Want seasonal cakes year round? Dive into Calendar of Cakes by Fiona Roberts and Jacqui Way »
New recipes, plus baking tips and tricks from the South Australian CWA
By Shari Hatfield
The Country Women's Association is a progressive organisation – now reinventing itself to attract a younger generation of women, both country and city – that has weathered two world wars and never failed to please at an afternoon tea table.
This book continues the CWA's tradition of success, and is a pleasure on many levels, starting with the glossy cover photograph of a young lady in a checked apron holding a plate of lamingtons. Like the CWA, it is inviting, timeless and comforting.
Calendar of Cakes is aptly titled. Each month it offers four recipes that make the most of seasonal produce, a concept that's not news to foodies, but one which has taken a while to reach the world of baking.
For those saddened by the political correctness that cuts down on the staples of baking pleasure – butter and sugar – this book achieves a well-judged balance of cake recipes for a broad audience.
It satisfies the traditional indulgences, with recipes for things like Banana and Caramel Cake, but it has something for those looking for healthier options, like ‘Free' Blueberry and Banana Bread.
Each recipe is prefaced with notes from contributors. These introduce and humanise the recipes and we can almost see the splatters of a hundred bakings accumulated on them. Mim Gollan from the CWA's Adelaide Branch, for example, describes her copy of a recipe as 'edible paper'!
Aside from its many excellent recipes, this book includes some gems of baking wisdom. It provides a good foundation text for a novice to use, explaining basic preparations, ingredients, cooking methods, temperatures and timing. Any reader will be able to launch into the recipes confident of success. The index on the back page is also a feature to be appreciated in any recipe book.
However one point I would take issue with concerns the lining of tins. This book recommends lining cake tins with Bake (siliconised) paper, but I find that Bake paper just slides off the sides of a baked cake. I tend to prefer greaseproof paper because it stays on the cake as it cools, preventing the cake from drying out as it cools (though I must acknowledge that ‘greaseprooof’ paper actually does require some greasing to work properly – I use butter).
The recipes are all elegantly depicted in full colour photography and beautifully styled by Jacqui Way, making it a real pleasure to look at, as well as being a welcome addition to any recipe book collection, especially for novice cooks.
As an experienced cook, I enjoyed this book mostly for its visual delights as well as its little stories about the recipes by the contributors.
Calendar of Cakes – Recipes, Tips and Tricks from the South Australian Country Women's Association by Fiona Roberts and Jacqui Way is published by Wakefield Press (South Australia, Sept 2015; sc, 167 pp) and retails in Australia for RRP $29.95. It is available at good bookstores or can be purchased directly from the publishers here »
Guest reviewer Shari Hatfield works full time in the dental industry and tries hard to balance her free time in a constant tussle of baking, a capella chorus, quartet singing and spending time with her husband and two adult children.
She has had extensive experience in catering on a larger scale due to love of entertaining and fundraising for school fairs. As an amateur baker, she has decorated many celebratory cakes for family and friends, and has taught cooking skills in a local community centre, primary schools and at a women’s prison.
She lives on a picturesque acreage next to a mountain river south of Hobart, Tasmania with her husband, son, three cats, two chooks and many native animals.
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