Baking cakes, cookies, bars and buns for one to six people
Reviewed by Naomi Bussin
As the title says, this book is about baking, but in smaller batches. To illustrate, a recipe makes 6 cookies, or even one emergency cookie rather than 12. Telling people about this book provoked a reaction not seen since the Snacking Cakes discussion of 2021 (https://www.thetonic.ca/tag/snacking-cakes/). Small batch baking – what a great idea! I love to bake but don’t want to eat a whole [insert dessert of choice] by myself. If you are not a baker, you might wonder why you can’t simply divide recipes in half. It doesn’t work like that. How do you divide eggs and not waste them? What size pan? How long does it take to bake? All of these questions are answered in this book, plus the recipes are awesome. The author is Edd Kimber, winner of the inaugural season of the Great British Bake Off and author of numerous other cookbooks.
These sweet and savoury bakes score high. The Cinnamon Bun Slice was a small loaf cake mimicking the flavours of a cinnamon bun. It was easy to put together and really good, a tender crumb with a great flavour. Everyone was sad that it was so small …. but that’s the way the cookie crumbles because I didn’t want leftovers. For my son Bram’s birthday breakfast, I made Overnight Croque Madame Waffles – easy enough to make on a weekday morning because the work was done the night before. These cheesy, savoury waffles were excellent with a fried egg on top, making two generous servings. As a follow-up birthday dessert, the birthday boy chose Caramelized Banana Pudding, Kimber’s version of a traditional American banana pudding. Puddings are not my thing, but this was very good and had me coming back for more – the caramelized bananas were mixed into the vanilla pastry cream, layered with store-bought dulce de leche, whipped cream, sliced bananas and ladyfingers. I would make all of these again.
Ease of use
The focus of the book is the batch size, not the skill level required. While easy to follow, the recipes range in complexity. There are simpler recipes like the Cinnamon Bun Slice, the Sour Cherry with Rye Hazelnut Crumble, Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Bars and Biscoff-Stuffed Brownies. But there is also Tarte Tatin, Lemon Poppy Seed Meringue Tarts and Chocolate and Espresso Brioche buns, which are more technical. I found the recipes clear and easy to follow, and they worked. Many of the recipes do not require machines or special equipment.
Small book, with pretty, homey pictures. Good layout in that most recipes are short and found on one page, with the picture on the opposite page. Note that the font is small.
Who will like this book?
Bakers who have at least a little skill but not a lot of mouths to feed.
Rating – 4.5/5