Cakelove in the Morning
By Warren Brown
Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $24.95
Reviewed by Robin Currie
Before you start planning Mom's breakfast in bed, check out Warren Brown's just-released cookbook, Cakelove in the Morning.
Brown, who gave up a law career to pursue his love of baking, opened his first bakery, Cakelove, in 2002 in Washington. He has since opened several sites in the D.C. area, and has two previous books, Cakelove: How to Bake Cakes from Scratch and United Cakes of America. His third offers a bevy of breakfast treats, from pancakes and scones to savory options, as well, just in time for Mother's Day.
His recipe for Lemon-Almond Muffins, inspired by a neighborhood grocery in Hollywood, produced an absolutely perfect result: a tender body with the lovely crunch of almonds and turbinado sugar on the top. I also loved his take on waffles: Brown uses whipped egg whites to create the lightest, airiest waffles I've ever had. For extra decadence, try the White-Chocolate Waffles, with melted white chocolate folded into the batter.
If you are looking for a healthier option, there is a terrific chapter on oatmeal that includes recipes for Apple-Cranberry, Chai, and Banana Ginger varieties.
I tried a couple of the savory dishes, too. The Grilled Mushroom Salad with Chevre worked great. The soy/balsamic marinade was delicious, and the bits of goat cheese added just the right tang.
Next, I embarked on the Roasted Cauliflower Salad, and here is why you should always read through the entire recipe before you begin cooking. I discovered the recipe stopped short before explaining what to do with the garlic, vinegar, raisins, and lemon zest. (This happens in cookbooks more often than it should. I own responsibility for not reading ahead of time, but didn't anyone check this before the book was published?)
I wasn't going to let this stop me, so I roasted the garlic and whisked it into the lemon juice, vinegar, raisins, and lemon zest and then tossed the dressing with the cauliflower. I had to put it away before I ate all four servings.
All in all, it's a lovely book. Why not wrap it up and present it to Mom with her breakfast tray? Even if all you've made is cold cereal or toast. It's the thought that counts, right? Just remember to clean up the kitchen. That will really make her day.