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Eat Me! – book review

09 April 2010 by

Eat Me!
By Xanthe Milton
Ebury Press, £15
ISBN 9780091925116

At first glance, this pretty pink, slightly kitsch volume of baking, illustrated with whimsical photographs of the author depicted as a fairy tale character does not appear to be the kind of book one would expect to see in a professional kitchen.

But think again. In the past couple of years the cupcake has exploded on to the shelves of our supermarkets, bakeries and the cakes stands of every hotel and catering outlet serving afternoon tea and this book is a celebration of the phenomenon.

Written by Xanthe Milton, aka Cookie Girl, the book is packed full of the little cakes - as well as a selection of cookies and tray bakes - which have caught the public's imagination.

Milton is an actress-turned-baking entrepreneur who turned her hand to cooking when she needed to boost her income while bringing up her daughter. Dressed as Alice in Wonderland or Nell Gwynne - hence the photographs - she knocked on the doors of offices in West London with her freshly baked cookies and cakes, and quickly sold every last one.

With a loyal clientele behind her - including the odd celebrity such as Annie Lennox, Will Young and Cat Stevens - Milton began to write a blog about the cakes, and the blog eventually led to this book.

Eat Me! is packed full of cupcakes and cookies for every occasion. Divided by seasons, there are recipes for lemon and elderflower cupcakes in spring, strawberry and cream cupcakes in summer, sticky toffee pecan cupcakes in autumn and Christmas cupcakes in winter.

There is also a wide variety of cookie recipes, with chocolate toffee, orange polenta and Easter cookies among the most appealing.

And to impress for a special occasion, Bollywood cupcakes - a spiced carrot creation with brilliant red icing - or Margarita cupcakes - flavoured with limes and tequila and topped with Triple Sec icing and sprinkled with salt - fit the bill.

It may be domestic in appearance, but the book is packed with unusual, creative and tempting ideas, which professional pastry chefs can adapt for service all year round.

View the recipe for pistachio lime cupcakes from the book >>

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