RUSSIAN INSTITUTE: LESSON 6 ADULT DVD

BACK COVER: link
LENGTH: 1 hr. 33 mins.
RELEASED: 8/3/2006
STUDIO: Marc Dorcel/Wicked Pictures
RATING: XXX
MY GRADE: B

From DVD: Russia's most elite boarding school is also home to the horniest co-eds. This is Russian Institute- where the midterms are hard and the teachers are even harder.


This is a French production and almost all the actors are from the Czech Republic. The others are from Hungary, France, Russia. No condoms were used and all the men are uncircumcised. Only two of the twelve girls have breast implants.

SCENE 1: Ellen got a call from Lauro, who told her he was outside her college. He snuck into her room. He laid back on her bed, she knelt in front of him and blew him for a few seconds. He had her lay back on the bed, he laid between her legs and ate her pussy. She was totally bald with natural breasts. He fingered her hard and fast with his left index finger while he licked her clit. Spoon position on their right sides. He stopped, ate her asshole, then fingered it with left middle and index fingers, then fucked her in it. Doggie position anal. Reverse cowgirl anal on the bed, her rubbing her clit. She definitely had an orgasm from anal with no vaginal penetration. She got off him and jerked him until he came on his stomach.

SCENE 2: Vanessa's in bed pretending to be sick. The doctor and nurse go in. He uses a stethoscope on her and she pulls her camisole down. The nurse sits beside her and they kiss. She unbuttons the nurses coat and pulls her bra down and licks her nipples. The doctor goes over to them. The nurse takes his cock out, Vanessa sucks him, then the nurse does. Vanessa gets on the bed on all fours. The nurse pours lube out of a small black bottle on Vanessa's asshole, rubs it in and the doctor fucks her vaginally. He pulls out, the nurse sucks him then he puts it back in Vanessa's pussy

She lays on her back, right leg up with the doctor standing between her legs, fucking her vaginally. The nurse rubs Vanessa's clit and breast. The nurse stops him, puts lube on his dick and he fucks Vanessa's asshole. The nurse is rubbing Vanessa's clit. She then sits in a chair, rubbing her clit as she watches the nurse fuck the doctor in reverse cowgirl position on the bed. Vanessa goes over to them, makes them stop, jerks him a few times, puts spit on his dick and guides it to the nurse's asshole for some anal sex. She licks the nurses clit. Vanessa kneels in front and rubs the nurse's clit. I love the slapping sounds they make. Both girls kneel in front of the doctor and blow him. He comes in the nurses mouth and she swallows it.

SCENE 3: Three girls, Jennifer (the brunette on cover with red skirt), Liliane, Nadine, sneak out of their rooms at night. Jennifer goes to distract the night watchman, Thomas, while the other two eat each other in a chair. Jennifer and the night watchman see them. She pushes him against the wall, pulls his pants down and blows him briefly. They walk over to the girls. He stands beside Liliane, the one sitting in the chair. She leans over and blows him. she gets up and Jennifer sits him in the chair Liliane vacated. Simone blindfolds him with her black stocking. Liliane blows him. Jennifer steals a key from his pants pocket, goes into his office and takes something out of his desk drawer. Liliane gets on him, reverse cowgirl, while Simone stands there, topless. Jennifer returns and puts the key back in his pocket without him knowing, since his pants are around his ankles. Anal sex with him and Liliane. Jennifer is sitting in the chair beside them with Simone eating her pussy. He comes on all three girls' faces.

SCENE 4: Two girls, Jamie and Lea, sneak into the room of Tony, Frank and JPX. Jamie blew one guy. Lea got on the bed and blew him too. Jamie went over to another guy, blew him while the third roommate joined in. He ate her from behind. The scene got real annoying after that. Everybody was going everybody else and I couldn't keep up. Lastly, Jamie was on top of one guy while another guy was in her ass.

SCENE 5: The Headmistress, Sandy, goes into Sophie's room. Sandy eats Sophie out on her bed, then uses a thick hot pink-colored vibrator on her. Sandy gets on all fours while Sophie uses a different vibrator on her.

SCENE 6:  Two students, Ellen and Laura, are in the classroom. One goes over to the teacher, James, takes her shirt off and sits on the desk in front of him. He licks her breasts. He pushes his chair back a few feet and she blows him. Laura's sitting at her desk watching. She's rubbing her breasts. She goes over to them and they take turns blowing him. Ellen lays back on the des, he kneels in front and eats her pussy while Laura stands there rubbing her clit. He stands up and fucks Ellen from behind while she leans on the desk. Laura gets on him on the desk, reverse cowgirl. Ellen is fingering herself in a chair as she watches. Anal reverse cowgirl with Laura and teacher. Ellen goes over to them and rubs Laura's clit. They both kneel down and they both blow him.

