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Fast Cakes: Book review

by's Darren Bevan

When it comes to cooking, you eat first with your eyes.

And when it comes to desserts, you can't eat enough of them as far as I'm concerned - regardless of what's said about weight.

Mary Berry's Fast Cakes book is aimed at the growing cake making market and the baking world.

There's plenty of dessert ideas crammed into the 260 odd pages of this soft cover release.

A handy introduction and series of tips set the tone for the book - it's simply about passing on knowledge and giving you the best chance of pulling something decent out of the oven rather than something even the birds will turn their noses up at in disgust.

Mary's published over 60 cookbooks and it shows - the book's divided into sections such as small cakes, large cakes and small trays; there's even a section aimed purely at kids and getting them baking with some simple tips. There's an attention to detail in the recipes which makes them seem easy to do and would make any budding baker think they can tackle even the hardest cake.

There has to be around 180 odd recipes in this book - and with a comprehensive index covering such lipsmacking items as pineapple upside down cake, mocha cake and almond bakewell tart, you're guaranteed to always be able to find something to throw in the oven for a special occasion or just for the hell of it.

The only major disappointment in this book is the complete lack of pictures - eating is always all about the visuals which melt the mind and leave you longing for the oven to cook it quicker.

Unfortunately there's not one single picture (aside from the cover) in the book so it means that you're not quite sure exactly what the finished item would turn out like.

While it's not a fatal error, it does detract from the overall feel of Fast Cakes . It remains a concise look at the baking options out there - but may just mean that you won't see something which jumps off the pages and urges you to bake it.

Rating: 6/10

Title: Fast Cakes
Author: Mary Berry
Publisher: Hachette (Little, Brown)
RRP: $27.99