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Good Food 101 Cakes and Bakes

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Genre: Food & Drink / Dieting / Paperback / 216 Pages / Book is published 2004-07-15 by BBC Books

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      20.04.2012 19:58
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      I really recommend this book, you can't go wrong with it!

      I own many cookery books and I am always on the lookout for new ones to indulge my passion for baking.....but I just could not live without this little book!
      With roughly 100 recipes to chose from, you will be able to eperiment with all types of bakes and there will be something for every taste and every occasion.
      Each double page has a clearly laidout recpie on one side and a very nice picture on the other side.I do like books that have a picture for EVERY recipe, I just don't feel like giving it a go otherwise.
      The recipes are straightforward, the instructions are clear. You can tell these recpies have been tested and really work. This would indeed be an ideal book for a beginner, giving you a great sense of confidence and achievement and allowing you to experiment not just with cakes but cookies,muffins, bars etc..
      I just have to mention the TOFFEE BROWNIE recipe on page 98. I have tried many brownie recipes over the years and this one is simply the very best. I have made so many times, and it never fails to impress.
      You can buy this little book for 2.99 on Amazon so this has to be excellent value at about 3p per recipe.
      Come to think of it, my own copy is so worn now, I might just get myself a new one!

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        07.08.2011 20:08
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        Lots of recipes to add to your baking collection

        I bought this book when I was going through a spell of buying cooking and baking books whenever I went shopping, and collecting them all on my shelf without actually trying any of the recipes. Luckily this fad has now stopped, and I have started using all the books I have collected. I bought this book when it was on offer, I think there were a selection of books from the Good Food 101 series, and they were 2 for £5.

        It's a small book, and I think maybe this is the reason it often gets overlooked on my bookshelf when I'm searching for a recipe. Every now and then I flick through it and think I should use it more often, because it has a lot of useful recipes in it. I think the recipes are taken from BBC magazines, because I recognise a couple of them from "Good Food" magazine which I used to subscribe to. It's a good way of having all these recipes together rather than ripping them out of magazines.

        It's split into sections for large cakes, fresh fruit cakes, chocolate cakes & bakes, loaf cakes, small cakes & tray bakes, and muffins & cookies. This makes it easy to pick a recipe if you know the kind of thing you fancy making, or if you have an exact recipe in mind there is an index at the back with everything listed. As you can see from the contents there is a variety of recipes in this book, so it's not all cakes like some baking books can be.

        The layout of the book is the same all the way through, with the recipe and ingredients on the left, and a picture of the final result on the right. This is useful because it helps you decide which ones to attempt based on whether you like the look of the pictures, and it also helps when you're baking as you have a clear image of what it should look like.

        The left hand side contains the name of the cake with either a brief description or some useful information about storage or when it's best eaten. There is a list of ingredients and it tells you how long it takes and how many it serves. There are step-by-step instructions and the nutritional information below the instructions. This is useful as it tells you everything you could possibly need to know about what you are making.

        Lots of the recipes in this book don't require a huge number of ingredients, so it's good to look through if you've got the basics in your storecupboard and just want to get a couple of extra ingredients to make something sweet.

        I've made a few things from this book, especially the muffins as it has an excellent selection of muffin recipes with unusual ingredients. The instructions are easy to follow and I've not had any disasters yet.

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        06.08.2011 15:20
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        Great, easy to follow cookbook

        I've got a few of the GoodFood 101 recipe books by the BBC. I think they have great receipes and taste great! I brought this book from amazon some time ago, and at the moment it is £3.36- a BARGIN.

        Other books i have include 101 low fat feasts, Veggie dishes and also Soups and Sides.

        What I love about this book is that there isn't just cakes, there are other treats like cookies or flapjacks. Each recipe is easy to follo, says how many it bakes for and also gives you the nutritional information per slice, which in some cases you might want to avoid reading!

        At christmas I made quite a few people different cakes and cookies, and they all came out this book and apparently they were all very tasty! There are recipes for carrot cake, banana cake, chocolate cake, brownies, muffins, cupcakes, flapjacks and cookies! My favourite recipes are for the oaty cherry cookies, and the mocha fudge cake with coffee icing- that is amazing!

        Each recipe has a picture of what you are aiming for, and sometimes the finished product looks nothing like what you've made but it still tastes good!

        What I like about this cookbook is that it doesn't use fancy ingredients like lavendar honey etc.. which costs a fortune to buy and you never use again!

