Get This Book & Bake Yourself A Cake: A Book Review

Imagine needing only four cake recipes to be able to bake any cake you want. This book makes that premise a reality.

I interviewed Ginny Roces De Guzman for Fully Booked’s Zine a full year before she released her latest cookbook, Bake Me A Cake. Initially scheduled for a February 2011 release, it debuted in November that same year. Sitting in Gustare, her commissary-cum-take-away store way back in October 2010, it was a thrill to browse through the jpegs of her soon-to-be released cookbook. While this is her first baking book, Ginny had already penned other books: The Philippine Cookbook co-authored with Nina Daza-Puyat, and Celebrations: A Culinary Feast from the Roces-Reyes Table among others. Bake Me A Cake is Ginny’s first solo writing venture and the impression I gleaned back then was of a writer completely in awe of the process and a skilled baker excited to share her secret with fellow bakers.

The secret is that it takes only four basic cake recipes – sponge, butter, meringue wafers, and chocolate – to make any type of cake you wish. It’s quite the revelation to prodigious cookbook and recipe collectors and a motivation too. The book is how Ginny herself comes across in person, warm and encouraging. Large fonts and a playful layout paired with plenty of full color photos (shot by Neal Oshima) serve as impetus to get into the kitchen.

As the founder of Sugarhouse, this book is no ode to Ginny’s former business. There are a few throwbacks to those days such as the Concorde, Marjolaine, and the requisite Sans Rival, but the majority of the cakes are enduring classics to introduce to a new generation. These are the cakes we may have heard about like the Malacañang Roll or the Gâteau Nelusko. I, for one, am overjoyed to find a recipe for a King Oscar – oh, might it be just like what the Peninsula serves? And maybe now I can make an Old-Fashioned Caramel [cake] similar to Costa Brava’s. It’s not all quaintly retro however. There are new takes on cakes, and with whimsical names to boot: Über Ube Cupcakes, Cocoa Chanel, and Chocolate Banoffee Verrine. Ginny also manages to sneak in some cakey but technically not cake treats: scones, calamansi muffins, and the very of-the-moment cake pops.

A cake list lets you get right to the recipe you want and useful sidebar tips keep the baker aware and informed. The usual procedure is to bake the master cake recipe and then follow the instructions for the desired application. Thus, bake the meringue wafers and coat them with white chocolate coffee cream to make a Coffee Dacquoise or layer the wafers with mangoes, cream, and sugar to make a Mango Divine.

While this book is truly encouraging and written in a conversational tone, I’d recommend this only for the intermediate baker. There are recipes that assume that you know how to use – much less own – a candy thermometer, that you’re versed in folding a lighter batter into a heavier one, and that you own an arsenal of pans including the rather obscure 8 x 4-inch round baking pan (the more common one is the 8 x 3).

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My rating: &#9733/5

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Bake Me A Cake
By Ginny Roces De Guzman
Hardcover: 160 pages
Sketchbooks, Inc.
P1,199.00 at all Fully Booked Stores .

This book is part of my Lori’s Book Picks for January. Click image on the sidebar for a discount.

See my other book reviews here.

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