BONUS MATERIAL

There was some boring behind-the-scenes stuff and trailers for some of the studio's other dvds.

MY THOUGHTS: This was just OK. Not enough time was spent on the sex scenes and the close-ups were too quick. It was real nice not seeing many breast implants. When watching foreign porn I can see a difference between the men and American men and I definitely like the European men better. The production value seems to be higher too.

Like some of Marc Dorcel's other dvds, this was narrated here and there in voiceover. Marc is French and Wicked Pictures is his American dvd distributor. Despite the 'Russian Institute' title I'm sure this was filmed in France.

  


SASSY COOKIES: Sweet, Spicy, and Savory Treats with Swagger by Luane Kohnke

sassyPUB. INFO: Pelican Publishing Company
ISBN: 9781455617692
PURCHASE: link
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: C

From Publisher: Goat cheese, rosemary, mango, chocolate, and chai tea-what do these diverse flavors have in common? They are all ingredients in some of the most unique and delicious cookie recipes to be found anywhere. Author and cookie baker extraordinaire Luane Kohnke provides detailed instructions for more than forty of her original cookie recipes to suit even the most refined palate. Each is captured in mouth watering images by talented photographer John Uher. Kohnke breaks her recipes into several distinct sections, all of which include gluten-free offerings. Presented are timeless chocolate cookies including Lemony White Chocolate and Pink Peppercorn Cookies and Chocolate Shortbread and Hazelnut Cream Sandwich Cookies, bringing new flavor combinations to expand every baker's repertoire.

The second section experiments with edgy and grown-up versions of brownies, blondies, and bar cookies, including the irresistible Goat Cheese and Caramel Swirl Brownies. Another set of recipes provides savory treats that are perfect accompaniments to soups, salads, and fruit-and-cheese trays or as stand-alone, satisfying appetizers. These include Black Olive Bites, Tarragon-Lemon Cookies, and a tantalizing twist on tradition cheese cocktail cookies. Additional sections delve into nutty and fruity treats and delicate sensations, including Saffron Pistachio Lace Cookies. Provided as reference are detailed instructions on preparation, supplies, and resources to make baking and sharing the cookies as enjoyable as eating them.

Recipe images below came from inside the book.

THINGS I'VE MADE
lime cookieLIME BUTTER COOKIES: These are some of the best-tasting cookies ever. They have that distinctive sugar cookie flavor and brown slightly on the edges, like a sugar cookie. I omitted the lime oil. A small bottle is relativity inexpensive but that isn't something most grocery stores have. I used the zest of one lime and that gave it plenty of flavor. I didn't use the 1 T. dry milk since I didn't have any. They don't have a heavy butter flavor, which is a plus for me.

One of two complaints that I have is that these cookies end up getting 100% soft after a short time and that's not a good thing. I'll only bake what I can eat within a very short time and refrigerate or freeze the remaining dough and bake off what I need. Though we're to flatten the dough balls before baking they still get puffy and aren't flatter like the photo shows. I'd like to experiment with this recipe a bit next time. Grade: A-

cheddar cookieSAVORY CHEDDAR COCKTAIL COOKIES: These use both cheddar and parmesan cheese. I got 22 using a 1 1/2" diameter (#50) cookie scoop. I added a little dried parsley for color. I used black pepper instead of white, and omitted cayenne pepper. I didn't make any of the spreadable cheese toppings for them.

I baked these 10 minutes. They were golden brown on the edges but still a bit soft. They were flakey on the outside and the 'crust' almost melted in my mouth. I'd make these again using a different cheese, as I'm not too fond of sharp cheddar usually. Since these are cheesy, too cheesy, I'd like mine to be firmer, like a cracker, so baked the rest for 12 minutes and they were really firm throughout.

We're told to refrigerate the dough a few hours before baking. I recommend chilling the dough just 30 minutes or the dough will be harder to scoop out and the edges will crack when you flatten them, like mine were after an hour or so. Grade: B

pist cookieANISE-SCENTED PISTACHIO COOKIES: This is basically a more tender shortbread cookie that I turned into a chocolate chip pecan cookie. Anise isn't something I'd like, shelled pistachios cost a fortune, and I would never put lemon zest with almond extract and I saw no reason to not change the flavorings to something I'd like- chocolate chip, vanilla extract, and toasted pecans.

