This is a love letter to cake. Zoë François’ journey to becoming a celebrated pastry chef began when, as a child who grew up on hippy communes in the 1960s, she took a bite of a Twinkie. Up to that point, she had known sweetness only in the form of honey and maple syrup, but that first bite of the cylindrical cake with its mystery creme filling became the source of her passion.

Despite years spent creating exceptional desserts, cake remained Zoë’s true love. To write this book, she set about perfecting the recipes for cakes she had eaten over the years, the cakes of her memories. Leafing through it, I was drawn to a picture of a rustic-looking plum cake, all craggy caramelised edges where tart plum juice had seeped through the buttery cake batter, the top flecked with cinnamon sugar. It is everything homemade cake should be, and so inviting that you can’t help but cut a slice before it has cooled.

Zoë not only imparts her extensive technical knowledge and years of experience, but her ‘Cake Academy’ chapter also covers the whys as well as the whats.

Most importantly, she identifies the crucial ingredient in cake – love. Be it a box cake you pimp on a stormy night, or a cake that sees you go to the other end of town for a special ingredient, if it is baked with love, or for someone you love, you can taste the difference.

And yes, there on page 155 is the recipe for her first love, the OG snack cake (aka the Twinkie). FELICITY O’DRISCOLL