Reviewer says
Cake Chic, Peggy Porschen | 2009 | UK

reviewed by Sarah

Cake Chic: Stylish cookies and cakes for all occasions
by Peggy Porschen
Publisher: Quadrille, Country: UK
ISBN: 9781844007103, Year: 2009
Link to publisher’s page or site
This review is the personal opinion of the reviewer.

Review

In Cake Chic, London’s queen of couture cakes, Peggy Porschen, shares the secrets of her celebrated sugar designs. From cookies to miniature cakes, to stunning tiered creations, Porschen’s style is unrestrainedly chic and girly. Her unique style and enthusiasm are inspiring and will motivate home bakers to get busy in the kitchen, rolling fondant and piping royal icing.

Cake Chic is divided into four chapters: Cookies, Mini Cakes, Large Cakes and Basics. Each recipe in the first three chapters is more a decorating guide than a recipe, and is accompanied by a full-page colour photograph, as well as some more detailed photos. Each recipe begins with a prepared base cake/cookie, ready for decorating. For example, the “mini Orangery cakes” recipe begins with “18 round miniature (5cm) cakes, flavoured to your choice, covered with 850g marzipan and a thin layer of white sugar paste (about 1kg), made from a 30cm square sponge). Consequently, most recipes are only 1-2 pages long. This is a clever way of breaking down what would otherwise be intimidating recipes into manageable stages.

Whilst most will be attracted to Cake Chic by the pictures, its real strength lies in its comprehensive Basics chapter. The well-structured chapter is testament to Porschen’s classical training, covering everything from basic cake recipes, to piping, working with fondant, templates and a Cake Mix Quantity guide for different-sized cakes.

However, there are some incongruities between the base recipes and the recipes for decorated cakes which can be confusing. Anyone planning on making a complete decorated cake would need to carefully read each separate recipe and relevant how-to guide several times before commencing. Take, for example, the Summer Symphony cake. The recipe for this cake states that the top tier is made of a: “10cm round cake made from ¼ recipe quantity vanilla Victoria sponge”.

The Cake Mix Quantity guide states that a 10cm cake will require a ¼ quantity of the basic cake recipe (as above), but also includes the proviso: “for each cake tier you will need 2 sponges, i.e. double the amount of cake mix, baked in 2 tins of the same size”. Even though I have read through the recipes several times, I am still not sure just how many cakes you need for the top tier of the Summer Symphony cake.

This is one example of an issue that appears quite commonly throughout Cake Chic. Having said that, advanced bakers should be able to navigate these issues intuitively and without much trouble. Beginner or intermediate bakers would have a tougher time. Cake Chic is ideal for advanced, highly motivated cake decorators who are looking to improve their sugarcraft skills or want inspiration for new designs.

This is an original review for The Gastronomer’s Bookshelf.
Main rating: 4 stars. Recommended
Visual appeal: Attractive
Suitability as a gift: If the person is really interested
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Rating: 3.5/5 (6 votes cast)
Cake Chic, Peggy Porschen | 2009 | UK, 3.5 out of 5 based on 6 ratings

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