Sunday, 1 May 2011

CUISINE REVIEW: River Cottage Handbook 8: Cakes - Pam Corbin

Release Date: 07/03/11


Baking is the most comforting and entirely satisfying of the culinary arts - making a cake is not only a sumptuous process in its own right but the end result is entirely delicious. Pam Corbin gives an insightful introduction on the history of cake making and its significance today, followed by a detailed guide to ingredients, equipment, and basic techniques to guarantee successful cake baking in the home. This is traditional baking at its very best, with over 75 adaptable recipes including Macaroons, Meringues, Fairy Cakes (and their counterpart - Gnome Cakes), the classic Victoria Sandwich, Yorkshire Rhubarb Gingerbread, Walnut Cake, Blueberry Yoghurt Cake, Orange Cake with Earl Grey Icing, and the glorious Battenberg Cake with its distinctive pink and yellow checks. As a finishing touch, there is a section devoted to sweet embellishments like feather icing, crystallised violets and chocolate leaves. Say goodbye to sinking sponges and brittle brownies with this comprehensive guide to the heavenly world of cake making.


If like me, you’re a fan of desserts then this is perhaps one for you. Contained within is a whole host of recipes from the rather humble but delicious Victoria Sponge to the more adventurous Battenburg as well as special occasion cakes such as a good recipe for a cracking Christmas centre piece or even the delightful Parkin to help keep you toasty on Bonfire Night.

Its full of cakes for all tastes and times of year and will allow the reader to present something a little special each time its rolled out. Currently I’ve only tried one or two (well I’m not following the Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s advice that was attributed to Marie Antoinette (Let them eat Cake) and these to date have been very good. I really look forward to rolling out some of the others when opportunity allows and it takes the worry out from creating to a near perfect guarantee for each one within. It’s taken me from can cook a main meal, to can cook a main meal with a cracking light pud. Great all in and a title that rather than share with my family, I’m going to horde as my own secret stash. Make sure you do the same as otherwise you could well find that it goes walkabout.


J.A. Campbell said...

Oh yum....


Anonymous said...

Mmmm, cake. :)