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        28.02.2011 21:50
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        A Brilliant Book to Help in Baking

        I am not a bad cook, and when it comes to making some nice cakes desserts, I can usually do ok, but just the basic stuff like sponges, cupcakes etc. I wanted to make some different things in the kitchen, but things that didn't take loads of effort and ingredients. I asked some friends and family if they knew of anything that would help me, and they recommended the Good Food 101 Cakes and Bakes Book.

        So, like I do with most things I buy, I went onto Amazon and had a look to see if they had the book in stock, and luck would have it, it was there and for just £2.50!! At such a bargain price and with such a lot of people telling me it was the best book to get, I bought it straight away and I happily awaited it's arrival.

        The book arrived rather quickly, and I set about getting ready to make something from it straight away. After having a flick through the book, I picked my first cooking victim and went to the local store to buy the ingredients I needed. After getting all that I needed, I was ready to go and set up my kitchen to make a real nice cake.

        My cake turned out perfectly, and everyone who had a piece loved it and I have since made almost everything in the book. I don't think that the cakes I made would have been so great had I not used the book. I found that the cook book was actually really great to use, as it was just so perfect.

        The book is very user friendly, and everything you could think of to help someone with their cake making is right there in the book. There is a photo of each cake or dessert on the page, so you have an idea of what you are making and how it will look when you are done. These pictures are all in full colour and are really good quality. There is also a full list of ingredients for each item in the book, so you can see easily exactly what you will need and how much of it too. Everything is listed that you need with the exact amount, so there will be no worries part way through making the cake that you will not have something.

        The instructions are really easy to follow. Written in easy to understand ways, and in step by step form, there is just no way you can go wrong. I found it really easy to follow, and there is nothing complicated in the instructions what so ever. Even those who have never baked before will be able to follow these instructions with no problem.

        As the title suggests, there is 101 different recipies in this book, and I have done almost all of them now, each with great success and I found them all quite easy to make. There really is something for everyone in here, and I have found it to be a great help when it comes to birthdays and other celebrations. I have been able to make some great cakes for my family and friends on their birthdays, christenings etc and I hope to carry this on.

        I think this is a great book to help people make some fantastic cakes and bakes, with little effort and no expensive, over the top ingredients. Whether you are brand new to baking, or a bit of a pro, this is a great book to help you get to grips with new recipies and try some new things in the kitchen. I bought this book from Amazon for £2.50, but you can also buy it in Waterstones and WH Smith for nearer the £5 mark.

        I totally recommend this book, and I hope anyone who does buy it after reading this review has a great time making some cakes. 5 out of 5 stars from me.

        *This review is also on Ciao under the user name of Hailee*

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          03.10.2010 14:37
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          Excellent little book

          I've got several of these little Good Food 101 recipe books and one of the ones I bought when I went on a spree of them was the Cakes and Bakes title. This particular book is available for £3.48 at the moment from Amazon and I think I paid about that when I bought it some time ago.

          Like the other books in this range this one is a small book, not even A5 size so if you want to take it to the supermarket with you it is easy to transport around.

          This book is split into helpful sections, there's a large cake section, fresh fruit cakes, chocolate cakes and bakes, loaf cakes, small cakes and tray bakes and muffins and cookies. So it's easy to flick to the section you need or if you know exactly what you want to bake there's also the index at the back.

          Each recipe is described in step by step instructions which are easy to follow, even for a kitchen idiot like me! They all have full nutritional statistics below the recipe too based on a serving so you can tell just how naughty you are being when you make your cake and eat it.

          I can honestly say there's a recipe for every occasion in this little book, fancy cakes for parties and occasions such as Christmas, Mothers Day and Easter, everyday bakes like flapjack, brownies and simple muffins, recipes that you could easily make with your kids and the chocolate section literally makes your mouth water!

          Every recipe has a full page with a colour picture of the finished item so you can see what it should look like and these pictures also help with the deciding process if you're not sure what you want to make. One flick through the book will have you deciding in a flash because the pictures are so tempting. In fact I would say don't look at this book if you're feeling hungry because it will have you heading for the kitchen searching out ingredients!

          Personally I'm not great in the kitchen and find I get bored before recipes are finished if they're complicated so these simple recipes are great for people like me and each one tells you how long it takes to make so you can work to your own boredom threshold. I've made lots of different things from this book; flapjack, banana and lemon muffins, brownies, buttermilk scones and spider web chocolate fudge muffins for a Halloween party. I fully intend to try out most of the recipes in this book and unusually there isn't a single one that I don't fancy having a go at.

