Rescuing from obscurity many old-fashioned American cakes, like Caramel Cake, and rendering the elegant French ones, like Charlottes and Roulades, accessible through methodical recipes, Purdy (As Easy as Pie, 1984) will surely rekindle an interest in cake. Generously interspersed with historical commentary and information divulging the mysteries of baking, her cake book simplifies techniques whenever possible, explains why cheesecakes are prone to cracking and how to prevent it, and tells how to adapt traditional recipes to the food processor and enhance commercial cake mixes. She even provides a timetable for melting chocolate in the microwave. And through Purdy concentrates on American-style and French cakes, she includes a sampling of other specialties, such as Sachertorte, Cassata alia Siciliana and Ukranian Poppyseed Loaf. From wedding cake to a simple unbaked Chocolate Chestnut Fudge Cake and a section on make-ahead frozen Ice-Cream Cakes, Purdy has a cake for every occasion. Ideas for finishing touches are given throughout, culminating in a Decorating section where Purdy has simplified many standard adornment techniques so that a baker of any level can produce a truly grand finale.