The Art of Baking Blind, a debut novel by Sarah Vaughan (Oxford, a former news reporter for The Guardian) is a MUST for fans of PBS' Great British Baking Show.
Five amateur bakers are competing to become the New Mrs. Eaden, Mrs. Eaden being Kathleen, the recently deceased wife of the upscale supermarket chain's founder and the author of the 1966 classic, The Art of Baking. The winner not only will take away £50,000 but a baking career is almost a sure thing.
Housewives Vicki, Jenny, and Karen; single dad Mike; and single mom Claire will face off at the Eaden country estate through rounds of cakes, biscuits, breads, pies and pastries, pudding, and "celebratory tea" while dealing with personal challenges and difficult family dynamics. As unlikely alliances are forged and secrets rise to the surface, they will learn, as did Mrs. Eaden before them, that while perfection is possible in the kitchen, it's very much harder in life.
"Delectable 'food porn', as one character puts it."
The Cake Therapist by award-winning cookbook author Judith Fertig brings to mind Aimee Bender's The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.
Claire "Neely" O'Neil, a pastry chef of extraordinary talent has a unique gift. She can "taste" feelings - cinnamon makes you remember; plum is pleased with itself; orange is a wake-up call. She can also customize her creations to help her clients, whether to celebrate love, overcome fear, or mourn a devastating loss.
When she returns home to Millcreek Valley (OH) after a series of personal and business set-backs in the big city, opening her own bakery seems the perfect move, especially now that the town has become a thriving bridal district. Neely's talents for helping people through her pastry palette have always been useful, but a recurring flavor of alarming intensity signals a long-ago story involving a unique piece of jewelry begs to be told. Getting to the end of this story may be just what she needs to help herself.
"Fertig crafts a culinary tale that has as much substance as sweetness and is as pleasingly layered as Neely's signature rainbow cake. "
For readers who enjoyed The Love Goddess' Cooking School by Melissa Senate; The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister; When in Doubt Add Butter by Elizabeth Harbison; and The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee.