Cook Book Report

July 17, 2009








Jane Asher’s Complete Book of Cake Decorating Ideas

Jane Asher was an icon of London in the swinging 60’s – appearing in movies like  Alfie (the original, with Michael Caine),  dating Paul McCartney (they were engaged apparently), and of course,  she’s the sister of musician Peter Asher of Peter and Gordon. I hadn’t really given her much thought since that time until I started finding her cake books in thrift stores. She’s been acting all along – mostly on stage and television – but she has another career selling rather expensive custom-made cakes and publishing books of her whimsical edible creations. You know I’m a big fan of novelty cakes, especially if they realistically mimic other foods, such as the egg and chips above (made entirely from icing, including the plate). Though out of print, used copies are abundant and cheap on the web, or try your favourite thrift store or the library.

I baked you a cake

March 24, 2008

…to celebrate Bowling Trophy’s 1st birthday today. I didn’t really bake it, I only scanned it from an Australian birthday cake book. It’s an echidna ice cream cake. When I posted this other spiky echnidna cake it became one of the most frequently googled items on this blog (though not as popular as how to draw horses or the Sylvers). To make it, fill a metal bowl with softened ice cream and freeze. Unmold, add a twinkie for a nose, coat the nose and face with that gross chocolate coating that hardens on contact with ice cream (because it’s full of coconut oil or wax), stick it full of chocolate fingers, sprinkle with grated chocolate and add a couple of smarties for eyes.

If you’re not partial to chocolaty marsupials, maybe you’d rather have a piece of Zappo the Alien:


Boozy Booklets

boozy booklets

Last weekend I got these four vintage cocktail recipe pamphlets at a garage sale for a quarter (20¢ really, but I’m such a big spender I didn’t want the change). Price is one of the things that makes collecting these charming little booklets attractive, another is that they hardly take up any space at all – a very important consideration as my cookbook cabinet fills to bursting.

Another charming aspect to recipe pamphlets is that they’re created to push the company’s products and so you get some really, um… creative recipes. For instance, Let’s Serve Cocktails published by Taylor’s New York State Wines and Champagnes features booze in most of its hors d’oeuvre recipes including tuna salad and chip dip. As a friend pointed out, you know you have a drinking problem when you put sherry in your chip dip.

Two of these pamphlets are the latest addition to my thrift store cookbook website Mock Duck. Let’s Serve Cocktails is in the Hors D’oeuvres menu, and Beachcomber’s Barguide is in the Beverages section.

May 9, 2007

Some of the search engine terms that people have used that brought them to this blog:

plaster trophy head
how to draw a firehydrant
people sticking their heads through hole
vintage fish wall
Bowling Stencils
pricing for bowling in alberta
miniature bowling trophy
bowling cake
cakes shapped like a runner

Sorry, despite the name of this blog I can’t really help you out with anything to do with bowling. To the person looking for a cake shaped like a runner, here you go:

sporty shoe cake

if by “runner” you mean it in the Canadian sense of “running shoe.” If you mean it in the sense of a person who runs – once again, sorry.

(Cook)Book Report

May 3, 2007

My cookbook collecting has taken a very specialized turn lately – I’ve become a bit obsessed with novelty cakes. Recently I bought this Australian cake book at at a rummage sale:

party cakes

If you can get past Creepy the Clown on the cover you’ll be rewarded with many unusual cakes inspired by the unique fauna of the land down under.

Wobbly Wombat

What child wouldn’t want Wobbly Wombat at his or her birthday party?

Cuddly Koala

or Cuddly Koala?

Perry Platypus

Perry Platypus emerges from a pond of blue quondong jelly.

Hoppy Kangaroo

And of course there has to be a ‘roo.

Spiky Echidna

My favorite is the echidna, an animal I’d never heard of before. Apparently it’s an egg-laying mammal (like the platypus) that resembles a hedgehog or spiny anteater. The spikes are made from chocolate mint sticks.

There are many intriguing cakes besides antipodean creatures – a billiard table, a Rubik’s cube, a pocket calculator, a snowman (which is probably as exotic to the Ozzies as an echidna seems to me), and this charming fellow called Joe Bad.

Joe Bad

The recipe instructs “Decorate cake with licorice, studs, earring and pins, if desired.” Because choking hazards and sharp pointy metal things are what you want on a child’s party cake.