A little perk of being a cookbook editor is getting to make some of the recipes from a book before they make it to print. I don’t mean in a recipe testing capacity — that’s a different job entirely — but I like to tell myself that it’s for editorial research purposes. Not that I needed much of an excuse to road test a cherry cake and raspberry macaroon tart, the two recipes I made on the sly while I was working on the proofs of Make, Bake, Love by Lilly Higgins.
Even though I’ve been editing for over 10 years, I never get tired of seeing how bare black and white words on a computer screen get transformed into a beautiful book, and Make, Bake, Love is one of my favourites in recent years. Lilly did all the photos and food styling herself and got to show off her collection of vintage cups and plates and linens, which are perfectly complemented by the pretty, retro book design. It seems to be a real book lover’s book too — one of the in-house editors commented to me that she loved the untreated paper and another food blogger even raved about its new book smell. It’s no surprise, then, that the book has also been shortlisted for the 2011 Irish Book Awards.
Many people in Ireland know Lilly from her time on the TV show Fancy Vittles, where she appeared with her sister Maeve, a well-known comedian, and produced the set designs and did the food styling. Lilly also blogs at Stuff I Make, Bake and Love and earlier this year hosted sold-out supper clubs with her sisters in Dublin. (You can listen to Lilly talking to Caroline Hennessy about her supper club here.)
But at the end of the day it’s all about the recipes, and there is plenty to tempt there. (It’s a baking book, what’s not to love?) Chapters are divided into ‘Big Cakes’, ‘Small Cakes’, ‘Bars, Biscuits and Cookies’, ‘Pies and Tarts’, ‘Breads’, ‘Thrift’ and ‘Must-Haves’ (which includes one of my favourite little recipes in the book, one for coloured sugar, a brilliant finishing touch). Recipes I’ve bookmarked to make include chocolate peanut butter cake, caraway seed cake, coffee cake, bakewell cupcakes, old Henry bars and rocky road brownies as well as bagels, Guinness and rye bread and Lilly’s renowned sticky toffee cakes that met with rave reviews at one of her supper clubs. (As a little bonus, head over to the Irish Food Bloggers Association for Lilly’s recipe for Banoffee Cake from the book.) I suspect this book will be under quite a few Christmas trees this year.
Make, Bake, Love by Lilly Higgins is published by Gill & Macmillan and is available on their website for the special price of €15.99, and if you include the code CUPCAKES at checkout, you can get free shipping within Ireland. Otherwise, you can also find it on Amazon, Book Depository and good bookshops in Ireland. You can find Lilly online at Stuff I Make, Bake and Love and @lillyhiggins on Twitter.