[sweet review] Timothy and Sarah: The Homemade Cake Contest by Midori Basho

Didn’t someone once say you can’t have your cake and eat it too?

Well, anyone who reads Midori Basho’s Timothy and Sarah: The Homemade Cake Contest (Museyon, 2015) will certainly be able to do both. First published in Japan six years ago, The Homemade Cake Contest is the first title from Basho’s popular 13-book Timothy and Sarah series to be translated into English, and it’s quite scrumptious.

In this charming story, mouse twins Timothy and Sarah are excited about helping Miss Flora and their mother raise funds to restore an old house in the forest. It was once a wonderful café where guests could have tea and chat while their children played outside. If only they could repair the building and reopen the café! Then young and old alike could enjoy it together!

Adorable endpapers!

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lemon teacake from emma block’s tea and cake


I’ve long been a big fan of illustrated cookbooks, often adding them to my collection without ever intending to make any of the recipes. I’m content to ooh and ahh over the beautiful art, happily satisfying my visual cravings.

But since we’re all about tea and England this winter, I thought it would be nice to try something from Tea and Cake: Recipes for the Perfect Afternoon Tea (Hardie Grant, 2011), which features the lovely watercolor and paper collage work of London-based illustrator Emma Block.

Emma was actually commissioned by the publisher to do the illustrations while in her last year at university; the recipes themselves were created by a team of recipe writers whose names, oddly enough, do not appear on the cover of the book. But Emma’s name is there, front and center, and she definitely deserves the spotlight, because it is her work that really makes this book shine.

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ta da!: cakespy presents sweet treats for a sugar-filled life by jessie oleson

As Cakespy herself would say, “Like OMG!”

Prepare yourselves for the ultimate SUGAR RUSH: Jessie Oleson’s very first cookbook, CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life, is officially out! Can you think of a million ways to say ADORABLE!?

Longtime readers of this blog know I’ve been a big Cakespy fan for the last three years. It’s been such fun (a decidedly

photo by Paul Hipple

delicious vicarious thrill) to follow Jessie’s ever-burgeoning career as an author, artist, “adventure” baker, gallery owner, savvy businesswoman and primo blogger.

As Head Spy of her very own Dessert Detective Agency, whose mission is “Seeking Sweetness in Everyday Life,” Jessie has proven that following one’s passions, working hard, consistently cultivating a positive outlook and transmitting mega-watt joy can reap sweet, sweet rewards.

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dessert recipe archive

Aunty Inez’s Apple Pie

Not Violet, But Blueberry Pie, Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie, Blueberry Cobbler

 Honey Spice Cake

 Michie Tavern Crispy Peach Cobbler

Oahu Gingersnaps

Madeleines (Marcel Proust)

Mary Todd Lincoln’s White Cake

14 Carrot Cake (Beatrix Potter poems)

Chocolate Midnight Cake

Laura Ingalls Wilder Gingerbread

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Fresh Rhubarb Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie

 Christmas Wreath Cookies

Neopolitan Cookies

Olivia Walton’s Applesauce Cake

Hawaiian Sweet Bread Pudding

Cookie Party (December 2007)

Chocolate Month (February 2008)

Creme Caramel

Lemon Bars

Strawberry Tart

Pumpkin Applesauce Teabread

Peach Pie (with Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee)

Roald Dahl’s Pishlets

Butter Cookies

Strawberry Cobblecake

Chocolate Cream Pie (Gourmet)

Sylvia’s Fruit Tart

Walnut Refrigerator Cookies

Julia Child’s Reine de Saba (Chocolate and Almond Cake)

Julia Child’s Cherry Clafouti

Sweet Brown Sugar Shortbread (Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook)

Chocolate Madeleines (Abbey Cooks Entertain)

Warm Gingerbread with Sweetened Whipped Cream (Edna Lewis)

Littletown-Farm Carrot Cookies (Peter Rabbit’s Natural Foods Cookbook)

Easy Chocolate Fudge Cake (Meat Free Monday Cookbook)

New England Blueberry Slump

Apple Dumplings with Cider-Rum Sauce (Apple Lovers Cookbook)

Lemon Teacake (Tea and Cake)

Lemon Butter Cookies (A Fine Romance – Recipe by Rachel Lucas)

Rock Cakes (Downton Abbey Cooks)

Fruit Tartlets

Sliced Apple Pudding (Thomas Jefferson’s Cook Book)

Cream Scones (America’s Test Kitchen)

Chocolate Biscuit Cake (Eating Royally)

Mrs. Coolidge’s IceBox Cookies (Politics and Pot Roast)

Traditional English Rice Pudding (Alexis Soyer)

Ratafia Cakes (Dinner with Mr. Darcy)

Lemon-Glazed Tea Cookies (Winnie-the-Pooh Cookie Book)

Claude Monet’s Madeleines au Citron (The Modern Art  Cookbook)

Apple Tarts (Paddington’s Cookery Book)

Yorkshire Parkin

Apple Pie (Kate Lebo’s PIE SCHOOL)

Dorie Greenspan’s Custardy Apple Squares

Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies (Baking Bites)

Ricotta Cookies (Lidia Bastianich)

Peach Cream Cheese Braided Danish (Natasha’s Kitchen)

Almond Cake (Kids Cook French, Claudine Pepin)

Chocolate Mud Puddles

Japanese Chi Chi Dango Mochi

Apple Brownies (Apple Lover’s Cookbook)

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

English Chocolate Crisps (Ina Garten)

Yogurt Marmalade Cake (Pioneer Woman)

Melting Snowman Cookies

Carrot Cupcakes

1610 Rose Cakes (Shakespeare’s Kitchen)

Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie

Quick and Easy Fudge Brownies (King Arthur Flour)

Lemon Drizzle Cake (Linda McCartney)

Honey Chocolate Pie (Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook)

Orange Raspberry Victoria Sponge (Sophie Dahl)

Cottage Cheese Pie

Potato Chip Cookies (Susan Branch)

Chelsea Clinton’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Raspberry Lattice Bars

Oatmeal Cake with Pecan Coconut Frosting

Peanut Blossom Cookies

Vanilla Rennet Custard (Junket)

Baked Apple Oatmeal Pudding

Almond Brown Butter Cake (Fanny in France)

Chocolate Brownie Valentine Hearts

Peach and Cherry Upside-Down Cake (Nadiya’s Bake Me a Festive Story)

Pineapple Macadamia Bars (M.E. Furman/A World of Cookies for Santa)

Apple Pandowdy

Anne’s Liniment Cake with Creamy Butter Frosting (The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook)

Funfetti Cake Mix Cookies

Lemon Pound Cake (from Cake by Maira Kalman and Barbara Scott-Goodman)

Chocolate, Nut and Fruit Treats (from A Grandfather’s Lessons: In the Kitchen with Shorey by Jacques Pépin)

Christmas Coffee Cake (Susan Branch’s Christmas from the Heart of the Home)

Chocolate Soup for Two

Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Sour Cream Lemon Puff Pastry Shells