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Happiness Is Baking: Cakes, Pies, Tarts, Muffins, Brownies, Cookies: Favorite Desserts from the Queen of Cake

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"Happiness is baking cookies. Happiness is giving them away. And serving them, and eating them, talking about them, reading and writing about them, thinking about them, and sharing them with you." Maida Heatter is one of the most iconic and fondly-remembered cookbook authors of all time. Her recipes, each a modern classic, are must-haves in every home baker's bag of "Happiness is baking cookies. Happiness is giving them away. And serving them, and eating them, talking about them, reading and writing about them, thinking about them, and sharing them with you." Maida Heatter is one of the most iconic and fondly-remembered cookbook authors of all time. Her recipes, each a modern classic, are must-haves in every home baker's bag of tricks: her cookies, cakes, muffins, tarts, pies, and sweets of all kinds range from extravagantly special to the comforting and everyday. Her brown-sugary Budapest Coffee Cake, her minty Palm Beach Brownies, her sophisticated East 62nd Street Lemon Cake, and many other desserts have inspired legions of devotees. Happiness is Baking reproduces Maida's best-loved recipes in a fully illustrated new edition with a foreword by Dorie Greenspan. Developed for foolproof baking by experienced cooks and novices alice, these recipes bear Maida's trademark warmth, no-nonsense style, and her promise that they will work every time. Happiness is Baking is the perfect gift for anyone who loves baking--or who knows the happiness that comes from a delicious dessert.


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"Happiness is baking cookies. Happiness is giving them away. And serving them, and eating them, talking about them, reading and writing about them, thinking about them, and sharing them with you." Maida Heatter is one of the most iconic and fondly-remembered cookbook authors of all time. Her recipes, each a modern classic, are must-haves in every home baker's bag of "Happiness is baking cookies. Happiness is giving them away. And serving them, and eating them, talking about them, reading and writing about them, thinking about them, and sharing them with you." Maida Heatter is one of the most iconic and fondly-remembered cookbook authors of all time. Her recipes, each a modern classic, are must-haves in every home baker's bag of tricks: her cookies, cakes, muffins, tarts, pies, and sweets of all kinds range from extravagantly special to the comforting and everyday. Her brown-sugary Budapest Coffee Cake, her minty Palm Beach Brownies, her sophisticated East 62nd Street Lemon Cake, and many other desserts have inspired legions of devotees. Happiness is Baking reproduces Maida's best-loved recipes in a fully illustrated new edition with a foreword by Dorie Greenspan. Developed for foolproof baking by experienced cooks and novices alice, these recipes bear Maida's trademark warmth, no-nonsense style, and her promise that they will work every time. Happiness is Baking is the perfect gift for anyone who loves baking--or who knows the happiness that comes from a delicious dessert.

30 review for Happiness Is Baking: Cakes, Pies, Tarts, Muffins, Brownies, Cookies: Favorite Desserts from the Queen of Cake

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tucker

    Many thanks to Little Brown for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review Happiness is baking ...Until you have to clean up | Goodreads | Blog | Twitch | Pinterest | Buy this book

  2. 4 out of 5

    Billie

    From the introduction: Years ago I heard a doctor talking on television about the dangers of stress. It can kill you. It can cause a heart attack or a stroke. The doctor listed ways of coping with stress. Exercise. Diet. Do yoga. Take a walk. I yelled, "Bake cookies." I often talk to the television. I yelled it again and again. The doctor went on with his list of 12 ways to reduce stress...and he never once mentioned my surefire treatment. Baking is a great escape. It's happiness. It's creative.. From the introduction: Years ago I heard a doctor talking on television about the dangers of stress. It can kill you. It can cause a heart attack or a stroke. The doctor listed ways of coping with stress. Exercise. Diet. Do yoga. Take a walk. I yelled, "Bake cookies." I often talk to the television. I yelled it again and again. The doctor went on with his list of 12 ways to reduce stress...and he never once mentioned my surefire treatment. Baking is a great escape. It's happiness. It's creative.. It's good for your health. It reduces stress." Heatter and this book get me. Chocolate gingerbread, we have a date this weekend.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

