Author(s): George Scurfield
Britain is in the grip of cake mania. The Women's Institute, spiritual home of the iced occasion fruitcake, reported that interest in its baking courses was up 60 per cent in 2008; one online retailer said it was selling a cookie cutter every 15 minutes; and, the nation is to be galvanised into action with the start of a National Baking Week. It is entirely to be expected, of course: in the current climate of gloom and doom, what more therapeutic activity could there be than baking? So "Grub Street" is re-issuing two timeless classics in one elegant, redesigned hardback volume filled with delightful illustrations by Georgie Fearns. George and Cecilia's two little baking books "Home Baked" published in 1956 and "Home-Made Cakes and Biscuits" published in 1963 were listed by Elizabeth David in a "Times" article in 1971 as her favourite books on bread making. The books contain advice on equipment, flours to use and to avoid, baking and rising times and temperatures and everything the home baker can possible want to know. There are recipes for wholemeal bread, white bread, English tea breads and continental coffee breads such as croissants, Danish pastries, panettone, German apple cake and Russian Easter bread. The section on home-made cakes and biscuits contains recipes for basic cakes, fruit cakes, chocolate cakes, nut cakes, spicy cakes, pastries, biscuits and yeast cakes as well as icings and fillings.
'The Scurfields' gentle plea for home baking has lost none of its appeal in the fifty additive-laden years since they first opted out of 'shop bread'. When I started making my own bread, their simple and reliable recipes boosted my confidence and introduced me to such delights as Challah, Brioches and Gugelhupf. Tea with George and Celia would have been a tasty, wholesome and, above all, good-natured occasion - just how real baking should be.' Andrew Whitley, author of Bread Matters