As soon as I saw the title of this book, I was intrigued. Is it really possible to ‘Have Your Cake and Eat It’? Can you indulge in sweet treats with impunity?
Author Mich Turner, MBE, is founder of the Little Venice Cake Company and is often described as the ‘Queen of Couture Cakes’, thanks to her multi-award-winning designs and A-list clientele. In 2010, she was honoured with an MBE for her services to the catering industry. She has written five international and bestselling books, and continues to contribute to various publications.
In her introduction, Mich explains that she wants to give us ‘choices’, that she is an advocate of “using ingredients in season, with provenance and the very best quality for maximum flavour and texture”. Those of us who bake (or cook) know this to be true; that the quality of the ingredients you use can seriously affect the outcome. In this book, Mich has also included recipes with added nutrition in the form of fruits, nuts and seeds, and gives alternatives to gluten, fats, sugars and dairy for those who must take personal diet and lifestyle into account. I was delighted to read that, “This book is not intended as a health or diet book.” Be aware that Mich does use butter, sugar and cream and she makes no apology for it, but she, “will steer you through the nutritional benefits and comparisons of these ingredients and recipes, giving you options so you can choose which cakes to bake for which occasion”.
Following the introduction, there are seven sections, not including the stockist’s list and acknowledgments at the very end of the book. The first section features the all-important Ingredients. As a qualified food scientist and nutritionist, Mich aims to, “expel some myths and highlight the nutritional benefits used in this book to help you have your cake and eat it”. Besides this, she also reminds us that, “It is important to remember that these bakes should be included as part of a wider healthier diet and not consumed in total isolation!” There is detailed information on Fats, Flours & Carbohydrates, Sugars, Chocolate and other ingredients including seeds, spices, fruits and vegetables, etc. Also included are this section are recipes for Curds and a Fruit Berry Compote.
The second section is all about the Cake Dos and Don’ts, and advice is provided on equipment and methods. The next five sections focus, respectively, on Muffins, Cupcakes & Buns, Biscuits & Cookies, Bars & Flapjacks, Cakes and Meringues. There is a fantastic array of recipes within each section – too numerous to detail – but as is my wont, I have tried out a few and I can especially recommend the Quick Banana Cake and the Lemon & Ginger Friands. Other recipes that I have bookmarked to try include the Pumpkin & Carrot Bars, the Citrus Coconut Layered Cake, the Natural Red Velvet Cake and the Chocolate Pistachio Pavlova.
There is a great range of gluten free, dairy free, fat free, lower fat, lower sugar, lighter and more nutritious recipes to choose from in this book and I like it very much. The onus is on us to make informed choices about the food we eat, cook and bake and, by golly, this book is informative! As Mich says, “This book is for those who like to bake and for those who like to eat or would like to eat cake in moderation and with the knowledge that it is as nutritious and wholesome as possible”.
Have Your Cake and Eat It by Mich Turner
Publisher: Jacqui Small LLP