Konditor & Cook: Deservedly Legendary Baking
By Susan Low
The delicious. team have a tradition: we mark team birthdays with a curly whirly cake from top baker Konditor & Cook – until this year, when we started baking for each other. So when this new book arrived with the iconic cake gracing the cover, we knew a road-test was on the menu.
Konditor & Cook, run by German-born baker Gerhard Jenne, has five shops and a cake school in London. The book contains German-inspired recipes for plum crumble from Jenne’s native Black Forest, cinnamon star Christmas cookies, plus British faves such as Dorset apple cupcakes and Bakewell slabs. A chapter at the back covers basic pastry and icing recipes, as well as useful techniques.
As a fan of German baking, I had to try the nusszopf, a sweet hazelnut-and-spice bread described as “the archetypal bake of southern Germany”. It took 3-4 hours to achieve, but was mostly hands-off and turned out well. The curly whirly cake (a moist chocolate cake encased in cream cheese icing) was more of a challenge. The recipe calls for 17cm cake tins but I only had 20cm ones. How much difference could it make? A lot, as it turned out. My first effort was flattish, leaden and dry. My second, after I’d tracked down 17cm tins, was far more successful, even if I didn’t manage to find the 54% cocoa solids chocolate the recipe demanded. Was the cake decadent enough for future delicious. team birthdays? Definitely.
QUALITY OF THE RECIPES
The ones I tried were accurate and pretty easy to follow (even if the cake tins were hard to find). I also liked the mix of classic German bakes and funky takes on traditional cakes. Each recipe has an intro from Gerhard, which gives the book personality.
Beautiful, simply styled shots.
Not-quite-beginner to advanced cooks. Some of the cakes require experience and confidence.