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Cake: A Cookbook

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  319 ratings  ·  73 reviews
With great style, wit, and joy, Maira Kalman and Barbara Scott-Goodman celebrate their favorite dessert.

In Cake, renowned artist and author Maira Kalman and food writer Barbara Scott-Goodman bring us a beautifully illustrated book dedicated to their love of cakes. Filled with Kalman's inimitable illustrations and memories, from chocolate cake on a terrace in Tel Aviv as a
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published April 10th 2018 by Penguin Press
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Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  319 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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Julie Ehlers
Cake is a collaboration between artist Maira Kalman and cookbook author Barbara Scott-Goodman. Kalman contributes illustrations and vignettes about various cakes she has eaten in her life, and Scott-Goodman contributes 17 recipes and some baking tips. This could have been really great! Kalman's food illustrations are typically mouthwatering, and I even bought a piece of cake at the supermarket to have on hand while reading this, so sure was I that this book would cause intense cake cravings. But ...more
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"What have I learned?
It is not a party without cake.
It is not a holiday without cake.
It is not an auspicious occasion without cake.
Things are much nicer with cake.
Bring on the cake.
We really want to live."
Kath Quiambao Lau
Cake is an illustrated cookbook which contains seventeen mouthwatering cake recipes and beautiful illustrations. Kalman tells us how cake has become an important part of her family’s life and how it can bring back wonderful and even painful memories. There are also baking tips and some cake-related facts in this book. Do you know that Pavlova, a meringue-based dessert, is named after the Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova? And that “mit schlag” means “with whipped cream“?

I’m not a professional
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book gave me such a desire for casual hospitality. I whipped up a cake for no reason and invited friends over to watch Steel Magnolias. They rushed over. I am excited to try the rest of the recipes in this whimsical cookbook. I love the drawings, and the stories.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
While this is a great book, I was disappointed to find out it was a cookbook. I'd have preferred a larger format book just devoted to Kalman's musings and paintings on cake - but this is pretty nice. ...more
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lovely paintings by Maira Kalman, as always, and as always, it's her connections between the deeply felt events of life and its everyday objects that make her work so poignant.

"What have I learned?
It is not a party without cake.
It is not a holiday without cake.
It is not an auspicious occasion without cake.
Things are much nicer with cake.
Bring on the cake.
We really want to live."
Heidi Burkhart
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just the best! Perfect for any cake lover who also delights in Kalman's art and writing. I can't wait to get myself a copy!
Jan 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
I picked this up because it was on a year-end list of recommended cookbooks. How did this ever get published? Folksy-style paintings of people with cakes, often looking as if painted from photographs. Shakily-written journal entries (the font is hard to read) of her own cake memories. I'd rather write and illustrate my own. The blurb said "witty," but I didn't find any wit. I did find a couple of useless "notes" that are infuriating to read as they are so basic and not note-worthy, like "you'll ...more
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Yum! This slim book, picked up on a whim whilst at the library, is the Cake that launched a thousand (okay, maybe not quite that many) cakes. I have loved baking since I was in pigtails but honestly, I stopped doing it a few years ago. I'm not sure why - nothing really sounded fun or appetizing to eat, I suppose. But Cake was able to pick me up, dust me off, and set me back on my flour-y feet.

It's a hybrid little treasure - part memoir, part wistful and lovely picture drawings, and part recipes
Sam Wescott
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
So, I definitely thought this was a graphic novel when I picked it up and not a cookbook??? Oops! But it did some short little stories in there and some lovely art, so it was a sweet read, even though I had no idea it was gonna be 90% recipes, haha.

This would be a great gift for the baker in your life. It’s really pretty.
Kati Giblin
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved the sweet stories, poems and illustrations. More cookbooks should follow this format.
Nicole Chilton
May 21, 2022 rated it it was amazing
These are the types of books that bring pure joy and make me want to celebrate alllll the little things.
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting? No, olive oil cake. Well, maybe the Pavlova. Or the Broken Heart Cake. My love of Maira Kalman's illustrations knows no bounds. Honey cake! Gingerbread cake! One of each, please and thank you. Maira Kalman plus cake is an unbelievable combination:) ...more
Aug 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
This lil book is so cute and has a handmade quality w a simple message of “Cake is part of a good life. Eat more cake.” The recipes are basic and straightforward. Absolutely no bells and whistles. The illustrations are charming.
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Best lemon pound cake and coconut cake recipes that I have ever found.
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is pure art. It reminded me of my love for cake and the memories I associate them with. There are moments where cake was a part of my life and i will never forget that.

Cakes. I adore them. I had them on my birthdays, on special occasions only as we can't afford them. Based on the photographs, i had my first cake when i turned one. It was Disney princess themed, a gift from my aunt. I can barely remember what it taste like but still it was a cake. When i turned seven, i had this giganti
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks, 2018-list
If you're the type of person who think you will never read an entire book, have I got the book for you! This is a delightfully short, focused title with wonderful sounding recipes and gorgeous illustrations and recollections from the illustrator sprinkled throughout. This is a great book for giving too, in my opinion. ...more
Linda Shaughnessy
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I adore Kalman's paintings and style. And maybe I'll try some of the recipes, especially the coconut cake! ...more
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
it has luscious illustrations
it is a cookbook
it is an ode to cake
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Barbara Scott-Goodman, a food writer, observes in a forward:

“People think that cake is kind of a big deal, and it is. Serving cake for dessert can turn a simple dinner into an occasion, and nothing says ‘Let’s celebrate’ quite like it.”

