Friday, November 28, 2014

Holiday Gift Ideas -- Books for Cake Boss Fans - Both Which Include Easy to Prepare Italian Recipes (Review)

Disclosure:  I was sent samples from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

I keep telling my husband every time he catches me looking at cookbooks when we are out shopping or at book fairs is "You can't have enough cookbooks."  Don't you feel the same. :-)  I love going through my closet full of cookbooks, then pulling out a few to flip through and pick recipes from to make for the holidays.  And, now that my girls are bigger and love to help out in the kitchen, we have been hard at work making cupcakes and cookies, trying to choose which ones we will make to bring to Savannah's preschool holiday party, give as gifts and leave for Santa.  

In addition to collecting cookbooks about baking, I am also a fan of Italian recipe cookbooks which share authentic Italian recipes.  Growing up in an Italian family and having Wednesday Pasta nights and Sunday family dinners which usually consisted of lasagna with homemade meatballs and sauce, I am always looking for recipes to try out, in hopes to find one similar to what my grandmother used to make.  See, my grandmother never wrote down her recipes.  They were in her head where they were being stored for safe keeping, as she liked to say.  But, she never thought of what would happen when she got older and couldn't cook anymore or would get dementia and forget everything.  

My mom and I tried to figure out recipes by watching her make our favorite family dishes and desserts, but the hard part was getting down the exact measurements.  My grandmother would use her hand to measure teaspoons and tablespoons and eyeball liquids.  Through trial and error, my mom and I continue to try to make my grandmother's favorites, even though they aren't spot on.  I always hope to find a similar recipe in authentic Italian cookbooks that would give me a better sense of the measurements she used, seeing that I know the exact ingredients.  So, this is another reason, in addition to just loving to collect cookbooks, that I seek out cookbooks when out and about.

A couple Christmas' ago my husband surprised me with a couple Cake Boss cookbooks, which I have some great recipes in, and will full from the bookshelf whenever I find myself with time to play around in the kitchen. So, when I was recently approached and offered the chance to review Cake Boss products, in addition to Buddy's coffee line I shared in an earlier post, I jumped at the opportunity to review the following two cookbooks, to add to my growing collection....

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; 1ST edition (November 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439183511
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439183519
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches

About this book:

  • "Television viewers have fallen in love with Buddy Valastro, master cake maker, and his funny and fiery family, proprietors of Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey, on the smash hit TLC series Cake Boss. Now, to coincide with Carlo’s 100th anniversary, cake designer extraordinaire Buddy Valastro brings together his passion for baking and his high-energy family stories in the pages of this charming, heartwarming book—complete with 25 recipes and tips that will make every reader the “cake boss” of their own kitchen.
                Buddy’s beautifully designed cakes are the stuff of legend—and so is the remarkable story of his father, a beloved pillar of the community and himself a talented baker who set the stage for his family’s rise to the pinnacle of their industry. Cake Boss recounts the story of Buddy’s life and of his family’s bakeshop, originally established in 1910 and now a Hoboken, New Jersey, landmark and culinary tourist destination. Here also are twenty-five recipes for Carlo’s Bakery’s most sought-after pastries, pies, cupcakes, and cakes, an irresistible combination of time-tested old-world recipes and modern creations, all founded on a rock-solid “old-school” baking foundation and classic techniques.
                This is the incredible true story of how Carlo’s Bakery came to be, how one hard-working family realized their patriarch’s dream of making their beloved bake shop a household name. The special bond and loving dynamic of the Valastro clan make this an uncommonly touching and truly inspiring memoir."

My Thoughts:

Even though this book only has 25 recipes, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the whole story about Buddy and how his dream and love of having a bake shop came about.  This personal memoir shares all about this talented baker and his family, while also including here and there tips and tricks you can use in the kitchen, as well.  Fans of Buddy and his TLC series will love reading this uplifting story that includes the ups and downs that both he and his family who immigrated to US had to go through, in order to get where they are today.

And, while Buddy recently found himself in the spotlight for a DUI that is still under investigation, you can't let this one event tarnish his success in the culinary world.  He truly is a talented baker and makes the most amazing bakes and pastries, that even a novice home baker can re-create at home with recipes he shares in this and his other cookbooks, including his famous bakery cannoli recipe (which you will find in this memoir book).

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451674309
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451674309
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches

About this book:

"TLC’s beloved Buddy Valastro is not only a master baker, he’s also a great cook—the boss of his home kitchen as well as of his famous bakery, Carlo’s Bake Shop. Home cooking is even more vital for the Valastro family than the work they do at the bakery. Every Sunday, the whole clan gathers to cook and eat Sunday Gravy—their family recipe for hearty tomato sauce. These nourishing meals are the glue of their family. Cooking Italian with the Cake Boss shares 100 delicious Italian- American recipes beloved by Buddy’s family, from his grandmother’s secret dishes to Buddy’s personal favorites, with Buddy’s own signature touches that make dinner a family event. 

Buddy Valastro is renowned worldwide as the Cake Boss, but Buddy knows far more than just desserts. He makes classic dishes like Pasta Carbonara, Shrimp Scampi, and Eggplant Parmesan even more irresistible with his singular flair and with old-school tips passed down through generations. With his friendly charm, he guides even novice cooks from appetizers through more complicated dishes, and all 100 easy-to-follow recipes use ingredients that are obtainable and affordable. Your family will love sitting down at the table to eat Steak alla Buddy, Auntie Anna’s Manicotti, Mozzarella-and- Sausage-Stuffed Chicken, Veal Saltimbocca, Buddy’s Swiss Chard, and mouthwatering desserts like Lemon Granita, Apple Snacking Cake, Cocoa-Hazelnut Cream with Berries, and Rockin’ Rice Pudding. 

Buddy’s recipes allow home cooks to become the bosses of their own kitchens, and anyone will be able to whip up a tasty and nutritious Italian dinner. Filled with luscious full-color photography and with stories from the irrepressible Valastro clan, Cooking Italian with the Cake Boss shows how to create new takes on traditional dishes that will make your famiglia happy. "

My Thoughts:

Out of all the Italian cookbooks I own, this one offers some of the closest recipes of what my grandmother used to make for my family.  I have had a blast trying out many of the 100 recipes that you will find in this coobook, chock full of authentic Italian dishes and desserts.  

When I shop for cookbooks, I usually look for ones that include full-color photos of the food, as I like to see what the recipe looks like and compare how it looks in the book to what I make.  This Cake Boss cookbook is filled not only with full-color photos, but also shares personal stories from Buddy and his family about the significance of the recipes and the Valastro clan.

Here are just some of the recipes you will find in this cookbook, that are easy to make and taste amazing...

  • Minestone Soup
  • Kids' Cavetelli with Broccoli
  • Sunday Gravy
  • Steak Piazzaiola
  • Stuffed Peppers
  • Gremolata
  • Make-Ahead Breadcrumbs
  • Pesto Chicken Panini
  • Pizza with Prosciutto, Arugula, Tomatoes and Shaved Parmesan
  • Pizza Bread
  • Buddy's Chopped Pantry Salad
  • Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Bruschetta
This is one cookbook I thoroughly enjoyed, and found myself reading cover to cover.  And, with the inclusion of the family stories, its makes the cookbook feel more homey and makes you want to try out each of the recipes or want to have family over to enjoy a homecooked meal on Sunday.

Cake Boss

You can learn more about Buddy and his family, as well as these and other cookbooks and show memorabilia available by visiting the official TLC The Cake Boss website at, as well as shopping the TLC Cake Boss online store

Disclosure:  I was sent samples from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

1 comment :

  1. I love watching this show. I always learn something new and those cakes are amazing.