Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The Prairie Girl Cupcake Cookbook

Author: Jean Blacklock
Genre: Cookbook, Canadian
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 128
Publisher: Appetite by Random House
First Published: January 12, 2016
First Line: "You might look at my early childhood -- born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the youngest of five children -- and say that I was destined to open a bakery."

Book Description from GoodReadsThe most decadent and delicious cupcakes imaginable, from Toronto's favorite bakery!

Raised as the youngest of five children in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Jean Blacklock has loved baking since she was a child. And while she found professional success as a lawyer and then as a wealth manager for a major bank, Jean always felt that her true career calling was to open a bakery. Luckily for cupcake addicts everywhere, the first Prairie Girl Bakery opened in downtown Toronto in 2011.

Focusing on classic techniques and ingredients--no shortening, mixes, frozen or stabilized products found here!--Prairie Girl took off at lightning speed. The vision is simple: exceptionally consistent, superior baking.

In Jean's first cookbook, Prairie Girl fans and cupcake aficionados alike will fall in love with these easy-to-bake, beautiful treats. Featuring all of Jean's everyday recipes such as Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing, Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese icing, and the ever-popular Red Velvet, you will also learn about pantry necessities and how to perfect the art of icing. Additionally, you'll get a glimpse into the various Treats of the Week--everything from fruity flavours such as Cherry Cheesecake to the decadent options such as Caramel-filled Chocolate to an adults-only Irish Cream and kid-friendly Peanut Butter and Jam. You'll also find both vegan and gluten-free options!

With over 50 recipes for both cupcakes and icings, The Prairie Girl Cupcake Cookbook is a new classic for baking lovers everywhere.

My ReviewCupcakes.  Those divine little tasties that look almost too pretty to eat.  Almost.

In this new cookbook, Canadian baker and now author Jean Blacklock shares some of her favourite recipes.  She has a wonderfully down-to-earth voice as she introduces her book, tells a little about her history going from the prairies in central Canada to the owner of three bakeries in Toronto.  

Jean is the queen of cupcakes and this book is filled with beautifully enticing pictures of her creations as well as tips and tricks.  She shares many traditional cupcake recipes such as Golden Buttermilk, Dark Cocoa, Red Velvet and Carrot and also includes more decadent recipes such as Black Forest, Key Lime, Peanut Praline, Strawberry Daiquiri cupcakes.  The list goes on and on.  They're sinfully delicious and totally doable for the home baker!

I appreciated the pantry items section where Jean lists many of her main ingredients and explains why not taking liberties with a recipe, especially a baking recipe, is important. Tip to home cooks - recipe developers don't often enjoy it when you change up their original recipe - especially when it comes to baking because baking is a science, y'all! If you want the same result you've got to follow the instructions. Going for low fat margarine over butter or using the wrong kind of flour etc will effect the outcome of your treat.  So I appreciate that Jean takes her readers through various ingredients and why some of these important items should be followed to the 'T'.

What I will take away from this book, besides three cupcakes that I inhaled and loads of recipes to try, are some of Jean's tips and tricks.  I like to bake.  I find it cathartic, creative and I love to share it with others.  But even I learned a thing or three from this book.  Namely, don't skimp on whipping your butter and sugar together.  When I read that I was to cream my butter and sugar in my stand mixer for 8 minutes on medium-high speed I thought it was a typo.  Nope.  I was amazed at how fluffy the result was and how much of a difference that made to the texture of the cupcake.  Which, by the way, was the BEST homemade golden cupcake recipe I've ever made.  My quest to find a 'from scratch' white(ish) cupcake is complete! And for those who want vegan or gluten-free?  Jean's got you covered with several mouth watering recipes (including icings) to choose from.

Speaking of icings, Jean shares a variety of delicious icings from strawberry, lemon and peppermint to homemade lime curd, cafe au lait and even some adult-only variations like Pina Colada!  I also plan to use her trick for making delicious fruity icings!  After I baked her Golden Buttermilk Cupcakes I topped them with her Orange Icing. O-M-G!  It's a perfectly flavoured whipped icing that the kids and I kept dipping our fingers into.  It's great if you have a sweet tooth because it makes a lot!

The only wee negative that I have about the book is the binding.  I love hardcover books because they look nice but for a cookbook I much prefer having a book that will stay open on its own. 

Overall I was very impressed with this cookbook which focuses on classic cupcake recipes with simple yet impressive icings.  The recipes are impressive yet easy enough for the casual home baker to make on their own.  Jean can expect a visit from The Baking Bookworm at one of her bakeries in the near future. 

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Disclaimer:  My sincere thanks to Appetite-Random House Publishing for providing me with a complimentary hardcover of this cookbook in exchange for my honest review.

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