Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Musings by Knitwits - The Global Bakery by Anna Weston

Once a month or so, Christinabean and I like to bring a craft, knitting or cookbook to your attention. We both love to pick up a pair of knitting needles or some other type of needle, or putter about in the kitchen and we like to share the love when we find a book that will help. This months selection is:

Published: October 14th, 2014
Publisher: New Internationalist
Pages: 184
Copy: From Publisher via Edelweiss
Summay: Goodreads

The diversity of the world's cakes are represented for the first time in one thoroughly researched volume. The amateur baker is taken on a journey across the continents visiting Cote d'Ivoire, Libya, Finland, Hungary, Azerbaijan, India, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, USA, Colombia, and many more countries along the way.

Working on the premise that every culture must have a favorite cake, author-baker Anna Weston started researching the wonders of baking in corners of the globe that she's not likely to visit in the flesh. She soon discovered an amazing richness of cakes and found herself investigating cakes and delicacies that are well beyond the scope of most other books about baking—let alone her mother's fund of knowledge.

With all tastes and occasions catered for, the recipes have been fully tested in a domestic kitchen and feature sumptuous photographs. The book includes a number of vegan and wheat- and gluten-free recipes. These are marked in the contents list and in the recipes.

Anna Weston is the Office Manager at New Internationalist. She has been an avid cake baker for many years, taking great pleasure in adapting recipes to create new flavors and then trying out the results on her family and colleagues. She is passionate about getting the message across that baking is not just for the experts and that, all over the world, delicious cakes have always been produced in domestic kitchens with rudimentary equipment and ingredients

One thing I liked about this wonderful cookbook right off the bat was the fact that the author lets us know very early on that many of the cakes are baked with gluten-free flours.  This has become a huge issue lately and it's nice to know that authors/bakers are aware of it without having to devote entire volumes to the fact.  I also loved that she took 64 cakes into the office for her co-workers to taste test for the book, although - as she points out - not all at the same time! I don't like to cook much, but I do enjoy baking every now and again, and I have to admit that I was spoiled for choice. The recipes in this book come from every corner of the world and while all are very different, the similarities will surprise you 

 A lot of the recipes, from all over the globe, have fruit in them, which is nice for this time of year, and a lot seem to have almonds or other nuts - not my favourite, unfortunately. Many were incredibly simple, with only a few ingredients, like Bara Brith from Wales, or very complex, like Black Forest Cake from Germany. Mango Cake from India looks and sounds delightful and the Jablecznik (Applecake) from Poland wasn't far behind. How about Num Taloak (persimmon cake) from Cambodia - this one can use overripe peaches apricots or plums if you can't find persimmon. To be honest, there were so many interesting cakes I had a hard time choosing one to try. In the end, the Banana Cake from St Lucia won out, but mainly because I already had the pineapple and bananas in the house.  The result?  Mmmmm delicious. Carmelized bananas for topping anyone?

In short, if you love to bake and are ready to try something just a little different, I am sure you'll have no trouble finding something in this visually delightful book.

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