Flicking through the book initially I wanted to cook absolutely everything in it - and there's the right amount of cakes, loaves, cupcakes, cookies, whoopie pies, and cheescakes here - but looking through it again I think there's some problems with it.
It's split into these chapters:
*Valentine's Day *Spring Weekend Bakes *Mother's & Father's Day *Easter *Summer Afternoon Tea *Birthdays and Celebrations *Rainy day treats *Halloween & Bonfire Night *Christmas
But better if, like the first book, this book was split into chapters on the types of recipes themselves. It's a bit easier finding what you need, as another reviewer says. I don't think dividing it into events and occasions is that useful for most people.
Chapters on baking essentials (most of which are for beginners), are at the back of the book along with decorating ideas and a list of suppliers.
I'm not keen on the overlap between this and the other book. There's three identical recipes, all cupcakes - vanilla, chocolate, and red velvet, plus six other recipes that have obviously been slightly tweaked from the first book - lemon cupcakes/lemonade cupcakes, ginger cake/gingerbread cake, blueberry cake/blueberry and soured cream cake, pecan pie/chocolate and pecan pie, carrot cake/carrot and ginger cake, and lemon and poppy seed cake/lemon poppy seed loaf. More originality please next time and less laziness.
As most of the seven show-stopping cakes here are layered you'll need three or four sandwich tins to make them and so they require an awful lot of fat and sugar. They're pretty hardcore. Personally I prefer to make cakes in just one tin (less of a faff and a teeny bit healthier) but as I'm an experienced baker I can adjust the amounts of ingredients and timings of them, which I think is worth it - the spiced apple cake with brown sugar frosting looks especially heavenly. And with these cakes, as another reviewer says you're eating alot of sugar in one portion, if you do them layered as in the book. I guess if you're doing them for an occasional celebration they're fine.
The chocolate guinness cake isn't layered yet needs 400 grams of sugar in the sponge alone. It looks divine but I'm thinking this is a rather excessive amount! Would love to hear from anyone who's tried it. I'm thinking of adapting it with half the amount of sugar.
I made the walnut and honey loaf the other night and enjoyed it alot. Perfect for a warm spring day with a cup of tea and as he says the two ingredients marry really well.
All in all I would (cautiously) recommend it, especially for those without the first book.
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