cover image Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery

Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery

Martha Swift, Lisa Thomas. Kyle Cathie Limited, $18.95 (144pp) ISBN 978-1-906868-08-6

Swift and Thomas of London's popular Primrose Bakery usher readers behind the counter to share their recipes for cupcake success, with dependable results. After offering a handful of basic recipes for vanilla, chocolate, lemon and carrot cupcakes, the bakers offer six buttercream frostings (standard vanilla and chocolate as well as coffee, lime and coconut, orange cream cheese and lemon) that the form building blocks for the rest of the collection. Little more than variations on a theme, many of the duo's recipes employ either a twist on a frosting (chocolate liqueur) or the cake itself (Earl Grey tea, malted milk, etc.), with a selection of ""special occasion"" cupcakes (for events like christenings, anniversaries, and birthday parties) that merely suggests decorating ideas like jimmies and plastic cake toppers. While their photography and style is eye-catching and their recipes perfectly acceptable, Swift and Thomas offer few surprises; novices interested in testing the frosted waters will find this a practical collection, but experienced cupcakers (bakers and consumers both) will likely be disappointed.