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Cupcake Jemma – ‘Crumbs & Doilies’ review

The YouTube sensation is sharing her incredible recipes.

Cupcake Jemma - Crumbs and Doilies
Credit: Michael Joseph

Cupcake Jemma aka Jemma Wilson is the co-owner of London-based bakery ‘Crumbs & Doilies’ and since 2013 she’s captured the imagination of bakers all over the world thanks to her regular tutorial videos on YouTube. Now with over 2.4 million subscribers, and her own Bake Club, Jemma launched her London store in 2015 and she’s been going from strength-to-strength ever since. Just in time for Christmas, Jemma is releasing her first book of recipes – named after her shop of course – and she’s sharing more than 90 bakes created by her and her team.

Followers of Jemma’s will know that her bakes often put twists on classics, and as such she ensures that what she makes are easy enough for her followers to recreate. If advanced patisserie and complicated recipes are what you’re after, then this book is likely not going to be for you. If it’s impressive bakes that you can make without having to hunt down random and rare ingredients, that are perfect to share with family and friends, then ‘Crumbs & Doilies’ is the perfect point of reference.

The book is split into five sections – ‘Basics & BFFs’, ‘Cupcakes’, ‘Traybakes’, ‘Cookies’ and ‘Cakes’ – and it covers a lot of ground. After taking readers through the essential kit and ingredients they’ll need to make the recipes in the book, Jemma takes you through the all the basics you need to get started in the kitchen. ‘Basics & BFFs’ contains easy-to-follow recipes for a variety of cake flavours, buttercreams, icing, meringues, ganache and more, to equip the home baker with everything they need to succeed. This chapter is so important, especially for amateur bakers, because once you master the basics everything else will seem that bit easier.

Once you’re ready to move forward, your baking starting point is ‘Cupcakes’, starting with ‘Cereal Milk Cupcakes’ and offering a variety of tantalising bakes to keep you busy. For the most part the flavours are classics but Jemma does through in some interesting twists such as the ‘Baklava Cupcakes’ and the ‘Tahini and Chocolate Cupcakes’. Her ideas help you to create cupcakes that will impress while also help you to understand how you can adapt most bakes to your liking, and when you get more confident you can customise and devise your own!

Second chapter ‘Traybakes’ is perfect for the upcoming festive season. Traybakes are usually pretty simple to pull off and they serve plenty of portions, making them a perfect addition to your buffet table. Jemma puts a twist on rocky road with her ‘Biscoff Rocky Road’ traybake recipe, transforms the ‘Double Decker’ into a ‘Triple Decker Brownie’ and modernises ‘Lemon Meringue’ into a traybake. If you’re feeling particularly decadent, you might even want to try the ‘S’mores Brownie’ recipe, which is so rich and indulgent, I guarantee you it won’t last long.

Proving that cookies don’t have to be boring, Jemma serves up 17 different recipes in the ‘Cookies’ chapter. From ‘Velvet Volcano Cookie Cups’ through to the huge ‘Skillet Cookie’, you won’t know which recipe to bake first. My particular favourite in this section if the ‘Cookie Dough Cookies’, which are sandwiched together with some cookie dough in the centre. There’s also a nice spin on the Jaffa Cake with ‘Twicks Bites’, swapping out the orange jelly for a chewy caramel filling.

The final section, ‘Cakes’, is where things get a little more challenging. Jemma’s bakes always look absolutely stunning so your decorating skills are going to be tested with all of these bakes. The colourful ‘Birthday Cake’ incorporates meringues and two-colour frosting, the ‘Raspberry & Yuzu Cake’ combines two very punchy flavours for one gorgeous bake, and the ‘Matcha & Black Sesame Cake’ takes you off the beaten track in terms of flavours. The ‘Marathon Cake’ reimagines ‘Snickers’ (which used to be called ‘Marathon’ for all you younger readers out there) into a fault line cake, which will definitely push the amateur baker into new territory.

There’s a reason that Cupcake Jemma has been so phenomenally successful and it’s because she’s very clever at delivering recipes that feel familiar but serve up something different. Via her YouTube channel, Jemma has always come across as relatable and lovely, and I’m certain her followers will be picking up this book in the run-up to Christmas, to try and recreate her fantastic bakes. If you want to hone your skills or get your foot on the ladder as an amateur baker, this book is absolutely perfect!

Publisher: Michael Joseph Release date: 24th November 2022 Buy ‘Crumbs & Doilies’ now

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