    This is charming, and cute, and useful. I love the design, and although I only got to bake one recipe out of it before i had to return it to the library, that recipe was really unusual, and worked perfectly (the chocolate applesauce cake). This would be a great book to give somebody who is a seasoned baker, because there's a rainbow of tried-and-true recipes in here. But it'd also be great for a beginner who wants to learn technique, and how to train their instincts. Really lovely. I will be This is charming, and cute, and useful. I love the design, and although I only got to bake one recipe out of it before i had to return it to the library, that recipe was really unusual, and worked perfectly (the chocolate applesauce cake). This would be a great book to give somebody who is a seasoned baker, because there's a rainbow of tried-and-true recipes in here. But it'd also be great for a beginner who wants to learn technique, and how to train their instincts. Really lovely. I will be buying this one to add to my collection.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Douglas

    Amazingly easy to follow, great recipes!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway. I have not made any of the recipes yet, but am looking forward to trying them. I really like the format of the cookbook, from "Before You Bake" section, the descriptions, the illustrations, and the conversational tone of the recipes. Reading through some of the recipes I felt like a friend was sharing her recipes with me :) I will update my review once I make some of the recipes.

  6. 4 out of 5

    LAPL Reads

    This is the most recent cookbook from the Queen of Cake, Maida Heatter, which is a collection of her favorite recipes. In the introduction she writes about how determined a baker can be to get a recipe, and how much satisfaction there is in baking and giving desserts to others. This cookbook is different from her other works only in its new format that has a very bright colorful layout and illustrations by Alice Oehr. Everything else is the same as in her other cookbooks: table of contents, This is the most recent cookbook from the Queen of Cake, Maida Heatter, which is a collection of her favorite recipes. In the introduction she writes about how determined a baker can be to get a recipe, and how much satisfaction there is in baking and giving desserts to others. This cookbook is different from her other works only in its new format that has a very bright colorful layout and illustrations by Alice Oehr. Everything else is the same as in her other cookbooks: table of contents, complete index, meticulous easy-to-follow directions and an opening chapter, "Before you bake." One of my all time favorites is included: the East 62nd Street Lemon Cake. The foreword is from Dorie Greenspan, a professional baker whose books we own. Because of having baked many recipes from Maida Heatter's books I seriously considered becoming a professional baker. Even though there were times I baked every day of the week--it was only because I wanted to. The pros do it every day of the week because they love to and they have to. In the introduction there is one piece of advice we librarians disagree with, when Heatter advises her readers to write in the books. Please do not do that to library books. If you buy the books, then mark 'em up all you want. My copies have marks, post-its, and food spots of all kinds testifying to continuous usage. My mother was an excellent cook who could bake and cook anything, including the best coffee--in a percolator on the stove top--almost but not quite cowboy coffee. When I first started baking from Heatter's books I had some baking experience, but called my mother for advice about one method required for many of Heatter's coffee and bundt cakes. She tells you to butter the baking mold and dust it with fine bread crumbs. Most recipes tell you to dust the mold with flour. My mother said, "Try it! Do what she says, and let me know how it turns out." It is divine. This method produces a luscious thin crust over a dense moist cake, and the crust is crystalline goodness when brushed with one of the glazes. Here are some of my favorite recipes from several of her books. Maida Heatter's book of great desserts: East 62nd Street Lemon Cake (I modified this recipe: buttermilk instead of whole milk; unbleached flour for all-purpose), which I have made more times than I can count, and a friend's husband called it the all-day cake because you can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Maida Heatter's new book of great desserts: Cuban banana bread, unlike any other banana bread because of an unusual ingredient (I always make a double recipe of this); Florida rum cake; Connecticut apple Betty (It is worth making a double recipe of this one because of all the chopping.); Irish whiskey cake. Maida Heatter's book of great American desserts Frozen fudge cake; Apple cranberry muffins (a double recipe of this one); Chocolate festival cake, which is a three-layer dark chocolate cake that has bananas, peanut butter and various types of chocolate in it, including one pound of melted chocolate for the frosting and filling; White pepper ginger lemon cake (a variation of the classic lemon cake, with a kick to it); Rancho Santa Fe lemon tart. Maida Heatter's death was announced this past June--she was 102 and was known as the Queen of Desserts or Queen of Cakes. A traditional proclamation when one monarch dies and is accessioned by a new one is, "The Queen is dead, long live the Queen!" Maida Heatter's heritage of good desserts (cakes, cookies, pies, puddings and more) can found in LAPL's collection right here. There is an online recipe index, Mad About Maida: baking my way through Maida Heatter's recipes. The index is terrific because there are color photographs of the finished product and of the step-by-step procedures. There are two more of her cookbooks scheduled for publication in 2020: Cookies are magic: classic cookies, brownies, bars, and more and Chocolate is forever: classic cakes, cookies, pastries, pies, puddings, candies, confections, and more. Reviewed by Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

