Containing 30 Recipes Inspired By Your Favorite Video Game. And oh, what a perfect selection. Look, I’ve never gotten into Minecraft. I’ll play video games until my face falls into a keyboard or vice versa, but Minecraft never really appealed to me. My three kids, on the other hand, are huge fans (and fortunately my husband helps them sort out any issues they run into while playing, as he keeps a hand in, too.)
But cooking: ah yes, there is an interest my kids and I have in common. Having spent a good portion of my life oohing and aahing over the children’s Minecraft tasty-bakey-cakey machines, when I got the chance to make that same cake in real life with my kids, well. Who am I to ignore serendipity?
The Unofficial Minecraft Cookbook provided us with the recipe, and even before we get into the nitty gritty of what makes a good cookbook, can I say that this volume is perfectly designed? I love how the photos show the in-game items that inspired each recipe, often with Alex (see, I know a Minecraft character!) in the background. The photography may not be the most breathtaking I’ve ever seen, but given the blocky, pixelated inspiration, that is of little concern. What matters is how closely the styling adheres to the game items, and on that account, the food photos get an A++. My kids were super excited to flip through the book — which is handily divided into savory, sweet and drinks sections — and select something to cook with me.
Despite my gentle nudges in the direction of something savory, they plumped for the classic Minecraft cake. I was hesitant — I don’t love fondant — but see my belief in serendipity above. So off we went on our cake-baking adventure!
The Classic Minecraft Cake
1/2 cup plain or flavored yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter, for the mold or pan
1/2 cup chocolate spread
Rolled white fondant, such as Wilton, from a craft or baking supply shop
Rolled red fondant, such as Wilton, from a craft or baking supply shop
Rectangular silicon mold or 9 by 9-inch baking pan (even better!)
1. Warming Up – Begin by preheating the oven to 350F
2. The Batter – Place the yogurt in the large bowl. Add the sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, eggs, oil, and vanilla, then beat everything together with the whisk.
3. To The Oven! – Butter the mold or pan, then pour your mixture inside. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. When the cake has finished baking, let it cool on a wire rack before removing it from the mold and placing it onto your work surface.
4. Decoration – Cut your cake into a square (you can keep the extra bits to make cake pops.) If you baked the cake in the square pan, no need to cut! Coat the top and sides of the cake with the chocolate spread.
Unroll the white fondant and place it over the top and upper half of the sides of the cake. You can cut the corners a little so that the fondant fits the square shape well. With the knife, trim the edges of the fondant to make squares. Look at the photo of the recipe if you need help!
Unroll the red fondant and cut out small squares of different sizes. Place them on top of the cake.
I wonder whether using an 8×8 pan would have worked better for me, as the cake that I pulled out of the oven seemed a little flat. The taste was fantastic, tho, nice and dense to hold up to the potentially overpowering flavor and texture of the fondant. The layer of chocolate between cake and fondant also helped the dessert stand up against its own icing.
We had difficulty finding red fondant in the store so decided to just dye some of the cut-off bits of white with red food coloring, and that worked out quite well! My cutting skills could clearly use some work, but the kids had no complaint as they happily showed off their cake and enjoyed a few slices before running back to their computers to play.
It was only after baking this cake with my kids that I fully appreciated how thoughtfully this volume is written. The language is extremely clear, with serving sizes, cook times and utensils needed laid out in highly organized fashion. The recipes themselves are designed with minimal complexity and fuss, which is really great for beginning cooks. Honestly, I think my kids could make most of these recipes with minimal help from an adult, and that’s entirely due to the thought Juliette Lalbaltry has put into this book. It’s also really great how everything ties back so seamlessly back into Minecraft. Honestly? This might be the best cookbook for novice chefs I’ve ever seen. Highly recommended for any Minecraft fan looking to learn some useful life skills outside of the game.
The Unofficial Minecraft Cookbook by Juliette Lalbaltry & Charly Deslandes was published September 19 2023 by Andrews McMeel Publishing and is available from all good booksellers, including