This is a spectacularly good book, by far the best I have ever seen when it comes to recipe books for cakes and pastries. There is an incredibly wide variety of cakes, many of which I'd not even heard of before. The author really has tried to include cakes from all over the world, which produces a very interesting mix of different recipes. I've attempted around ten recipes, and all seem perfectly attainable for the amateur home baker, although there are a few quite elaborate recipes near the end of the book in the celebration cakes chapter. You're not really going to bake a gingerbread house with full decoration unless you've a lot of time on your hands! As well as the recipes, you have the usual explanations of basic baking techniques, and equipment you'll need. The background behind each recipe is noted at the top of each one, with possible variations mentioned on some recipes. There are a number of recipes from guest chefs and a number of guides to eating cake in some of the world's most prominent cities [Tokyo, San Francisco, Berlin, Singapore, Stockholm & Copenhagen, Rome, New York City, Paris, Madrid, Melbourne & Sydney, London and Vienna] scattered throughout the book, with a directory of recommended establishments. The photography is very good, with each recipe having at least one photograph. If I could give this book more than five stars I would, because it really is a cut above your usual recipe books and is well worth buying.
The contents page looks like this:
Basic Techniques 10
Sponges & Layer Cakes 14
Loaves & Pound Cakes 60
Fruit, Nut & Seed Cakes 92
Tray Bakes 122
Small Cakes 150
Leavened Cakes 194
Celebration Cakes 260
Baking Basics 296
Essential Equipment 300
The full list of recipes:
Citrus Chiffon Cake
Raspberry Angel Cake
Vanilla and Blood Orange Cake
Tres Leche Cake
Caribbean Coconut Cake with Rum
Genoise with Raspberries and Cream
Japanese Strawberry Shortcake
Bolo de Fuba
Bee Sting Cake
Red Velvet Cake
Boston Cream Pie
Donovan Cooke's Filipino Cassava Cake (Guest Chef)
Pineapple Stack Cakes
Danish Layer Cake
Coconut Layer Cake
Cassata alla Siciliana
Devil's Food Cake
Willie Harcourt-Cooze's Cloud Forest Chocolate Cake (Guest Chef)
Pastel de Chocolate Mexicano
Thierry Busset's Ten Layer Coffee Chocolate Cake (Guest Chef)
Chocolate Layer Cake
Black Forest Gâteaux
Flourless Chocolate Torte
Paul A. Young's Torta Gianduja (Guest Chef)
Marble Bundt Cake
Espresso Marble Cake
American Sour Cream Cake
Mark Hix's Oyster Ale Cake (Guest Chef)
Green Tea Pound Cake
Greek Coconut Cake
Lucas Glanville's Sticky Date Cake with Caramel Sea Salt Sauce (Guest Chef)
Pistachio and Lemon Cake
Jewish Honey Cake
Olive Oil Cake with Fresh Peaches
Turkish Lemon Cake
Turkish Yogurt Cake
Almond Honey Spice Cake
Rhubarb Crumble Cake
Chocolate Rye Cake with Caramelised Bananas
Carrot and Walnut Cake
Caribbean Black Cake
Greek Fig Cake
Apple and Cinnamon Damper
Danish Apple Cake
'Jewish' Apple Cake
Richard Corrigan's More Stout Than Treacle Cake (Guest Chef)
Mandarin, Polenta and Macadamia Cake
Caraway Seed Cake
Nancy Silverton's Olive Oil Cake (Guest Chef)
Scandinavian Cardamom Coffee Cake
Coffee and Walnut Cake
Turkish Tahini Cake
Rachel Allen's Lime Yogurt Cake with Rosewater and Pistachio (Guest Chef)
Lime and Poppy Seed Syrup Cake
Baked Chocolate and Nut Cake
Chocolate and Polenta Cake
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Panforte di Siena
New York Cheesecake
Chocolate and Rum Canneles
Russian Tea Cakes
Pineapple Coconut Cakes with Pineapple Syrup
Cupcakes (Vanilla, Double Chocolate, Raspberry, Raspberry and Coconut)
Shannon Bennett's Lamingtons (Guest Chef)
Cinnamon Bear Claws
Hot Cross Buns
Easter Bun Ring
Macanese Egg Tarts
Blueberry Maids of Honour
The Classic Turnover
Kaab el Ghazal
Feng Li Su
Marco Pierre White's Harvey's Lemon Tart (Guest Chef)
Tarte aux Pommes
Oliver Peyton's Strawberry and Marjoram Cream Tart (Guest Chef)
Pithiviers with Prunes
Almond Tart with Honey
Chocolate Cinnamon Babka
Bûche de Noël
English Christmas Cake
Tarta de Santiago
Maple Syrup and Pecan Layer Cake
Galette des Rois
Passover Nut Cake
Christopher Farrugia's Maltese Prinjolata (Guest Chef)
on 18 October 2013
The book is a Masterclass in baking I own many baking books and, over the past year, I have reviewed quite a few books on cakes and baking. All I can say is GET THIS BOOK ON YOUR CHRISTMAS LIST.
