Newest Review: ... 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... more
Short and sweet!
Good Food 101 Cakes and Bakes
Member Name: herumi
Good Food 101 Cakes and Bakes
Advantages: Compact, lots of fresh ideas, great range of cakes, tasty recipes, great value
Disadvantages: You need to plan ahead to make most of the recipes
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.
Summary: A brilliant little book for all keen bakers
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