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Eat Me!: The Stupendous, Self-raising World of Cupcakes and Bakes - Xanthe Milton

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Genre: Food & Drink / Dieting / Author: Xanthe Milton / Hardcover / 160 Pages / Book is published 2010-03-04 by Ebury Press

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      07.11.2012 01:52
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      Eat Me! - mmmm I think I just might!

      I've had 'Eat Me!', or to give it its full title 'Eat Me! The Stupendous, Self-Raising World of Cupcakes & Bakes According to Cookie Girl' by Xanthe Milton for a couple of years now. The full retail price of this book is £15, however I bought mine for half price at £7.50 on Amazon shortly after its publication in 2010, I've noticed that it's currently for sale at £9.75 on Amazon.

      It's a gorgeous hardback book full of, as the title would suggest, cupcakes, bakes and cookies. The book is very beautifully presented and is lovely to just leaf through and browse. The cover itself is a shocking pink colour, and the pages are thick parchment type paper, and they smell divine - very papery, even now after a couple of years.

      The book is divided into five sections; Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Parties. Each seasonal section has recipes specific to that particular season, the holidays that fall within that season, and seasonal ingredients available. The parties section is mainly cocktail based cupcakes! The book starts with a couple of pages of a 'flowery and waffley' introduction, and then a handy Baking Basics - with guidelines on the equipment you'll need and a few other tips on ingredients. Each of the main sections also has a couple of pages of 'flowery and waffley' prose before coming to the recipes, where Cookie Girl aka Xanthe Milton waxes lyrical about the season and her childhood. To be honest I 'm not too keen on either her waffle or her writing style in these introductions, but it's only a couple of pages in each section so I can live with it.

      Spring:
      This section has recipes such as; Lemon & Elderflower Cupcakes, Hummingbird Cupcakes, French Toast Cupcakes, Black Forest Cupcakes, Hazelnut Marble Cupcakes, Coffee Walnut Cupcakes, Carrot Cookie Creams, Lemon Finger Cookies, Passion Fruit Sandwiches, Easter Nest Cupcakes, Easter Cookies, Triple Chocolate Cookies, Pistachio Lime Cupcakes, White Chocolate & Raspberry Cupcakes, Biscotti, and Crispy Nests.
      My favourite recipes in this section are the French Toast Cupcakes, which actually really do taste like french toast! they contain maple syrup and cinnamon in the sponge to help to give them that french toast taste, and they are topped with a buttery cream cheese frosting flavoured with cinnamon. The Passion Fruit Sandwiches, which are buttery biscuits which hold together a gooey centre of lucsious passion fruit curd. And the White Chocolate & Raspberry Cupcakes, which are really light but decadent cupcakes with fresh raspberries baked into the sponge, with a white chocolate cream filling, and then topped with a raspberry buttercream frosting.

      Summer:
      This section has recipes such as; Tiramisu Cupcakes, Pistachio Rose Blossom Cakes, Strawberries & Cream Cupcakes, Strawberry Crumb Cupcakes, Bounty Cupcakes, Courgette Cupcakes, Orange Raspberry & Yogurt Cupcakes, Lemon Meringue Cupcakes, Blueberry Clouds, Farmhouse Biscuits, Pecan Banana Cookies, Orange Polenta Cookies, Chocolate Oat Cookies, Tropical Cookies, 99 Cones With Flakes, Gypsy Creams, and Pastel Macaroons.
      My favourite recipes in this section are the Tiramisu cupcakes, which are coffee cupcakes drenched in Marsala and then topped with a dreamy Tiramisu cream frosting. The Strawberries & Cream Cupcakes, which are really light and moist due to their ricotta and fresh strawberry filling, and just seem to taste of summer somehow. And the Lemon Meringue Cupcakes, which are dense sponge cupcakes made with cream cheese, topped with a lemon curd and meringue topping.

