Book Reviews

A new section, devoted to reviews of my favourite recipe books…

Book review 1

If ever a title fitted a book perfectly, then Gorgeous Cakes is it. From its pinkly delicious cover all the way through each beautifully photographed recipe, this is food porn at its best. Cakes to drool over, but also to inspire. Some recipe books give ideas so glamorous and far-fetched I find myself thinking, “Yeah, that’s all very well, but…” whereas in this book I feel I can successfully make each and every one of the featured cakes. And I do.

The author, Annie Bell, is a renowned food writer and chef who has contributed to major publications such as The Independent and Vogue. Her style is straight-forward and even the most extravagant-looking cakes are achievable. I like that. The book is divided into logical sections – old-fashioned cakes, festive baking, chocolate cakes and so on. There are fabulous ideas for unusual cakes as well as many which are suitable for special diets – fat-free and gluten-free are particularly well served.

The photography in the book, by Chris Alack, is marvelous; clear and evocative, modern without being so arty-farty you can’t tell what you’re looking at. This is a criticism in a number of newer recipe books and in certain foodie magazines. Close-ups are all very well to show off texture, but not if the result is a mystery object. I love Chris Alack’s bright and cheerful photography which gives the whole book a fresh, lively, modern feel.

This festive season I plan to make Annie’s Cranberry-mince shortcake and also have a go at the lovely recipe she gives for Sachertorte.

Gorgeous Cakes was first published in 2005 by Kyle Cathie Limited (ISBN 978 1 85626 614 7) at £14.99.

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