Annie Bell has got to be one of the finest food writers around and Chris Alack, one of the best photographers. This was always going to be a winning partnership.
Gorgeous Cakes is a stunner. Its large format allows for superb pictures which complement Annie’s lovely recipes. They are clear and easy to follow with background information and anecdotes from Annie before each one. The text is both charming and informative and gives the book an altogether comfy feel that encourages the reader to make these lovely cakes and share with family and friends.
Annie Bell has managed to introduce some surprises, some new takes on old favourites. Banoffee Cupcakes (Annie has eight delicious examples of cupcakes) sound fabulous and are so easy. These would be great to make with the kids and they could go to town with the decorations. There are so many cakes here that are “child-friendly” that will give youngsters happy memories of learning to cook.
Gin and Tonic Minis are girly and decadent. How smart would they be to present when the ladies are over for summer evening cocktails. Chocolate Sensation would be an instant success with a cup of coffee…or even without a cup of coffee, for that matter.
The recipes are not just for the girls (although the book is lovely enough to leave open on a frilly dressing table). There are plenty of things that would be appreciated by the most macho of boys. Ginger, Almond and Fig Meringue would tempt a rugby team with its sweetness and gingery bite. Cherry Crumble Cake wouldn’t go amiss with lads of the hollow-legged sort.
Gorgeous Cakes also has a number of recipes for people with health issues. There is Fig and Orange Cake with Campari Glaze, that has no fat, Sour Cherry Yogurt Cake with no eggs, and a meringue which is wheat-free. You don’t have to have health problems to enjoy these but it’s good to be able to produce smashing sweet treats for friends and family who have to watch what they eat.
I read more recipes than most people would want to shake a stick at, but my favourite, and new to me, is Orange Marzipan Cake. It’s in the Festive Baking chapter and will be the cake of choice for all those who hate the traditional Christmas fruit cake. This is moist and a much lighter alternative to a cake made with just dried fruit. The combination of orange marmalade, marzipan and rum make this a special cake for any time of year.
Annie Bell has been a chef and has written several other cookbooks, some of which I will be reviewing over the next weeks. She now writes for The Mail on Sunday’s YOU magazine and contributes to Country Living. So I had expected something special, and I haven’t been disappointed.
Author: Annie Bell
Published by: Kyle Cathie
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018