August 2009, I tweeted (here and here) little snippets from Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin. I had ordered a copy from work (perks of working in book publishing) and read the book during my commute. Well, you know what? I liked it and wanted to share it with you - so good thing the paperback version came out last summer!
It's been awhile now, but I'm pretty sure Baking Cakes in Kigali was one of my first "food books." (Since then, I've been on the look out for more - so stay tuned for those reviews.) Baking Cakes in Kigali is a combination of stories, all placed together by Angel Tungaraza. She is the professional baker in Kigali, Rwanda. As customers' place their cake orders, we hear about the joys and troubles in their lives. We get to follow along each event as they unfold because Angel also has a knack for problem solving.
Parkin illuminates the setting of Rwanda and successfully shows Angel's sweet personality with reappearing phrases and expressions. I enjoyed the interactions and the chipper attitude between Angel and everyone she grew attached to. While her baking doesn't overpower the book, there's just enough to satisfy you, as the focus is really about each character's tale. So don't expect recipes or descriptions of cakes being decorated in every chapter. However, you do get to read about each cake consultation and Angel's cake decorating ideas - which are far from being monochromatic.
The story that stood out the most to me was about little Safiya. I found her situation to be the most worrisome and was pleasantly surprised on how things turned out. I think Angel was also relieved to learn about the secret solution! I won't spoil it for you here, but I can say that it became a reminder that these practices still happen in different parts of the world. All in all, a good read consisting of different customs and humour.
Now, for a giveaway! Please take a look at the two covers:
Left: Hardcover, Right: Paperback
I'm simply being curious, which cover do you like better? Let me know, I'm giving away three copies of the paperback version.
I personally can't pick! I like both of the covers, I love the photograph for the hardcover and the placement of the text. The paperback version has the whimsical cake illustrations that I would spot if I was browsing in a bookstore. Overall, I am glad they kept the typeface and colours for both of the cover designs!
Giveaway contest regulations and conditions:
Disclaimer: I got copies of Baking Cakes in Kigali through an employee program at work. The three giveaway copies were given to me and I was under no obligation to review the book. No incentives were used to produce a positive review of this book or to host a giveaway.
- The Baking Cakes in Kigali giveaway contest is open on Tuesday, March 29, 2011 until Tuesday, April 5, 2011. Entries submitted after 12 midnight EST on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 will not be considered.
- To enter, leave a comment below telling me which cover you prefer: the hardcover or paperback edition? Please leave a way for me to contact you (via e-mail or twitter).
- A winner will be randomly chosen and announced on A Baked Creation.
- This contest is available to residents of Canada and the U.S.A. only! However, if you have friends and family with a Canadian or American mailing address, feel free to enter.
- There will be three winners. Winners will be chosen in a random draw. The winners will each receive an paperback copy of Baking Cakes in Kigali. Best of luck!