World's Best Cakes is quite the claim, but this new baking book from Roger Pizey makes a fine job of presenting 250 recipes from around the globe. He's worked with Albert Roux and Marco Pierre White, and been head chef in top restaurants in London. This man knows his stuff and it shows. He's chosen recipes from every continent and grouped them into ten chapters from traybakes and layer cakes to pastries and tarts.
Here are ten reasons why we love it.
1) Each cake has a little intro explaining its origins, much like the Domestic Sluttery food map. They're each written with such enthusiasm that you'll find yourself bookmarking recipes involving cassava, cheese and coconut (popular in the Philippines, apparently, and now in Streatham).
2) It demystifies exotic sounding cakes from around the world. For example, mustikkapiiraat from Finland? They're basically eccles cakes, with a pinch of cardamom (those crazy Fins!).
3) A cheery chapter at the start takes you through the basic techniques you'll need. We're talking really basic. One technique is 'pouring'.
4) It's a rare recipe that needs more than six ingredients. And none of them will send you further than your local supermarket. The emphasis is on keeping things simple, rather than sending you out for obscure ingredients you'll use once and never again. The Taiwanese cake feng li su, for instance, needs nothing more extravagant than melon and pineapple.
5) Simple also means quick. Nothing's taken me more than 20 minutes to prepare so far. There are a few more challenging recipes if you want to stretch yourself - millefeuille, Moroccan m'hanncha (a delicious filo and nut concoction) and Austrian Linzer torte - but plenty to occupy you if you don't.
6) Mouthwatering full page pictures of almost every recipe (and half page photos of the rest) mean you'll just want to dive straight in. Even my cakes, which can generously be called rustic, turned out resembling the photos.
|Mexican chocolate and chilli cake and Jewish honey cake|
7a) The book has double-fan adhesive binding. This is something I raved about with Dan Lepard's baking book too, because it means it lies flat on your worktop. It's meant to be used, not just read...
7b) ...although you'll want to curl up with the 'where to eat cake' sections at the end of each chapter. Look how pretty the chapter is on Paris! You'll be booking Eurostar tickets before you know it.
8) Roger's roped in his chef mates to donate some of their favourite recipes, so you can check out Paul A Young's intensely chocolatey Torte Gianduja and Richard Corrigan's boozy More Stout Than Treacle cake.
9) Aren't you convinced yet? What more do you want? You want me to bake all 250 cakes and cram them into your gaping maw? Come on.
If you're in mourning after the Bake Off final, I'd highly recommend picking up this and doing your own Technical Bake once a week. Get your housemate to pretend to be Mary Berry and say encouraging things about your delicious range of global cakes.
World's Best Cakes by Roger Pizey is £15.85 from Amazon.