59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on 15 September 2011
How refreshing to find a cook book for people with intolerances that doesn't make us feel 'different'. Julia Thomas is obviously passionate about what she does, the recipes are easy to follow, use ingredients that are very easy to source, and above all taste delicious and totally normal!! I was beginning to get fed up with strange books containing strange recipes with ingredients that seemingly were impossible to find, more disappointingly the cakes were heavy and tasteless. Cake Angels is a brand that will run and run, the book is beautifully presented, easy to follow and would stand shoulder to shoulder with Mary Berry anyday.We have all tucked in to the chocolate and banana cake, chocolate brownies and victoria sponge, all delicious and my non intolerant friends really cannot taste the difference.
Well done Julia on a brilliant book that will get used and used in our house!!
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This recipe book contains recipes for cakes, traybakes and cupcakes & muffins that are all gluten-free and dairy-free. If you only need to cut out either gluten or dairy, you can easily adapt the recipes to exclude only what you can't eat. You need a few specialist ingredients, but if you are already living with a dietary requirement then you probably already have the right things - eg xanthan gum for gluten-free. I already bake quite a lot of gluten-free cakes - and I have found these recipes to be excellent. They don't just taste ok - they are delicious! And they really look professional. So far I have made the gluten-free versions of the apple & blueberry cake, the 'blondies' (a bit like brownies!) and chocolate and almond sponge - which I iced using the chocolate frosting recipe and it was fabulous! All the family and friends - coeliac and non-coeliac - have enjoyed these cakes. And everyone has been impressed - my chocolate cake actually looked like the one on the cover of the book (although it's a different recipe)! And one little thing - I appreciate the way the book lies flat when you open it. Yes, we love this book.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
I have been searching for a book like this for years, so I could make gluten-free cakes for my coeliac mother's visits. I have experimented with various recipes with different gluten-free flour blends, with very little success.
This book has changed all that. I am absolutely delighted with it, and recommend it to my cake-loving coeliac patients.
Apart from this, the book meets the standards set by so many modern cooking and baking books with beautiful photography and well-written text.
A pleasure to read and a revelation to follow the recipes.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 3 October 2011
I fear for my waistline but am so very pleased with this book. It is full of fantastic recipes for those who love their cake but have allergies and intolerances which relegate them to eating inferior strange tasting alternatives or to attempting to adapt regular recipes with rather mixed results. My 14 year old daughter and I have just spent a happy day making the Mega Chocolate Muffins and the Chocolate Fudge Cake for my son's birthday. A quick call to Cake Angels when I couldn't source the powdered soya milk necessary to make the fudge ganoche and it was with me the next day. Everything else could be found at the supermarket. The recipes are clearly laid out and really easy to follow. Everything worked as it should and the tips were very helpful - knowing that the cake would crack and sink a little averted a potential panic from my daughter. The end results were spectacular (not an adjective normally attached to my baking) and tasted incredibly rich and delicious. Julia has achieved the seemingly impossible, amazing taste and texture without the wheat and dairy. Can't wait to try some of the other recipes - Parkin, Gingerbread and Black Forest Brownies have caught my eye but with a newly mixed container of non-dairy condensed milk sitting in my fridge it will probably be a close call between Millionaires Shortbread and Flapjack. Since it is more than a decade since I have eaten caramel, I'm guessing the Millionaires Shortbread will win the day.....Thank you Julia!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 14 December 2012
`Ten out of ten!' ... `How do you make your cakes so light?' ... `You've never disappointed me yet!' ... `I didn't want that to end.' ... `Mmm ... I could swear you've put something not quite legal in this!' These are just some of the appreciative comments from our Friday coffee mornings after sampling a variety of cakes from this fabulous recipe collection by Julia Thomas. Our Friday favourites include the: Raspberry & Almond Cake; Carrot Cake; Cherry & Almond Cake; Chocolate & Almond Sponge and the Chocolate Brownie.
We have experimented mainly with the cake recipes, the majority of which follow the classic Victoria sponge method and use familiar baking ingredients or widely available gluten/dairy-free alternatives. Apart from the xanthan gum (which we ordered online) we found most items at our local supermarket and could get baking straight-away without having to trawl the internet for lots of obscure ingredients or faff about mixing our own flour.
The cakes keep well, but we like to refresh some of the non-iced cakes in the microwave (10sec/slice) for that `just out of the oven' feeling. Some improve for keeping: the Sticky Gingerbread was at its best a week later and the flavour of the Chocolate & Almond Sponge intensified over several days. We liked this dairy-free frosting but used a whole bar of dark chocolate and reduced the icing sugar by 3oz for a more intense flavour. To make the Carrot Cake as sticky as possible we like to substitute an extra 2oz of sultanas for the walnuts. Additionally, if a cake mixture curdles slightly we find it helps to keep adding a little flour whilst gradually beating in the egg. We've also found it necessary to reduce the cooking times for our electric fan oven, sometimes by as much as 15 minutes. We rescued an overcooked Cherry & Almond Cake with a lemon drizzle and nobody noticed!
I've noticed the occasional typo. Two recipes suggest using the 8" sandwich tins but should read: `8" deep round tin' for the Apple & Blueberry Cake (p25) and `2lb loaf tin' for the Bara Brith (p28). Also it's unclear which flour to use in the Chocolate Orange Drizzle Cake (p57). Having checked with the author, she confirms it should be self-raising.
