Remember the story of the little red hen? Everybody wants to eat the bread, but nobody wants to help bake it. That’s what it’s been like around here the past week, only everybody wants to eat the cake, but nobody wants to
get off the ipad and help make it. Or do much of anything else. I asked my daughter to give me a hand with this photo and what did I get? “What was I BORN for? Helping with PHOTOS or LIVING?” Yeesh. If you’re looking for me later I’ll be over here stress-eating hunks of this maple pecan cake. It’s from Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World. Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy to review and they’ve got another one for one of you lucky ducks.
Inside are 70 internationally inspired recipes from London’s popular Lola’s bakeshops, including gluten- and dairy-free cakes and some stand-out non-cake desserts. I bookmarked a dozen I’d like to try, many much more adventurous than the three recipes I ended up making with the kids’ tastes in mind. A sampling:
Northern Europe: Victoria Sponge, Black Forest Cake, Sacher Torte, Stout Cake
Southern Europe: Tiramisu Cake, Lemon Polenta Cake, Honey and Orange Cake
The Middle East & Africa: Chocolate Tahini Cake, Fig and Pumpkin Cake, Baklava Cake
The Americas & the Caribbean: Boston Cream Pie, Tres Leches, Hummingbird Cake
Australia & Asia: Lamingtons, Lolly Cake, Pavlova, Matcha Cake, Sesame Cake
The skill level required for each recipe is indicated by the number of whisks beside the title — one whisk for quick and easy; three whisks for more advanced; five whisks for don’t kid yourself. (Joking, joking! It tops out at three whisks.)
We didn’t travel too far with the first two recipes since the Maple Pecan Cake and Nanaimo Bars are both Canadian (and both two whisks). Each recipe was easy to follow and quickly devoured, the cake moist and delicious with coffee, milk or tea, and the Nanaimo Bars a scrumptious variety of textures. (‘Tho deadly sweet — even the kids were content with bars half this size. And the other half an hour later, if I’d let them.)
My only disappointment was with the custard layer of the Nanaimo Bars, which was rather shifty when I cut into the tray, even after being refrigerated overnight. I don’t know what the solution is. More custard powder? Any ideas?
And then a leap to the other side of the world with a carrot cake (Australia, one whisk), which I baked in smaller pans than the recipe called for to make it a five-layer beauty. In the book the cake is topped with a ring of delicate orange peel curls but I wasn’t having any luck with those, so I topped mine with thyme instead. Now I think it looks like a pile of weeds. But squint and maybe it’ll pass for carrot tops.
And you can’t go wrong with a cream cheese frosting.
We’re making quick work of this one too. I love the cake-to-raisin ratio and would like to try it with some pineapple thrown in the mix. Do you like pineapple in your carrot cake?
Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World is a gorgeous book with page after page of recipes and photographs to inspire. I’d recommend it for beginner and more experienced bakers alike.
For a chance to win a copy of Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World, tell me which cake mentioned in this post you’d like to make first in the comments below. This entry is mandatory.
For an additional entry, follow try small things on Facebook and share this post, then tell me you did so and your name on Facebook in the comments below.
For a third entry, follow try small things on Instagram, and tell me your Instagram handle in the comments below.
And feel free to tweet the following once per day and leave the url for your tweet in the comments below (one entry per tweet). Make sure you’re following try small things on Twitter for your entry to count.
My kind of trip: #Win “Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World” from @trysmallthings http://bit.ly/winlolas CAN 6/15
The giveaway is open to Canadian residents 18+ and ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on June 15, 2017. The potential winner (chosen at random) must respond to prize notification within 48 hours and provide the correct answer to a skill-testing question, otherwise another will be selected.
Update July 19, 2017: Congratulations Nicole G!
Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy of Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.