Konditor & Cook. Reservedly legendary baking
This is not your average baking book. This one’s different! “Why?” I hear you ask. Well the recipes are just not what you’d expect…. but in a good way. The combinations are different and unusual and dare I say it – intriguing like ‘Melon and Ginger’ slinger – which sounds more like a smoothie than a tart and ‘101% Apple pie’! How do you do that?
For those who don’t know Konditor & Cook is a little cake shop tucked out behind Waterloo East station on Cornwall road in London. I used to walk past it on my way to work in the mornings and always had to have a good look in the window as I passed by. There was always a line of people queueing outside waiting to pick up their morning coffee and cake. Whenever someone had a birthday or celebration on the magazine a cake would be ordered from K&C – until I started baking that is!
Konditor and Cook is the brainchild of Gerhard Jenne. He opened his little baking shop in 1993 using his skills as a pastry chief from Germany; where he studied before moving to England and training under Justin De Blank. This book is full of his most popular recipes. There’s a lot of German influence in the bakes but none of the obvious recipes. I haven’t heard of a lot of the cakes here but they look and sound so good.
One of the best things about this book is that everything has a real “depth of flavour” as Gerhard says that’s the most important thing -and I think we would all agree with him on that? You don’t need specialist equipment to make any of these cakes – even the more decorated ones at the back- and his ethos that the recipes are easy to make just works in this day and age of our busy lives
“Most of these recipes don’t take a lot of time or energy, just enthusiasm and a keen appetite” Gerhard Jenne
So what’s in the book?
The book includes the following chapters. Here’s a few but by all means not all bakes included.
Figgy fruit loaf – a cake for cheese, Stem ginger, Almond St Clement cake and sunken pear and black gingerbread cake to name just a few
Tarts and puddings
Choose from Raspberry fudge tart (a favorite at the shop), Rhubarb and orange Meringue, twice baked raspberry ricotta cheesecake with a thyme crust, Strawboffie pie, summer pudding sand and there’s more
Jammilicious Linzers, Raspberry rocks Meringues (which have raspberries baked in the centres- yum), lemon and currant puff – which are next on my list, Very berry tartlets (as seen above) Kipferl cookies; a traditional Christmas biscuit in Germany,
Brownies and slices
This is where I started when I first got the book. I made the Boston brownies and they are divine! There’s also Whisky and fig brownies, Bakewell slab, Hot cross Blondies and Tarta de Santiago which was inspired by Brindisa a local Borough Market Spanish food importer.
Muffins, cupcakes and buns
If there’s one recipe that is going to get you excited in this chapter it’s the ‘Black velvet cupcakes with Irish cream frosting’. All I really have to say about this is Bailey’s Irish cream liquer. The rest you can imagine! Other tasty sounding bites are Dorset apple cakes, Iced prune buns – these are a really cute domed shape and look super delish – I’m making them this weekend.
Fun and festivities
This is where your creative talents can get into action. There are K&C’s signature ‘Magic cakes’ (I’m sure they’re called this as they disappear!), Spaghetti Bolognese cupcakes, The chocolate cabbage cake (as seen below) don’t worry it’s all chocolate and just looks like a cabbage – there’s not a green leaf to be seen inside this creation. The mulled wine cupcakes also sound amazing.
Basics, tips and techniques
Not only is this chapter full of really good, solid advice but there are more recipes and tips throughout it. There are more pastry recipes as well as frostings, custard and lemon curd all of which can be used with the recipes throughout the book. There are tips on piping, lining a cake tin and how to temper chocolate.
My thoughts on Konditor & Cook. Reservedly legendary baking.
The photography is a lot darker and moodier in this book than in the average baking book which I’m not usually a massive fan of but with these recipes it just works. I really love the details about each bake before the recipe – either where it originates from or who inspired it. It makes the book really informative and personal, but it’s the extra details in the ‘Basics, tips and techniques’ chapter that make it a must. There are tons of really useful tips and advice that I haven’t seen before. I also really like the way it’s written. You feel like you’re having a chat with your baker friend Gerhard who’s sharing his best knowledge with you. It’s so relaxed and chatty.
Having made quite a few recipes from this book – the Boston Brownies are to die for! I really like this book. It’s good to have something a bit different on your kitchen shelves. It has a few old favorites – coffee cake, lemon meringue pies and strawberry tarts, but the more unusual recipes are what I rate the most.
Do you have this book? Would you buy it and if so why? I’d love to know.