I used a larger cookie scoop than used in the recipe (1 1/2" diameter) and I got 21 cookies. They spread out to 2 1/2" diameter. The cookies have a very nice texture. They're golden brown and crunchy on the bottom and edges and the inside is tender. They use an egg yolk and are pretty much like shortbread complete with strong butter flavor. I cut down on the sugar by 1/4 c. and they're still a little too sweet. I stored the leftovers in an air-tight container and they got a bit harder which is fine with me. Most cookies end up getting totally soft hours after you've baked them. Grade: B

MY THOUGHTS: I think there's a photo of every cookie, which is real nice. There's a few more I may bake from this book. They're all very simple to mix up and recipes are easy to understand so no one is likely to have any trouble.

Some of the flavor combinations are too 'sassy' for me so only part of the book is useful to me.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Recipe images came from inside the book.


THE ROGUE'S PROPOSAL by Jennifer Haymore

roguePUB. INFO: Grand Central Publishing, 11/2013
GENRE: Historical Romance
SETTING: England, 1812
SERIES: House of Trent, book 2
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: B

From Publisher: Lord Lukas Hawkins, the rakish second son of the House of Trent, has never found a wager he couldn't win or a woman he couldn't seduce—until his search for his missing mother leads him to a mysterious encounter with a beautiful stranger.

Luke's mother has been missing for months, and while his honorable older brother Simon, Duke of Trent, leads the official investigation from London, Luke sets out on a somewhat seedier path. Sources have told him his mother was last seen with a scoundrel named Roger Morton, but their association isn't clear. Was she kidnapped or did she go willingly?

While searching for Morton, Luke meets Emma Anderson, a secretive beauty with her own reasons for hunting Morton. At first Luke laughs at the idea of allowing a woman to join him in his search, but soon Emma's insights into Morton—like the woman herself—prove impossible to resist.

MY THOUGHTS: This book is second in the series and features Simon's (from book one) younger brother, Luke. He's twenty-seven and has dark blonde hair and blue eyes. He seems to be an alcoholic who's haunted by his abusive childhood. He's the only one of his siblings who was abused at the hands of their father. He's pretty dark. He's got low self esteem too. His relationship with Simon is strained and Luke feels inferior to him. He doesn't even like for Simon to be mentioned. He's got some mental health issues due to him thinking his dead father is out to kill him. I like that their relationship is strained and found that interesting. Most siblings of the same gender get along great in romance novels so I liked that they don't have too good of one.

The widowed Emma Curtis, nee Anderson's on a mission to find the elusive Roger Morton, who isn't as he seems, and make him pay for his dirty deeds. When Emma and Luke team up to find Roger and Luke's mother, their chemistry is instant. The sex is pretty explicit, the terminology a bit more explicit than usual, which I really like, and there's plenty of it.

We learn more about Luke's missing mother and how it came to be that she was with Roger but we don't learn where she is yet. We'll have to wait until book three (May 2014) to find out, I presume, and I can't wait.

There's something the author did that really annoyed me, and I've noticed this in a few other historicals as well. She'd put periods between all the words in a short sentence because she'd want to put emphasis on each of them. I'm not a fan of that type of modern day speaking/typing (I see people talk/type like this on the internet) and don't appreciate it being in historicals. Here's some examples: He.Is.Not.Evil./So.Damn.Beautiful./Bloody.Hell./You.Were.Innocent.

The story is kind of slow moving until near the end. I enjoyed it overall and I like Luke a lot, especially his back story. Emma's your average likeable heroine but there's nothing special about her. She's pretty cookie cutter.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


JENNA JAMESON'S E! TRUE HOLLYWOOD STORY DOCUMENTARY FROM 2003

This is a very good documentary on porn star Jenna Jameson (and she has her original face) that I first saw when it was two years old, in 2005. It came out months before her autobiography How to Make Love Like a Porn Star. It first aired on August 10, 2003. Most episodes in this series are just one hour but hers was two. Her father, whom you'll see in it, died a couple years ago.

Here's a recent interview with her from Larry King Now.



500 COOKIES SECOND EDITION by Philippa Vanstone and Carol Beckerman

500 cookiesPUB. INFO: Sellers Publishing, 9/2013
ISBN: 9781416209089
ORIGINAL PUB: Sellers, 10/2005
FORMAT: Hardcover, 288 pages
PURCHASE: Link
MY GRADE: B

From Publisher: 500 Cookies truly is “the only cookie compendium you’ll ever need.” With this second edition, home cooks will find 150 scrumptious new recipes that are sure to be crowd pleasers. The newly-added Indulgent Cookie chapter includes tasty ingredient combinations such as Peanut Butter & Praline Chunk Swirl cookies, Chocolate & Lemon Pinwheel cookies, and Coconut & Cherry Macaroons.

