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100 of 102 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book
I bought this book in January this year. I am at the beginner end of the scale and have found it an extremely good book with good explanations and helpful tips. I am about to purchase a second copy for my nephew's Christmas present as we have done quite a few recipes from it so far, with great success. The millionaire's shortbread goes down a storm every time and is...
Published on 20 Oct 2005 by J. McCormack

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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars enough recipes but not enough pictures
If you are a person who needs to see what the final product looks like to get the mouth watering, to make you choose that recipe and to know that it has come out correctly, this book is not for you. Only about one third of recipes have matching pictures but if you can get pass that, it's a great book with a range of sweet treats that will suit everybody.
Published on 30 Jun 2009 by Chii Chii


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100 of 102 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book, 20 Oct 2005
By 
J. McCormack "julie28069" (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I bought this book in January this year. I am at the beginner end of the scale and have found it an extremely good book with good explanations and helpful tips. I am about to purchase a second copy for my nephew's Christmas present as we have done quite a few recipes from it so far, with great success. The millionaire's shortbread goes down a storm every time and is very straightforward and a new favourite is the chocolate birthday cake, very rich and gorgeous. I would highly recommend this book as the recipes do not talk down to the reader at all but at the same time do not assume that the reader has any prior experience. All recipes have been successful first time and develops confidence, especially for those like myself who are just starting out. I am about to embark on my first Christmas cake and wouldn't consider using any other recipe other than Mary Berry's.
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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-Have For Beginners, 1 April 2007
I used to find baking very tedious, complicated and intimidating. In many ways, baking is still those things but this book is so helpful with giving an absolute beginner like me the confidence to try. The all-in-one method is such a revelation to me. Why haven't I heard about this before? I have made the Victoria Sandwich Cake over and over again and it is absoutely THE best! It's wonderfully buttery and so so so soft and moist! It's even better the day after. Best with a tart raspberry jam!! I've compared her recipe with both Delia and Nigella. Mary's wins hands down. Maybe this is because I love that her recipe produces a very generous and tall cake. I know the other two prefer "thinner" cakes, as they say: to balance with the jam. But if I were to serve it to guests, I'd bake Mary's recipe because not only is it simpler to make and more delicious, it also looks spectacular! I have also tried the chocolate version but if you're someone used to intense chocolately cakes, this is not the recipe for you. It looked like a chocolate cake but with only 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder, the taste just didn't do it for a chocoholic like me.

The other recipe I am absolutely in love with is her Lemon Traybake (also using the all-in-one method)!! In this book, the recipe calls for lemon icing as a topping but since I don't like the overwhelming sweetness of icing sugar, I use granulated sugar and lemon juice (which is used for her Crunchy Lemon Cake recipe - in "Simple Cakes" it is called Lemon Drizzle Traybake). Nigella has a similar recipe which she calls Lemon Syrup Loaf Cake using icing sugar. Not anywhere as good! The granulated sugar adds a wonderful and interesting crunchy texture to the supermoist and soft cake. And unlike icing sugar, granulated sugar doesn't overpower the taste of the lemon juice. As the granulated sugar mostly sits on top, the juice soaks into the cake - which makes this yummy buttery cake taste surprisingly refreshing!! For someone who never really cared for lemons, this recipe has changed my life! Because of this cake, I absolutely love love love lemons now!!

Food is all about taste - different people have different taste. This is so with cakes. I'm sure I won't like all the recipes in here (I hate having bits of nuts in my cake, and I'm still trying to muster enough courage to try a semolina cake). As it is, when a recipe calls for margarine I just use butter - not only do I prefer the more natural taste, but it's a healthier and safer choice (see: transfat). However, what I can vouch for is Mary Berry's calming and assuring attitude in this book. She has no airs about her. She explains things simply and in the end makes you feel so comfortable about baking. Since her recipes are reliable, I have found success each and everytime! Very important when you're a beginner! She makes a great teacher! At the end of the day, I don't want to be a domestic goddess - I just want to make yummy cakes!!

