This cookbook yields some amazing cakes, including a fabulous caramel cake, a wonderful red velvet (though don't use as much food coloring as called for), and a coconut layer cake that is to die for. Best of all, the recipes are easy (though sometimes the frostings can take a little effort). Be prepared (and unafraid) to make notes and modifications to customize recipes to suit your tastes. All of my family's birthday cakes come from this book now.
This is a very handy one to have around. It's so easy to make an ordinary box mix into something extra special, just by adding a few extra ingredients. Whenever we have a birthday or an event around here, it's the first place I turn. The author is also full of hints and tips on baking in general, which I have found very useful. Also, each recipe has a little tid bit or back story that goes with it, which I love.
Don't be expecting a lushly illustrated book though, it has black and white photos throughout, and a few color pages which illustrate each cake in the beginning of the book. Not appealing photos; they look like badly lit mugshots. Don't let this stop you though, it's a handy book to own.
I have to admit, I have passed off cakes from this book as being from scratch. No one was the wiser, and that includes people who loudly proclaimed that they couldn't stand cake mix cakes and could spot them from a mile away. ;)
The banana cake with caramel frosting is nothing short of amazing, and the chocolate covered cherry one is phenomenal. (I adjusted the cooking times slightly to make them 13x9 cakes, and they all turned out wonderfully.) She also has a website where she lists some of her newer creations, FYI. But the ones in this book are really all you need.
Wonderful ideas on "doctoring" up ordinary cake mixes.
Anne Byrn really should have her own show on the cooking channel. I had this book, used it alot, loved it even, then while cleaning to move decided to trade it. After i did that i asked myself why i traded this book instead of something less important, like my new house payment book. :) I had to go out and pick up another. I can't live without it. Bet you won't be able to either, just by means of volume, there is so much to try in this book.