          Overall this is like most of the 101 series and is packed with tempting and easy to follow recipes, full nutritional statistics for each and colour pictures that will make you want to head off to the kitchen immediately. A full 5 stars from me and this is recommended to anyone who loves cakes and bakes but not over complicated recipes.

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            13.04.2010 19:58
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            A brilliant little book for all keen bakers

            When I spied this little book in the supermarket for just a few pounds back in January, I had to have it. I love baking- not only is it fun and therapeutic, you also get something delicious (hopefully!) at the end of it! So I'm always on the hunt for new and exciting cake recipes to expand my baking repertoire (and my waistline in the process).

            The book is a miniature 14 x 15ish cm, but it's crammed full of recipes, ranging from the classics (date and walnut tea loaf, shortbread etc) to the more unusual (citrus and poppy seed cake, rhubarb and orange cake). There's something for every occasion in here, and each recipe has its own double page spread, half of which is taken up with a tantalising glossy photo of the finished product. This is an absolute must in my opinion- you need something to lift your spirits when it's all going horribly wrong, and feasting your eyes on these pics will certainly help motivate you! The recipes also helpfully feature nutritional values for each cake, so you can see the full extent of the damage about to be done (if you really want to!).

            The 101 recipes all come from 'Britain's top-selling BBC Good Food Magazine' and have been compiled with the aim of providing 'even the busiest people' with a compendium of 'easy-to-make' treats. I wouldn't say that these recipes are all as simple as the back cover makes out- very few of them involve simply weighing out and mixing together. A lot of the recipes require separate (and sometimes complex) toppings to be made, as well as the cakes themselves, although often these can be easily adapted for a quicker result.

            The cakes' ingredients are generally basic, although a lot of the recipes require one or two things that you probably wouldn't have to hand, so I usually have to plan ahead before making one of these cakes. A quick flick through the first half of the book reveals just how many of the cakes are fruit and nut based- soured cream rhubarb squares, lemon flower cake (with real flowers on top! Apparently pansies ARE edible!), fresh cherry almond cake... these are all interesting ideas, but definitely things you'd need to plan ahead for. Still, it's really refreshing to see a baking book that uses all sorts of fruit and vegetables which I'd never have thought of putting in a cake before.

            Aside from the dazzling array of large cakes, there are plenty of recipes for smaller bakes too. There are several varieties of muffins and brownies, and also a good number of oat-based crunchy bars. For the most part, these are simpler than the cake recipes, and would be suitable for kids to make (with a bit of adult help!).

            I've now tried out quite a few of the recipes, and so far haven't come across any duds. Being a Coeliac, I have to adapt them slightly (although there is one recipe in there that's completely flour free), using my gluten-free flour instead of the usual wheat flours specified. This can sometimes cause problems, especially when the recipe requires self-raising flour, but with these I've found that adding a little baking powder does the job. It's testament to the recipes that they still taste great even when adapted like this- the other ingredients really carry the cakes, and the interesting combinations of flavours ensure tasty results even using my temperamental flour.

            So basically, I've nothing but praise for this little book! I'd highly recommend it to all keen bakers, particularly those who are stuck in a rut and want fresh ideas, or those who are happy to go the extra mile for a good result. You can snap up a copy online for around £3.50, and for 101 recipes of this calibre, it's well worth it.

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              02.02.2010 19:04
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              An excellent book of sweet treats.

              The '101' range of BBC Good Food books are a collection of miniature cookery books that contain as you may have guessed, 101 tried and tested recipes. There are at least 30 titles in the collection, including 101 Best Ever Curries, 101 Fish and Seafood and 101 Cheap Eats. I already own a couple of the books from the collection - 101 Chocolate Treats and 101 Veggie Dishes and have been impressed with them both. I like their format and cost wise they are very reasonable to buy. As they are small books (approx 5 x 6 inches) they don't take up much space in the kitchen.

              I was therefore pleased recently when I was given a copy of 101 Cakes and Bakes. Really it was a winning combination for me as I love cakes and enjoy baking. My family and friends refer to me as the 'cake lady'. I will use any opportunity or excuse to bake something sweet and yummy.

              The 101 Cakes and Bakes book has a brown cover on which there is photograph of a chocolate cake on the front and a small photograph of a banana and lemon muffin on the back. The beginning of the book contains a small introduction from Mary Cadogan, who is the food director for BBC Good Food Magazine. Mary explains that the book is suited to both a beginner and experienced baker and recipes include classics alongside exciting new ideas. In her introduction she also mentions that nobody actually needs cake and states that it is a sheer indulgence. I have to disagree with her on this point as I need cake. I know I am a happier person with cake than I am without.

