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Mar 3, 2005 10:10 AM

Flo Braker's Simple Art of Perfect Baking opinions?

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I'm considering buying this, but can't get it from my local library to check it out. I've seen her name mentioned on the boards before--any feedback on the book? I'm a reasonable baker (have made roulades with home made vanilla spongecakes and Italian meringue buttercreams, home made puff pastry, etc.) and am sort of looking to take my baking to the next level (e.g. get more reliable at the things I bake and try stuff that requires more skills, such as a genoise).

Thanks for any feedback,


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  1. I think it's a simply outstanding book. In fact, I recently recommended her Crystal Almond Pound Cake in the thread on marzipan. The instructions are achingly thorough, all the recipes I've tried have been outstanding, and the book is structured to encourage you to experiment. The only possible negative is that instead of color photographs, there are not-overly-appealing line drawings. But I think Simple Art and The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Berenbaum are two of the best out there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      The new edition now has color photos!

      1. re: JoanN

        I think I've made every cake in the Cake Bible, some several times, but it's just cakes of course and her pastry book (The Pastry Bible) has produced some unappetizing results (it was the book, not me!). I love the look of Sherry Yard's new book and the way it's organized though I haven't made anything from it yet as I just got it. There are lots of Braker recipes on the SFGate website. Scroll down and check the archives.

      2. It's a wonderful book. I also love Flo's Sweet Miniatures Cookbook.


        1. I'm not impressed, but I think it's her style of cakes vs. my personal tastes. Basically, I would say if you like The Cake Bible, you'll like it. If you won't, maybe you'll still like FB but maybe not. I don't particularly like either book - they just seem way too fussy in every way. Impressive, yes, but I am never tempted to make one of those cakes - with the exception of the breathtaking charlotte cake with ladyfingers, whis looks just kind of surreal.

          I also really hate when a recipe is titled "perfcet" anything. (So no, I'm not a fan of Cook's Illustrated either.)

          I think FB's Sweet Miniatures book looks more promising.