Roger Pizey takes you through all the Basic Techniques you will need. shown in step by step pictures. Every recipe is accompanied by stunning photographs, often two for each bake, the whole cake and a slice, or a variation e.g. Victoria Sponge and Fairy Cakes.
The recipes themselves are clearly laid out with the ingredients and each instruction in the process clearly numbered. There is also a paragraph about the recipe and some recipes have variations too.
Another feature of the book is the pages on 'Where to Eat Cake' in various cities around the world.
For me, the standout recipes in this book were the Raspberry Angel Cake, Willie Harcourt-Cooze's Cloud Forest Chocolate Cake, Pastel de Chocolate Mexicano (A Chilli Chooclate cake), Espresso Marble Cake, Olive Oil Cake with Peaches, Richard Corrigan's More Stout Than Treacle Cake, Basbousa (a Semolina cake), Banana Cheesecake, Mustikkapiiraat (Finnish Blueberry Buns), Cinnamon Bear Claws and Christopher Farrugia's Maltese Prinjolata. I made the Chelsea Buns and the recipe was easy to follow and the buns tasted amazing.
Are you getting the picture? I could go on and on because every cake looks fantastic and fascinating and so, so delicious that I want to make every cake.
Well written recipes, beautiful pictures, lots of cakes I've never even heard of, let alone made, before. The step by step basic techniques is easy to follow and there is also a section at the end of the book called 'Baking Basics' which includes recipes for Creme Anglaise, Creme Patissiere Royal Icing, Chocolate Ganache etc.
Not really a book for a beginner baker, the recipes are clear enough but there are many which demand more technique, fine if you have a little experience of baking and want to expand your repertoire.
on 1 October 2013
There is no denying Roger Pizey's experience. He has worked with luminaries such as Albert Roux and Marco Pierre White, as well as several stints as head chef in some of the top restaurants in London. In this book, he has collected 250 of some of the greatest cakes in the world, and they are indeed from all around the world
Flicking through the pages of this book, you immediately get a sense that Pizey has collected recipes from the four corners of the globe. There are recipes from every continent. This truly is a collection of the world's best cakes. Each recipe also includes a small introduction giving details of the recipes origin, and I am happy to note that they all feature some of the most beautiful and tantalizing pictures I have seen.
The book starts with an introduction from Pizey, followed by a useful chapter on techniques that are used throughout. The recipes themselves are grouped into 10 chapters of similar types such as Sponges & Layer cakes, Traybakes, and Pastries.
The last few chapters consist of Baking Basics which has essential recipes for Crèmes, Ganaches and Icing that you will need to decorate or fill your lovely creations. There is then a section discussing essential equipment for any budding pastry chef. The book closes with a comprehensive A-Z index which in a book this large, is essential.
The recipes themselves are clear and detailed, yet not overly wordy or as complicated as some of the cakes may suggest. Pizey expertly guides you through each stage. The level of difficulty I would say varies drastically. There are some well-known family favourites among unusual and regional cakes that most of the readers may not have heard of. One of the most wonderful things about this book is the scope of the collection.
Another highlight is the handful of mini travel guides detailing the best places to eat cake in a host of international cities across the globe.
My favourite recipes were Coffee and Walnut Cake, Bee Sting Cake, and the Tippaleipä. I have to say, this is by far the best collection of cakes I have seen. If you have this book, you can throw away all your other books of cake recipes. This is the only one you will need.
on 6 March 2015
This has to be one of the most amazing baking books I now own. I have already tried a few things from it and they were delicious.
Before I get into my review I will mention the gripes I have already found with the book - 250 degrees Celsius is higher than my oven goes, or most peoples I should imagine. I have only seen this on one recipe and I successfully reproduced it with my oven on maximum temperature (230c) so it’s not too much of an issue, but being someone almost obsessive about following recipes it does annoy me that I can't get my oven that high, and the author perhaps forgot that most people buying this book will not have professional ovens at home.
The second gripe I have with this book, and many, many other cook books is lack of instruction for temperature adjustments for fan assisted ovens. I have found after a bit of experimentation that the best way to adjust the cooking to allow for a fan assisted oven is to reduce the temperature by 20 degrees Celsius but to keep the cooking time the same as the recipe suggests. I do tend to check on the food earlier, so for instance, if a recipe says 30-45 minutes I will start checking at 30 minutes and then at regular intervals thereon after. Sometimes things will need to come out sooner in the range of recommended cooking times, but not always, so it is worth checking.
