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Word of mouth
'Cake Mix Doctor' bakes up a bestseller
(CNN) -- Bookstore shelves are filled with baking books brimming with luscious cakes, specialty breads and chef-created desserts capped by candied carmel string toppings. But, one modest book stands alone, honoring the cake busy cooks have revered for decades -- the cake that comes powdered in a box.
Anne Byrn's "The Cake Mix Doctor" (Workman) has sat atop the Los Angeles Times' cookbook bestsellers list for 20 weeks, above vegetarian leader Deborah Madison and legends Julia Child and Jacques Pepin. What's the draw?
"There was a need for a book to tell busy people how to make a cake better," Byrn says.
Byrn takes cake mixes with utility names such as "white," "yellow" and "chocolate" and doctors them up into seemingly all-the-way homemade lovelies -- Plum and Cardamom Cake is made moist with baby food strained plums and sour cream, Mindy's Ricotta Cheesecake is white cake prettied-up with cheese, raisins, almonds and Marsala wine, and devil's food cake is made deadly with peppermint schnapps and buttercream frosting in Lethal Peppermint Chocolate Cake.
Byrn, a former food editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution baked up the idea for the book while writing an article for The Tennessean newspaper. She asked readers to submit their favorite recipes for dolling up store-bought mixes.
While the request yielded a pantry-full of nifty additions, one popular suggestion fell flat.
"An awful lot of them used too much CoolWhip," Byrn says.
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Cake Mix Doctor
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