Saturday, 29 October 2011

Honey And Pear Layer Cake.

I decided to go a little more grown up for Dad's birthday cake this year after his last two novelty cakes!
I went for taste and chose the honey and pear layer cake from the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days book.  I got this book from my two boys on Mother's Day but haven't made an awful lot from it yet.  I felt this cake was seasonal and knew my Dad would love the flavours.

The recipe worked very well and the cake was beautiful.  It has caramelised pears on the top of each of the four layers and a lovely honey buttercream in between the layers.  I even just decorated the cake in the same way they did in the book.  I hadn't made these wee crystallised fruits since I was in a wee craft class in the community centre when I was at school.  Brought back memories of all the lovely little projects we made there.  I think there were only about 4 regular members of the class but we did loads of different things.  I don't know who the people were who took the class but I am so appreciative now when I think back on it.  I really hope I showed my appreciation at the time!  

Anyway, back to the point.  This is where I would normally publish the recipe.  Sometimes I have varied the recipe a bit and other times not.  I always reckon that if I give good publicity for the source of the recipe, it's okay for me to give it here.  I guess, I have always had my doubts about that, though, and recent discussions on Twitter have made me really think hard about it.  Maybe I really shouldn't be copying other people's recipes on here.  I didn't vary at all from the recipe for this one so I am not going to publish it.  Especially as this book is fairly new and still available.

I would, however, really appreciate your opinions on this.  Should I continue to write out the recipes I use or should I only write out recipes if I have made them up myself or significantly changed the original?

What I can do, however, is let anyone who doesn't know how to make these crystallised fruits.  It works well with edible flowers too and the leaves in the picture are just mint leaves from the garden.
It is really simple.  Lightly beat an egg white.  Brush a light coating of egg white over your chosen fruit, flowers or leaves then sprinkle some sieved caster sugar over the fruit.  Leave on some greaseproof paper overnight to dry.


  1. Totally professional looking Lou - I bet he was delighted.

    Re reprinting recipes - I would be more likely to buy a cookery book if I had seen a couple of the recipes on the blogs I read - I would see them as little temptations!!

  2. Wow, what a stunning looking cake, I'm sure he was over the moon with it! I love the idea of baking pears into each layer - it must have been so moist and delicious. Perfectly seasonal too.

    If I can find a recipe on the internet I will link to it, and then may also reproduce it on my blog, but I do try not to reproduce recipes unless I've altered them fairly significantly. I'm sure there's stuff out there about copyright, but it just doesn't seem right to reproduce verbatim. I'm not perfect though - sometimes I want to share the recipe so much that I'll do it anyway, hoping that if I've enjoyed the recipe that much, people will be inspired to buy the book. I'm never likely to reproduce a whole load of recipes from one book though.

  3. BVG - that's how I have been justifying it to myself. Problem is, I have started to blog a few recipes from the same books...hmmmm.

    C - I think you have a very sensible approach to it and one I will be likely to follow now, I think. I guess I can also try to get hold of the author and seek permission. In fact, I just really need to start doing more adapting. I think after this last year of baking a lot, I am much more confident about changing recipes than I was before so it's probably inevitable I will start doing so.

  4. Lou this cake is stunning & I'm sure it tasted amazing too. to.

    The recipe debate is a complicated one. As far as I'm aware you cannot legally copyright an ingredients list, this is because there only so many ways to make something. You can however copyright the written method & I wouldn't dream of copying this verbatim. I think as long as you credit the original author & the source it's fine. I apply the same principal to recipes I've adapted. Obviously this changes if you have the kind of blog where you are cooking from one end of a book to another. In the ideal world it would be lovely if we were all producing 100% original content all time, but then what would that do to book sales. I own 74 cookbooks, I'm sure a lot of the recipes can be found somewhere on the internet but I bought them because I like them as physical objects.

  5. It's so beautiful, and I can just imagine how delicious it was. Lucky Grampa.

    The copyright/reproduction issue. Having not read the tweeting that you refer to, apologies if I repeat them. It can seem like a tricky conundrum but I think it has very simple answer. As I understood it when I worked in publishing; reproduction without permission is is infringement, end of. Which is rather a boring answer. If the copyright owner saw a blog and believed (like most human beans) in shades of grey, drawing no profit from the website in terms of sponsorship or advertising, and an unmistakably positive and promotional tone, could only be in the blogger's favour. However, if they simply see the world in black and white... copyright is copyright.

    Trouble is, everyone does it right? Being pragmatic, who gives a hoot about small-scale mummy bloggers making a few mistakes - probably noone. Sleb chef's in-house counsels probably have bigger fish to fry. But then there's the moral standpoint; just because everyone's doing it doesn't make it right.

    For some reason I feel like it's fair game to reproduce a recipe on a blog that's been serialised in a newspaper/magazine. I don't know why I feel this way, or whether it's the right stance to take. I dunno, they've sort of given away their content/put it into the public domain, so it feels okay. I may be utterly wrong.

    Naturally I'm on shaky ground here too. I summarised a recipe on my site for the RR this month, and I've felt uncomfortable about it ever since. I've been thinking of editing it and removing the recipe, as I hope the post could stand with just a summary of the cooking experience rather than the recipe.