The book is beautifully arranged with amazing pictures to accompany every recipe that give you a clear view, and some inspiration of the authors intended look of the finished product.
The ingredients are all easy to buy, despite being written by a pastry chef that has won several awards and received 3 Michelin stars at more than one restaurant.
The equipment is all easily obtainable and you are likely to have most of it at home already, except perhaps the Madeline bun tins or the Bundt tin unless you have made those before. There are a couple of things in there that you may not have like acetate strips or the croquembouche mould but these are readily available online.
The recipes are easy to understand and are written well, with no mistakes that I have found yet. A nice little touch to the book that I think some cookbooks lack is a little introduction to the recipe, with maybe a background on the author’s love of the cake and the flavours it will produce. I think this is a nice touch because when you are making something for the first time or you are an inexperienced baker it can be hard to imagine it. I can remember a time when it was hard to look at all of the ingredients of a cake and imagine the finished product and what flavours it will have and this really is something that most cookbooks don’t give you that I think is a really nice personal touch from the author.
The recipes are written from the ground up so at no point does the author assume your skill level, you could be a complete novice at baking and still successfully reproduce anything from this book if you follow the step by step instructions. As for the more experienced bakers of the world, it’s still worth glancing over how he does things because sometimes he does things slightly differently to other recipes you may have used before.
The book itself has a nice glossy dustcover which is cleanable within reason and underneath is a fabric structured cover, so it’s probably best to keep the dust cover on to protect that unless you don't mind your books getting a little worn or dirty over time. Underneath the dust cover is a plan front with no pictures which in my opinion is quite pleasing to the eye, so if you’re not a fan of the slightly old school looking design to the book, you can remove the dust cover and have a book that resembles more of a classic.
The range of recipes is fantastic, there really is something for everyone in this book, and also every occasion.
My top three recipes:
1: My favourite has to be the Devil’s Food Cake. It came out perfect and it has to be the best chocolate cake I have ever eaten. The frosting is not a traditional butter frosting, but a very complicated and time consuming recipe that I don’t make every time I bake this cake, I often substitute it for butter icing but that’s the beauty of cooking, tweaking for your time, ingredients and taste. Still, despite being very time consuming and complicated, it is a nice alternative and a very different sort of frosting to what most of us are used to. It comes up with a glossy glaze and a slightly soft finish.
2: The Lemon Drizzle is an amazingly soft and fluffy lemon infused loaf with sugar syrup infused with lemon drizzled all over it, which hardens into a crusty outer shell, and it is simply the best lemon cake I have ever had and the only one I will eat.
3: Mango cake, just as soft and fluffy as the lemon cake with a good dose of vitamins from the mango. It only has a hint of mango in it, but it really is amazing. I usually add a little whipped cream and then it is 100% perfect.
The book also includes a few sections on the best patisserie's and bakeries around the world, so if you are a frequent flier then this book is a treasure trove for more than its delicious recipes.
(Edit: 2016 Amazon seem to have updated this now!) One thing I will mention, as I did not notice this till the book arrived - the book is not by Marco Pierre White, it's actually by Roger Pizey who is in himself just as accomplished and revered as Marco Pierre White within the desert world. If you’re like me and you tend to base your purchase of books on reviews more than reading amazons description of the book then you may of at first glance from the way they display Marco Pierre White in the search results assumed that he was the author, they actually list Roger Pizey as the author and display that Marco Pierre White wrote the foreword on the books actual page, but the search results are slightly misleading there. If you purchased this book, or intend to based on the fact that it is by Marco Pierre White, then you should not be concerned, as Roger worked with Marco in a 3 Michelin star restaurant and then went on to other successful 3 star establishments as the patisserie chef with 25 years’ experience, and he won the Egon Ronay Dessert of the Year in 1992.
I can't recommend that you buy this book enough. If you are looking for a basic baking book with a plain sponge cake, or fairy cake recipes then this is not it. This book is full of show stoppers, treats, eye candy and mouth-watering temptations. Do not be put off by the way I worded that though, this book is not written so that only experienced bakers can use it, as I said it is all written step by step so if you have not made a recipe before or you are worried about your skill level, then you need not fear. The books is not assuming your skill either way, any aspiring baker can reproducing anything in here successfully.
on 13 June 2016
At first glance I was impressed with the range of cakes. However, once I started to use the recipes, sweet pastry is a perfect example, I get the impression that the author has not actually made most of his recipes. There is no details like what size of egg is required, what type of butter..should it be cold or room temperature...block or soft etc. I wasted 600g of flour, eggs and sugar not to mention time taken to follow the directions for sweet pastry( first time I made it I assumed I had done something wrong, so I tried again),.all went into the bin. Back to Paul Hollywood who details the ingredients better and shows you how it's done. By the way, I sent an email to the author and I'm still waiting for a reply!
on 4 December 2015
This book is ace. Anyone thinking of going on Great British Bake Off should definitely get this book and swot up because it features many of the cakes chosen for the technical challenges that most people have never heard of eg Princesstarta, & Croquembouche and I'm sure there are plenty more in there that haven't been chosen as yet...
on 19 January 2015
I bought this book when it retailed at £4 but would have happily paid full price.