      Autumn:
      This section has recipes such as; Pumpkin Cupcakes, Sticky Toffee Pecan Cupcakes, Chocolate Frosted Toffee Cupcakes, Chocolate Brownie Cemetery, Toffee Apple Cupcakes, Marmalade Cupcakes, Beet Rose Cupcakes, Spooky Ghost Cakes, Bonfire Cupcakes, Bloody Hand Cookies, Spiced Apple Cookies, Chocolate Toffee Cookies, Pumpkin Marshmallow Cookies, Fruit & Nut Cookies, Maple Pecan Cookies, and Peanut Butter Dips.
      This is probably my favourite section of the book, and I've made virtually all of the recipes in this section. My favourites though are the Bonfire Cupcakes, which look wonderfully dramatic with their bright red buttery cream cheese frosting to create the fire, and then Matchmakers placed around the cakes to create the logs on the bonfire. The Pumpkin Marshmallow Cookies, which are really more like whoopie pies and which have a really wonderful sweet and spicy pumpkin flavour, and which are then sandwiched together with a gorgeous sweet and sticky marshmallow filling, which tastes just like Marshmallow Fluff. And the Beet Rose Cupcakes, which are flavoured with beetroot, which does sound a little bit odd but I can assure you tastes absolutely divine.

      Winter:
      This section has recipes such as; White Christmas Cupcakes, Ginger Pudding Cakes, Christmas Spice Cupcakes, Christmas Pudding Cupcakes, Chocolate Devil's Food Cupcakes, Cinnamon Banana Cupcakes, Sweetheart Cupcakes, Cinnamon Breakfast Buns, Christmas Spice Biscuits, Chocolate Orange Cookies, Baroque Shortbread, Snowdrift Shortbread, Lavender Heart Cookies, and Chocolate Kisses.
      My favourite recipes in this section are the Chocolate Devil's Food Cupcakes, these are really chocolatey and decadent and indulgent cupcakes. The Chocolate Orange Cookies, these are actually boozy cookies as they have a rather hefty amount of Cointreau added, they also have large chunks of chocolate orange chocolate in the cookies - I use Terry's Chocolate Orange to make these and they turn out wonderfully. And the Lavender Heart Cookies, shortbread with the addition of fresh lavender, the lavender gives the shortbread a gorgeous but subtle hint of a lavender taste and aroma.

      Parties:
      This section has recipes such as; Vanilla Cupcakes, Red Velvet Cupcakes, Jack Daniel's Cupcakes, White Russian Cupcakes, Pina Colada Cupcakes, Margarita Cupcakes, Bollywood Cupcakes, Banoffee Cupcakes, Chocolate Malt Cupcakes, Lamingtons, Oatmeal Toffee Cookies, Smartie Cookies, Butterscotch Cookies, Chocolate Chunk Tray Bake, and Pecan Puffs.
      My favourite recipes in this section are the Red Velvet Cupcakes, one of the nicest red velvet recipes that I've tried, but I do change the frosting to be purely a cream cheese frosting rather than the buttery cream cheese frosting advised in the book. The White Russian Cupcakes, these are flavoured with Kahlua in both the sponge and the white chocolate Kahlua icing, and they make a perfect dinner party dessert. And the Chocolate Malt Cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes flavoured with Horlicks for that Maltesery taste, and then topped with a chocolate buttercream frosting again flavoured with Horlicks for that malty taste, and then decorated with Maltesers - perfect!

      I would say that about 80% of the recipes in the book have an accompanying photograph, but not all do. I do always like to see a photograph with a recipe, especially cupcakes and baking so that I can see the finished result, so I would have preferred it if all of the recipes in the book had a photograph. To be honest it's put me off baking some of the recipes without a photograph.

      Having said that though, all of the recipes that I've tried, which is probably about 50%, have all been easy to follow, have turned out perfectly, and more importantly have been delicious. I also find that I use the recipes, and photographs, just as inspiration and a staring point sometimes and then I adapt them to suit my needs or tastes. The photographs are stunning and they do actually inspire you to create your own little masterpieces.

      I do use Eat Me! quite a lot, whether I'm actually following one of her recipes to the letter, or whether I'm just getting inspiration and ideas and then heading off on my own tangent. It's a lovely book to just leaf through and dip in and out of. It also makes a lovely gift for someone that likes to bake, I've given a couple of copies as gifts, and they've always been very gratefully received.

      I've knocked it down to 4 stars as not all of the recipes have photographs, and for the irrelevant in my opinion overlong introductions to each section.

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