Monday 21 November 2022


Book review: What's For Dessert by Claire Saffitz [blog tour]

Claire Saffitz is a prolific baker and self- proclaimed "dessert person". I first discovered her through the Gourmet Makes series on Bon Appetit's YouTube and have continued to follow her career as she launched her own very successful YouTube channel all about sweet and savoury bakes.

Her videos are an utter delight to watch, whether you want inspiration for things you can try your hand at yourself or you just like watching someone else create delicious pastries and desserts. Claire's instructions are easy to follow as she creates the most gorgeous bakes. So it was only a matter of time until she launched her own cook book, Dessert Person. And it was clearly such a hit that only two years later she published a second tome titled What's For Dessert, which I've been fortunate enough to receive for review.

The book is split into clear and distinct sections, such as Easy Cakes; Essential Techniques; Bars, Cookies & Candied Things; and Equipment. Some of the more basic elements of baking have been inserted at the beginning (from Ingredients to a Recipe Matrix showing the difficulty levels of the recipes against how long they it takes from start to finish), to set bakers up for success. I was also a big fan of the section called "How to Bake With Less Anxiety... and Less Waste". Claire clearly had amateur bakers and the environment in mind with that, and I appreciate it. 

Now, rather than going through the book in detail for this review (and spoiling the fun for those reading my blog of discovering all the recipes for themselves), I thought I'd take a different approach this time. I selected a recipe perfect for this time of year and attempted to make it myself: "Honey-Roasted Apple Cake". Apples are in abundance this time of year, and I was able to pick 'n mix fill my own paper bag at the local farmer's market to shop local and reduce waste while attempting this recipe. 

By actually making one of the recipes from the book, I could experience for myself how easy it would be to follow (or not) and whether Americanisms had slipped into the UK edition, adding extra challenges for British bakers. I have to start with the biggest pro: this particular recipe was indeed incredibly easy to follow. While it's certainly one of the easier ones in the book to attempt anyway, the instructions were very clear and logically split out. The measurements and timings were also really accurate. I loved that in addition to measurements in cups (which people use in America), it also listed them in grams (which we use in Europe). The oven temperature, however, was displayed in Fahrenheit and should've been translated for a UK audience into Celcius. It wasn't too difficult to Google the correct temperature, but the book should contain everything bakers need without going elsewhere for help. 

Temperature aside, this really is a fantastic (albeit VERY big and heavy) tome for amateur or slightly more advanced bakers that have been inspired by the latest series of The Great British Bake Off. There is a huge variety of different bakes and desserts within this book, all displayed with beautiful photography and the very accessible guidance we've all come to know and love from Claire Saffitz. She's very charming and approachable in her YouTube videos, and this same persona comes across in her book. While the instructions are rightfully so clear and to the point, each recipe also has a little introduction that makes it more personal and interesting. 

What's For Dessert is a really wonderful (and scrumptious) addition to any bakers' cook book collection! The first recipe I made from the book was a huge success and I cannot wait to try my hand at more difficult ones in the future. 

What's For Dessert by Claire Saffitz is published by Murdoch Books and you can now buy a copy from your favourite local book shop!

Blog tour stops for What's For Dessert by Claire Saffitz

This review for What's For Dessert is a part of the official blog tour for the launch of the book. Make sure to check out the other stops too!

Disclaimer: This book was gifted to me by the publisher, but this has not impacted this honest review.

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