**Who is Peggy Porschen?**
In the world of cake decorating, Peggy Porschen is very well known, and she has produced cakes for celebrities and Royals. Her focus is on romantic cakes rather than bright colourful novelty cakes, and she also makes beautiful mini cakes and biscuits which could be used as wedding favours. She has her own website www.peggyporschen.com which is worth a look for anyone taking up cake decorating as a hobby, as it's a wonderful source of inspiration and advice.
I bought this book during the lead up to my wedding, when I was considering making some shaped cookies as wedding favours. As time went on, I talked myself out of this idea, after realising that I probably didn't need to be putting any unnecessary pressure on myself, but still, it was something I thought I might start branching out with. For anyone who hasn't read any of my previous cake decorating book reviews, this is something I have considered turning into a business in the years to come, so when I saw Peggy's gorgeous cookies, I decided to give them a try to expand my portfolio.
The book's RRP is £12.99, but you can pick this up cheaper from good old Amazon, where it will cost you around £9, or £6 if you buy second hand. Cake decorating is one of those hobbies people take up and then get bored of when they realise the detailed parts are very tedious and time consuming, so I also find charity shops and ebay are good places to pick up second hand books which are more than likely hardly used.
This book is a little different to my other cake decorating books, in that it has a whole section on shaped cookies. This includes cookies shaped as hearts, bride and groom shapes, butterflies, lips, wedding cakes, bikinis (!), and some gorgeous vintage cups and saucers. There is a section at the back which gives basic recipes for cookies, and each design tells you how much of this mixture you'll need. The cutters for these cookies can be bought online, and the book gives ideas for decorating them.
The next section concentrates on mini cakes, which would be good for weddings for a change from the usual three tiered cake, or as wedding favours. There are mini cakes with letters on top so you can spell out a message to the recipient, miniature wedding cakes which look good as part of a cupcake tower, round cupcakes, heart shaped miniature cakes, and some adorable Tiffany-style ring boxes.
Large cakes are next, where you will find traditional three-tiered wedding cakes, mostly in romantic styles such as pinks and creams, roses, butterflies, and detailed piping work.
The final section covers the basics such as equipment, recipes for cakes and cookies, piping and so on. This section also shows you how to make sugar roses, so is a bit more detailed than some cake decorating books which presume you already have prior knowledge of this kind of technique.
This is a stunning book with some lovely photography, and ideal for anyone wanting to take their cake decorating to the next level. It's quite specialist, so not really suitable for anyone who just wants to dabble with cake decorating. They are mostly aimed at people wanting to create romantic cakes (hence the title!) for weddings or similar celebrations, although some of the cakes could be adapted for things like christenings or baby showers.
The directions are clear, and although it would be useful to have prior knowledge of cake decorating techniques, Peggy doesn't presume this and explains each step in detail. I find this book very useful because it provides much inspiration for producing slightly different cakes, and the cookies are a whole new world which has been discovered through this book.
Overall, I would recommend this book to someone who is seriously interested in producing wedding cakes or favours, but if you are looking for a more general cake decorating book, I'd probably look elsewhere.
(This review is also posted on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)