Cup cakes, fruit cakes, carrot cakes, fairy cakes, brownies, pavlovas, biscuits, shortbread, muffins and chocolate cakes are just some of my favourites. Not that I am putting a limit on the types of cakes or biscuits I would eat. No, I am up to trying any home baked goodies around. Why? Well, it starts being important to most of us from that early age of one, where our first very special cake is presented to us. Then by two, we get another, and by three, we love the occasion where the old people (mums, dads and wrinklies) gather around and we blow the candles out and eat the icing off the top of it. No wonder cakes are seen as something special. You get Christened, and there is a cake. You get married and there is a cake. The are present at almost every important event. (Sadly, never at funerals. Must make sure there are cakes at mine!)
As you can tell from the above, I like home baked cakes and biscuits. So, being sent Lucy Young's new book about baking, I was quick to volunteer to review it. The first thing you notice is how small the book looks, but don't let the size fool you. In it, there are chapters on Why Bake, Baking Jargon, Getting Started, A to Z of equipment and extras, Essential Ingredients, Easy Cakes for Every Day, Classic Cakes, Healthy Cakes, Kids' Cakes, Ask Lucy, Cooking Times and Conversion Chart (or see our Conversion Page) and Specialist Equipment & Suppliers. So, it is a little book with a lot of practical, easy to follow information to help both the baking novice and experienced cook alike.
If you have never baked before, but are keen to learn, then you will find the first chapters full on helpful hints and tricks to get you baking like an expert quickly. Then there is the equipment, covering from Baking Sheets to Whisks and Piping Bags to Zesters. The last chapter devoted to the knowledge of baking is all important, being the Essential Ingredients, which covers Fats, Sugar, Eggs and Flour, or as Lucy puts it, "The Four Pillars of Cake Baking."
There are only 20 recipes, but Lucy has selected recipes that will give you a good repertoire. They are fun, too, as in Ginger Flatjacks, Raspberry Cupcakes, Chocolate Brownies, Victoria Sandwich Cake and Quick Fairy Cakes. Additionally to the recipes, there are invaluable tips and hints.
So, as to the old adage, size doesn't matter, as this little book is jam packed full of tips to get the most out of your baking!