  7. 5 out of 5

    S Vanorse

    My first encounter with Maida Heatter was more than 20 years ago, when at a dinner I was served a piece of the best pie I had ever eaten in my life. My surprise was that my friends husband had made it, he is a car guy, so I was surprised to say the least. I was immediately a fan, my friend loaned me all her cookbooks she had, which I now own myself, thanks to library book sales. I was sad not to see that pie in this book, Chocolate Angel Pie, I make it often, everyone loves it, "save room, Mom My first encounter with Maida Heatter was more than 20 years ago, when at a dinner I was served a piece of the best pie I had ever eaten in my life. My surprise was that my friends husband had made it, he is a car guy, so I was surprised to say the least. I was immediately a fan, my friend loaned me all her cookbooks she had, which I now own myself, thanks to library book sales. I was sad not to see that pie in this book, Chocolate Angel Pie, I make it often, everyone loves it, "save room, Mom made that chocolate pie". This new Happiness Is Baking brings me back digging out the old cookbook's of Madia's, do I have this recipe, have I made that, more made and marked to try than I remember. Guess I will be doing some baking. No pictures of those delicious baked goodies here, their were never any in the original cookbooks, just the covers, guess the Instagram foodies will have to actually read a recipe like we did in the olden days and say "ohh that sounds good". Very saddened to see Maida passed away the day after I wrote this review, today I bake in honor of you Maida Heatter.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lynnie

    I read this cookbook for my library cookbook club & I was not impressed. It has a handful of recipes I might try (the pound cakes, in particular as I'm always looking for a good pound cake recipe), but generally it didn't contain many new ideas or recipes. I was also annoyed as Heatter discusses the importance of recognizing the difference between 1/4 cup flour, sifted vs 1/4 cup sifted flour for example, & she discusses the weight difference between the two & why it matters AND YET I read this cookbook for my library cookbook club & I was not impressed. It has a handful of recipes I might try (the pound cakes, in particular as I'm always looking for a good pound cake recipe), but generally it didn't contain many new ideas or recipes. I was also annoyed as Heatter discusses the importance of recognizing the difference between 1/4 cup flour, sifted vs 1/4 cup sifted flour for example, & she discusses the weight difference between the two & why it matters AND YET none of her recipes use ingredients by weight. If you really want your baking to be most accurate, measure by weight. It's what she's trying to accomplish, but her method still leaves room for plenty of mistakes. One other quibble which wasn't a huge issue for me, but might be for others, there are no photos in this cookbook, just drawings of ingredients or what the dessert might look like. I'd rather see what it actually looks like, but maybe that's just me.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Christen

    I am going to have to get this book for my collection.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Engbrecht

    I've made a couple of recipes out of this book and they have been delicious!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Would have given this book 5 stars if it had photographs instead of artistic renderings of the baked goods. Love the variety of recipes and my daughter and I made the chocolate chip cookies and even though they were mighty expensive to make, they were YUMMY! Oh, and the author of the book is 102 years old and her name, if you cross out three letters is Mad Hatter. So, you know the book is way cool.

  12. 4 out of 5

    E.