This is a must-have! I also highly recommend her book "Simple Cakes" or "Fool-proof Cakes", as the hardback edition is called.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE ultimate cake-baking book ever produced!, 16 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This book has been with me through the highs and lows of family life; I have reached for the Butterfly Cakes to make the children smile, the Apricot Swiss Cakes satisfied my regular sugar cravings, I have earned many brownie points from my husband for the Marmalade Cake and the Chocolate Swiss Roll just had to bear the weight of a generous dusting of icing sugar and robins at Christmas. Most of the recipes shown I have made repeatedly, each a total success and looking exactly as their photos.
I have curled up with this book as I would a favourite novel, re-reading the text at the start of each chapter; the pleasure Mary Berry describes of baking for a local fete is tangible. Some pages are spattered with grease, a crumb hidden on the Bara Brith page, but my pencilled comments on each recipe have now been joined by those of my daughter. "Verdict:", she wrote importantly about her first attempt at Queen Cakes, "You could tell that the cook has talent - they were dead good".
I was recently separated from my book and no other could compensate. They were not the same, success was hit and miss and gone was the familiarity I loved. When the book was returned, I admit that I cried; life may not always be perfect, but it's pretty good with the right things around you. This book is one of them.
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87 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cakes to die for!, 9 Feb 2006
By 
Rachel Pryer (Petworth, West Sussex) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I bought this book a few months ago and have made several different cakes from it, and each one has tasted wonderful! My husband and children can't wait to see which one I've made this week and my friends say that the chocolate sponge is the nicest they've ever tasted! Easy to follow recipes with not-over-fussy ingredients. Highly recommended for those who like baking like me!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 12 Oct 2007
By 
D. Mohanani "Dil" (Sri Lanka) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The recipes that I have tried from this book have never failed. I make the fairy cakes, and the two different types of brownies quite often. The effort involved is minimal with these resipes and the results are always spectacular! It is a good book for a beginner as the instructions are very clear and easy to follow.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best family cake book, 29 Sep 2010
By 
Caterina (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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I've bought a lot of baking books and after buying this one I wish I hadn't bothered with any others. It is by far and away the most reliable and useful cake book I have ever used - in particular I found it a much better buy than Leith's enormous Baking Bible. There are sections on chocolate cakes, meringues, traybakes, celebration cakes, cheesecakes, scones and teabreads, biscuits and shortbread, continental cakes, family cakes, little cakes, cakes for bazaars and fetes, cakes for children to make, cakes and biscuits for presents, and healthy cakes and biscuits. There are also very useful sections on ingredients, equipment and methods, and a section on questions and answers. (These sound dull, but in fact they teach you a lot about cake-making.)
Every cake I have made from it has worked and has been delicious and has evoked the sort of compliments I have (sadly) never received before for my cakes.
One of the best things about it is that there is such a range of cakes in terms of difficulty and time. There's plenty to make if you've only got an hour before the children get home from school. There's also plenty to make if you've got a whole morning to potter and create something complex.
I'm thinking of getting rid of my other cake books. This really is the only one you'll ever need.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book for the beginner to bake all types of cakes, 4 Feb 2002
By A Customer
My intial attempts at cake baking were complete disasters. They would dip in the middle, taste dry and feel heavy. The techniques, simple to follow recipes and help offered in the book have led to a complete turn around in my cake baking abilities, so much so my family actually asks me to bake rather than leave the cake tins in the cupboard!
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66 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, straight-forward baking., 13 Dec 2000
By A Customer
I have been using this book for years, and have never had any bad results. This book is ideal is you want to produce cakes with limited time available. Thanks to Mary's useful tip I often make large tray bakes using roasting tins lined with baking foil. Forty minutes later I have loads of cakes, ready to store in the freezer.
Having read and used Nigella Lawson's 'How to be a Domestic Goddess' book, I would have to say that I prefer this book, mainly because it is more accessible for everyday baking.
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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourites, 14 May 2007
This book is just amazing! It's one of the first baking books I bought and it is just so versatile. The range if recipes it contains is impressive, without a doubt. It has chocolate cakes, cheesecakes, biscuits, savoury items, children's cakes and biscuits, even home made chocolates! Whatever you're planning to make, you can just pick up this baking bible and flick through it, and you are sure to find the perfect recipe. Mary Berry uses detailed cooking instructions so it's fairly easy to recreate her mouth watering recipes, and then the ingredients she uses are all things you would have lying around. This is very convenient as most cookery books you get these days are full of unusual or 'rare' ingredients which are so hard to get hold of it puts you off the recipe. I have tried the chocolate fudge cake, which was delicious, and the millionaire's shortbread is a favourite of mine. It even contains healthy recipes which appeal to everyone, diet or no diet. Then again, when you own a book as tempting as this one, why diet? I recommend it to everyone.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book very good, 8 Sep 2001
I have had this Mary Berry's book for some time .I use it all the time it even has cake mix on the pages ,where it has been used,It is marvellous cake book,I have told quite a few of family and friends of this book,the victoria sandwich,fruit cake I made for my brother's and wife's anniversary cake ,every one said how good it was.
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