Monday, 11 June 2012

Review: Peggy Porschen's Boutique Baking

When we bake, apart from creating something delicious, deep down we all want to create something spectacular, something to impress every one. Well look no further as I have found the perfect book to help you do just that.  Peggy Porschen's 'Boutique Baking' is a treasure trove of a book; offering recipes, know-how and photographs which are good enough to eat.

Peggy Porschen is one of the most prominent and pioneering names in contemporary cake design.  Renowned for her exquisite craftsmanship combined with a love of baking, her passion is for creating delectable works of art that taste as good as they look.  This new book captures the essence of Peggy's technical skill and inspired use of colour while also ensuring that each cake is both achievable and delicious to eat.

Boutique Baking has an unrivalled range of recipes that combines traditional baking with chic, simple finishing touches.  The first chapter, Sweet Treats, features all time favourites such as Meringue Kisses and Macaroons as well as Peggy's take on Cake Pops.  In Beautiful Biscuits there are recipes inspired by her German origins including Gingerbread Men and Mulled Wine Stars.  The third chapter focuses on the most desirable cake phenomenon of the decade - the cup cake, and Peggy gives away the secret of her incredibly scrumptious repertoire of gourmet cup cakes.  The Luscious Layer Cake chapter provides stunning ideas for sophisticated occasions while Classic Cakes & Bakes shows how to revive traditional recipes, creating gorgeous looking and delicious cakes such as Neapolitan marble cake and Chocolate Battenberg. Last but not least the book closes with a chapter on fabulous finishing touches, basic recipes for frostings and fillings, and delicious ideas for home-made drinks that perfectly accompany the cakes.

The book starts with a very fetching contents page which looks deliciously enticing with the various chapters dedicated to each type of cake.  The format of the book is very well-organised and makes finding a particular recipe very easy.  The only trouble you are going to have is deciding on which recipe to cook up first...

Each recipe is accompanied by fantastic photography and the quality of paper which the book is printed on makes the book feel a very indulgent read.

This clever book proves to be far more than just a recipe book though as it offers unique suggestions of how to serve the various treats.  For example:

"Pretty pastel-coloured mini meringues are simple and yet so adorable.  They add a lovely touch to a table for any occasion displayed in chic candy jars.  They look delicious,  With a very long shelf-life, they are the perfect gift when wrapped in cellophane bags."

Apart from the excellent serving ideas, the recipes are also laid out in a very easy to understand format.  The list of ingredients are separated from the list of equipment that you will need, so nothing is taken for granted and you can make sure that you have each and every item before you start.

But what is really noticeable about this book is that each and every recipe is totally unique, there is nothing rehashed.  I mean we've all seen cake pops but look at these novel cake pops....
Mulled Star biscuits....

Summer Berry Cake....

Raspberry and Rose Dome Cake....

And look at these delicate Morello Cherry Bakewell Tarts.....

As a relative newcomer to cake decorating I feel that this book has a great range of projects to suit my abilities and also some to extend and enhance my level of skill with the clever hints and tips that the book features.

This book is quite different to lots of books on the market because it doesn't just revolve around cake decorating; it revolves around getting a great recipe for a great tasting cake or biscuit too.  So you can be sure of outstanding results whichever recipe you choose to make.  

I was blown away by the level of innovation incorporated in the book though and one of my favourites was a Gingerbread Village - I'll leave this one as a surprise for when you read the book yourself, but you really have to see the photos of this project to realise how good it is.  It involves laser-cut town-house stencils and a drill suitable for food, but wow are the results worth it!  This project is most definitely going on my to-do list!

And just when you think this book couldn't possibly get any better, you have a section on drinks!  Pink Lemonade, Minteani, Summer Berry Ice Tea, Hot White Chocolate with Vanilla, Home-made Hot Chocolate, Banana & Peanut Butter Smoothie and Mulled Wine.  

I don't think I have ever had a book before where each and every recipe is so appealing, and so I plan on working from front to back with this book.  I am hoping as the book is so extensive in its range of recipes and also in terms of help and advice that I will be able to treat this book something like a coursebook.  I will be able to purchase relevant baking tools as I go along.

Highly recommended!

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