The front of the book includes helpful tips on making drop cookies, rolled, piped, and shaped cookies, as well as bars, icebox cookies and no-bakes. Essential tools and equipment are listed plus ingredient information and professional advice on baking, cooling, and storing your baked treats. Since 2005, 500 Cookies has been the go-to cookie book for thousands of home bakers — join the happy crowd!
     
THINGS I'VE MADE
 
PEANUT BUTTER AND CHOCOLATE SWIRLS: This is a good cookie recipe but I made a very necessary change to it before mixing the dough. The full recipe calls for 1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder and I knew that was entirely too much. I made just half the recipe, as I normally do, and instead of using 1/2 c. cocoa, I cut that down to 1/4 c. and that amount was perfect. If you use the full amount of cocoa they're going to be so bitter you won't be able to eat them.

I added mini semi-sweet chips, 1/4 c. of them, not 1 c. chopped semi-sweet chocolate as called for for half the recipe. Recipes use unsalted butter. If you're using salted butter, omit the salt completely in this recipe. Peanut butter is always very salty and in this recipe it gets swirled throughout the dough and I noticed the salt from it. Next time I'm using half the salt.

I refrigerated the dough 30 minutes like I was supposed to. I scooped the dough out using a small 1 1/2" diameter scoop (# 50). My cookies got really puffy, like in the photo, but flattened nicely at the end of the baking time. They had nice crackle tops and was a good looking cookie, better looking than the photo. I baked them for 11 minutes. The baked cookies were 2 1/2" in diameter and I got 31.

WHITE CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES: I used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of white chocolate, as I don't like white chocolate, which isn't even chocolate anyway. Mine didn't look like the photo which showed them having crackle tops. The tops of mine were smooth. They taste very good and are made with all white sugar, no brown, so they're pale. The edges got golden brown which gave them great flavor. I used a small 1 1/2" diameter scoop (# 50) and got 27 cookies that were between 2 1/4"-2 1/2" in diameter after baked. I lowered the temperature to 350° and they baked in 11 minutes. They're a little too sweet so I'll cut back on that next time.

CHOCOLATE PINWHEEL COOKIES: This is a super easy recipe. Unfortunately they're extremely bland and I wasn't at all happy with it and wouldn't make them again. They aren't sweet enough nor do they have enough salt. They were dry too. The dough is firm, not sticky, which makes it easy to work with and roll/pat out. I froze my dough and sliced it from frozen when I was ready to bake some. It'll be easier to cut if you let the dough sit out for about ten minutes before slicing it.

The instructions are terrible and someone who's never made pinwheel cookies would be confused. They also tell you to wrap each part of dough and refrigerate until firm, then roll out. That's not necessary and all you need to do is press the dough into a rectangle, the size they never gave, and you don't really need a rolling pin.

If you don't have two silicone baking mats that are close to or are larger than 12" x 8" you'll need to use two sheets of wax paper or parchment paper and with a ruler mark each into a 12" x 8" rectangle, then with clean hands press each part of dough out into that size rectangle. That's what I did and it's how I always do pinwheel dough. Invert one part of dough over the top of the other (I put the chocolate dough on top of the other) and gently peel it off the paper. The dough felt too soft to roll so I picked up the silicone mat, put it on a smaller cookie sheet and put it in the freezer for eight minutes, took it out then rolled it up jelly roll-style. You lift the log up, place it onto a long piece of plastic wrap or your used piece of waxed/parchment paper, roll it up and refrigerate until firm or freeze it to use another day.

When you roll dough into a log and freeze or refrigerate it the bottom of the log as no choice but to go flat. An excellent trick I learned months ago to prevent that from happening most of the time is to take an empty paper towel roll, cut it open and place your wrapped log of dough in it (it's ok if your log is longer than the paper towel tube), put at least two rubber bands on it to hold it tight and keep it round, then store it in the refrigerator or freezer. I froze this dough and used it a few days later. My dough log was 2.1" in diameter.