              Also included in the opening pages of the book is a handy section that gives conversions for oven temperatures, spoon measures and liquids. From here on in, the book simply just gets down to the recipes. Each left hand page contains one recipe and a very small introduction. Straightforward simple step by step instructions are provided as are preparation times and serving numbers. Nutritional Information (including calories, fat, sugar and salt) is also provided at the end of each recipe. On the right hand page next to each recipe there is an enticing photograph, so you can clearly see how the finished cake/bake should look. I like this as I find so many cook books don't always have a photograph for each recipe or the photographs are on random pages.

              The book has six main sections (I've included a few recipes to give an idea of what's in each section).

              Large Cakes - Mocha Fudge Cake with Coffee Icing, Devonshire Honey Cake, Cinnamon Nutella Cake and Pecan Ginger Cake.

              Fresh Fruit Cakes - Blueberry Cheesecake Gateau, Citrus Poppy Seed Cake, St Lucia Banana Cake and Almond cake with Clementines.

              Chocolate Cakes and Bakes - Dark Chocolate and Orange Cake, Chunky Chocolate Nut Flapjacks, Rocky Road Squares and Toffee Brownies.

              Loaf Cakes - Sticky Marmalade Tea Loaf, Mincemeat and Marzipan Tea Bread, Autumn Plum Crunch Cake and Banana and Walnut Tea Loaf.

              Small Cakes and Tray Bakes - Simnel Muffins, Shortbread, Blackberry Fairy Cakes and Chocolate Fudge Muffins.

              Muffins and Cookies - Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffins, Feel Good Muffins, Coconut and Cashew Cookies and Oaty Cherry Cookies.

              I have made quite a few things from the book, all of which have turned out as expected and looked like the photograph contained in the book. Things I've made include:

              Cherry and Marzipan Cake - This recipe comes from a Good Food reader and if you like marzipan and glace cherries this is definitely a recipe for you. This yummy cake has a layer of Marzipan running through it and is lovely and moist. I found it easy to make but it did take a long time to cook (1 ½ hours) so no good if you are in a rush. This cake does go a long way though so I find it a good one to make if I've got people coming round as I can get 10 decent slices out of it.

              Seriously Rich Chocolate Cake - A picture of this cake appears on the front cover of the book. The picture alone speaks volumes. It is definitely one for any chocoholics, like me. It uses ground almonds instead of flour, this makes it incredibly moist and also quite dense. As the title suggests it is really rich though. For me this is a good thing as I like my desserts to feel really indulgent.

              Strawberry Cheese Cake Muffins - Although I love Cheesecake I was a bit sceptical when I first saw this recipe. I wasn't sure the combination would work. How wrong could I be. These yummy muffins have a hidden surprise of cream cheese and fresh strawberry when you bite into one. They are a little bit fiddlier to make than a standard muffin but not overly complicated and they are definitely worth it.

              Chunky Choc Orange Cookies - These cookies are really quick and easy to make, yet they taste very impressive. So much nicer than any shop bought cookies. I love eating them when they are still warm as the chocolate is all gooey inside. The recipe makes approximately 18 cookies, this may sound like a lot but the problem is they are very moreish so don't last very long in my house.

              I must admit I'm automatically programmed to try the recipes that contain either chocolate or almonds so there is a bit of a theme. I do like the variety of recipes, they seem to cater for lots of different tastes. There are several chocolate recipes and also quite a lot of fruity recipes but you don't get the feeling the book is being repetitive. Each recipe is different. As the recipes are all tried and tested this gives you the confidence to know they will actually work. None of the recipes are particularly expensive to make and they use ingredients that are readily available. I also like the fact that a lot of the recipes use the same size cake tins instead of lots of different sizes. A pair of 8inch sandwich tins is a definite must have piece of equipment, as is a 2lb loaf tin.

              I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys baking. Whether that be a beginner or a confident baker. It's not a book that's going to be amazing to look at on your shelf but it does achieve what it sets out to do. It provides yummy recipes which I will use time and time again. The book has an RRP or £4.99 but Amazon are currently (02/02/10) doing a great deal and selling it for £1.98. Its published by BBC Books and its ISBN is 978-0563521143.

              Thanks for reading.

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                14.01.2010 19:48
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                This is the perfect baking cookery book-ideal for first timers to establised bakers.

