|The Sweetapolita Bakebook by Rosie Alyea|
Rosie has loved cakes for a long time, but she fell in love with designing them when she attended the acclaimed Bonnie Gordon School in Toronto. She started the Sweetapolita blog in 2010, and it has been gaining in popularity ever since.
Many of the recipes in this book are interactive, meaning if you make a cake or some cookies for a kids' party, they can decorate the desserts however they want to. This encourages creativity which I think is so important, valuable, and thrilling for children big and small (I'm included in that statement!).
I can't comment too much on the colour photography because I have an uncorrected proof that's mostly black and white, but the few colour photos at the front are stunning - there's so much colour involved in these recipes, it makes me happy just to look at them!
As you may know, I like to make a few recipes out of the cook/bakebooks I review, and this time was no different. I made three recipes in one day, with the help of my best friend Christine over at Padfoot's Library, and we were exhausted by the end of it. Making these pretty things gives you an appreciation for what professional bakers do!
No exaggeration, this is probably the best chocolate cake I've ever had. The icing involves a lot of steps, but it's absolutely worth it in my opinion. I like the nearly-naked look of the cake too! The cake itself is so moist (it's an icky word, but it's a great thing when you're talking about cake) and together with the icing, it's a rich and decadent cake.
Sugar cookies are always complicated, but they're also delicious. The watercolour painting requires some artistic skill to achieve the loveliness pictured in the book, but I imagine it would be a great and fun thing to have kids do at a party - they'd love the opportunity to decorate their own cookies! And that's part of the draw of this book - the interactive nature.
In my opinion, the two baked goods recipes I made are geared toward people with some home baking experience, as opposed to novice bakers: the cake icing is complicated because it begins as a meringue, which is easy to mess up, so thankfully my mom (who bakes up a delicious storm) was around to answer my questions and help out; and sugar cookies always involve a lot of steps, so that's no fault of this recipe.
Rest assured, there are some simple recipes in this book, it's just that my eyes were immediately drawn to the more complicated ones because of how pretty they are.
If you don't have a pantry stocked with a lot of cake decorating things, it might be a little pricey for you at first because food colouring and cake decorating tools can be expensive - so stock up on coupons. For me, it pretty much always ends up being worth buying the tools because I love seeing people's reactions to nicely-decorated baked goodies - in fact, I'm planning on making another cake from Sweetapolita this weekend for a family friend's birthday!
If you love making unique desserts or are interested in learning, this is a great book for you. It'll give you an appreciation for the hard work that goes into these beautiful creations, and you'll end up with pretty, delicious treats you'll love!
The Sweetapolita Bakebook is now available in paperback (see Chapters/Indigo and Amazon) and eBook (see Kobo and Amazon Kindle) formats.
*This book was sent to me by Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review.
1 and 2. Photos by nikkitheknack. 3. Photo courtesy Penguin Random House Canada.