This is the long awaited and much anticipated cake/cookie/bar recipe book from the partnership that is Eric Lanlard (French award winning patissier and of TV baking fame) and Patrick Cox (Canadian shoe/fashion designer).
From the tactile soft cover, bright pink bordered pages and dramatic photography you know this book is something different from a recipe book about cupcakes. Its bold, its dramatic, its interesting and pouring over this book really is like being a spectator on a fashion runway for all things sweet and cake orientated.
Inside the headings and chapter layout relies on neon style type face on a black background (reflecting the style of the Lanlard/Cox bakery in Soho that sells these delights). The cakes are also photographed and set out against a variety of funky backgrounds that really set them off. Although the book is called 'Cox cookies and cake' its the cupcakes that really steal the (fashion) show here.
The first sections of the book lays out several easy to follow recipes for some very flavourful cupcakes, such as pistachio and praline, banana and walnut (the bananas are roasted first to intensify the flavour!), tiramisu, stem ginger, salted butter caramel and keylime (to name but some). If you love the type of cupcakes that are packed with interesting flavour combinations then these recipes are for you.
There is a chapter on 'guilt free' cakes, with recipes for lower fat, lower calorie cupcakes, there are one or two gluten free and more healthy cake recipes that would be suitable for breakfast; not something you would expect to see in a book like this but some very nice suggestions.
There is a section on frostings and icings that you could use on any cakes, with helpful tips.
The second sections look more at the decorative (referred to as 'styling') side and gives instructions on how to make some of what are the signature Cox/Lanlard cupcakes sold in their Soho store (man cakes, skull cakes, cheeky cakes etc). These cakes, if you are a baking/decorating novice, will require a certain amount of skill and some pieces of equipment to decorate, not to mention a whole lot of edible glitter! But if you are or are not proficient in decorating cakes, this book will give you new ideas to try and will certainly encourage you to be much bolder, more colourful and more dramatic in your cupcake decorating.
The last chapters cover recipes for cookies, some brownies and bars, the recipe and photograph for nanaimo bars (Canadian in origin) looks to die for!
After much indecisiveness (on my part) we decided to try to make the stem ginger cupcakes...chief taster loves ginger cake and we have often been in pursuit of 'the best ginger cake recipe'. This proved to be a very wet batter, and the finished cupcake tasted much along the lines of a Parkin cake, with dried and chopped stem ginger, all spice, treacle and dark brown sugar giving it a dark colour. The cakes rose perfectly to the time stated in the recipe and were light. I topped them with the (vanilla) butter cream (recipe from the book), but actually omitted the vanilla and added the syrup from the stem ginger jar instead, to make a more ginger flavour. Gold star bling is optional!
Chief taster gave two of them a very fast polishing off with a cuppa and gave them a very high score.
The original recipe stated it would yield 18 cakes, I made these in larger muffin size cases and tins and we have 22. Stem ginger cupcake anyone?