    Oh my word! Every recipe is fabulous - loved her accompanying notes!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn

    There are a lot of recipes I cant wait to make! There are a lot of recipes I can’t wait to make!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jenn Adams

    Reading as many Goodreads Choice Nominees as I can. I knew going into it that this one would be a challenge for me, but I kept an open mind. I'm absolutely not a "baking person", which I felt even more strongly about when a significant part of the beginning of the book was spent on the idea of how precise one needs to be with baking. Recently, I have been going through a lot of cookbooks (all the Goodreads Choice noms from 2019) and most of the non-dessert selections have been encouraging about Reading as many Goodreads Choice Nominees as I can. I knew going into it that this one would be a challenge for me, but I kept an open mind. I'm absolutely not a "baking person", which I felt even more strongly about when a significant part of the beginning of the book was spent on the idea of how precise one needs to be with baking. Recently, I have been going through a lot of cookbooks (all the Goodreads Choice noms from 2019) and most of the non-dessert selections have been encouraging about how you can change things around/make mistakes and still have a good outcome. Obviously, this is just the difference between cooking and baking, but I wanted to really paint a picture of how reluctant I felt going into this. This is essentially a greatest hits compilation from Maida Heatter's storied dessert cookbook career. Clearly I am supposed to have heard of her, and she certainly seems like an impressive woman but the name didn't even ring a bell when I saw it, further exemplifying how out of the loop I am with baked goods. It was a very interesting choice to go with drawings instead of photographs for the recipes. These had a cute aesthetic but ultimately I didn't find that they were very useful. They felt a bit like filler, because they had little to none of the detail that you would see in photographs. As I went through the sections of recipes, I did warm to the book a bit. There was a handful of flourless chocolate cake-esque things that I briefly convinced myself I would attempt some day (haha). There were also numerous techniques or flavor combinations that I've never heard of or even considered. (e.g. black pepper as a secret ingredient in chocolate cake) If I were a baking person this would probably have been a 4-5 but for me personally, 2.5.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Clwseattle

    The inside cover of Happiness Is Baking: Cakes, Pies, Tarts, Muffins, Brownies, Cookies: Favorite Desserts from the Queen of Cake claims it is "Classic, can't fail recipes for a lifetime of happy baking". I can't argue with that. However, I found only a very few recipes that I want to make and the "Cranberry Upside-Down Cake" is one I will be making this holiday season. While "Mildred Knoph's Orange Puff Cake" sounds absolutely delicious, I laughed out loud at the directions which said First, The inside cover of Happiness Is Baking: Cakes, Pies, Tarts, Muffins, Brownies, Cookies: Favorite Desserts from the Queen of Cake claims it is "Classic, can't fail recipes for a lifetime of happy baking". I can't argue with that. However, I found only a very few recipes that I want to make and the "Cranberry Upside-Down Cake" is one I will be making this holiday season. While "Mildred Knoph's Orange Puff Cake" sounds absolutely delicious, I laughed out loud at the directions which said First, beat the egg white with a flat whip with the salt on a large platter. . . and goes on to say she uses her turkey platter. Good grief. How does one even go about whipping egg whites with a flat whip on a flat platter? I've been baking for well over 50 years and that's a new on on me! Before she gets into the recipes, the author writes one of the most comprehensive "Before you bake" chapters I have read. Kudos for that. I am not a fan of baking recipes that use volume. Yes, I have tried and true ones I make, but I know how they should look and feel while mixing. With new recipes I prefer the accuracy of weight measure. Alas to it's detriment, there are no actual photo's of finished products in Happiness Is Baking: Cakes, Pies, Tarts, Muffins, Brownies, Cookies: Favorite Desserts from the Queen of Cake Nearly half of the book is cakes, another third is cookies with only the last bit being "Pies, tarts, Brownies, Bars and More". It's clear where the authors heart lies, but of course, the title tells us that! Happiness Is Baking: Cakes, Pies, Tarts, Muffins, Brownies, Cookies: Favorite Desserts from the Queen of Cake is fun reading, but I'm glad to have been able to preview it through my library. 3.5 stars