                I love baking-fact. I also have an unhealthy obsession with buying cookery books-a fact I try to not admit to too often.
                I bought this little book on Amazon for under £2.00 and as I was beginning to run out of space thought the 'smaller the book the better'. Indeed, it is better! 210 pages of pure yummy recipes is what you will be greeted with when you open up this little book of treasures.

                This book is broken down in the following sections:
                large cakes
                fresh fruit cakes
                chocolate cakes and bakes
                loaf cakes
                small cakes and tray bakes
                muffins and cookies

                From the list you can tell there is enough variety to keep the keen baker happy. Here are my personal recommendations:

                Mocha fudge cake with coffee icing (P34)-this would be the perfect cake to take to a lunch/dinner party for a treat (of the dessert), a tea party or for something like a baby shower

                At Lucia Banana Cake (p42) I've decorated this will flaked toasted coconut and banana chips

                raspberry blueberry lime drizzle cake (p50)-kids will love this as a teatime treat

                chocolate cinnamon crumble squares (p86) perfect for brownie lovers

                Angelas all American chocolate chunk cookies (p192)-OMG! Perfect with a nice glass of cold milk

                Smarties cookies (p196) you can try this with other sweets-this recipe is great with m&ms!

                Chunky choc orange cookies (p206)-a beautiful combo!

                I'm steadily testing all the recipes however I haven't be let down once so far so believe all will be just as nice as the ones I've tried.

                I have to admit I have cheated on a few recipes-I've mixed the batter/mix in the food processor as I have no patience (well sometimes-we all have bad days). But never the less the recipes worked.

                This book will be great additon to anyones cookery book collection. Perfect for the lonely baker, the family baker, nans, grans, dads, men trying to impress the mrs...this book is so nice it will keep you going in the kitchen for a while at least.

                Cheers my lovelies for ready this review.x

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                  27.11.2009 19:26
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                  Yummy

                  Anybody who knows me in person or has been reading some of my reviews, you should know by now that I am obsessed by all sweet things and this definitely extends into cakes and baking in a big way. Desserts in any form are my favourite thing to cook so it should come as no surprise that the good food recipe book cakes and bakes is in my recipe collection. Here is why this is the best recipe book to have for baking.

                  The good food books are a range of small books that fit very neatly in your kitchen. They are by the BBC and all are set out in the same way. This is by having the ingredient list and recipe on the left hand side and the picture of what you are making on the right hand side. They have the RRP of £4.99 but you can get them cheaper on Amazon. There is the general stuff so now lets get to this book in particular.

                  The cakes and bakes book is a light brown colour and has a picture of the most yummy looking chocolate cake on the front with a huge dollop of cream on the top. In short it looks delicious. It has lots of delicious things to make such as cakes, cookies, muffins and loaf cakes so here are my favourites that I have made much more than once.

                  Ok this cake I am going to tell you about is my ultimate favourite cake and just writing about it makes me think I want to make one this weekend. This is the cinnamon and nutella cake and just from the title it sounds delicious and so tempting. Basically it is a chocolate cake and it has cinnamon and hazelnuts in it as well as huge dollops of nutella chocolate spread which you swirl around the mixture to make sure every slice of cake should have some in.

                  This cake is yummy!!! It takes about 1.5 hours to prepare and cook but it is fun to make as you know what you are getting at the end of it. When you eat it you can taste the slight cinnamon flavour but more importantly you can taste the chocolate. I have to say that if you eat this cake warm it is even better so try it. The cinnamon is not overpowering and the nuts on top just give it that extra crunch. If you don't like nuts though then just leave them out. We make this cake all of the time as we make it for our friends and families and everybody loves it. There is enough in one cake to feed about 6 / 8 depending on how big you want the slices to be which I always have about 4 peoples servings I am sure.

                  Smarties cookies are the next thing I love to cook and this recipe is great because it is so easy to make. You get butter, sugar, syrup and flour and make it into a paste, add some smarties and that is it. 20 minutes and you have about 14 cookies which is good if you have to cook for a group (or if you are just hungry of course). They taste yummy but very sweet which is what you expect. I can only really eat about 2 at once before feeling sick so I don't think you can eat loads at once which is a good thing really.

                  Choc crunchies are my next thing that I make all of the time. This is a fruity, biscuity chocolate thing that you mix everything together, put in a dish to chill and then add chocolate to the top. This is so easy to make and does not take long at all and they all taste so yummy! I never seem to get it where you can cut it into clear slices like the picture but even though it crumbles, it is still delicious. I made this for work once as I had to bake for a meeting (don't ask) and they all loved it. Easy and very cheap to make so definitely one if you are on a budget.

