The latest sumptuous outing by Emilly Ladybird has stepped away from the jewellery- and accessory-making of her first two books, and moved onto that other steampunk obsession: food, and more particularly - cake.
Gorgeously photographed by Martin Soulstealer, with layout and graphic design by Terry Lightfoot, this book is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the stomach. So much so, in fact, that if you are planning on trying out the recipes contained within, I'd recommend copying them out onto scrap paper first to save your book from any unfortunate kitchen catastrophes.
Focussing mainly on cake and sweet treats, there are a variety of recipes suitable for all skill levels, from the straightforward Magical Fruit Scones to the more involved and time consuming Sherpa's Chestnuts and Gin & Tonic Cake. Some require some specialist equipment or unusual supplies, but there is a brief supply section at the back of the book, along with conversion charts for the weights and measures and cooking temperatures. And if sugary confections are not your thing, there are also several savoury options, including a couple of very interesting chutney recipes.
As with Steampunk Emporium and Steampunk Apothecary, the making sections are organised by various themes and linked by short stories, making this as much a work of fiction as a cookery book. There are some recurring organisations and characters, but you don't actually need to have read either of the previous books to enjoy this one.
Even if you have no idea what steampunk is, if you're looking for an interesting twist on cake-making and a beautiful coffee-table book, you would be hard-pressed to find such a fun one elsewhere.