog through Dickens last month. I needed something bright and airy to contrast the gloomy fall skies here in Minnesota, and this was just the thing. As usual, Kalman manages to find a thread of profundity that adds unexpected depth to her otherwise simple subject - and overall the illustrations are just really fun and cheery. There's nothing in here that will change your life, but Cake was a nice break from seriousness for an hour or tw This was a very easy read and a nice break between my long slog through Dickens last month. I needed something bright and airy to contrast the gloomy fall skies here in Minnesota, and this was just the thing. As usual, Kalman manages to find a thread of profundity that adds unexpected depth to her otherwise simple subject - and overall the illustrations are just really fun and cheery. There's nothing in here that will change your life, but Cake was a nice break from seriousness for an hour or two.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Zulekha Saqib

    'What have I learned? It is not a party without cake. It is not a holiday without cake. It is not an auspicious occasion without cake. Things are much nicer with cake. Bring on the cake. We really want to live' I am a cake person and if you are too, you need this sweet book to soothe your soul.. a charming little book that beautifully celebrates the comfort of a cake and will inspire you to bake and make sweet memories of your own with your loved ones!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeannette

    I love cake and illustrations and recipes, but wasn't crazy about this little book. Too little? One of the illustrated stories I had already read in another Kalman book so that was disappointing. And out of all the recipes, I would have only been interested in making 2 of the cakes. Kind of a throwaway, but a really cute one.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kris Springer

    I love to bake and especially love to bake cakes. This was a sweet : ) read with recipes and short stories about family members and when they would make and eat the particular type of cake. There is chocolate cake, pavlova, lemon pound cake, honey cake, olive oil cake, blueberry and strawberry shortcake...A charming little book with great recipes and advice about baking. I love cake!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hollowspine

    Love the illustrations in this cake book, though I still have yet to try out the recipes. The stories, and especially the last page with what I would call the "Cake Vow" make it a fun book to read, not only a nice book of delicious sounding cake recipes. I may update the review once I try a recipe, but this is definitely the type of cookbook one need not cook out of to enjoy.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    I want to give a copy of this book to so many friends to share. Even friends who are no longer around, I just know they would have loved it. Can't wait to try some of the recipes, but even without baking them, I've enjoyed savoring the ingredients and the idea of baking them. And then sharing the cake.

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