MY THOUGHTS: This is a cute book due to its size. The whole book is full color. The recipes are easy and for lots of them there are variations listed on a separate page. Directions for a couple of recipes need to be a bit more detailed. There's a fair amount of photos too. I plan to make more from the book but for now I've only made three.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

101 GOURMET DESSERTS FOR THE HOLIDAYS by Wendy Paul

gourment dessertsPUB. INFO: Front Table Books, 9/2013
FORMAT: Hardcover, 9781462112616
PURCHASE: link
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: B

From Publisher: 101 Gourmet Desserts for the Holidays is the ultimate recipe collection for the holiday season! Enjoy your Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with unique desserts like Pumpkin Sugar Cookies, Snickerdoodle Cupcakes, and Egg Nog Cheesecake. You can trust these proven recipes by best-selling author Wendy Paul and take the stress out of holiday baking.

Categories: Fruity and Fabulous, The Sweetness of Chocolate, Theme Decorating, Nutty Treats, Flavors of Fall, Sugar and Spice, Holiday Treats, Topping it all Off. Most recipes are for cakes and cookies with a few recipes being for other desserts and a section's just for frostings.

THINGS I'VE MADE
 
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP CANDY CANE COOKIES- This recipe is different, and in a good way. It uses chocolate instant pudding powder. I used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of white chocolate chips and I added chopped toasted pecans. I made half and scooped them out with a 1 1/2" diameter scoop and got 27 cookies. They taste great. They aren't too sweet considering they have white and brown sugar, and sugar from the pudding mix in them. I flattened the balls before baking, not after they'd baked, as per the instructions. They took about 11 minutes. The outside is crunchy and the inside is softer. I didn't frost the cookies with melted white chocolate or sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy. The recipe calls for no salt so I added 3/8 t. for half the recipe and it wasn't quite enough.
 
You can use any flavor pudding you'd like in here (the author did a different version of these on the internet) and add any type of chip, nut, or dried fruit. I've not had much luck over the years with chocolate cookies. They always taste the same and are never good. This is the best flavored one so far. This recipe is a keeper!
 
I made these again about a month later using vanilla pudding, mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and pecans. They were too sweet but tasted alright.
 
FRUITCAKE COOKIES: When I saw the photo of these I knew I had to make them. In addition to a lot of milk this recipe calls for a lot of additives....3 1/4 c. worth. Instead of using orange extract, mixed candied fruit, candied cherries, pecans, and dates I used 1/2 c. chopped sweetened dried cherries, 1/2 c. chopped lightly toasted almonds, vanilla extract, and a drop of almond extract. I used a 1 1/2" diameter cookie scoop and got 27 cookies that were 2 1/2" in diameter after they were baked. I flattened the balls slightly with the bottom of a dry measuring cup before baking. I baked them at a much lower temperature for 11 minutes and they were golden brown on top, more so than other cookies. They were a little too dry due to being over baked so next time I'll give them just 10 minutes. Mine don't look like the photo and have smooth tops.
 
This dough has excellent flavor that's enhanced by the flavor from the browned tops. The butter flavor was very mild. Yay! I love cherries in these, so glad I used them, and will make these again with toasted pecans instead of almonds, more dried cherries, and use shortening, which the recipe originally calls for. I used butter because the author said she makes them with butter and I'd like to try shortening next time.
 
Its been about a month since I made the butter version. I tried this recipe with shortening, 3/4 c. chopped dried cherries, and 3/4 c. pecans. I needed to experiment so I baked just one cookie without flattening it. It didn't spread out much and was pretty much ruined. These don't taste as good as the butter version and they didn't get as brown so I'll stick with the original version.
 
CRANBERRY AND PISTACHIO COOKIES: These were disappointingly bland. No particular flavor to speak of other than cranberry. I used lightly toasted chopped almonds in place of pistachios and scooped them out with a 1 1/2" diameter scoop. They baked in 8 1/2 minutes.
 
MY THOUGHTS: This is a very attractive and useful book. It's hardcover and what you can't see from the outside is that it's spiral bound on the inside and will lay open flat. Don't be put off by the 'holiday' part of the title. There's just a section of recipes that uses canned pumpkin, which is associated with Thanksgiving, and a few recipes that you sprinkle chopped peppermint candies on, with peppermint candy being associated with Christmas time.

There aren't nearly enough photos. I think it's especially important to include many photos of cookies because they don't all look the same. Some are very puffy on top (and I usually avoid making them), some are flat and crisp, ect. I really don't like to make a cookie without having seen the finished product.

