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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Baking Cakes in Kigali

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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. A winner will be randomly chosen and announced on A Baked Creation.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
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.


  1. I would love to be considered for the paperback which I prefer the cover of. Thanks!

    Margaret (goodreads)

  2. I would love the paperback copy.


  3. Another vote for the paperback!


  4. Okay, first of all...how amazing is your blog? I came for the giveaway, but became a follower (more like, FAN) because of the deliciousness of this blog! :D And thank you for holding this amazing giveaway! :D

    Unlike my friends above me, I am having a bit of a hard time deciding between the two. Because, well, the word placement, along with that dusting of iced sugar-like background and the parchment-like paper all seem to add such character to the book. But undoubtedly, my mind would most probably wander to the whimsical drawing on the paperback copy, if I saw it in a bookstore, first. Also, I like that it ties in the cultural element of the book, with the native dress.

    If I really HAD to choose (interpet: why are you making me DO this!?!?!? *whine* LOL), I guess I would have to go with the paperback copy as well! :)

    Thank you, again, for the giveaway! :D

    Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com
    Twitter: @inluvwithbookz

  5. Paperback all the way!


  6. Definitely paperback -- such a pretty cover. It shows the cultural angle as well as the cakes.

    This book sounds so good. I love reading about food and different cultures in the form of a story.

    New follower via GFC(MonaG)


  7. I love the paperback version for the whimsical character and her balanced cakes


  8. I too am having a difficult time deciding. I really love the paperback cover with the girl who is dancing in celebration of cake perfectly baked! The hardback is neat, the print style is also eclectic and so it's very appealing too. I think I will choose hardback because it makes me want to know..........what's in there?


  9. I prefer the paperback, simply because the cakes gets more attention from a baker! :)

    Twitter: @bakerynumber7

  10. I prefer the :: PAPERBACK ::
    The title in the middle is more eye catching and with the dancing girl. I feel it brings up joyful in baking.


  11. I love paperback. Its easier to carry, lighter and cheaper.
    Thanks for this opportunity.
    Blog: http://theaddictedbaker.blogspot.com/
    email: pinkpigsayoink@gmail.com

  12. I like the paperback copy, for the arbitrary reason of it having a picture of cakes on it!

  13. I like the paperback version - those colourful cakes are just too cute!

    ajdoucette (at) shaw (dot) ca

  14. I love the paperback cover. The movement of the woman speaks to me. Dance, joy, baking!


  15. I like the cover of the paperback edition.


  16. I love the paperback one, it so colorful and whimsical looking. :)

  17. I like both but prefer the simple layout of the hardback version.

  18. I love the paperback, I'm getting the feeling of voodoo cakes! @cupcakessundry

  19. I love the sound of this book and as I too am doing the Foodie challenge I've just put it on reserve at the library. Thanks for an excellent review.

  20. Thanks Cath, I hope you enjoy the read. =)