For the most part this is a cookbook for cakes, interspersed with Kalman’s vibrant Matisse-like paintings and reminiscences from her childhood. Kalman points out that many of the big occasions in life are marked by cake, from happy times to mourning, to visiting,
Sharon Mensing
Nov 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: food
Full disclosure, I'm not a cake lover. I really can take it or leave it, and most often choose the latter. However, my "Literate Foodie" bookclub is discussing this one, along with sampling cakes made from the recipes, so I read it.

I found it charming. The illustrations are adorable, and the musings about cake give the reader something to think about. Cake is seen as not just a food, but really more of a centerpiece for gatherings with the bonus of also being delicious.

There are only 17 recipes
Becky Marietta
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This short illustrated memory/recipe book was a delight. I love Maira Kalman's paintings, and I was happy to read through the different cake recipes by Barbara Scott-Goodman. Though I'm not much of a baker, this book made me want to try some of the "simpler" cakes just because, and BSG's tips for cake-baking made success seem possible. Also, I would like to try my hand at watercolor, thanks to Kalman. Her colors and simple-yet-profound figures always blow me away--and I LOVE illustrations that f ...more
Glen U
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great little book celebrating cake. Written and illustrated by Maira Kalman, it will take the reader back to their own reminiscenses, as Kalman evokes her own memories involving cake, family and good times. Short and sweet, like a single layer strawberry shortcake (sorry, I couldn't resist), it is a very quick and very good read. I have not tried the recipes that are included in the book, created by Barbara Scott-Goodman, but they all seem like they will be delicious. A worthy addition to anyb ...more
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-18
This is pretty much perfect. I want to immediately bake and eat every cake featured in this book, especially the plum tarte that I already know I'm going to make with cranberries. The art is exquisite and the stories touching - I especially love the multiple appearances by Aunt Shoshanah who takes all of the kids to the beach each morning and serves them chocolate cake while they are lolling about on the cool tiles of a Tel Aviv terrace after, not even thanking her for the cake as kids are wont ...more
Candace W
Jul 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I can't bring myself to give it a lower rating then 3 stars, but I am definitely disappointed by this. I feel like it tried to be both a few musings on cake their importance to the author's life/family, while throwing in some recipes. I feel like it should have been one or the other. I think in trying to be both, it didn't quite deliver on either for me.

I should admit though to my bias of preferring cookbooks with lots of pictures so I know what something is supposed to look like when making it
Becki Iverson
Nov 06, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a very easy read and a nice break between my long slog through Dickens last month. I needed something bright and airy to contrast the gloomy fall skies here in Minnesota, and this was just the thing. As usual, Kalman manages to find a thread of profundity that adds unexpected depth to her otherwise simple subject - and overall the illustrations are just really fun and cheery. There's nothing in here that will change your life, but Cake was a nice break from seriousness for an hour or tw ...more
Zulekha Saqib
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks, 2018
'What have I learned?
It is not a party without cake.
It is not a holiday without cake.
It is not an auspicious occasion without cake.
Things are much nicer with cake.
Bring on the cake.
We really want to live'

I am a cake person and if you are too, you need this sweet book to soothe your soul.. a charming little book that beautifully celebrates the comfort of a cake and will inspire you to bake and make sweet memories of your own with your loved ones!
Jul 02, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: recipe
This book was sold to me as a graphic memoir with recipes. It's not that... It's a beautifully illustrated cookbook with personal tangents. Perhaps this book did not resonate so much with me because I don't have much of a sweet tooth or perhaps it's because I'm vegan now, but while it's lovely, it's not what I was looking for. This book did make me reflect on my favorite cake: (vegan) mayonnaise cake: A lovely, moist, not too sweet chocolate cake that you only need to dust with powdered sugar. ...more
Apr 02, 2022 rated it really liked it
I didn't actually realize this had recipes in it (the subtitle doesn't appear on the book) until I started reading it, I just likedsome of the author's other books and figured my toddler would like the subject matter. I haven't tried any of the recipes (although they sound delicious) but I love the method of storytelling though cake, and all the memories associated not just with the recipes, but with every gathering where these cakes are shared, among family friends, and beyond. ...more
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
I love cake and illustrations and recipes, but wasn't crazy about this little book. Too little? One of the illustrated stories I had already read in another Kalman book so that was disappointing. And out of all the recipes, I would have only been interested in making 2 of the cakes. Kind of a throwaway, but a really cute one. ...more
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Maira Kalman was born in Tel Aviv and moved to New York with her family at the age of four. She has worked as a designer, author, illustrator and artist for more than thirty years without formal training. Her work is a narrative journal of her life and all its absurdities. She has written and illustrated twelve children's books including Ooh-la-la- Max in Love, What Pete Ate, and Swami on Rye. She ...more

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