Saved by Cake: Over 80 Ways to Bake Yourself Happy by Marian Keyes

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Saved by Cake: Over 80 Ways to Bake Yourself Happy by Marian Keyes

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Category: Cookery
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A cookery book with a story behind it and some delightful cakes and sweet treats to tempt you. It makes you want to bake!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 232 Date: February 2012
Publisher: Michael Joseph
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0718158897

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Right now you are probably thinking 'Marian Keyes? She writes chick-lit doesn't she? What's she doing writing a cookbook?' You'll quite probably also be looking at her and thinking that she doesn't look as though she eats a lot of the output either. Well, there's a bit of a story behind this book...

Marian Keyes has suffered from depression. Having had this myself I know that it's a horrible place to be. You've two choices: you can sink into it or you can do anything - and I mean anything - to get through a day without musing on the best way to kill yourself. Keyes discovered baking - a sort of magic - partly because it filled her days and then because she came to enjoy it. She started from the bottom - needing to go out and buy the equipment and the ingredients to get started. She didn't so much discover that she had a talent as persisted until she produced something which she liked. She also developed an obsession with cookie cutters. Oh, yes - and she discovered a talent for 'nozzle work'.

Have you ever read a cookery book which made you feel inadequate before you'd got past the introduction? Me too. Well, I promise you that you're not going to feel like that once you slip into this book. Marian is quick to tell us about the things she didn't know and the failures she's had. She's also warm and witty and you'll feel as though you've been drawn into the kitchen of a family friend for a discussion and tasting of the latest batch, still warm from he oven.

So, what's she baking? Well, she sensibly starts us off with a few of the classics. Rock Cakes have a bad name in more than one sense. They've been the butt of comedians' jokes for far too long and you really should try Marian's recipe with the secret being that they should be eaten pretty well as soon as they're baked. Victoria sandwich has been around since - well - Victoria but it's still a good standby and I've lost count of the number of times it's been the centrepiece to tea.

She knows that cupcakes have become a bit of a joke and that they're everywhere. Well, the reason for that is that they taste good. I loved the B-List Chocolate Chip Cupcakes, which are great for serving to kids. It's not too rich - and kids don't care about subtleties. For something more sophisticated try the Red Velvet Cupcake Swirls. There's a whole section devoted to cheesecakes complete with a discursion on how the hell you get a fragile cheesecake from tin to plate without the whole lot ending up on the floor. You might not become adept at the process, but I bet you laugh!

Liquid Cakes are not cakes you drink (now - there's a thought...) but cakes made with liquid. At this moment I would kill for the Espresso and Walnut Cake, but the Barmbrack might be more of a 'keeping' cake. Well, you can pretend, can't you? I liked the section on pastry because Marian acknowledges that it scares the life out of people and although she's going to give recipes for making the stuff she's got no compunction about telling people to go out and buy the frozen, the ready-made or even the pre-cooked pastry cases. She's not in the least precious about such things. Have a go at Mam's Apple Tart.

I nearly had to skim past the section on meringues and macaroons. They're far too tempting. There's even a useful recipe to start with which requires broken meringues - a form of Eton Mess - so what better way to practice? If they come out lovely - haven't you done well? If they break, well it's the recipe, isn't it. Win, win! The Tiramisu Macaroons are to die for. I wondered if the section on biscuits and cookies might be a bit of an anti-climax after the macaroons, but there are some surprises in here from the Orange and Fennel Tuiles (which you shouldn't serve to the man who comes to mend the washing machine) through to Breakfast Bars. I've promised not to mention the crafty tablespoon of cocoa powder in this - so I won't say a thing.

I've long made carrot cake, but I've never made a beetroot cake. Sensibly Marian tells us to opt for using cooked beetroot as it would take a day and a half to grate the raw beetroot needed and the street would be dyed vermilion. If you're looking for something that's going to be a talking point you might like to try Tamarind, Date and Sour Cherry Muffins - but don't lick the spoon after you've used it for the tamarind. It is sour. Right at the end of the book there's a section on chocolate. It doesn't need any introduction from me!

There's a wealth of wonderful tips in the book from someone who knows the mistakes you can make rather than a writer who has left them all far behind. The one that rang a bell with me is the principle that you should read every word of a recipe before you touch an ingredient. I'm the person who was once making something for the evening meal and working my way through the recipe to meet the words and it's essential that this dish is allowed to rest overnight in the fridge...

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

For more sweet treats from a celebrity have a look at Gregg's Favourite Puddings by Gregg Wallace.

Buy Saved by Cake: Over 80 Ways to Bake Yourself Happy by Marian Keyes at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Saved by Cake: Over 80 Ways to Bake Yourself Happy by Marian Keyes at

Buy Saved by Cake: Over 80 Ways to Bake Yourself Happy by Marian Keyes at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Saved by Cake: Over 80 Ways to Bake Yourself Happy by Marian Keyes at


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