Earlier this spring, the Great British Baking Show finalist Kim-Joy teased the cover of her first cookbook on Instagram—Baking with Kim-Joy: Cute and Creative Bakes to Make You Smile. True to the aesthetically-pleasing, animal-themed desserts she was known for on the show, Baking With Kim-Joy was promised to be “full of colorful bakes and happiness,” with a cover featuring a rainbow, cat and llama cookies, and fluffy, pointed meringues. The book isn’t set to release until August 22 in the U.K. and September 3 in the U.S. and Canada. However, we were able to get a sneak peek this week, and reader, it didn’t disappoint.
Each dessert (or bread, in some instances) in Baking With Kim-Joy is more delightful than the next. A little deer and cookie cats preen on top of a “Woodland Cake,” covered in a wall of chocolate bark; the “Cat Paradise Cake” sets a scene where a little white cat has shimmied up a chocolate ladder to lounge by a sugarpaste rainbow and round meringue clouds. Each section—cakes and frosting, cookies and icing, breads, square cakes, and little bakes—is filled with detailed, careful instructions. Plus, on top of the beautiful photos, there are quirky black and white drawings dotted throughout the pages, including a ballerina cake mid-twirl and a mini Christmas snow globe scene. In the introduction, Kim-Joy writes about how baking is something that many of us associate with happy memories and joy—she hopes, ultimately, that people will use this book as an escape, something to read with a relaxing cup of tea in hand.
“There’s a lot of stress in our daily lives, so I hope this book can be a little place of calm away from all the hustle and bustle,” she writes in the intro. “Bake, be adventurous and, above all, be happy!”
Some of the recipes involve a lot of dedication, there’s no doubt about that. But when the end result is a gorgeous set of madeleines decorated to look like pandas (pandas!), it’s well worth it to put in some extra love and effort. We got photos of the aforementioned “Pandaleines,” along with seven other adorable desserts and breads that we can’t wait to try at home. Check them out below—and get the recipes by pre-ordering the book on Amazon.
Baking with Kim-Joy: Cute and Creative Bakes to Make You Smile, $17.50 (list price $25) at amazon.com
Lavender & Lemon Pandaleines
Pandas are already adorable—but pandas in madeleine form, aka “Pandaleines”? Forget about it. Kim-Joy takes the little cakes, flavors them with lavender buds, and then dips them in lemon icing, using black-dyed icing to create the panda features.
Pigfiteroles in Mud
These little piggies are made of a strawberry filling, with marzipan noses and features made with black royal icing. For the finishing touch, they’re nestled in choux pastry and set in dark chocolate “mud.”
Cardamom, Almond, & Honey Bee Cookies
Slivered almonds make up the wings on these delicate bee sandwich cookies, while the body is composed of a cardamom-infused semolina shortbread. The filling is a buttercream frosting with a honey center.
Space Turtle Melonpan Buns
Kim-Joy’s initial Instagram announcement did promise that the book would include space turtles, and it certainly delivered. In the “breads” section of Baking With Kim-Joy, you’ll find a recipe for "Space Turtle Melonpan Buns." Melonpan, she writes, is a “classic Japanese sweet bread that is traditionally shaped to look like a melon”—these have the addition of turtle heads and feet, decorated with glittery little starts and crescent moons.
Snowy Christmas Cake
In lieu of making a gingerbread house this Christmas, try a whole village—on top of a lovely cake, that is. Little dark green trees, delicate “house” cookies, and a dusting of confectioner’s sugar create a beautiful winter scene on this festive dessert, and you have the option to pick your own flavor. In the mood for chocolate? Pick Kim-Joy’s Vegan Chocolate Cake with Praline. Looking for bit of a kick? Try the Ginger, Pecan & Salted Caramel cake. Either way, it will make a beautiful centerpiece on your table.
Passionfruit & Strawberry Tarts with Cat Meringues
If you’re looking to serve individual desserts, these passionfruit curd tarts are elegant and fun, sure to impress your guests (especially if they love cats). Each is decorated with a “family” of slightly jiggly, puffy cat meringues, and a garnish of freeze-dried strawberry pieces. The end result looks like a fancy cat jacuzzi, which we can definitely get behind.
Farmyard Animal Doughnuts
This recipe produces seven ring doughnuts and seven round doughnuts—as for the animals? Pick from little pigs, cows, or bright yellow chicks, and Kim-Joy will walk you through the decorating process. You can also style them so that they’re all “eating” little cookies of their own.
Cat Paradise Cake
“Cat Paradise” is a pretty appropriate name for this cake, considering it’s topped with a rainbow, fluffy meringue clouds, and playful cats made out of sugar paste. Kim-Joy recommends using the Orange & Amaretto Rainbow Cake recipe as the base, which will mean rainbows on the outside and the inside of the cake.