Food, Recipes

Lead me into temptation

Banoffee Pie - sex on a plate

Banoffee Pie – sex on a plate

Auckland baker Jordan Rondel’s first book, The Caker, is an abandoned romp that will tempt you to indulge in the sins of the flesh.

It is, of course, a book about cakes. But oh my! What cakes.

There’s nothing prissy here. No slick and sickly icing, fake flavouring and disappointing conveyer belt perfection. Instead there are seductively simple ingredients and alluringly clever combinations. Honestly. There’s a whole chapter given over to syrups and fillings and toppings that will make you go, Ooh! Including a method for a Black Doris Plum Icing that is nothing short of revelatory.

Teetering layers, tumbled with fresh flowers, these cakes promise nothing but pleasure.

Fruit features heavily. Caramel and Apple Upside Down Cake, Double-Layer Raspberry White Chocolate Cake with Rosewater Creme Icing, Dark Chocolate, Pear and Pistachio Cake with Ganache… Why, I don’t mind if I do.

The photographs, by Babiche Martens, are fashion mag stunning. A gorgeous young woman with bedhead hair bites her lip, a raven-haired beauty runs her fingers along a seemingly bloody blade (on closer inspection, it’s the reflection from a bunch of crimson roses).

As for the food styling… these cakes are positively wanton. They ooze cream, bleed raspberries, drip caramel and chocolate… Frankly, they’re begging to be devoured.

The book itself is a slim paperback volume. Unlike cookery collections destined for the coffee table, it’s light enough to take to bed. Perhaps that’s the point?

Within the covers you’ll find lust, desire, naked greed. And a whole lot of gratification. Talk about sex on a plate.

Let yourself be lured. And, if my words can’t convince you to go out and buy the book, well, let the pie do the talking.

The Caker’s Banoffee Pie

For the caramel
100g butter
100g caster sugar
400ml condensed milk (1 tin)

For the banoffee pie
150g gingernut biscuits, blitzed in a food processor
230g pecans or walnuts, halved
75g butter, melted
3 large, not overly ripe bananas, chopped
250ml cream, softly whipped
cinnamon for dusting

To make the caramel, place the butter and sugar in a non-stick frying pan over a low heat, stirring until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.

Add the condensed milk and slowly bring to the boil, stirring continuously, to make the caramel. As soon as the mixture thickens and begins to smell of caramel, remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, place the crushed biscuits and half of the pecan or walnut halves into a bowl. Add the melted butter and stir well. Transfer the mixture to a 22cm diameter tart dish. Press the biscuit base evenly over the base of the tin, packing it down.

Add the chopped bananas to the caramel mixture and combine well. Spread the mixture over the biscuit base andchill for 30 minutes.

Remove from the fridge and spread the whipped cream evenly over the top of the banoffee layer. Place the remaining pecans or walnuts in a circular arrangement on top, and dust with cinnamon.

To store, cover well with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to a week.

The Caker


The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, Tarek Malouf

The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, Tarek Malouf

Austerity-chic may be the height of fashion in some circles, but for most of us economic gloom brings an urgent need for escapism. And fantasies don’t come much more indulgent than those cavorting across the glossy pages of the first cookbook from London’s Hummingbird Bakery.

This is naked food porn, no doubt about it. The photography is a delight, the camera lingering in loving close-up on food that’s begging to be eaten – cakes are sliced into, forks are laden with frosting, plates are covered in crumbs. It’s a no-holds-barred, unapologetic romp of sugar and butter and chocolate.

Decadent? Yes, but there’s something childlike too in the gleeful abandon of these affordable extravagances, urging the reader to damn the diet and bake their way to a happier place. That place is the 1950s, though the book harks back to America rather than a Britain still constricted by rationing.

It’s a cornucopia of sweet and sticky pleasure: lavish layer cakes, cute cupcakes – over-the-top cakes of all kinds, topped with swirls of candy-coloured buttercream – cookies, brownies and pies, the ultimate diner treat. Who can resist the lure of such adorable confections?

Not me. I say give in to the desire to conjure up the sugary spirit of Doris Day. Don a frilly apron and get baking.