Some books take up residence in your home, others in your heart, and Bad Girl Bakery most vehemently belongs in the latter category. I love everything about this book: its warmth, its down-to-earth voice, and its heavenly recipes. It’s a very real joy, and what a pleasure and honour it is to share it with you.
I have enormous admiration for professional pastry cooks, but those of us at home need recipes that we can make without stress in our own kitchens, and despite owning and working in a bakery and café in the poetically named Muir of Ord in Scotland, Jeni Iannetta and her team are without formal training; they’re essentially home bakers who’ve honed their craft on the job. They bake to delight, not to impress — although it has to be said, that the results will do all the impressing you want into the bargain. “At Bad Girl Bakery”, Iannetta writes in her introduction, “we want our cakes to exceed people’s expectations, to be about flavour, textures, hidden surprises, generosity and impact.” For me, generosity is the key word here: it so sums up the spirit of the book. The recipes are written with such excitement for us to share in the delights. And what recipes they are! (I should add that they make sure to have plenty for both vegan and gluten-free bakers and eaters, too.) I’m not a breakfast person, but I’d find room any time of the day for their Berries & Custard Brioche Traybake, to be found in the Cake For Breakfast chapter (itself a call to arms for many of you!). And I wouldn’t say no, either, to the Cardamom & White Chocolate Sticky Buns. Mind you, I wouldn’t say no to anything in this book. And it’s a particularly resounding yes from me to the Caramel Brownie; Salted Caramel Crumble Bar (well, you know me and salted caramel!; Giant Lemon Drizzles; Clementine, Cardamom & Hazelnut Cake; Pink Grapefruit Meringue Shortbread Tarts; Evaporated Milk & Strawberry Loaf; Crème Brûlée Cupcakes; Almond Mocha Layer Cake; Sticky Toffee Layer Cake with Browned Buttercream; and I’m deliciously drawn to their Maple Syrup Honeycomb. From the Savoury chapter, I must just mention the Chip Shop Chicken Curry Pie and the Loaded Fries, but I was particularly taken by the Leftover Cake Chapter. I know you might be raising an eyebrow at the idea of leftover cake, but if you’ve made a batch of 12 buns, muffins or cupcakes, you may well find — unless you live with a rampaging horde of teenagers — that not every last one gets eaten before it's past its best. So here’s where Sticky Bun French Toast comes in, as does Leftover Cake Tiffin, Cake Truffles and Caramel Brownie Sundae. There was just so much to choose from, but the recipe I’m sharing with you today is their Deluxe Coconut Brownies. All that’s left for me to say is — enjoy!
Bad Girl Bakery by Jeni Iannetta is out now (Kitchen Press £20).
Photography by Clair Irwin.