The book is well laid out, lots of pictures with easy to follow recipes. I say the book would be a great book for someone starting out who wanted to develop their skills as they progressed.
Old favourites such as lemon drizzle and carrot cake appear but then you have spectacular items like Croquembouche.
What I immediately liked about this book was that there were many cakes in it that i hadn't heard of and the author usually begins each recipe with a interesting paragraph about them.
Another great feature of the book were the cafe suggestions for a number of cities, which could be found amongst the recipes.
I'd definitely say this book is a must have for every baker and I look forward to working my way through it.
on 5 February 2014
Every now and then, someone with decades of skills and experience at the highest level decides to share it with the rest of us. If we're very lucky, they turn out to be a natural communicator - able to transmit their message efficiently, effectively and, very occasionally, with a profound sense of the sheer joy of their trade. Roger Pizey does all this and more with this book. It is an extraordinary catalogue of the world of cake, stuffed with glorious recipes for cakes familiar and less so, together with little inserts about the best places to eat cake all over the world. And don't let the title fool you. This book is about much more than cake. There are pastries, cheesecakes, tarts - anything that the author excels at is here. New to baking? Don't worry, this book includes full information on the technical aspects of baking cakes and pastries, from the basics up. I don't usually care much for the often useless coloured pictures in most cookbooks, but here they are brilliantly done, so that you can really see what you are striving for. It would be pointless to select a few recipes and say how well they work - what about the rest of them? Instead, I pick one of the most common, usually boring, cakes to appear in baking books - lemon drizzle cake. The version here is wonderful, not only the best I've ever had - but some distance apart from the pack. It's also quite easy; so if you are a novice, this is the cake to start with! As ever with baking, make sure that every ingredient is of the best quality if you want the very best cake.
Criticisms? Apart from the inadequate title, that's a difficult one. I suppose a place-marker ribbon would have been useful so you could easily flip from recipe to the appropriate skill section and back - but that's hardly a deal breaker. It's a privilege and a pleasure to own and use this book - I expect to be using it for decades.
on 20 August 2015
On a day out to Aberystwyth a few weeks ago, I was sitting in a lovely Café with a cuppa and piece of cake when I spied some cookbooks on a bookshelf and, being the avid baker that I am, grabbed a few to browse through whilst I was snaffling my cake, including this one.
I have European family (Austrian, German, Dutch, Polish) so baking is in our DNA but unfortunately a lot of my aunts (sensational bakers, all) are no longer with us and their 'family recipes' have been lost because their own children showed no (shock, horror!) interest in baking so when I opened this book and saw a lot of the recipes I'd long forgotten, it did, I confess, bring a little tear to the eye and as soon as I arrived home again, I ordered the book for myself.
It's broken down into Chapters: Sponges & Layer Cakes; Loaves & Pound Cakes; Fruit, Nut & Seed Cakes; Tray bakes; Cheesecakes; Small Cakes; Leavened Cakes; Pastries' Tarts; Celebration Cakes and also gives advice on Baking Techniques at the beginning for those who may need it, and Baking Basics and Essential Equipment to complete the picture. It's also beautifully photographed and has information on 'Where To Eat Cake' in each of the countries from which the cakes originate, ie:
Melbourne & Sydney
New York City
Stockholm & Copenhagen
Personally, I would have liked the Chapters to be the countries named above and the relevant cakes listed under them but there - I'm not the author nor the publisher so what do I know? That would just have made it a little better in my book (no pun intended).
As you can imagine, the original family recipes having been lost, this book makes a very good substitute if, like me, you live in a different country to your main family members and wish to evoke that 'little taste of home' from time to time when nostalgia takes a hold. Or if you simply like to rev up your baking and stun your friends and family with 'something a little different', then this definitely is the book for you.
on 29 March 2014
This is a very nice book. Lovely pictures for nearly every bake. He doesn't do a great deal in explaining techniques and methods so would agree with other reviewers that it may not suit a novice baker. The recipes I've tried have come out well and many of them look very yummy. Would make a great gift for someone who likes baking.