saved by cake

Saturday, August 24, 2013 |
Over a year ago I saw a fellow blogger’s review of Marian Keyes’ Saved by Cake, and I knew I wanted to read it posthaste.  After all, the cookbook featured baked goods (my purview!) exclusively, and the author’s voice was straight-up hilarious in the short excerpt.  However, I couldn’t find a listing for the US release date, and when I looked into purchasing an international edition, I realized I wouldn’t do well with the metric weights and measurements. 

So I put it on my wishlist and waited.  And waited.  And then!  It was finally available in April.  I bought it immediately and it sat on my bookshelf for far too many months.  A few weeks back I finally picked Saved by Cake up again, and here we are today, with cake.  All is right with the world.

saved by cake by marian keyes book cover
Beloved novelist Marian Keyes tackles the kitchen with a new cookbook featuring desserts that are both simple and delicious, with step-by-step instructions and stunning photography.

“To be perfectly blunt about it, my choice sometimes is: I can kill myself, or I can make a dozen cupcakes. Right so, I’ll do the cupcakes and I can kill myself tomorrow.”

In Saved by Cake, Marian Keyes gives a candid account of her recent battle with depression and her discovery that learning to bake was exactly what she needed to regain her joie de vivre. A complete novice in the kitchen, Marian decided to bake a cake for a friend. From the moment she began measuring, she realized that baking was the best way for her to get through each day.

Refreshingly honest and wickedly funny, Saved by Cake shines with Keyes’ inimitable charm and is chockfull of sound advice. Written in Marian’s signature style, her take on baking is honest, witty, extremely accessible and full of fun. Her simple and delicious recipes—from Consistently Reliable Cupcakes to Fridge-set Honeycomb Cheesecake—are guaranteed to tempt even the most jaded palate.

I’ve never read Marian Keyes’ novels, but based on the dark humor and honesty in her cookbook, I’d say she’s got a flair for the descriptive, a thing for cookie cutters, and is also dealing with a really troubling bout of depression.  Oh, and she’s not-so-mildly obsessed with cake!  This cookbook struck a personal chord for me – I too have baked myself through rough spots.  It’s rather special to see someone else, quite accomplished at writing, struggle and come through with the same sort of ‘therapy.’

As for the recipes themselves, Keyes has a bit of a fussy bent, so many include unique flavor combinations, unexpected ingredients, and long-ish prep times.  Keyes has a good knack for describing baking tips that you may not have thought of before, and I will incorporate several of these into my usual routines.  My favorite section of the cookbook was the one on ‘Classics,’ though I look forward to also trying recipes from the ‘Fruit and Veg’ section as well.  The photo below is from my attempt at the Victoria Sandwich, which I’d make again (it was a snap!) but vary the filling.  My favorite THINGS about the cookbook at large were the introductory paragraphs and the beautiful photos accompanying each recipe.  This is where Keyes shines – in her conversational writing style and self-deprecating humor.

victoria sandwich cake

In all, Keyes’ book is fun, funny and personal, with drool-worthy photography and delicious recipes.  It’ll stay on my shelf, and come down for many rereads in the future. 

Recommended for: Marian Keyes fans, those who would appreciate a funny, slightly irreverent take on food and mental health, and anyone with a ken for cake.  Especially making it (and devouring it afterward!).

Interested in other food-related posts?  Check out Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking!


Laurie C said...

I do baking therapy, too, and this book sounds like fun. I do better with cookies than cakes, so maybe I should get her tips. I've read a couple of Marian Keyes' novels and I wouldn't have guessed she struggled with depression. I guess a lot of comedians do, though, so it makes sense that her books could be funny while she's depressed!

Beth F said...

This is my kind of book! I don't bake that often (although I cook almost every night), but I like cookbooks that are as much to read as to cook from. And I love great photos and tips. I'll have to find a copy of my very own.

Col (Col Reads) said...

I'm not much of a baker, but my favorite part of most cookbooks is the descriptions and backstories anyway, so I would probably really enjoy reading this.

Tales of Whimsy said...

Awesome honest review.

Peaceful Reader said...

This book does sound like a treat. I love how much baking has helped her work through depression. Cooking in the kitchen is such a healing event. Thanks for highlighting this cookbook author.

Liviania said...

Sounds like a good cookbook - I've always been a stress baker, and it's amazing how much it helps.

(And I definitely have an international cookbook with loose-leaf pages shoved in there with the conversions for my favorite recipes!)

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