If you need new tins, I can thoroughly recommend the `My Kitchen Cook & Bake' range from Lakeland. (Also their pre-cut baking parchment circles and squares which really take the hassle out of tin preparation). I would suggest buying the 8" sandwich tins; the 8" deep round tin and the 7"x10.5" tray first, as these enable you to make over half the cake and traybake recipes. The traybake tin was a little more elusive, but after checking with the author I bought the Master Class Brownie Pan (27cm x 20cm x 3cm) from Amazon. It's just slightly bigger than the dimensions quoted in the book, but works perfectly well. I would also consider the 8" deep square tin if only for the Raspberry, Blueberry & Lime Drizzle Cake (p35): a perfect dinner party dessert and guaranteed to create a reverent hush as guests enjoy their first mouthful!
Thanks to Cake Angels our family can all enjoy a delicious variety of cakes and we are tempted to try the traybake recipes next, some of which include pastry and shortbread. Really, whether you are a complete beginner or a conventional baker looking to switch to a gluten/dairy-free alternative, these easy-to-follow recipes are the perfect introduction to a hassle-free; scrumptious and successful cake-making experience. As for me ... well ... there's a Coffee and Walnut cake with my name on it ... just asking to be tried next ...
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2012
I am really excited about this book. As things stand, I have only tried one recipe (the carrot cupcakes) and they are by far the most successful cakes I have baked in my 12 years of gluten-free baking.
The book itself is lovely to look at, which special diet cookbooks often aren't (which goes some way to taking away the 'different-and-lesser' association that can often be made with dairy- and gluten-free food. More importantly, the ingredients are things anybody with an intolerance would have in their cupboard, which makes things much easier than the standard intolerance cookbook. The fact that the author is working with ingredients that can be found in a British supermarket (so they're easily accessible) makes it extra-useful. Most of my collection of gluten-free cookbooks are by US authors that source hard-to-find healthfoods, which can be off-putting.
I can't wait to try some more of the recipes and would recommend this above any of my other gluten- and dairy-free cookbooks just on the basis of my excitement and the carrot cakes!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
For people with lactose allergies or intolerances, the range of desserts that can be eaten is much reduced. If you're lucky, a restaurant might be able to rustle up a fruit salad (oh no, not again...), or a lemon sorbet (oh no, not again... and even with that, there's the risk they put dairy in). There's always a fruit cake, but you're never quite sure what they might have put in it. So, unless you go to a vegan-friendly restaurant (thankfully, we have one not too far away) who rustle up any dessert you can think of in a lactose-free way, then you are very restricted on desserts. I have barely eaten cakes for 15+ years as a result.
So, imagine my delight when I came across "Cake Angels" by Julia Thomas. An entire book of cake recipes that are safe to eat for those who have to avoid lactose, complete with pictures of the resulting cakes for most of the recipes. Instant craving for cake.
At this point, I'm trying to be good - work my way through the recipes, but without expanding my waistline on things that I have gotten used to not eating... Difficult.
So, as to the recipes, they're easy to follow, the results have been pretty good so far. Maybe slightly too much concentration on cupcakes, but that's a minor point. The biggest issue has been getting hold of the ingredients. Our local supermarket doesn't stock xanthan gum, so we had to go further afield to stock up. I'd also be cautious about giving/lending this book to friends who are not used to living with allergies, for them to cook for me when I visit. The phrase "dairy-free spread" is one that fills me with dread. Most people think that any margarine is a dairy-free spread. Read the ingredients - the vast majority of margarines in the supermarket do contain lactose. We're used to checking ingredient lists in minute detail, but many people aren't. It's worth emphasising such points if you are letting others cook for you...
So, overall, an easy to follow cook book full of cake recipes for those with allergies to lactose (or gluten). Pretty good recipes, well presented (although I would have liked a picture for every recipe). Some ingredients may be difficult to find locally. Overall, recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I was so pleased with this book. I have other 'special diet' cake books, and the recipes are complicated and require hard to come by ingredients, and the results have been mediocre at best when I have tried the recipes. How different this book is. The recipes are easy to follow, there is a list of suppliers (even if ingredients are available in more mainstream shops, these are listed too, which is really helpful), and the cakes I have made so far have been truly scrummy! I'd highly recommend this to anyone who needs to give consideration to dietary restrictions, but I'd also recommend it to everyday bakers who just want to try something a little different.
The author is also an inspiration to us all, battling cancer and using healthy foods to recover and stay healthy.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Earlier this year, I was commissioned to make my first ever wedding cake - a challenge but one I was confident with. However the bride said that she had a couple of people who needed a gluten-free alternative. I didn't have any recipes in my collection that were specifically tailored to that and so had to use the power of Google to find something.
Now I have an excellent book dedicated to the topic.
It really is an impressive collection - indeed I will probably convert some of the recipes back to using regular flours and dairy products because they look that tempting. From the many pictures, you would be hard-pressed to distinguish these recipes from their more traditional counterparts.
I am not a fan of coconut - so the recipes that call for those products will have to be altered if I am to eat them - but I think I have enough experience to work round it. It is worth noting that a lot of the recipes call for Soya-based items - which is fine if the person you are creating for can tolerate Soya (not everyone can).
All in all a really useful addition to my collection - and one that will be called up on regularly.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2012
Having been reduced to a limited allergen free dietary regime recently, I bought this book as a way to reintroduce some tasty treats into my life. And what a treat it is. The range of cakes is very varied, from dinner party gateaux to tray bakes that can be used for daily lunch box snacks, as well as cupcakes and traditional carrot cakes.
The ingredients are supermarket friendly, and the instructions are clear and concise, written to allow you to follow them easily and clearly as you work. Important if you are not a natural baker and are seeking to replace shop bought goodies with something quick and easy to bake. I can heartily recommend the Marmalade and chocolate torte, which even I on a first attempt managed to get looking like the one in the picture!
In fact that is the only reason I have not given this book the full star rating. Not every recipe has a photo, and I think that is the only thing lacking for novice bakers such as myself, we need a pictorial representation to aim for. Otherwise, brilliant.