I don't like when an author tells us to do something and doesn't explain why. Example: for the Cranberry Pistachio Cookies, she tells us to place the dough balls in the freezer for twenty minutes then bake them bit didn't explain why. Did she try freezing them for a short time because she didn't like the way the un-chilled dough turned out or did she do it just for the heck of it, to see if the cookies would turn out differently? I'd like to know.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

WORLD CLASS CAKES: 250 Classic Recipes from Boston Cream Pie to Madeleines and Muffins by Roger Pizey

worldPUB. INFO: Race Point Publishing, 9/2013
ISBN: 9781937994167
FORMAT: Hardcover
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: C

From Publisher: World Class Cakes is a fabulous collection of globally-inspired classic bakes, from national favorites such as Boston Cream Pie and international classics like British Chelsea Buns to exquisite small treats like Russian Tea Cakes and French Madeleines. Each recipe has been meticulously researched and perfectly baked by Roger Pizey, one of the world's leading pastry chefs.

Whether you are a baking novice wanting to make your first Plum Madeira or a seasoned pastry enthusiast wishing to impress with a Millefeuille or Croquembouche, the book is divided into chapters that correspond with types of cake and baking techniques. These include Sponges and Layer Cakes, Loaves and Pound Cakes, Fruit, Nut, and Seed Cakes, Sheet Cakes and Bars, Cheesecakes, Small Cakes, Leavened Cakes, Pastries, Tarts and Celebration Cakes.

Each recipe has fascinating insights into the origins, culture, or traditions associated with the cake, and dotted throughout the book are feature recipes from guest chefs, including Mark Hix and Marco Pierre White in London, Shannon Bennett in Melbourne, and Lucas Glanville in Singapore.

For those who love to travel, each chapter also includes a section on must-visit cake-eating destinations around the globe. These act as your personal guide to the best places to pause for coffee or tea and cakes, whether you're in London or Paris, Copenhagen or Vienna, New York or Tokyo, Sydney or Singapore.

World Class Cakes is a superlative global resource for the art of cake baking, a showcase of awe-inspiring cakes and pastries, each one a testament to the superb baking skills of master pâtissier Roger Pizey.

Images below came from inside the book.

THINGS I'VE MADE
 
pineapple cakePINEAPPLE COCONUT CAKES: Coconut and pineapple go great together. I followed the recipe but it tasted egg-like to me and had a heavy butter flavor and was dry. I wonder if the recipe could have used just one egg. I used pineapple tidbits and cut them smaller. I think it needed more than I used. Biting into a little piece of pineapple was the highlight of the desert. I didn't make the syrup for the top, it would have been a bit too expensive, but I did make my own powdered sugar glaze using reserved pineapple juice from the can of tidbits.

I used this exact pan. Each cup is 4 1/4" in diameter by 1 1/4" deep. I think it made nine of those. As with most from-scratch bread products, these were best fresh out of the oven. The cakes had a medium crumb but the cake dried out once it cooled down. I stored them in the fridge and reheated them in the microwave when I wanted one. I ate three and threw the rest away. Grade: C
turkish lemon cakeTURKISH LEMON CAKE: This cake smells and tastes great. I can't convey how impressed I am with it. The browned flavor that you get from the outer edges, combined with the tanginess from the lemon juice, is truly unbelievable. It uses a little orange juice in the batter and lemon zest. This makes one really large loaf cake so I made half the recipe and baked it in a smaller loaf pan than the full recipe used. Mine measured 8 1/2" L x 4 1/4" W x 2 3/4" D. It baked in exactly 30 minutes.

I made the author's simple syrup recipe from the back of the book, not the recipe included with the cake, to pour over the top of the still-warm cake, using the juice of one lemon and slightly more sugar than juice. I heated the lemon juice and sugar together in a measuring cup in the microwave until the sugar dissolved completely. No need to dirty a small pan to make it in. After the cake cooled in the pan for about 15 minutes I spooned half the slightly warm syrup evenly over the top and let some run down the sides of the pan, then transferred it to a cooling rack. The cake should be left to cool in the pan longer than 15 minutes.

This used self-rising flour. Even though self-rising flour has salt in it already this cake definitely needed more, probably twice what I used. It's very sweet too. I'll cut down on the sugar and add more salt, especially since I used unsalted butter. I couldn't taste the orange juice at all so you may want to skip adding it if you don't have it on hand. Just add water or milk in its place or add some orange zest. Grade: A+
sobaosSOBAOS PASIEGOS: This cake originated in the Pas valley of Spain and an internet search told me the name means Sobaos from el Pas, though I don't know what Sobaos means. It's typically made with yeast, lemon zest, anise or a tiny amount of rum. This version doesn't use yeast.
Changes I Made: This recipe makes two loaf cakes so I made just one. I omitted the zest and rum and used 1/4 c. lightly packed minced (in the food processor) sweetened dried cranberries and 1 t. orange peel that came in a small bottle. The recipe didn't specify how much salt, it only said 'salt', which usually means a small pinch, which is about 1/16 of a teaspoon, so I added 1/4 t., knowing it would probably need more, and it did. I knew to cut back on the sugar by 1/4 c., as 3/4 c. was way too much, so I did and the cake was still sweet and had the added sweetness from the cranberries.
 
