The Fabulous Cakes of Zinnia Jakes: The Super Spy by Brenda Gurr

Zinnia Jakes The Super Spy by Brenda Gurr

Cupcakes, muffins, brownies, Bake Off, sweet baked goods, it’s a topic that absolutely appeals to tweens especially if it can involve sprinkles and no doubt from seeing the efforts on YouTube and TikTok there are plenty of potential readers who could see themselves as super baker Zoë in her alter ego as Zinnia Jakes famous for her anonymous drops of fantastic cakes.

The Super Spy is the third in the series chronicling the baking challenges of young Zoë, her best friend Addie, her musician Auntie Jam and the seemingly magical cat Coco and is perfect for the 7-9 chapter book range but is a charming and playful quick read for older children too.

Cover and illustrations by Nancy Leschnikoff

In between juggling the antics of Coco turning up at school and the upcoming Year 4 school sleepover, Zoë, or more correctly Zinnia Jakes has been tasked with making a Spy themed Cake for the PTA party this coming weekend.

Once decided on a theme, Zoë and Addie overhear the organisers talking about the complicated traps as part of the fun and begin to worry how on earth Zinnia will deliver the cake on time, without being unmasked as Zoë!

Zoë had an amazing secret- one that only Coco, Aunty Jam and Addie shared with her. She was no ordinary nine-year old. She was the famous Zinnia Jakes, the secret pastry chef.

There are lovely themes of perseverance, resilience, team work and friendship throughout as Zoë must come up with a solution, and trusts her friend Addie to not only support but bring her STEM skills to ensure perfect planning and proportions. 

Then the extra special part of each book is there is an achievable version of the featured cake recipe at the back!! And seriously you CAN do this, it is so much easier than I thought!!

If you follow me on Twitter you may be aware that I was treated to a KitchenAid earlier this summer which has invigorated our baking and inspired a few bookish bakes. So of course, Zinnia Jakes is a perfect book for us right now!! 

Zinnia Jakes The Secret Spy by Brenda Gurr

In the book, Zoë bakes a spectacular hidden picture cake in the shape of a briefcase with marzipan and fondant gadgets for the PTA party, and the recipe at the back is adapted to a standard loaf-pan the type you can even buy in a supermarket. I’ll admit I was both excited and daunted having never made an embedded cake before.

Both Littlefae and Tinyfae helped to make the secret chocolate cake mixture, and later Tinyfae helped me mix the orange batter (we substituted Orange Extract instead of zest because of sensory reasons) and then she helped me stack the secret hearts inside before smothering in the remaining batter to bake further.

And it came out fantastic. I differed slightly from the instructions in that I used a silicone loaf pan with reinforced frame I’ve had forever which made it really easy to pop out, if you push gently downwards on the steel frame the silicone basically peels away from the cake sides but if you do use a metal pan I would really recommend the baking paper technique described in the recipe as tipping out can be the most nail biting bit!!

I couldn’t believe how easy and quick it was and how incredibly light and tasty the cakes were and the addition of drizzled water icing is highly recommended as it really makes it sing!!

I may have to play with the flavours and make a hidden heart in my signature purple 💜✨

Zinnia Jakes the secret spy by Brenda Gurr

I think this is a gorgeous series for 7-9 year olds who love baking and playful stories and look forward to sharing more with my girls!!

Make sure to check out the other stops on the Zinnia Jakes Blog Tour!!

The Fabulous Cakes of Zinnia Jakes: The Super Spy by Brenda Gurr is published by New Frontier Publishing

Thank you for my review copy! 💜✨

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