December 27, 2010

Book Review: A World of Cake by Krystina Castella

Well, life has certainly been very busy lately.  I hope you all had a very special Christmas :)

Something exciting that has happened lately is that I've been sent a delightful cook book to review: A World of Cake, by Krystina Castella!  What's even more exciting, is that the publishing company (Storey Publishing) is very generously offering a copy of this book as a giveaway to one of you lovely people!  I'll explain how you can be in the draw in a moment, but right now I want to talk about how awesome this book is!

A World of Cake is not just a beautifully presented cake recipe book, it's also a stroll through the history of the origin of different cakes from all over the globe.

"From scratch" is what comes to mind as I read the recipes in this book; Many of the recipes are made without using pre-made ingredients. That being said, some of these recipes may take a bit of time to make. One thing I would always recommend (not just for this book) is reading the recipe right through from beginning to end, so that you don't get caught out finding that you need to make something like jam while you're in the middle of the recipe. What I normally do is either make certain parts the day before (eg. Make the red bean paste for Japanese red bean buns) or set aside a good block of time in the kitchen.

I really love making things from scratch. It gives me such a wonderful sense of achievement to be able to say that I made every part of a recipe myself. And Generally, I just don't have the pre-made ingredients a recipe calls for, but I do have the ingredients to make them! I believe Homemade is generally best (eg. Lemon curd)! Though I am certainly not opposed to saving time by using pre-made things if you don't have much time up your sleeve.

What I was really very impressed with, was the variety of cakes in this book. They are not just the traditional "what you would consider as cake" sorts of cakes. You know, the dense, buttery, moistness of mud cake or fluffy goodness of sponge cake. There are cakes from all over the world that have a much different texture to the average Australian cake (eg. fried cakes, steamed cakes, crispy cakes etc).  There are cakes from many different countries: Africa, India, Japan, Spain and even Australia & New Zealand - to name a few.

The recipes are easy to follow, and informative. There are gorgeous photos throughout. There is a great section at the back which talks about how to make all different sorts of cake icing (that's frosting, for the americans!).

What I am particularly keen to make is the red bean balls from the japan section, because I've never made them, and I've never come across a recipe for them! And besides that, they are super tasty!

I have bookmarked many recipes to try out already & can't wait til I can spend some quality time in my kitchen with this great book.

Now: the details on how you can be in the draw to receive a copy of this wonderful book for yourself!

Leave me a comment with your name and a description of your favorite sort of cake, then tell me why it's the best! The draw will be random to give people equal opportunity to win. This competition is open to all readers wherever you are. Entries close midnight 1st January 2011, Sydney Australia time +10hrs (+1hr Daylight saving) GMT.  Once I draw the winner, I will be in contact to get your address details, and the publishing company will send you the book directly.

Now, get describing! :)