Eat Me!: The Stupendous, Self-raising World of Cupcakes and Bakes According to Cookie Girl by Xanthe Milton
|Eat Me!: The Stupendous, Self-raising World of Cupcakes and Bakes According to Cookie Girl by Xanthe Milton|
|Reviewer: Sue Fairhead|
| Summary: The most amazing book of baking recipes I have ever come
across. The only disadvantage is that the cover is bright pink...
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 160||Date: March 2010|
|Publisher: Ebury Press|
What a stunning book this is. The inside, that is. I was almost stunned in a less positive way by the brightness of the front cover. I don't like pink at the best of times, and this book is very, very pink.
But that is my single - and rather petty - complaint. For I can forgive even pinkness in such an incredible recipe book. The subtitle describes it as stupendous, and I would agree. Most superlatively positive adjectives could accurately describe these recipes put together by 'Cookie Girl', who, I gather, has an online business providing cakes and cookies, at rather high prices. Having now tried and tested a couple of the recipes myself, I can see why people would pay almost any amount to get their hands on these confections.
The book itself is (well, other than the outside cover) a total delight. The recipes are divided into four seasonal sections. Each section begins with a couple of pages describing the author's childhood memories of shopping and baking at different times of year, with mention of special celebrations and the cakes created for them. The writing is sensory and rich, inviting the reader into the author's home and kitchen.
Then the recipes themselves have brief introductions at the top, and most of them have sumptuous photographs attached. I thought I'd made quite a few cake and biscuit recipes in my time. What could be so special about these? Cupcakes are, after all, just a mixture of butter, sugar, eggs and flour with optional flavourings such as cocoa powder or lemon rind. Right? Well, so I have fondly imagined for more years than I care to count.
That was until I paged through the book to find something for which I had the ingredients. I didn't have to look far to find 'hazelnut marble cupcakes'. These two-tone delicacies have chopped roasted hazelnuts in part of the mixture; melted chocolate AND chocolate chips in the rest. The combination is inspired. And since I only had fairy cake size cases, I made 20 rather than the predicted 12. They were incredible. They didn't even rely on a rich topping or decoration to make them special.
The next recipe I tried was the chocolate oat cookies. Supposed to make about 20, I managed to produce 40 by using heaped tablespoons of mixture. The recommended ones must have been huge. I wondered if they would prove to be different from the usual chocolate chip oat cookies I've made before. I did as the recipe told me, chopping a mixture of milk and dark chocolate rather than using a bag of chocolate chips. I confess that I grumbled inwardly at the hassle of chopping blocks of chocolate. But I will not do so again. They were, without question, by far the best cookies we and our friends had ever eaten.
It would be very tempting to work through this book from start to finish, sampling such delights as lemon meringue cupcakes, or passionfruit sandwiched biscuits on a regular basis. But as I was browsing through, yet again, I glanced once more at the front cover. In what might have been a prophetic moment, I imagined the bottom horizontal bar of the first E vanishing. Now the title said not 'EAT ME!' but 'FAT ME!' Alas, that would be the most likely result of too much indulgence in these recipes. While the photographs of the author show her as reassuringly slim and healthy, she's rather younger than me. So, reluctantly, I'm putting the book back on my shelves, to keep for special occasions. I expect to find many special occasions this year.
Disclaimer: Please don't buy or borrow this book if you're gluten-free, or dairy-free, or sugar-free, or anything else-free (though it should be fine for vegetarians). Substitutions can be made for most ingredients but they wouldn't be the same. And if you seriously need to lose weight, then it would probably be best not even to give it a quick glance in the bookshop.
But if you enjoy baking, and aren't worried about calories or allergies, then I recommend it extremely highly. Even if it is bright pink.
Thank you very much indeed to the publishers for sending this to the Bookbag. And to Bookbag for sending it to me.
If you enjoy this book, you will probably never want another recipe book for cakes or cookies. But for a bit of balance you might also like to look at Easy Indian Cookbook by Manju Malhi. Or perhaps you could glance at The Thrift Book: Live Well and Spend Less by India Knight, which might leave you with more grocery money available for cakes and cookies...
Eat Me!: The Stupendous, Self-raising World of Cupcakes and Bakes According to Cookie Girl by Xanthe Milton is in the Bookbag's Christmas Gift Recommendations 2010.
You can read more book reviews and buy Eat Me!: The Stupendous, Self-raising World of Cupcakes and Bakes According to Cookie Girl by Xanthe Milton at Amazon and Waterstones.
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