This is very simple to make but does have the extra step of whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks, which only takes a minute, and folding them in. I think my whites may have been too stiff because my cake didn't seem 'airy' as it was supposed to be though it turned out good anyway, albeit a bit dry. It didn't rise nearly as high as in the photo nor did it look the same on top. In fact, mine looked just like all the ones I saw internet pictures of. I like that this uses melted butter as opposed to softened butter. For some reason some cakes that are made with butter have a really strong butter flavor and I'm happy to say this one doesn't. I like just a hint of orange flavor when I do use it to flavor cakes and muffins and 1 t. was the perfect amount for this, not strong at all. I'll use more cranberries next time, a heaping 1/3 c., more salt, and I'll make sure my whites aren't too stiff. Grade: B+
double chocolateDOUBLE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES: This recipe uses both melted semi-sweet chocolate and a tiny bit of unsweetened cocoa powder and ground almonds. The recipe makes six regular-sized cupcakes but I made them in a jumbo muffin pan. I filled the cups halfway and got six. They baked in about twenty minutes. If made in the regular-sized pan you'll definitely get at least eight. I made my own chocolate fudge frosting for them and ate each with vanilla ice cream.
 
They were a bit dry which is too bad considering they used all brown sugar, which is known to make cakes moister. I'm pretty sure they weren't over baked. These reminded me a lot of several brownies I've made over the years and like brownies, these cupcakes had no milk in them. I couldn't taste the toasted almonds either. I'm a bit disappointed in this one. I ate a few and threw the rest away. Grade: D
lime poppy seed cakeLIME AND POPPY SEED SYRUP CAKE: This was only the second time I'd used lime zest, and the first time in a cake. This was my first time using poppy seeds too. The recipe is made in a Bundt pan so I made half in a loaf pan that measured 9 1/4" L x 5 1/8" W x 3" H. It baked in 38 minutes. If you like loaf cakes that are narrower and taller as opposed to wider and shorter, use a slightly smaller pan than I used.
 
What a beautiful loaf. The cake is a medium golden brown all over with one nice long crack and several smaller ones like most loaf cakes get. This uses both self-rising and all-purpose flour, sour cream and lime zest, and no salt. I knew it wouldn't have enough salt just from the self-rising flour. Salt is always necessary when baking cakes or muffins so I added 1/4 t. of table salt. That amount turned out to be perfect to go with unsalted butter. If using salted butter don't add any salt.

I tasted the cake where it had no simple syrup and it's incredibly moist and not too sweet. The butter flavor is very subtle, thankfully. You could make this cake and omit the zest and seeds if you wanted.

I used the zest of two limes in the batter and the juice of two, which was four tablespoons, to make the syrup to pour on top with. That was a huge mistake. The lime juice is way too tart. I guess my limes weren't ripe enough, as I'd suspected. I'll only use one tablespoon next time, just in case. I used his basic simple syrup recipe (slightly more sugar than juice or water). I let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes then spooned all of the syrup over it, pulling the cake away from the sides of the pan slightly with the spoon so the syrup could run down.

After the cake cooled completely I lifted it out by the overhanging foil that I'd lined one side of the pan with, held it in one hand and I flipped the cooled cake over into my other hand. I peeled the foil off and I centered a previously cut long piece of wax paper over the bottom of the cake and flipped the cake back over so it was upright, set it on the counter, sliced it then lifted it up with the sides of the wax paper and put it back into the washed loaf pan. The syrup runs down into the pan so I always wash the pan, put a new piece of wax paper on the cake then put it back into the pan. I don't like the idea of syrup or any other liquid sitting in the bottom of a metal pan. Grade: A
lemon drizzleLEMON DRIZZLE CAKE: I accidentally used a larger loaf pan (9 1/2" L) instead of one that's slightly smaller, as called for in the recipe. I didn't realize it until I was putting the 'drizzle' on the cake. Regardless, the cake turned out beautifully (shorter and wider than it should have been) and baked in 29 minutes at a higher temperature, 350°, than called for. I used the authors standard simple syrup recipe, not the one that went with this recipe. It makes 1/2 c.
 
