Cakes and Biscuits: Best Kept Secrets of the Women's Institute by Jill Brand
The Women's Institute has a reputation for traditional home cooking that is second to none in the UK. The Best Kept Secrets is a series of cookbooks written by women who know all about cooking, homes and families from personal experience. They learnt to cook from their mothers and grandmothers, from family friends and from each other. They don't have to re-discover the British tradition of cooking because they never lost touch with it in the first place. Cake-making and the Women's Institute go together and this book brings together a selection of their best recipes. The classics are naturally well represented but they appear in quick and easy versions; there's an all-in-one Victoria sandwich and a quick Madeira Cake. There are fruity flavours in abundance and many of the cakes are given a little lift with some liqueur or spirit. Jill Brand also takes some surprising ingredients (like ready-to-eat dried mango and papaya and cherry-flavoured ale) and incorporates them into some really innovative cakes. There's a Honey and Nut Polenta Cake and a Ricotta Cinnamon Cake. She uses fresh fruit and vegetables in cakes that are guaranteed to have a moist texture and a wonderful fresh flavour. Try Wensleydale Apple Cake and Ginger and Pear Cake Cakes and Biscuits finishes with a chapter of melt-in-the-mouth biscuits and cookies.