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I often like to bake cakes at home as I always think they taste much better than shop bought ones, knowing that people like to eat my cakes I started to wonder if I could manage to decorate cakes too. My daughters fourth birthday and my younger daughters christening are coming up and when I looked at the prices to get a special cake I decided to go with my Dads motto "it can't be difficult" and to have a go.
I went into our local library and took out 4 cake decorating books, finding the ones I liked I began to set to work. This book for all it is not cake decorating I need is really good so I thought I would tell you a little about it.
The book is written by May Clee-Cadman of Maisie Fantaisie and it's RRP is £12.99 which I would probably say is a bit steep for the amount you would probably use it but it is really useful. The front cover draws you in, it shows a fantastic three tiered cake fully decorated in brown and pink, there is another single layered cake faded out in the background and the main part of the cover is pink. The book makes you think can I really make that?
Inside the book there is a title page and across from this there is a bouquet of flowers made purely of icing. The following page again has a picture of a fantastically decorated cake as does the contents page and then you get into the actual book, by this point I was thinking I can do this. The book is split into three sections, Sweet nothings, Look of Love and Young Love, there is an introduction from the author where you find that this is her second book and where she gets her inspiration.
You get a page about how to actually use the book and what you can learn from it and then there is a section on equipment and techniques, I felt totally ready to take on my challenge before even getting into the main part of the book. The book takes you right from the start and explains lining cake tins, gives cake recipes and charts to work out how much of each ingredient you will need to make the size of cake you require, I found this particularly helpful as I want to make two different size cakes and it took out all the guesswork and allowed me to get the practise at what I needed.
In the book there are recipes for traditional sponge cake, carrot cake, fruit cake and chocolate fudge cake, each recipe has step by step method and then you get a guide for how many portions you would get from each size of cake which is especially good when you are not just making a cake for the fun of it. There are also little tips every couple of pages with extra little thoughts such as you may get more portions out of your cakes if they are particularly deep.
The next stage in the book is icing and cake fillings, you are given the information to make buttercream and then taken through the different icings you can use such as sugarpaste, flowerpaste and royal icing. This book isn't just about telling you to do this and do that, the author gives you additional information so that you are able to make a choice that is best for you. There is information on how to prepare your cake for icing such as getting the cake level and then the getting the best coverage you can from your icing, how to fill with jam and buttercream and also how to do a cake with more than one tier.
Finally in the book it tells you all about the finishing touches for your cake and how to achieve them, you are shown how to make a piping bag to allow you to decorate around the bottom edge of the cake to make sure it is neat and how to attach ribbons along with how to make cupcakes and cookies to go with each of you projects.
The rest of the book shows you ideas for cakes and the decoration that the author has used and how she has achieved the finished result, you get shown how to make different flowers and tips on how to make flowers stand up rather than just being flat. Every page holds a wealth of information and even though it isn't the type of decoration that I particularly want at the moment I still found the techniques very interesting.
This book is excellent and I could not rate it any higher, I had never decorated a cake before and after my first messy attempt I know from this book where I went wrong and what I needed to do. I have now managed to have a practise at my daughters birthday cake and using another book for support too I am preparing all the decorations for my other daughters christening cakes. Without this book I would have quite easily been spending over £100 on these cakes and now I can even say they were one of a kind especially for my children.