3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars
Just a pretty face, 14 Sep 2011
I can see why this has had good reviews. I love the design and photos in this book. It's a pleasant read. Most folk buy recipe books and just enjoy the pictures. If that's what you want then go for it.
But the main recipe - the vanilla cupcake recipe - is not good. The cakes are hard and dry. I was making two batches of cupcakes for a party and followed the lengthy method to the letter.
It has less than half butter to flour, and a mixture of plain and SR flour. All my ingredients were at room temp to avoid curdling. I followed the convoluted method exactly. Straight out of the oven after 25 minutes at 160 fan setting they looked nice. I tore one open and it had a lovely fine-looking crumb but on tasting it was quite bland (floury) and a bit dry. I made a second batch adding extra vanilla to combat the blandness. By the next morning (about 10 hours later, kept in airtight container) I tasted one from second batch and they were really hard and dry (then another from first batch- hard and dry) and there was no way I was going to serve them up to the party guests they were planned for.
In a panic I used an all-in-one Victoria sponge recipe (God bless you, Mary Berry - you just bung everything in mixer at once) which saved the day. Ratio of butter, flour and sugar was the usual 1:1:1, bit of baking powder and a couple of large eggs. It gave a more 'homemade' looking crumb but the taste was far superior and the cakes softer and moister cooked at same temperature and time as specified in Primrose Bakery book.
I thought it was me till I read the other reviews by people who have actually baked from the book.
Have they scaled down a much larger catering size recipe and not checked it properly? Is there a missing secret ingredient that the bakery uses to make this bad recipe good? To me there seems to be too much flour to butter in this recipe.
I've got the 11th print of this book, and if it is a mistake I am very surprised they haven't fixed it by now.
I haven't tried the other variations of cake in the book yet. They might be all right, but I am a bit put off trying them.
The buttercream recipe has too much icing sugar in it for my taste. Ratio butter to icing sugar nearly 1:5.
The toppings ideas are appealing and I think I might use them as inspiration even if I don't use the actual sugar-heavy recipes.