Review: Cakes by Pam Corbin (River Cottage Handbook no 8)

I knew I was going to love this book from the moment I was offered a review copy.  I stalked our poor postie, Bernard, mercilessly every day until he was beginning to look a little uncomfortable, I was so looking forward to reading it.

Happily (for me and Bernard, it appeared.  And I wasn’t wrong.  I bloody love it. Cakes (River Cottage Handbook) is probably one of those books that could render half my cookery book collection redundant, it’s that useful. I even took it on a recent Aer Lingus flight where the lady sitting next to me in departures took a look at it, nodded and smiled appreciatively.  I mean, who doesn’t love River Cottage?  And who hasn’t watched ‘Pam the Jam’ working her magic?

And yes, I’m a sucker for a bit of pink, so the cover alone is enough to make me want to carry it around in my handbag, but the contents more than compete in the gorgeousness stakes, believe me.

I’m a page turner-over (I know, kill me now) and this book now has so many corners turned over I can barely shut it.  Pam’s recipes for retro favourites are on my must-cook list (jammy dodgers!), and so is her fabulous chocolate fudge icing recipe.  I also spied a really gorgeous gluten-free lime and coconut cake that I want to pass on to a Coeliac friend.

There are some really great old-fashioned favourites here, like cherry cake and proper fruit cake, but also some really surprising new ones to try, my faves being a really interesting looking potato and apple cake, plus a twist on the wonderful Battenburg, made with chocolate and hazelnuts.

I love a cookery book that is more than just a collection of recipes.  I want something I can take to bed (or on a plane) and read, and really get a sense of the person writing the book, and the stories behind the recipes.  This book more than delivers.

Don’t be put off thinking this is just another book about cakes.  It’s an absolute must-have for seasoned cakeophiles and beginners alike.  Grab it while it’s hot.

The River Cottage Cakes Handbook is published by Bloomsbury and available now on Amazon, priced £7.68.

12 replies
  1. Louise
    Louise says:

    I had this on preorder from Amazon, as I do any new River Cottage offering, and I love it too. The only cakes/biscuits book you ever need, whether a novice or a seasoned pro, and you’re right, such a good read. I’ve made the Rhubarb Pudding Cake and it was simply devine :-)

  2. Jules
    Jules says:

    I’m a huge fan of the River Cottage handbooks. They are proper cookbooks without the faff. I also like the fact Pam refuses to use the word cupcake! I have this cake handbook but shockingly haven’t used it yet. I think this bank holiday weekend will be perfect to find something to bake from it.

  3. TheGlutton
    TheGlutton says:

    I love the RC handbooks and can see this one joining my collection! I love having books on one subject as I know exactly where to look instead if trying to remember which recipe is in which book.

    • English Mum
      English Mum says:

      I love them too – they’re so strokable aren’t they, with their lovely texture! Oh never thought of that – actually that’s a good point – you could just have a whole set of River Cottage books and not need anything else!


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