you’ve heard about
Simply, BabyCakes is your key to an enlightened, indulgent, sweets-filled future. This is important news not only for parents whose children have allergies, for vegans, and for others who struggle with food sensitivities, but also for all you sugar-loving traditionalists. The recipes in these pages prove that there is a healthy alternative to recklessly made desserts, one that doesn't sacrifice taste or texture.
Having experimented endlessly with alternative, health-conscious sweeteners, flours, and thickeners, Erin McKenna, the proprietress of beloved bakery BabyCakes NYC, developed these recipes–most are gluten-free, all are without refined sugar–in hopes of combating her own wheat, dairy, and sugar sensitivities. In BabyCakes, she shares detailed information about the ingredients she uses (coconut flour, xanthan gum, and agave nectar, for example) and how to substitute them properly for common ones–all the while guiding you safely through techniques she’s spent years perfecting.
When BabyCakes NYC opened on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 2005, it helped propel the gluten-free and vegan baking movement into a new stratosphere. Suddenly there was a destination for those with wheat allergies and other dietary restrictions–and, soon enough, celebrities and dessert lovers of every kind–to indulge freely in delectable muffins and teacakes, brownies and cookies, pies and cobblers.
Enclosed within these pages are all the “secrets” you’ll need to bring the greatness of BabyCakes NYC into your own home as well as raves and recommendations from devotees such as Natalie Portman, Jason Schwartzman, Mary-Louise Parker, Zooey Deschanel, and Pamela Anderson.
For confectionists of all kinds, delicious alternatives lie within: Red Velvet Cupcakes, Chocolate Shortbread Scones with Caramelized Bananas, Strawberry Shortcake, and BabyCakes NYC’s celebrated frosting (so delicious it has fans tipping back frosting shots!), to name just a few. Finally, Erin’s blissful desserts are yours for the baking!
This recipe’s dynamic is hard to explain, and I really like that. This is the charm of the blondie. The vanilla and chocolate have a subtle repartee, with neither really dominating nor giving way to the other. Initially, the vanilla seems to cede center stage to the chocolate, but if you pay close attention, you’ll notice how the vanilla rounds out the chocolate with a seductive mellowness, ultimately creating balance. Making them bite-size gives a great crunchy texture, but you can also bake them in a cake pan and serve them as squares. Either way, blondies are best served warm.
• 1/2 cup garbanzo–fava bean flour
• 1/2 cup brown rice flour
• 1/2 cup potato starch
• 1/4 cup arrowroot
• 1 1/4 cups evaporated cane juice
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup coconut oil, plus more for the tins
• 1/3 cup homemade applesauce or store-bought unsweetened applesauce
• 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup hot water
• 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease three 12-cup mini-muffin tins with oil.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, potato starch, arrowroot, evaporated cane juice, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Add the ½ cup oil and the applesauce, vanilla, and hot water and stir until the batter is smooth. Using a plastic spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chips just until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Using a melon baller, scoop the batter into each prepared mini-muffin cup. Bake the blondies on the center rack for 9 minutes, rotating the tins 180 degrees after 5 minutes. The finished blondies will be golden brown and firm to the touch.
Let the blondies stand in the tins for 10 minutes. To maintain freshness, leave the blondies in the muffin tins until ready to serve. Cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Excerpted from BabyCakes by Erin McKenna. Copyright © 2009 by Erin McKenna. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
About Erin McKenna
ERIN MCKENNA is the chef and owner of BabyCakes NYC, a bakery with outposts in New York City and West Hollywood. She received the prestigious Best Cupcake award in 2006 from New York magazine. Erin has been a guest on Martha Stewart Television and Food Network and has been featured in the New York Times, Food & Wine, Modern Bride, VegNews, Harper’s Bazaar, In Style, and O, the Oprah Magazine.
"In this book, Erin has finally shared her trade secrets — the ingredients and techniques that lend BabyCakes' desserts the flavors, textures, and happiness-factor you'd find in the best patisserie. The highest praise I can offer is this: follow her recipes to the letter and you'll fool them every time."
—Tom Colicchio (from the Foreword)
"At BabyCakes NYC I can eat what I crave without harming my lovely animal friends–or myself. Every since that first fateful day, I’ve been waiting for this cookbook."
"I have multiple food sensitivities…and I’d pretty much given up on the idea that I might be able to have a worthy treat every again. I was so excited to discover BabyCakes NYC, because not only can I eat everything they bake, it’s all delicious!"
"The BabyCakes NYC banana bread is the best I've ever had and something I simply can't live without."
—Mary Louise Parker
"Thank all that is holy for BabyCakes NYC…"