Book Review – Fast Cakes by Mary Berry
So today I wanted to share with you one of my favourite baking books, Mary Berry’s “Fast Cakes”. It’s one that I’ve used since I first wanted to try out baking and used it to teach myself the basics. The first one I used was a very old copy on my Mum’s cookbook shelf which was falling apart and well-worn. When I had moved out, my Mum found me a newer copy online and bought it for me. I’m so glad it’s still available because I think it is a book that every amateur baker should have on their shelf at home.
The book starts with a brilliant introduction which is a great help to anyone who is new to baking and not quite sure what’s what. It includes, among others, sections like “Tips for success every time,” “How to know when a cake is done” and “Help! It has all gone wrong!” Some of the writing is quite clearly a little dated as the book was first published in 1981 but, if anything, it adds to it’s charm. The way Mary Berry writes is straight forward and easy to understand – you feel like she is guiding you gently through things! Reading this beginning section will help you achieve great results, not only with the recipes throughout the rest of the book, but your baking in general.
The rest of the book is divided into sections to make it easy to find what you’re looking for including “Things that children can bake themselves” and “No-bake cakes and other goodies.” As the title of the book promises, everything is really quick to make so if you’re in a rush or just can’t be bothered with anything too time consuming then you really need this book!
Each recipe has a short comment from Mary Berry at the top either with tips on how to make the bake go more smoothly, a serving suggestion or whether it’s best for a big celebration or lunch boxes! Though these comments are only small, many of them include information that is really helpful and it adds so much to the book as a whole. As I say, when teaching myself how to bake I used this book a lot and it was these little touches that helped me create baking successes!
The book doesn’t have any pictures which I would usually put down as a negative point. However, I feel I can forgive this here as it is just so packed with good recipes but still a small and easily handled book. Sometimes big recipe books can get in the way but this compact little number allows you to have on the side next to you as you go without cluttering up your worktop.
This really is my go-to book when I need or want to bake something quickly and easily. Nothing is too difficult and, if you are a beginner, you can work your way through the recipes, gaining experience and techniques as you go. The book lives up to it’s name and is further proof that Mary Berry has provided us with simple and reliable advice for years!
At under a tenner I don’t see any excuse for not buying this book for yourself or even your children whether you have baked millions of cakes or want to try your first one. I couldn’t live without it now!
If you buy it, or maybe if you have it already, let me know what you think – what are your favourite recipes? I love the Welsh Cakes recipe in here among MANY others!