Recently, a particularly thoughtful friend gave me a copy of the Prohibition Bakery Cookbook.
I have used alcohol in baking before — a little bourbon vanilla frosting here, a moist rum cake there — but the Prohibition Bakery Cookbook by Leslie Feinberg and Brooke Siem doesn’t hold back: the flavors are bold, and the alcohol content of their cupcakes is heroic.
The cookbook is divided into chapters based on alcohol, and the mini-cupcakes found within are based off of cocktails featuring said alcohol. One would find a Dark and Stormy cupcake, for example, under the Rum chapter. The sheer quantity of cocktails that the authors have transformed into cupcakes makes this cookbook an impressive tome filled with brilliant tips for incorporating alcohol into cake batters, frostings, and fillings.
What struck me about this book is that the recipes are surprisingly versatile. I may only make the Old-Fashioned mini-cupcakes a time or two, but I guarantee I will make the bourbon-infused cherry garnish many times over, both for the cherry itself and the delicious cherry-flavored bourbon it creates. The author’s recipes have a life outside of mini-cupcakes, and I think that is part of the treasure found in this cookbook.
The Prohibition Bakery Cookbook is intently focused on its subject; this is no well-rounded all-encompassing bakery 101 cookbook. It contains only recipes for cocktail-based mini-cupcakes. However, from the ingenious way that alcohol is woven into recipes and from the brilliant use of garnishes and fillings, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys baking. If nothing else, the authors’ creativity will lift your spirits*.
If you’re planning a trip to New York or just curious about their current menu, visit the Prohibition Bakery’s website.
*I had to use that pun at least once, otherwise the University of Kentucky would revoke my English degree.