If any of you are keen bakers, you probably already follow the talented Julie Jones on her instagram feed. She has a way with decorating a cake or a tart that makes you wish for more time in the day in order to copy her artful creations.
I like the fact that making cakes and pies became a form of therapy for Julie and her mother, who taught her to bake. When Julie’s mum was diagnosed with dementia, they began to bake as a way to enjoy their time together. Her instagram account is not just full of lovely food images, it also has small stories about memories of her mum and how they are both copying through her illness. It’s often moving and uplifting all at once and I love the human touch and Julie’s open, articulate approach to what she’s going through. And of course the pictures of cake.
Now Julie has a cook book out, Soulful Baker, showing how to pull off her best creations, including those apple roses that are all over social media. We all have more cookery books than we need, but the reason I think this one is worth the investment is the inspiring decoration ideas. Julie makes tarts, cakes, biscuits and pies that you’ve probably already got the recipe for, but the way she approaches the presentation adds a new spin to old classics. For example, she elevates autumn crumble to dinner party level and the salted caramel and chocolate tart would make you look as if you’d been patisserie-trained. Her meringue sharing wreath is a brilliant new twist on dinner-party pavlova and once you’ve played with some of her pastry decoration ideas you’ll be ready for Bake Off.
I cracked those apple roses, following Julie’s clear instructions and made a lovely apple rose tart that disappeared sharpish. An excellent and inspiring book.
Buy Soulful Baker, by Julie Jones here. Book photos by Lisa Linder