If you are after a wonderfully illustrated baking book, which features easy cake recipes, classic savouries and everything else you need to throw a vintage afternoon tea party, then you will love Tea & Cake ( illustrated by Emma Block. Published by Hardie Grant. RRP £12.99 Hardback).

The beauty of having an illustrated cook book is that you won’t feel disappointed if your own creation doesn’t turn out to be a 100% match to the ultra-glossy food pictures you usually get. Instead, Emma’s charming illustrations are whimsical and playful without ever becoming too girly or overly quaint – just the right balance to get you curious about trying out some bakes for yourself.

From classics such as lemon teacake to trendy cake pops, you’ll find a whole range of easy to follow recipes, which include both sweet and savoury choices.

The book also includes a section of  very clever tea-based cocktails if you want to add a bit of oomph to your tea party. Emma’s brilliant  tea strength guide – simply hold up your cuppa to the strength chart to visually compare its hue – will definitely come in handy too to make the perfect afternoon tea.

If we have any criticism at all, we’d have loved to have known a little more about the recipes – who put them together? Are they family classics? Where do they come from?

Despite the obvious lack of an author, Emma’s wonderful illustrations are enough to really bring this book to live and infuse it with charm and fun. We’d definitely recommend it!

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