    You need to feel 100% comfortable with what you're writing, but I definitely don't want you to blog any less, I love seeing your posts pop up on my dashboard!!!

  6. Thank you very much Alex and Little Macaroon. It is really helpful getting everyone's take on it. I guess it's just affirming what I was thinking.
    Now the only problem is being more creative so that I'm not just posting a list of other people's recipes.

  7. What a scrummy scrummy recipe- I too have this book, and spend long hours pouring over the gorgeous photos and delicius recipes. I'm really impressed with the fruit!

    It is such a tricky, tricky issue, reporducing recipes. I try not to reproduce verbatim- for example changing the method by writing it my own way. I often change the recipe a little- add or subtract an ingredient, change the size etc- and I feel it is sort of okay and write the recipe out if I do this. But I may be very wrong....

  8. That cake looks amazing, I might have to give it a go next year if the pear tree goes crazy again. I might see if my local library's got this recipe book because I have no space for cookery books in my house I rely on recipes found on the internet/tv programmes and ripped out of magazines.

  9. Beautiful cake!

    I was thinking about posting recipes when I was writing up the apple cake for Cake Slice. I had never given it too much thought before, but something felt wrong as I was copying it out of the book. Recipe copyright is definitely a tricky issue, but something I am starting to give more thought too.

  10. this is incredible! such a fantastic effort! :)

  11. Well firstly this looks amazing. Nice work. Secondly I feel exactly what you feel and I think little mac has put it very elegantly. I too felt dreadful publishing cake recipes from the boy who bakes but I guess I felt that we're promoting these people as well so I let myself off in the end...

  12. This cake is simply divine!!

  13. First off the cake is utterly gorgeous. Secondly, I have published recipes also and feel like you do but then again we are giving the cookbook author raves reviews. Hard to say what is the right thing to do.

  14. Woo-wee, girl! You've got talent! I would never have the confidence to tackle making such a beautiful beast. It looks delicious - did he love it?

    As far as recipes, my gut goes with not publishing recipes since I assume they are copyrighted, and it is someone's creativity/talent. I'm sure a cookbook endorsement would always be welcomed :) It's a toughy, isn't it?

    Thank you for joining Post Of The Month Club! XOLaura

  15. This is beautiful and my mouth is watering. Thanks for linking to MM UK post of the month...that's where I'm visiting from...have a fabulous day.

  16. That really is a beautiful and elegant birthday cake for your Dad!

    Regarding recipes on blogs- I read somewhere that it's ok to copy the ingredient list, but not the method.

  17. Fantastic cake - you must have been extremely proud when you put that one on the table. A labour of love. This link from the Food Blog Alliance is a good guide.

  18. Popping in via Happy Homemaker's Post of the Month Club! I'm spellbound by your beautiful cake! What a delicious undertaking!

  19. Kate - it's a great book, isn't it? And now, inspired by my success with this recipe, I hope to make lots more of their recipes.

    Heather - oh I'm sorry - if I had done this post a week ago, I would have written out the recipe in full. I hope the library has it for you. I love getting random cookbooks out of the library. I use them more than my own books as I always feel I have it for only a short time so I should make a few things.

    Kim - Yes, I'm thinking that adapting the recipes and making them my own before writing them out is going to be a little more effort but will probably be very rewarding and will make me feel better.

    Victoria - thank you for your kind words.

    Dom - I agree entirely.

    Manu - thank you :-). I was pleased with it.

    FBMKW - I imagine most authors would prefer to have their books written about than not. I'm just going to try to think about it a bit more.

    Laura - Yes, he loved it. Can't go wrong with pear and honey!

    Eli - thanks for dropping by - I'm slowly trying to visit everyone in the HH POMC.

    Anna - Thank you for calling my cake elegant. Usually I am anything but elegant so that thrills me. And with regards to being able to copy the list of ingredients, that is really helpful as I do tend to make the method up as I go along and take lots of shortcuts so I can easily rewrite a method to be a bit different!

    Sally - thanks very much for the link! Very helpful. I like this bit -

    "1. If you're modifying someone else's recipe, it should be called "adapted from".

    2. If you change a recipe substantially, you may be able to call it your own. But if it's somewhat similar to a publisher recipe, you should say it's "inspired by", which means that you used else's recipe for inspiration, but changed it substantially.

    3. If you change three ingredients, you can in most instances call the recipe yours." David Lebovitz.

    And the good thing is that I ALWAYS say where a recipe has come from. I would never have the cheek to try and suggest that I had made something up myself.

    Emily - spellbound? Oh what a wonderful thing to say - thank you! :-)

  20. I'm in luck my local library has that book, it's on loan at the moment but I've put it on hold.

  21. Heather - cool! Mink's in for some yummy things. :-)

  22. Wow you were busy! Your ghost meringues look great and I love the owl on the wall.

  23. This cake is amazing! Thanks for raising the point re recipes. I always credit or link to recipes so feel I am promoting them. It's a difficult one though.

  24. Thanks for posing the copyright question. It was really interesting to see people views. I have felt funny about it before but I never copy the recipe exactly and I almost always change 2 or 3 ingredients. I also agree with Dom, we are kind of free advertising for the author so perhaps it's okay. Beautiful cake!