Friday 13 March 2015

JibberJabberUK's Top 10 baking books

For this month's Love Cake it's all about the books and I've been encouraging people to share their collections of cake baking books. With this in mind I thought I should show off some of mine as well. So we didn't spend all day going through my vast collection I thought I would narrow it down to just ten of my favourite books. I presumed it would take quite a while to whittle the pile down but it was surprisingly easy. Last year I bought a bookcase just to hold my most used baking books so reaching for my favourites was easy. I did swap a few over but here are the ten that made the cut.

1. DK Step-by-Step Baking, Caroline Bretherton
This could also double as a doorstep as it is that large. As the title suggests for each recipe the method is broken down into clear stages. A selection of them also have an accompanying photograph for each step. There's a definite European feel to the cakes with recipes for a German Bienenstich, the French Epiphany cake of Brioche de Rois and several variations on pannettone. The wheat-free Chocolate and Brazil Nut cake from this book is one of my husband's favourites.

2. Cakes from around the world, Julie Duff
I love a cake with a story to it. This is a brilliantly researched book with recipes form over 50 different countries. From a Canadian Tomato Soup cake to Bibingka, a coconut flavoured rice cake from Philippines this is the ultimate global cake making tour.

3. The Cake-Maker's Bible, Ann Nicol
Every single recipe in this book has at least one photograph to accompany it and that can't be a bad thing. Ingredients are listed in imperial, metric and cup sizes. There are stacks of cakes in here which look good but are suitable for every day makes. Any book that puts chunks of marzipan into a chocolate cake should always be recommended.

4. Home Sweet Home, The Hummingbird Bakery
If it's cupcakes you're after this is the book for you. The Hummingbird Bakery is famous for their selection of sweet treats which now you can make at home. These American inspired bakes also include Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Roulade and a Chicago Fudge Cake.

5. 200 Cakes and bakes, Sara Lewis
It may look small but somehow this packs in 200 no-fuss recipes. Muffins, cupcakes, brownies and traybakes are all covered here. I've dipped into it myself today in search of something suitable for the school bake sale.

6. Be-Ro Home Baked Recipes 41st edition
There can't be many homes that over the years hasn't had a copy of the Be-Ro recipe book in it. This is latest edition dating from 2011 but it still available from the Be-Ro website for the princely sum of £2.50. It may look no more than pamphlet but if you are just starting out in baking it has everything you need to know. The gingerbread cake has never failed me and a great seller at bake sales.

7. A Passion for Baking, Jo Wheatley
Jo was the second winner of The Great British Bake Off back in 2011. When this book was first published it was available exclusively in Sainsbury's for just £8. I waited and waited until I bought it as a holiday treat in their Paignton branch. Years of experience from baking as child through to being a mother and then a grandmother shine through. Her Chocolate Birthday Cake topped with Malteasers is always a winner.

8. The Birthday Cake Book, Fiona Cairns
If you are going to make your name as a cake baker then making the wedding cake for Prince William and Kate Middleton was going to do it. Fiona Cairns already had a long list of celebrity clients prior to 2011 but that cake was the one that thrust her into the public consciousness. I've made the cover cake (albeit as two rather than three layer affair) plus many of the others inside. I often flick through it simply because it is such a nice book.

9. The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook, Lynn Hill
Regular readers will have noticed I mention the mysterious Clandestine Cake Club as inspiration for my cake making fun. I bought this book out of sheer loyalty and without even seeing it first. I wasn't disappointed. Many of the recipes have been created by the Club's founder Lynn Hill but all the others have been submitted by members. Every recipe I have tried has worked from carrot cake to Bundts plus a Cayman Island Mango cake.

10. Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book
I couldn't leave Mary out of my Top 10 when it came to cake making. Dating from 1997 this is one of the first cook books I ever owned. It was republished in 2009 as Mary Berry's Baking Bible. Every Christmas I make her Classic Rich Christmas Cake and the same recipe formed the base for my son's baptism cake. I swear by her recipe for Large All-in-one Victoria Sandwich – no creaming or folding in, just whisk it altogether. How she not 'Dame Mary' is beyond me.

So that's my favourite cake baking books. How many do you have and what is your favourite?

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  1. I have a few of these. The Be-Ro book taught me to bake when I was 11 or 12! x

  2. Now this is my kind of cook book list, I hate cooking but LOVE baking. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

  3. I've only got Jo Wheatley's book, which is fab x

  4. I love seeing other people's book collections. I share 3 of the same books from your top 10; the Clandestine Cake Club book, Jo Wheatley & Cakes From Around The World (this last one as yet unused). I don't know how many baking books I have but I know there's quite a lot, will have to rifle through them to join in with the challenge this month :)


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