Another Sweet Plug: The Spirited Baker

Last week, Rebecca told you all about the deliciousness that is Ultimate Cupcakes. Today, I have another treat for you. Friend of Skepchicktm Marie Porter of Celebration Generation Cakes has a new cookbook out. It’s not just any old cookbook, either. The Spirited Baker is your gateway to turning your kitchen into an emporium of boozy sweets.

I’ve been lucky enough to sample several of the recipes over the past months, as Marie created them and Michael photographed them. Some highlights included light and fluffy fruit pavlova, rich and complex dark beer toffees, decadent chocolate dessert raviolis, and a variety of wonderful liqueurs. My sobriety rarely survives a visit to the Porter house intact.

The book is organized in a very intuitive format. It begins with basic techniques for creating your own liqueurs and infusions, moving on into a huge variety of treats to be made from these homemade tinctures (or basic stock from your local liquor store, for those who prefer to do less work). Marie takes the reader through over 160 recipes, spanning everything from cookies to tortes, truffles to brownies. Beyond that, each section offers a wonderful scaffold from which the more adventurous baker may improvise with the basic recipes and create an endless variety of custom delicacies.

I tried my hand at just such an endeavor a few days ago. I found a nice pie pumpkin at the farmers market last week, and thought that, paired with some spiced rum and a pecan crust, it would make for a dynamite cheesecake flavor. I would not be disappointed. Marie’s basic cheesecake recipe was a dream to riff on, and is seriously the best one i’ve encountered. I’m not just saying that because she’s my friend and she feeds me sweets every time I see her, either. This cheesecake is simultaneously creamy, fluffy, and delicate, with just the right amount of richness.

I suspect we have many readers who share an appreciation for sweets and alcohol, and, while not really related to skepticism, I thought this would be of interest. Not only is the recipe content great, Michael’s photography is beautiful. It’s a very pretty book; basically food porn. So go buy a copy, and share your adventures and inventions.

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  1. This got me started wondering: are cookbooks going the way of the dodo? It is so easy to get recipes online now, and usually several variations on each theme so you can pick the ones with ingredients that satisfy your pantry and diet. I haven’t cracked a cookbook in years, although the recipe collection on my computer gets a regular workout.

    Apparently my intuition is wrong. Cookbooks are booming despite the recession. ( So what is bad news for my ego is excellent news for your friend! I wish her all the best.

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