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4.7 out of 5 stars74
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 18 June 2011
This is the best cake book since Nigella's How to Be a Domestic Goddess came out in 2000. Pam Corbin has a lovely warm writing style, and she is similar to Nigella in the way she introduces each recipe with an interesting little history, as if they are friends she knows we'll get along with really well. Pam achieves exactly the right amount of intimacy with her reader - not too chummy nor distantly school-marmish.

I've tried four recipes so far, all delicious, including the hazelnut macaroons I made for a friend with allergies, and which I'd doubted because of the absence of butter and flour. I can't wait to make more treats even though I'm supposed to be on a diet.

I don't agree with the reviewer who complained there was nothing particularly different about this book. Where else can you find a recipe for home made Cornish fairings, jammy dodgers and chocolate bourbons? Another plus is that there is none of the ubiquitous cupcake - I can forgive the brief aside where she suggests making tiny Victoria sponges in cupcake format.

Although Pam says she's not an expert cake decorator, I particularly love the section on fillers and toppings, which is packed with brilliant and imaginative ideas - as well as being a useful reference for classics like royal icing. One day I'm determined to make some crystallised flowers, they look so lovely in the pictures.

This is a beautifully compact, nicely produced, life affirming book. Just try not to look at it while you're on a diet.
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on 31 May 2011
This is a really great little book. Very useful with recipes for all possible baking situations. I bought this book when I realised a had a real gap in my cook book collection for traditional English tea time recipes. I live in New Zealand now and miss traditional English teas.

There are the usual expected recipes for victoria sandwich cake, carrot cake and christmas cake. However, lesser known cakes and biscuits are included like the old fashioned cornish fairings and a very good apple cake recipe to name but two. I have tried out a few of the recipes and all have worked well so far, even with the over enthusiastic assistance of a 6 year old boy.
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on 19 March 2011
I happened to be visiting River Cottage where the author was signing copies and bought one on a whim. In the 2 weeks since then I have bought 2 more as gifts for cake-loving friends as this irrestible little book is a real treasure trove. I have tried 4 recipes so far and each has turned out beautifully (flapjacks, hazelnut macaroons, coffee and walnut cake, brownies)- I'm trying the dog biscuits next! The author includes just enough useful background (how heavy each size of egg is (great for people with hens like me), best types of ingredients, cake tins etc. together with her own down-to-earth baking tips to make it a very practical, compact and easy to read handbook. Indispensible!
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on 19 March 2011
I pre-ordered this because I have all the other RC handbooks and this was the latest one. There are some brilliant recipes and some real classics. It's just slightly disappointing because there isn't anything that's really new or different. If this is your first Baking Book, you'll love it - and the instructions are helpful and include a lot of useful little tips. However, if you're a cookery book collector, an experienced cook or a real cake-baking fan it's probably not what you're looking for.

Great feel and size, just like all the other handbooks - if you haven't got all the others, you should!!!
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on 26 February 2011
I own rather alot of cookery books in particular, baking! As do alot of other people. Received this book recently, and have been pouring over it ever since. the first section of the book covers everything from Mixing bowls to Xanthum gum!plus, much,much more. Plenty of tips and ideas for making cakes, for everyone and most occasions. If you are considering 'Elevenses with a Lumberjack', go right ahead there is the perfect recipe to tempt him, within this book!
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on 31 March 2011
I bought the River Cottage Cake Handbook a few weeks ago and have already baked lots of the recipes - with absolutely perfect and delicious results! Recipes tried so far: chocolate brownies (the best I have EVER made - and I have tried a lot of recipes!), Welsh cakes, Bake-off cookies, breakfast muffins, Salt caramel shortbread, Seville orange cake, Coffee and walnut cake and Rhubarb pudding cake (a particular favourite). Can't wait to try more!
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on 20 June 2011
As a South African living in England, I had almost given up trying to bake cakes because all my South African recipes were a total disaster - something to do with the different kind of flour, I believe.

I am a great fan of the River Cottage shows and often log onto their site to see what they are up to. I have one really fantastic family recipe book of theirs which is my favourite. Then, on the website I saw this book for cakes, which looked simple and was reasonably priced.

I have now made three of the cakes which have all been successes. My favourite is the chocolate cake with chocolate fudge icing. An absolute no-no as far as calories are concerned but so delicious that when my husband took the left overs to the office the next day, his colleagues actually ended up licking the plate!

I call that a good cake!
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I have owned this book since it was released and if making a cake I often use this book in conjunction with Delia’s cakes; another fantastic book on cakes by the way.

This book by Pam Corbin is, in short, fantastic.

There are 7 sections in the book:

Getting Started
Fillers and Toppers
Small Cakes and Bakes
Big Cakes
Fruity Cakes and Gingerbread
Party Cakes
Useful Things (this section is mainly conversion charts and stockist info)

The first section ‘Getting Started’ is a wonderful reference to all things cake, from ingredients and how their functions differ (such as different flours etc), to baking equipment and bake o glide being the satin of baking… which I would have to agree with.

If you have the book and haven’t read this first section I would recommend that you do, it improves your baking knowledge immediately!

Then the recipes are equally brilliant and we have had some fantastic results from this book.

The format of the book is the same as all others from the River Cottage series (I also own Veg and Bread). There are wonderful, inspiration images smattered throughout the book and the paper and book has a wonderful touch and feel to them. This book would make a wonderful gift for anyone that loves baking; they’d be sure to enjoy it.

I bake regularly from this little book, it’s inspirational and informative, I have no criticisms whatsoever, a fantastic book.
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on 2 July 2012
This is a fantastic cake book. It is small, unassuming and packed with easy-to-follow recipes which result in tasty baked goods. And not a cupcake in sight. I hate the whole cupcake scene. Small sponge cakes covered in glow-in-the-dark sparkly icing is not what I want with my tea. My particular favourites are the sticky gingerbread, lumberjack cake and the muffins. I can honestly say that my muffins have become legendary amongst my local community. Flour, sunflower oil, yogurt, oats, fruit and a bit of sugar. One of those puppies will stave off hunger for most of a day. On a whim I replaced the oats with shredded wheat and I obtained a lighter texture which went down well with a particularly critical audience (my teenage children). I then tried other breakfast cereals and all were good but had their own unique characteristics. The book is now covered in fingerprints, cake batter and looks well-used. That is because I use it a lot. The recipes all use easily obtained ingredients which is important to me as I live in Qatar which often has shortages of basic stuff. It is a very good book which you will never regret buying.
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on 28 March 2011
This is a lovely book. I have quite a few cake books already and took a risk ordering this one, as I was worried it might be all the same recipes again. But I'm glad I ordered the book. It does have plenty of classic cake recipes like Victoria sponge and chocolate cake, but it's got some new recipes which I'm looking forward to trying, especially the bounty bar cake and the wholemeal orange cake with earl grey icing. The photography is great, the cakes are styled in a pretty way and I love the way the author uses flowers like violas as decorations.
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