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And No, I wouldn't send it.

Dear Ms Bullock-Prado,

Thank you for writing the cook book 'Bake it like you mean it'.  I am normally cautious of US cook books but yours seemed to have a strong German influence and be mostly readable to a UK cook.  However I have a few points to raise given my experience of the cover cake called Walk the line.

1.  Having the method and amounts overleaf from each other is awkward.  Book already has four greasy finger prints on it.  Moving the pretty picture two pages over to the end of the recipe would have avoided this.

2.  I used a good cocoa but not the £14.00 a kilo version you have used as I found the recipe a tad extravagant.  It must be extremely potent as your cake is practically black and mine is the colour of a milky latte.  I already feel inferior.

3.  Having to roll up 108" of narrow swiss roll requires one heck of a kitchen worktop, four hands and possibly a move found in erotic tantric rituals or the type of twist that funds the lavish lifestyle of many chiropractors.

4.  Is it really appropriate for a recipe to contain 24 eggs and 1.4kg of butter?  Please remember that in the UK we still live in huts and eat pease pudding and dirt.

5.  When you state that butter should be added by the tablespoon and there is no mention of it being in a liquid or solid state - one is forced to sheepishly compromise with softened butter.  It's sort of like going to the Isle of Man on holiday and claiming that it's 'abroad'.

6.  A warning that the egg-white buttercream may come very close to overflowing a standard 4.8L food mixer bowl would be helpful.  I doubt my nerves could have taken much more.  How does one capture, hygienically, overflowing egg white and sugar boiled to exactly 72 centigrade as you instructed?  Also the instruction that you should put the bowl from a food mixer over hot water to start the egg whites off is fine but saying that your process will be complete when the bowl has cooled does not take account of the cooling times of a metal, glass or other material bowl.  My husband who has an excellent understanding of thermodynamics which he is keen to share, will probably treat me to an explanation, with experiments.  For this, I thank you.

7.  On the plus side the swiss rolls were so flexible that my husband gleefully picked one up by the end and flexed it - at this point I was about to bar him from the kitchen as I had visions of the previous night's hours work breaking into pieces.

8.  It is extremely difficult to get Jelly Pans in the UK.  The concept of a baking tin 17.5 inches by 12.5 inches is too much for us.  The largest I found was 15 by 9.  This involved a headache causing bout of maths to discover that 3 12 by 9 pans would get me 86% of the area of your suggested method and 78% of the length.  My long dead primary school Maths teacher is currently grinning in her grave.

We shall talk further about 'Britting up your tome' when I have finished icing the cake tomorrow.

attimes_bracing: (Default)
I have quite a few cook books but there are very few where I have actually cooked more than 2-3 recipes from them.  Peyton and Byrne's British baking is a useful and straight forward.  I have had it about 2 months and have tried the following:
  • Rich chocolate cake - looks simple but slightly faffy (my egg whites refused to peak) tastes like a nut less Brownie
  • Coffee and Walnut cake - Popular.  Making is easy but there is a mistake in the quantities of cream cheese.  They have said 600g of cream cheese to cover (they do not say to slice it and sandwich it) a 20cm cake.  This is far far too much.  I suggest 400g is plenty.
  • Black forest gateau - easy and lovely but I did not cook the chocolate sponge as one slab and slice it.  Instead I cooked 3 separate sponges and it came out very well.  My cake did not crack like theirs.
  • Ginger and Black treacle bread - Loads of washing up.   Made it with half the ginger and still came out lovely.
  • Banana Nut Bread - good but pedestrian.  Very adaptable
By the end of this week I will have been paid to make the following for colleagues at work:
  • Chocolate Marble Cake with White Chocolate Icing
  • Raspberry Cheesecake.


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December 2016

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