As soon as I received this book to review, I was taken by the beautiful photography; this book looks gorgeous from the front cover right to the last page and I was excited to start reading it. In fact this is just the type of book I would put on my Christmas list and snuggle up on the sofa on Boxing Day to read. It would make an ideal Christmas gift for anyone who loves baking.
The idea behind this book is that anyone can make a cake look fantastic, no need for professional cake decorators here. Decoration doesn’t need to be complicated to still look great. So Fiona begins by setting out around 20 cake recipes some of which appear throughout the book as she shows how to adapt the basics to make a range of cakes. For example her Orange Drizzle Cake is used again to make Crystallised Flower Fairy Cakes.
What I liked about these recipes is that although I have a lot of baking books many of the recipes in Fiona’s opening chapter I have never tried before. There are twists on all the classics such as a tropical fruit cake and instead of the ordinary lemon drizzle cake there is a tempting Very Lemony Crunch Cake.
Reading this book I have grown in confidence to try some cake decoration I always thought was too difficult. I’ve been practising making sugar roses following Fiona’s step by step guide accompanied by photographs. In fact I’ve been practising using play doh, as only the mum of a toddler would think to do! See my efforts below including the pictures of when my son grabbed my flowers, while I was photographing, and put them inside Dizzy from Bob the Builder, cute but not helpful:
I’m looking forward to trying all of the recipes in this book. Soon I’m going to try the Shortbread recipe which suggests using some cornflour or rice flour to improve the texture. Then I’m going to try the Orange Drizzle Cake, but to the pleasure of my family, and for the purpose of this review I tried out The Surprise Fridge Cake. I’m sure lots of people have tried chocolate fridge cake in one form or another, but here Fiona suggests packing it full of all your favourite sweets! Yum! This tastes even better than you can ever imagine. With permission of Quadrille I’ve reproduced the recipe in my own words below.
Makes approx 12
- 110g unsalted butter, plus more for the tin
- 150g plain biscuits
- 90g golden caster sugar
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 1 tbsp cocoa
- 50g 50% cocoa solids chocolate, broken into pieces
- 150g chocolates and sweets (marshmallows, crushed honeycomb chocolate bars, malted chocolate balls and caramel chocolates)
For the topping:
- 75-100g 50% cocoa solids chocolate, broken into pieces
- Butter a tin approx 24 x 11cm and line it with clingfilm.
- Crush the biscutis into small pieces by bashing them inside a plastic bag and chop chocolate bars into small pieces.
- Melt the butter, sugar, syrup, cocoa and chocolate in a non-stick pan over a gentle heat.
- Remove from heat and once tepid pour in biscuits, chocolates and sweets, mix until all are covered with chocolate.
- Spoon evenly into the tin, cover with more clingfilm and place in the fridge to set.
- Once set gently remove from the tin by pulling the clingfilm and easing out with a knife.
- Turn out onto a plate while you heat the remaining chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir the chocolate occasionally and once melted pour over the fridge cake.
- Cut into slices and store in the fridge.