  16. 4 out of 5

    Judith

    How can you not love a woman who's 101 years old, still joyfully eating cakes, pies, and cookies, and still writing cookbooks to help you do the same. The author unfortunately died last year at 102, but you have to wonder how bad can sugar be for you if this woman was eating it in great quantities till she died at 102. I've only made a couple of recipes so far: blueberry crumb cake and lemon cake. Both were excellent and not too sweet, which I liked because I could eat more before satisfying my How can you not love a woman who's 101 years old, still joyfully eating cakes, pies, and cookies, and still writing cookbooks to help you do the same. The author unfortunately died last year at 102, but you have to wonder how bad can sugar be for you if this woman was eating it in great quantities till she died at 102. I've only made a couple of recipes so far: blueberry crumb cake and lemon cake. Both were excellent and not too sweet, which I liked because I could eat more before satisfying my sweet tooth. The only qualm I have so far is that every recipe including anything chocolate includes the ingredient of espresso or coffee powder. I don't like coffee or coffee flavoring so I'm not crazy about this idea. I'll have to reserve judgment on the chocolate items but I love this cookbook and the idea of this cookbook.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Was thrilled to win an Advance Copy Proof of the new book from Maida Heatter from the Goodreads sweepstakes and am busy marking which recipes to try. I own a well thumbed copy of her Book of great chocolate desserts (was happy to see reprinted in this one her recipe for Chocolate Gingerbread which is one of my favorite things to take to a potluck), so I will be concentrating on the non-chocolate I think. For sure I will be making the two lemon cakes in order to decide which is better! (not Was thrilled to win an Advance Copy Proof of the new book from Maida Heatter from the Goodreads sweepstakes and am busy marking which recipes to try. I own a well thumbed copy of her Book of great chocolate desserts (was happy to see reprinted in this one her recipe for Chocolate Gingerbread which is one of my favorite things to take to a potluck), so I will be concentrating on the non-chocolate I think. For sure I will be making the two lemon cakes in order to decide which is better! (not putting an end date since my use of the book will be on-going!)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    Thank you Goodreads for sending me this cookbook. I had never heard of Maida Heatter before. There are very good instructions for basic baking techniques and these are all supposedly tried and true recipes. There are good recipes for beginners and advanced bakersalso. I enjoyed reading through all the recipes, I would have rather seen pictures of the baked goods than illustrations. It is hard to narrow down which one I will try first.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ady

    This is a very precise cookbook. I love the illustrations in place of the glossy pictures in most cookbooks. I also love the authors obvious JOY in baking and knowledge thereof. She has worked hard on making this cookbook VERY precise with instructions that will yield perfect results. I would actually recommend this to an adventurous new baker. The lessons one learns through experience have been carefully detailed in this book. This is a very precise cookbook. I love the illustrations in place of the glossy pictures in most cookbooks. I also love the author’s obvious JOY in baking and knowledge thereof. She has worked hard on making this cookbook VERY precise with instructions that will yield perfect results. I would actually recommend this to an adventurous new baker. The lessons one learns through experience have been carefully detailed in this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bridget

    Interesting The recipes seem very interesting and doable, but I didnt like the fact that there were no actual photos of the finished dessertsonly very cute illustrations! I will be baking some of the recipes though. Interesting The recipes seem very interesting and doable, but I didn’t like the fact that there were no actual photos of the finished desserts—only very cute illustrations! I will be baking some of the recipes though.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Great recipes but all repeats Lots of great recipes but they are all repeats from previous books. Would only recommend purchasing if you dont have a library of her books already Great recipes but all repeats Lots of great recipes but they are all repeats from previous books. Would only recommend purchasing if you don’t have a library of her books already

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Without a doubt, some of the best cakes I have ever made. The buttermilk spice cake with brown sugar icing was perfect for a crisp autumn day. The spices were just the right amount in the cake and the icing added a sweetness to balance the flavor.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    I can't give it 5 stars yet because I didn't have time to bake anything before it had to go back to the library. However, it was delightful enough that I found a ton of things I *want* to bake. It is now on my wish list for the non-digital version for Christmas.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ann Marie

    I received this book from goodreads. Thank you Goodreads. This is a great book I have tried at least five different recipes and they are all amazing I love a good baking book Thank you again and my children thank you as well

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jessie Young

    Needs pictures.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Silke

    Very good. Im missing photos and measurements in grams unfortunately. Very good. I‘m missing photos and measurements in grams unfortunately.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    This is one to purchase and try the recipes. Not a lot of pictures (which I enjoy) but chick full of great recipes.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    cook books totally count, don't @me.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Eileen

    I want photos of delicious recipes in a cookbook.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    Josh and I loved this cookbook. I think this will be ordered in a few days. We found ourselves wanting to bake everything, and they are simple recipes to boot.

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