There’s just something about home baked treats that makes them stand out to me. For as long as I can remember, holidays and special occasions have always involved some type of home baked dessert. My grandmother made pies of all sorts and my mother always had tons of cookies available. Around the holidays, the desserts included yummy things like cakes, cheesecakes, and tarts as well. It should come as no surprise that as I got older and had my own home and family, I began to do my own baking. While I love all sorts of cooking, baking delicious desserts has always been one of my favorites.
Cake Magic by Kate Shirazi is a cookbook any dessert lover will appreciate. Don’t let the title fool you, Cake Magic features much more than your traditional cake. In addition to your typical frosted cakes, you will also find things like cheesecake, panettone, loaf cake, and brioche. I can pass up a chocolate cake in a heart beat but put a panettone in front of me and I loose all willpower.
For those of you who may not be expert cake makers, Cake Magic starts off with an introduction to cake making. The author will explain all about the different types of cake tins, when you can be flexible about the one you choose, and when you cannot. You’ll also learn why you should grease even a non stick cake pan. Cake Magic also introduces you to the typical ingredients needed in cake making, how to test for doneness and trouble shooting. When I first began baking, I was frustrated when my cakes didn’t come out the way the book said they should but I had no idea why. This section will explain what you need to know.
The recipes themselves are broken down into Everyday Cakes (which I was quite please were anything but everyday cakes), Posh Cakes (that you might find at a wedding or other holiday party), Little Cakes (brownies, meringues, pastries, scones); Tea breads, buns and loves; and Cheesecakes. I love the layout of this cookbook. Each recipe is featured on its own page along side a full color photograph of the finished dessert. Do not look at this while hungry or you will be seriously tempted by the delicious pictures. The recipes each contain a brief description of the author’s memories of the dessert along with a detailed ingredients list and step by step instructions. Since this book was first published in the United Kingdom, all of the measurements are in both metric and US equivalent. You’ll also note some of the ingredients may not be familiar to you like caster sugar, black treacle, and Quark. A quick Google on the term will easily show you what the US alternatives are.
I am very impressed with the selection of recipes in this cookbook. When I first heard Cake Magic, my first thought was your typical frosted cake. While there are certainly frosted cakes in Cake Magic, there are so many other different types of cakes as well. Just a few of the ones I found seriously tempting are rocky road cheesecake, date and candied walnut scones and lemon polenta cake with rosemary (which was delicious!) If you’re looking to expand your dessert recipes, this is definitely the cookbook you need.