This is an average size loaf. The recipe states to use 1 c. sugar, which is way too much, even if not using the syrup drizzle, so I used 1/2 c., which was perfect. I knew a 'pinch' of salt wouldn't be nearly enough so I used 1/4 t. The cake still tastes saltless. I was scared to use three eggs for fear of an eggy taste so I used two and that turned out to be a good move on my part. The cake turned out fine and doesn't taste like egg. I used the zest of one large lemon, not the zest of three lemons as told to do, and got 3 teaspoons from one lemon (which is 1 tablespoon), more than enough for one cake. Had I followed the recipe regarding the lemon zest I'd have used 3 tablespoons, which is just one tablespoon shy of 1/4 c. Entirely too much.

The cake is very moist. I like that it uses melted butter and cream, instead of softened butter and milk. I've never used cream in a cake before so it was nice to try it. This cake isn't quite as good or flavorful as the Turkish Lemon Cake (there's no lemon cake like that one) but I will definitely make this again and again. It doesn't have a strong butter flavor either.

Here's what I do now when it's time to pour syrup over a cake- I lift the cake out of the pan by the overlapping foil and sit it on the counter. I carefully lift the cake up with both hands and place it on a cooling rack that's been placed down in the clean sink. I pour all of the syrup over it (1/2 C.) , some runs off into the sink, I let it sit there a minute than carefully place it back on a different cooling rack to cool completely. I don't want to pour it over the cake while it's still in the loaf pan, or any type of pan, because the extra syrup will just sit in the metal pan for a couple of days and I don't want that. Grade: A
jewish apple cake"JEWISH' APPLE CAKE: This cake uses oil instead of butter, thus making it kosher. This cake wasn't anything special. I used 1/3 less sugar and it was still too sweet. I used more salt than the 'pinch' than was called for and it wasn't enough. I used half the vanilla and it was plenty. I couldn't taste the orange juice at all. It's pretty dense too. As good as apricot jam is it did nothing for the top of this cake but make it gummy.
 
I made this in a 9" round pan that was 1 1/2" high, not a 6" as I was supposed to. I don't know how a smaller pan could hold this batter. It baked in 22 minutes. I didn't put chopped apples on top either, and just used the ones layered in the cake. I wouldn't make this again- it's too dense. I ate two slices and threw the rest away. Grade: C
pistachio and lemon cakePISTACHIO AND LEMON CAKE: This cake is extremely moist. Its very good but has too much zest in it, both lemon and lime. I didn't add nuts nor did I use lemon and lime slices on top of the cake. This is one of those cakes that's so moist it has a wet look about it. In that way it's like the Turkish Lemon cake but not as flavorful.

The recipes states to use a 'pinch' of salt. I added 3/8 t. and it could have used a bit more. I also used 1/4 c. less sugar and the cake was plenty sweet enough. I made the syrup for the top but it wasn't necessary, as the cake was almost too moist as it was and the syrup make it a bit gummy. Though this is good I won't make it again because I prefer the Turkish Lemon Cake to this. Grade: A


caraway seed cakeCARAWAY SEED CAKE: I omitted the caraway seeds and added chopped sweetened dried cranberries and orange peel and used a bit less sugar. This cake tastes like egg. It has three, which I feel is too much for a standard loaf cake. I won't make it again. Grade: C







MY THOUGHTS: This is a beautiful full-color book with plenty of photos. It's a large, heavy hardcover. The recipes use either all-purpose or self-rising flour. All recipes call for superfine sugar, which is regular white sugar that's been ground finer. Just use regular sugar and don't bother with grinding it up. It's just not necessary.

There are color photos of most recipes. Photos always make cookbooks nicer. I like too that you can mix and match fruit juices (lemon, lime, orange, pineapple) and zest, as they're interchangeable in these recipes. For example, make a lemon cake with pineapple simple syrup poured on top or maybe use orange zest instead in a lemon or lime cake and make lemon or lime simple syrup for the top, ect.

All but one or two recipes use butter. I'm disappointed that more don't use vegetable oil and none use shortening. I wish too that there were a little less fancy cakes in it and no chapter on yeast breads/cakes. Those cakes are too fancy. It's a very nice book but needs more 'basic' cake/cupcake recipes.

I've decided not to make anymore things from this book because only some are turning out right.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Recipe images came from inside the book.