I'd previously bought the National Trust Simply Bake book and whilst many of the recipes look pretty good, for me this book wins hands down. Although the teatime baking book just focuses on afternoon tea recipes, as the name suggests, I am much more impressed with the choice of recipes, even though 'Simply bake' includes some lovely desserts and cakes. Having flicked through the teatime baking book, after receiving it yesterday, there are only about 3 or 4 recipes that I can't see myself trying at some point, starting this evening.
If it just cakes that you are wanting to be cooking, I would recommend this book over 'Simply Bake'. The only downside is that this early edition of the teatime baking book contains very few photographs. This didn't bother me but I can imagine that it might draw other people to the newer edition.
Since writing the above review I have had chance to try out many of the cake recipes in this book. If you are a lover of traditional British cakes, this book is for you. All of the cakes that I made were easy to prepare and delicious. I'm now looking forward to working my way through the rest.
I make cakes very often as many of my friends and co-workers can't cook and often call on me to cater for their every (cake) need, so I'm always on the look-out for new and enticing recipes and this book has exceeded my expectations.
Full of easy to make cakes that even the novice baker won't baulk at tackling, the book is written in an easy to understand style; nice font so it doesn't strain the eyes, and the recipes are mostly very short - a case of shoving all the ingredients in a bowl and stirring is often all that's required. If you have a stand food mixer, it's even easier.
Recipes I have tried are:
Chocolate Orange Drizzle Cake (Page 129) - delish! Date & Walnut Loaf (Page 35) - lovely served with a light spreading of Lurpak or salty butter with a cuppa in the afternoon Herb Bread (Page 29) - nice to accompany a light supper with cheeses, pickles, ham instead of sandwiches Wilfra Apple Cake (Page 102) - scrumptious Spicy Apple Flan (Page 96) - ditto! Linzer Biscuits (Page 112) - my family is Austrian, so I added lemon zest to adhere to the original Linzer Torte Mincemeat Cake (Page 151) - handy if you need to use up the mincemeat you've had in your cupboard for a few years! American Zucchini Cake (Page 158) - I'm a huge fan of using veggies in cakes (see Harry Eastwood's recipe book too) and this one's STUNNING Orange & Lemon Cake (Page 165) - easy to make, easy to eat Carrot Cake with Lime Topping (Page 162) - a nice quirky twist on the often too 'sickly' topping - this has a welcome and scrumptious twang to it
So if you want to learn how to bake - or even if you're an accomplished/keen baker like me - this is definitely the book for you. Or if you want to give a lovely gift to someone who wants to learn how to bake, give them this book together with an apron, mixing bowl and wooden spoon and they will thank you forever!
One more cookbook for my collection. As cookbooks are very hard to rate, because cooking is very personal, and I have many cookbooks, it is difficult to say anything sensible about this cookbook as a cookbook. It is a very nice book.
Mother-in-law, now 88 used to be a volunteer at a National Trust property, working in the tea room. She lost her recipe notes during a recent house move and we bought this to make up for the loss. She loves it and I get the benefit of the fantastic cakes she has been able to make again after several years of soggy and collapsed efforts.