                  Other recipes they have in this book that I have tried are date and walnut teal loaf which is stodgy and great warm, chocca mocha caramel cake which is fiddly but so sweet and yummy and then we have banana and walnut muffins which only take 40 minutes and come out moist and soft which is great. There are also things like mango banana and coconut cake, blackberry fairy cakes and apple and apricot treacle tart bars. The last few are recipes that I want to try and make soon as they are yummy.

                  In conclusion I think this book is amazing and I have tried I would say about 35 of the recipes and each one tasted delicious. Some have not turned out like the pictures but honestly it didn't even matter as you can still enjoy them. I would recommend this book to everybody who likes a bit of baking as it is yummy! What I will say though is that unlike the other good food books I have not really experimented changing ingredients around as I am not sure it would work with cakes.

                  Five stars from me.

                  Thanks for reading.

                  xxx

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                    06.10.2009 18:28
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                    I'm really glad I bought it and have recommended it to many people

                    I bought this book after having a flick through at a friend's house and seeing loads of recipes that I wanted to try. It hasn't let me down and I've made loads of recipes from it, especially now that my son is 13 months as it has loads of fresh or dried fruit cakes that are great for him (I only ever put half the sugar in cake recipes anyway).

                    The chapters are not labelled in the book, but the recipes are clearly designed into sections, these are:

                    *Large Cakes
                    *Fresh Fruit Cakes
                    *Chocolate Cakes and Bakes
                    *Loaf Cakes
                    *Small Cakes and Tray Bakes
                    *Muffins and Cookies

                    I've cooked about a quarter of the recipes in the book so far and all have worked really well, I couldn't really pick a favourite recipe out of them all but the 'Fruitburst Muffins' I made this week have received quite a lot of praise.

                    There are full colour pictures of all the recipes which is great. My only criticism of the book is that they seem to have been a bit stretched to find 101 recipes and there are quite a few flapjack recipes at the back which I would have thought were more variations on one recipe than separate recipes in themselves.

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                    15.08.2009 10:51
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                    Makes me keep coming back for more

                    When I first got into baking a couple of years ago I spotted this little book in WHsmith for £4.99 and thought it would be a good introduction. It is part of the Good Food magazine series of books, which I believe is now quite extensive. Seeing the recognisable 'Good Food Magazine' on the front of the book I felt like I could trust the recipes as they are well known and well regarded.

                    The book really is lovely. It's pretty tiny, not much bigger than a CD case, but thicker. I find the size a bonus as large books can really get in the way when you are trying to follow a recipe in the kitchen.

                    As the title suggests there are 101 recipes for large cakes, fresh fruit cakes, chocolate cakes and bakes, loaf cakes, small cakes and tray bakes and muffins and cookies. To start with I made a couple of the loaf cakes ('banana and walnut', and 'walnut, date and honey') which turned out beautifully. This then gave me confidence to try the 'toffee brownies' and 'coconut cake with buttercream' which were also yummy.

                    With 101 recipes you can expect a lot of variation and cakes for different occasions. For example, children's parties, lunchboxes, afternoon tea, dessert.

                    I only buy cookbooks if they have plenty of pictures and this does. In fact there is a photo of every sweet treat so you know what it is supposed to look like. Of course my end results are always a bit scruffier but that's the joy of home-baking. If your cakes are too perfect people wouldn't believe you'd made them!

                    Even though I've used this book a lot it still looks brand new and I put that down to the quality of the paper and the thick glossy cover. It is indeed wipeclean, perfect for messy cooks.

                    Furthermore, the recipes are easy to follow. The ingredients are listed clearly in metric and imperial and they provide no-fuss step by step instructions. At the front there are also some useful conversion tables for oven temps, spoon and cup measurements, etc.

                    I think because of all of these attributes this book would be perfect for a beginner, maybe even a child or teenager just starting to get interested in baking. It will increase their confidence in baking and they are sure to keep going back to their favourite recipes over and over, as well as trying more exotic ones.

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                      02.06.2009 11:53
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                      Cakes ahoy, with painless instructions and great ideas

                      Recipe books come in two varieties these days - the first are the huge coffee table hardbacks from your favourite TV and celebrity chefs, which are generally one part recipe to three parts glossy photography and self-important whiffling from the chef.

                      The second are the small practical books that are just jammed full of recipes fit to burst. I have a lot of books, so it stands to reason that I prefer my cooking information to be a bit more... condensed.

