Saturday, 30 October 2010
Bake and Decorate by Fiona Cairns
Baking and cake decorating have never been more popular. And whereas there are many books on the market which teach how to decorate cakes to a high finished standard, there are very few which focus on delicious cake recipes and simple but effective decoration. If you thought cake decorating was costly and difficult, this is the book that will change your mind forever. Fiona Cairns is bursting with new ideas for making delicious, visually stunning cakes and biscuits easy - even for the least experienced cook - and for far less money than you thought. From an eye-popping gold leaf-encased torte for a special celebration, to wickedly sophisticated chocolate-chili cupcakes, Fiona shows every aspiring hostess how to achieve glamorous, fun entertaining from her own kitchen, using easy techniques and tricks that make cake decorating achievable for all. Fiona's cake recipes have the sensual deliciousness often lacking in the sterile creations of other cake decorators. Be transported to a summer garden by the whole crystallised roses on top of a cake filled with the heady flavours of orange blossom and pistachio, or celebrate springtime with a white chocolate cardamom truffle cake, adorned with sugar eggs and fresh spring leaves. Children and the young at heart alike will adore the warmth of Fiona's cakes baked inside ice-cream cones, topped with pastel butter cream that won't melt in the sun, while everyone can now enjoy the vegan fruit cake recipe that formed the centrepiece for Heather Mills' marriage to Paul McCartney. Here, finally, is the cake book where every recipe is a keeper and each stunning creation made easy to achieve.
I am the first to admit I have a sweet tooth and this is one for sweet teeth everywhere. Not a book to look at when you are hungry! I am not, myself, a great lover of spending time in the kitchen but I have a few recipes in here marked that I want to try.
The book starts with a really useful couple of pages discussing ingredients and equipment. They give explanations of and tips of how to choose the best ones etc. There is also a page on baking tips and decorating tips. They are wrote simply, in no chef speak and I learnt a lot by reading these pages.
The recipes are then split into two sections, Bake and Decorate. Bake contains 14 big cakes, 64 small cakes and 72 biscuits. Decorate contains 80 big cakes, 150 small cakes and 188 biscuits. There are superb photographs accompanying each recipe. Each recipe is introduced with a small paragraph, including a description, useful hints or possible variations. The recipes are fully explained and even I, as a non existent cook, think I could follow them easily. Each recipe has a serving number and a complete ingredient list.
Following the recipes there are 25 easy cheats regarding decoration with some great ideas included.
I loved looking at this book and I can understand why some people love reading recipe books as I would curl up with a chick lit book at the end of the day. The book covers baking for all occasions, including a vintage wedding cakes, cakes for Christmas, decorations for Christmas trees, Easter decorations, bollywood celebrations, summer garden parties and children's parties. There are traditional recipes, e.g. Victoria sponge and shortbread along with a host of modern recipes too: giant cupcakes, cheesecakes and vegan fruit cakes. I am wanting to attempt the chocolate and beetroot cake.
I would recommend this book to anyone with a sweet tooth, what ever your cooking ability or experience!
Thank you to Quadrille Publishing for sending me this book to review.