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Vintage Cakes: More Than 90 Heirloom Recipes for Tremendously Good Cakes Paperback – September 17, 2012
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'It's a visual and practical feast.' The Lady 'This beautifully illustrated book, styled to perfection with all things vintage used throughout, provides delicious cake recipes all with a retro twist. With baking more popular than ever in the UK the writer serves up a cake to suit every occasion.' Retirement Today 'If you've been caught up in the vintage trend you'll love this book.' Great British Food 'Stunning book...Detailed and precise, it will suit novice and experienced bakers alike.' Woman & Home --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Jane Brocket is the successful author of The Gentle Art of Domesticity and Turkish Delight and Treasure Hunts. She has written about baking with children for the Guardian. Jane's blog Yarnstorm was started in 2007 and covers quilting, baking, color, culture and inspiration. Yarnstorm is the leading domestic/craft blog in the UK, but also has a wide readership in the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Top customer reviews
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I made the Devonshire splits the first. I followed her recipe exactly and found myself relishing in their doughy goodness. I took photos of them because they were beautiful, but, alas, reviews do not allow photos.
The raspberry jam cakes were next and that recipe was just as delightful. I didn't have self-rising flour, but I found a substitution that added baking soda, baking powder and salt to all-purpose flour and that worked just the same. Jane's advice about type of jam and amount to use were spot on. I used a runny jam and overfilled some of them (just to test her) and they leaked just like she said they would. I made other jam cakes with a firm jam and I filled them with the just the amount in her recipe and they were picture perfect.
I'm making a recipe every weekend and am trying to consume in moderation. I haven't had any problems with measurements and my finished product. I'm a biologist-turned-high school science teacher, myself, and understand the other reviewer's mention of metric units being more exact, but I haven't found a need for ordering the UK version. Jane's recipes are working perfectly for me as they are written. The photography is lovely and charming. It makes me want to host a tea party just to present a bounty of color and flavor to good friends.
Jane states which items keep well (and for how long) and which ones should be eaten same day. I would abide by her suggestions as I've tested those as well and find the lady knows what she's writing about.
This is a really great cookbook. You get a ton of recipes, each with color photos and short histories. It's very reasonably priced (I think) for what it offers and would definitely make for a lovely gift to any baker you know. I'm loving every page of it. If you do order it, make sure you buy extra butter, whipping cream, your favorite jam and some bread flour so your are ready to dive in when it arrives!
ETA: The recipes have not failed yet! I've since baked the maple walnut cake, scones and sticky toffee pudding. All have been delicious. Her scone recipe makes a true English scone, nothing like American biscuits in texture and crumb.
Author Jane Brocket categorizes her recipes as Cake-tin Cakes, Everyday Cakes, Little Cakes, Posh Cakes, Fancies & Frivolities and Celebration Cakes. Cake-tin Cakes are cakes which will keep for several days in a tightly covered container, the kind of cake often baked in a square or loaf pan. Everyday Cakes might surprise you. While the chapter starts with Victoria Sandwich, a lovely cake made of two layers of an airy vanilla sponge sandwiched together with whipped cream and sometimes raspberry jam, you'll also find recipes for scones, Welsh cakes, donuts, banana bread and a no-bake treat called Chocolate Tiffin. Little Cakes are quick and easy-to-make treats like Lamingtons, brownies, Rock Buns (this is the same as the Rock Cakes that Hagrid bakes in the Harry Potter series) and Devonshire splits.
You'll find Posh cakes quite similar to what Americans think of as "cake". Jane has included a lovely Lemon Chiffon cake and a traditional British Battenberg cake (a pink and white checkerboard wrapped in marzipan) and a Chocolate Roulade along with a number you'll instantly recognize - Tres Leches, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Devil's Food Cake - and some vintage classics from the Continent.
Fancies and Frivolities are, like Little Cakes, mostly small cakes but these are perhaps a bit more time consuming to produce. Here you'll find Fondant Fancies (what we buy here as "petit fours" - tiny squares of cake covered in fondant icing), two different kinds of Madeleines, butterfly cakes, meringues and macaroons, while the chapter on Celebration Cakes includes recipes for Simnel Cake, Stollen, traditional Christmas Cake and more.
The book is nicely laid out and easy to read - no reading glasses required. There is a picture for each recipe.
About half the recipes in the book call for self-rising flour, something that is not always available in some parts of the US. Recently, however, I did notice my local supermarket had laid in a supply and King Arthur Flour down the road a piece has added self-rising flour to their product line, so I grabbed a bag specifically for testing a few recipes from this book. Last night I had a hankering for cake, so I baked up the very first recipe in the book, Marmalade Cake, and I must say that it is perhaps the best orange cake I've had - redolent of orange, moist, with a lovely light texture and bits of orange peel scattered throughout. I'm going to get a lot of use out of this book - and that brings me to the BUT
Did you ever notice that sometimes you'll worry and fret over a problem trying to find a solution only to stumble over what should have been obvious all along? Well, I have had that kind of "love affair" with measuring systems for decades. Many of the recipes for things I enjoyed during the time that I lived in Germany are in metrics, so I have mucked around and fiddled with calculators and performed all kinds of gymnastics trying to convert them into US measures. If you've seen the movie Julie & Julia, you'll know that Julia Child tortured herself over exactly the same problem with her recipes.
Over the years I've listened to this person and that expound at great length about how much "better" and "more precise" metrics are and so on and so forth ad nauseum. Frankly, I've never particularly noticed that metrics produces a "better" product than US Standard measures. Moreover, trying to convert US Standard to metrics leaves you with truly odd amounts - things like 373 grams when virtually everyone measures in multiples of 5.
Going the other way, like Julia Child and I did, is equally problematic. Metric measurements are usually given in some multiple of 5 or 10 and they do not always fit exactly into US Standard measuring cups. Julia Child spent a full decade reinventing each recipe practically from scratch to get the proportions correct. Not having that kind of patience, I simply did without those things I could only find metric recipes for. And then one day it struck me right between the eyes: I know how to measure in metrics, digital scales are easy to come by and relatively inexpensive, my measuring spoons have both US Standard and Metric markings and every Pyrex measuring cup I've had in more than 2 decades has had US Standard measures on one side and metrics on the other. YOU DON'T NEED TO CONVERT THE RECIPES!
Unfortunately, Jane Brocket did convert the recipes - and it shows. Virtually every recipe in the book contains at least one measurement that specifies "scant" or "generous". (Metric measurements don't fit exactly into US measuring cups.) Now, if you are an experienced baker this probably won't matter much to you unless you are the compulsive sort that must measure every last grain as if you were conducting a nuclear reaction. If you are not an experienced baker with a pretty good eye for how scant is too scant and how generous is too generous, then do yourself a huge favor, visit the Amazon UK site and order this book in the UK version, which will give you the measurements in metrics.
What, you say you can't use the metric system? Oh yes you can! As I've told hundreds of students, if you can spend money you can use metrics! Easy as pie. Based on 10, just like our number system and our money.
Lovely book, lovely cake, recommended with reservations.