Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Fiona Cairns inspired (Random Bakes of Kindness #2) - book review

Image from Google
This creation of creamy goodness was inspired by a new book by Fiona Cairns, you might have heard her name before as she designed and was responsible for the royal wedding cake.

You might remember it, as it was quite something in all its many tiered glory, and heavily decorated with the nations flowers, at the brides request?
Fiona Cairns has a new book called 'The Birthday Cake Book' published by Quadrille. This book is not what you might think and from someone who designed the royal wedding cake you might be expecting a cake mostly about sugarcraft. Actually the clue to the type of cakes contained within lies on the front cover of this book. These recipes are about flavour as much as decorated cakes and this book contains a wealth of recipes that would be suitable for more adult like birthdays or even everyday baked treats. There are quite a few cakes that are sugarcraft modelled, but other recipes concentrate much more on flavour than any fancy or hard to do sugarcrafted designs like very lemony meringue cake; tiramasu cake; liquorice toffee cake to name some.

TheTurkish Delight Meringue is made with a meringue baked in two sections and sandwiched with fresh cream (laced with rose water and icing sugar) and a raspberry and rose water jelly (gelatine, rose water, lemon juice, water, caster sugar, fresh raspberries). In the book the topping is of fresh cream and pistachio's my version (above) is topped with hazelnuts. I enjoyed the Random Bakes of Kindness idea by Vanessa Kimbell number one so much I couldn't resist a second go...so the local pet shop (purveyors off all things ex battery hen and golden retriever, and the rest! Much cheaper than renowned pet supermarkets, and providing kind acts of carrying of goods to your car and loading of car is included with purchases...always!) were the lucky recipients of this Turkish Delight Meringue. Yes I gave it away!
Not to worry as I also made at home the lovely light Butterscotch Cake which has a mascapone butterscotch filling...this delight would be equally lovely in or on a walnut cake...just managed to snap the last slice here!   

All the recipes in The Birthday Cake book have a photograph to accompany them, there are a range of recipes following themes for parties (glamping, vampire party, Alice in wonderland, etc) that include small cakes like blueberry yoghurt fairy cakes, earl grey tea fairy cakes and biscuits like chocolate dinosaurs, or pastel ice cream sandwiches through to larger layer or family size cakes and even a recipe for brownies, some other tray bakes and one savoury smoked salmon and cream cheese stacked cake.
The sugarcraft or modelled range of recipes consists of  a gingerbread house; russian dolls; a crystal skull; playing dice; robots; crocodile handbag; box of chocolates; erupting volcanoe; football boots; pirate galleon; seaside bucket cake; fresh flower heart; alice's teapot; piggy bank; marzipan fruits hat; bejewlled elephant; a fantasy castle; merry go round; wigwam; and vegetable plot cake. There are templates for some cake designs and written directions (these may be hard to follow if your not too proficient in sugar craft).

This book is a good buy if you have older or grown up children and are looking for inspiration for grown up parties, if you want to follow a theme for a party and are looking for ideas, or if you just want some interesting flavoursome cake recipes for tea.
Image from Quadrille Publishing book available from Amazon


  1. What a great Post.. and I've met Fiona several times.. our kids go to the same school !

    Cake looks utterly amazing !!

  2. Ohh, I didn't realise Fiona had a new book *shoots off to the bookshop*!

  3. Thanks Vanessa, fancy you knowing Fiona, how did she ever keep her nerve making that royal wedding cake I wonder? Cakes were lovely (did make a mini meringue to try at home as well).

  4. Really like Fiona's Bake & Decorate but now thinking I NEED this one too - if only to get my hands on a recipe for liquorice toffee cake! Sounds like you'll be getting your parcels carried to the car for ever more now - you will have made their day - week probably with that gorgeous sounding cake.

  5. Thanks Choclette, I don't think they get that many customers turning up with a cake!

  6. OMG!!! That cake sounds divine. Turkish Delight in cake form!!!!! I saw this book on the shelf at my local bookshop the other day but I didn't know the author was the same person who baked the royal cake, maybe I should have bought it after all lol


Please leave a comment...if you have tried one of my recipes I'd love feedback, and thank you for taking time to pop by to read my blog.

Susan x