Sometimes I forget about the last Saturday of the month, and then all of a sudden, it hits me that it is time for the book review! This time, I decided to choose a baking book that was purchased due to my admiration of the pretty woman in “The Great British Bake Off”. I don’t know if I sound lame but I never knew there was a program by that name till the news that Nadia won the title in 2015. It just kept making rounds on Facebook so I got down to watching the show on YouTube and I so loved it. It now comes under the list of programs that I binge watch when I just want to be crawled up on the couch! My eyes constantly went onto the warm and calm looking Mary Berry and I started searching more about her, only to know how well known she is in her own way. I finally ended up buying her book “Mary Berry’s Simple Cakes” I am reviewing today very much around the same period.
There are times when you get a book in hand and you feel an instant connect. The week this book arrive, I so clearly remember that I was relaxing at home and only flipping up and down umpteen number of times going through the book. There is no surprise that the book is published by BBC Books, the channel that made her famous in her own way. The book has 50 recipes of simple bakes in different sections – chocolate cakes, favourite cakes, bite-sized cakes and meringues-tarts-pastries. Like most baking books have, there is a chapter of cake-making methods and another about ingrediets and equipments. The book ends with a list of bakes that could be used for different themes of parties, which I found to be interesting, as it provides the readers a good idea of how they could use the bakes apart from their personal treating.
Every recipe is attached with a beautiful minimalist click, plus some step-by-step action too. The cover is hardbound and the print is on good quality thin glossy paper, that makes you feel like going on with it again and again. 😀 One thing I have noticed in her recipes is that she doesn’t follow the normal baking process of beating soft butter with sugar, add eggs, add vanilla and then the flour, etc. Almost all her recipes are mix, beat and bake! Though the ingredients used are in traditional quantities, ie. heavy on butter and sugar, the method employed is mostly one bowl, which as an amateur baker, does make me feel like the method of mixing does affect the texture of the final bake.
Even though what I made first from her book were these delicious Orange Scotch Pancakes, they don’t come under bakes as such! My first trial from the book was the chocolate roulade that she called as “ultimate”, a picture of which you can see on the cover. The recipe unfortunately didn’t work for me. Either I was too impatient to allow the roll to cool fully before I rolled it or didn’t follow the steps correctly. My cake broke, not even cracking, while rolling and all the whipped cream was all over the place. 🙁 Moreover, it was awfully sweet for our taste buds, not even the girls liked it. We somehow managed to finish it off. Even though this bake failed, I wasn’t really bogged down by it. The beautiful pictures in the book kept telling me to try something else. My second bake happened to be this Marble Cake, which I was happy with…
I had actually baked this cake to take to my friend’s house, while going to see her youngest new-born. Marble cake is something that kids are always fascinated by, isn’t it? As you can see from the recipe, you just put in all the ingredients into the bowl and beat them till done. It was really tempting for me, but at the same time did make me feel a bit confused as to how the texture of the cake would be. Once the bake came out of the oven, it looks really good. If you see, the outer is nice and hard and has a nice crumb. I totally loved how this baked turned out to be. I packed the whole cake for her apart from the front and back side pieces and we enjoyed it as tasters, hehe… Even though my marble cake did not look like how it is in the book (the second right picture on the top) but still totally loved how it turned out to be.
I have already bookmarked a few very interesting recipes in the book like the pecan pie and the almond apricot cake (must try very soon!). I have noticed that most of the recipes use margarine which can be easily replaced with butter, since margarine has a bad name for itself, yet it was so evidently used for baking once upon a time with some fabulous results. If you like a simple book with simple recipes that can be done soon, pretty pictures and step-by-step illustrations, then you would definitely enjoy this book. Moving onto the recipe…
- 175 gm butter, softened
- 150 gm sugar
- 225 gm all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3 large eggs, room temperate
- 1 tbsp milk
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1½ tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp hot water
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Grease and flour a small loaf pan and set aside.
- Put ingredients from butter to vanilla extract and beat with a hand mixer for two minutes till well blended.
- Transfer half the batter into another bowl.
- Whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water till a smooth paste. Allow to cool slightly, and then add into one of the bowls, mixing well till blended.
- Pour in the vanilla and chocolate batters intermittently to do the marble effect. I just poured the vanilla batter and then dropped the chocolate batter over it and swirled it through using a fork.
- Bake it for 50 minutes or till a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes, before flipping onto a cooling rack.
- Cool completely, slice and serve.