                      I've received a few of the BBC Good Food 101 books as presents over the years, and my opinions have been, sad to say, mixed. I remember seeing a recipe for Jamaican Jerk Chicken and being terribly excited... until I read it and saw that it was something along the lines of 'get some chicken and fry it with Jamaican Jerk seasoning'.

                      Cakes and bakes avoids that sort of corner-cutting, for the most part. Published in a small paperback format with just over two hundred robust pages, it's an instant repertoire of yummy dessert based goodness for all levels of experience.

                      Although I have a reasonably sound reputation for cooking curries and stir-fries and other delights, I've never made too many cakes, so I approached this with trepidation. Thankfully, the series' simple and effective design helped this baking novice. Each spread consists of a recipe on the left hand page, and a photo on the right. The recipe itself is sub-divided into two columns with an ingredients list and the method, as well as a rough idea of how long it will take to prepare.

                      Measurements are in both metric and imperial scales, for those people who worry about such things (I rely totally on jugs and scales to tell me how much stuff to use, I'm totally weight blind). For baking, you also get told what temperature to set your oven for both gas, electric and fan ovens, which is really useful for a fan oven owner like myself who always forgets to subtract a little from the temperature given in most recipes...

                      The recipes are written concisely but clearly, there is no flowery language here. Although you can rely solely on the information presented in the book to make your desserts, you might want to cast your mind back to school cookery lessons for basic techniques like beating butter and icing sugar, that sort of thing. Although any even vaguely advanced technique is explained in detail, like making ganache, for example.

                      I've now made three of the recipes from this book - a torte, some cupcakes and a Dark Chocolate and Orange Cake, and all three have been very well received by the target audience. Prior to this I've spent the best part of two years cowering away from baking as an unknown skill, relying on my banana syllabub and chocolate mousse for desserts. It's no exaggeration to say the friendly layout of the Good Food 101 book gave me the confidence necessary to embark on this scary world beyond the wok, where everything is dependent on things rising, and things being folded with a metal spoon or whisked precisely.

                      Another great point in the book's favour is that the recipes are all apparently triple-tested by people connected to Good Food magazine. I once had a flatmate who worked as a chef and he constantly bemoaned the fact that many recipes we see in cookery books have never actually been tested at all. I was never sure if he was right or not, but it's good to have the assurance of knowing that your cake has been successfully made by someone else - although that does mean if you do mess it up you have no one else to blame!

                      On the minus side? Well, these are quibbles. I personally question the point of having nutritional information at the bottom of each recipe. I can see where they're useful for other books in the range (eg the Healthy Eats one), but if you don't know that there's a few calories in a Dark Chocolate and Orange Cake then... well, you're already fooling yourself really, aren't you? Also, given that the books are so completely practical and clearly designed for kitchen use, it's a shame they don't stay open very easily. I like to refer to a recipe as I'm making it, and I have to weigh down the two sides of the book with the edge of a saucepan and a chopping board, ruining the spine very quickly. It's a nitpick, but a spiral binding or something might have removed this problem.

                      So, yes, I totally recommend the 101 Cakes and Bakes book, especially over the other books in the range. Buy it and begin treating your nearest and dearest to yummy chocolate and cake-based goodness today!

                      It retails at £4.99 in most good bookshops, and you can often find books from this range on the 'Buy 2 Get 1 Free' tables...

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                        17.05.2009 10:51
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                        Delicious recipes that won't cost the earth

                        101 Cakes and Bakes is one of a whole series of titles published by BBC Good food magazine for £4.99. For about £100 you could buy the lot and then enjoy the rest of your life trying everything out. There would be really no risk involved as the Good Food people try everything out before putting it in the book, so you feel reassured before you start.

                        The book follows the normal house style of a recipe plus full colour picture on every double page of the book. The books themselves are a handy size - about that of a large pocket.

                        All of the recipes are good. We haven't tried everything, but can vouch for these ones:

                        Page 170 - Fruitburst Muffins. These are seriously good, and you can make them for a fraction of the price you would pay in the shops or motorway service stations. Te ingredient that makes these really go is 5 ounces of fresh blueberries. Fantastic. The advice at the top says that these are good to have if you don't have time to make breakfast. Dangerous talk!

                        Banana Pecan Muffins on page 178. These come out slightly moist, and they are very comforting. I dote on pecans anyway, so these were bound to please.

                        Page 10 - Cherry and Marzipan Cake. This is the first recipe in the book and its one that will have you reaching for a second or third slice unless you are very strong. The cherry and marzipan are combined with almonds to make an irresistible flavour

                        Cinnamon Nutella Cake on page 14. This is a surprising one, perhaps, but the Nutella (a chocolate hazelnut spread) makes this cake taste really interesting and good.

