When I read a piece about cakes recently by Nigel Slater in The Guardian giving one of his own recipes and one from this book and read that he was thoroughly enjoying this book I immediately wanted a copy too. Nigel Slater is a bit of a culinary hero of mine and I share his self-confessed obcession with cake. Like Nigel this is my preferred treat(apart from fruit) and one that I can very happily ignore hand-made chocolates for. Preferably, the cake has to be home-made, quite simple to make and look at and not sugar-packed. Just like Nigel's own cake recipes.
This is not actually Nigel's book but I do see what he likes about it. A slim, elegant volume with charming, whimsical essays on The History of Cakes, Cakes around the World, The Culture of Baking Cake, Rituals and Symbolism of Cake, Literary Cakes and PostModern Cakes and beautifully illustrated, this is a book to dip into or read from cover to cover as the fancy takes you.
There are a handful of excellent recipes at the end, some of which have already become part of my baking repertoire. My only complaint is that there weren't a lot more. I would to see Nicola Humble write a book of cake recipes.
This book is everything I hoped it would be, comprehensive,well- researched and reliable. But this is no dry,academic tome. It has a subtle humour and is eminently readable. The book itself is a beautiful object. I have bought one for myself and am now buying extra copies for friends. I loved it.