                        As in all the Good Food "101" books, each recipe lists full nutritional information, so if you love cake but need to watch your figure or your figures, then you can do so.

                        The sentences at the top of each page either give tips on alternatives for the recipe, or a snappy description. The pictures are sumptuous, and, as you would expect from this excellent series, very accurate and therefore helpful.

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                        14.03.2009 17:34
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                        A great addition to your recipe book collection.

                        I have become a big fan of BBC Good Food since I got a subscription to their magazine for Christmas and now I regularly look on their website for recipe ideas and tips.

                        Although I have loads of recipes already from my magazines and I have access to hundreds of recipes online, I prefer cooking books as they're more convenient than printing out loads of recipes and I also really enjoy flicking through books and book-marking recipes I want to try.

                        So I ordered this book from Amazon as it was reduced to £3.99 from the RRP of £4.99. Even at full price, this range of books from BBC Good Food are amazing value, as you get 101 recipes and each has a colour photograph to entice you to make it.

                        The size of the book is incredibly handy as it is about 6cm square, so you could easily pop it into your bag when you go out shopping and look up the ingredients you need to create your next domestic goddess masterpiece!

                        The introduction states that all the recipes list both metric and imperial, but not cup measurements as they vary from ingredient to ingredient.

                        The book is split into the following sections and I have given an example recipe from each section:
                        * Large cakes - Mocha Fudge Cake with Coffee Icing
                        * Fresh fruit cakes - Blueberry Cheesecake Gateau
                        * Chocolate cakes and bars - Toffee Brownies
                        * Loaf cakes - Pumpkin and Ginger Teabread
                        * Small cakes and tray bakes - Lemon and Violet Drizzle Cake
                        * Muffins and cookies - Strawberry Cheesecake Muffins

                        The recipes are very easy to follow and all the information you need is included:
                        - Number of servings
                        - How long it takes to make
                        - Nutritional information

                        Today I made the Devonshire Honey Cake and I noticed that the recipe in the book doesn't quite match what is on the website (www.bbcgoodfood.com) as some of the details are missing in the book. For instance, after you have boiled the honey, butter and sugar, the book just tells you to let the mixture cool, whereas on the website it tells you to let it cool for 15-20 minutes.

                        The book is so small and they have to fit one whole recipe onto each page, so it's understandable why they omit some details, but it's something to bear in mind when making these recipes. If in doubt, I'd refer to the website as other people who have made the recipes have given their suggestions or tips.

                        I really love baking and this book is full of recipes that are both classic family favourites, but also new and modern and I look forward to working my way through the 101 recipes!

                        This book is currently only £2.99 on www.bbcshop.com along with lots of the other BBC Good Food books.

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                          05.07.2008 21:02
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                          A lovely book whether you're good at baking or not!

                          Simple but delicious recipes!

                          I was given this book as a present from my mother and she is very fussy about her cookbooks. She won't buy one unless it has a picture of the end result for each recipe and this book doesn't disappoint in that respect. Each recipe covers two pages with the instructions on the first page and a mouthwatering picture opposite. They have really tried hard with the pictures so you can see exactly what the cake or bake looks like and the presentation is very pretty.

                          The book is only about 6 inches square so it's very portable (should you need it to be) and doesn't take up much room on the shelf. At £4.99 it makes a lovely little present.

                          All of the recipes I've tried have been nice and simple - they'd have to be to only fill one very small page. The cakes themselves have been really yummy every time. I made the 'seriously rich chocolate cake' pictured on the front cover and it tasted just as good as expected!

                          Another favourite was Devonshire honey cake which just oozes with honey! There is something for everyone and even festive recipes such as mincepies, simnel cake and festive almond biscuits. Cakes take up most of the book and include everything from Fresh Cherry Cake with a Hint of Cinnamon to plain and simple Olive Oil Cake. Then come such delights as flapjacks and brownies followed by different teabreads and finally biscuits and cookies at the back.

                          Each recipe states how long it will take to prepare and how many it serves. Most of them have only two or three steps which just tell you exactly what to do. No nonsense. There is a comment at the top of each recipe tellling you what it is/what to eat it with/how to vary it.

                          Despite being a very small book there are 101 recipes crammed in and it even gives calories and nutritional information for each! With most of them I think it's best not to know but it's only small print so you don't have to read it.

                          A lovely book and you don't have to be an expert at baking - it's just so easy to follow. I haven't found another book that gives so many delicious cakes for so little effort and so little money.

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