I had been subscribing to this magazine since it was first released so I think I'm a pretty good judge of this series.
When 'My Cake Decorating' magazine was first released it was overwhelmingly popular. At the time I was a keen baker and interested in developing some cake decorating skills so I could create impressive birthday cakes for my children. My friends and family had often told me my baking was amazing so I was confident in the cakes I could produce, this was just a step forward.
Each magazine comes with a cake decorating tool, this could be a sugar craft modelling tool, cookie cutter, piping tip amongst many others. It's just £2.99 which I think is very reasonable. Each magazine is filled with various tutorials and recipes including inspiration on how to use the tool that has come with the magazine that week. Initially the magazine promised to publish 90 issues. As the popularity was so immense the series was soon extended.
Since I first took out the subscription I have started my own home baking and cake decorating business although I cannot claim my skills have developed solely by reading this magazine but various other avenues it however certainly gave me a kick start. As I said before each issue is complete with a tool, I have now built up an extensive collection and nearly always have the right tool for the job.
I decided to terminate my subscription at issue 125 as the series just seemed to go on forever. Every time it neared it's final issue it would then be extended once again. What really drove me to cancel was that in my last delivery there was a tutorial that was exactly the same as one within the first few issues. The magazine was simply not moving forwards but continued to repeat methods time and time again.
Every now and then they publish a special which is usually something seasonal, there have been 2 Christmas specials and 2 Halloween specials along with a wedding, flower/Easter, and fairy tale edition. These now are my favourites and if the series continues I will definitely look out for these.
I'm not the type of person that buys these series magazines that cost a bomb and go on for years because I tend to look at them once and never get them out again, so in my view it's a waste of money. However, I love baking and cake decorating and I'm always looking for handy tools, ways to improve and new exciting recipes to try which is exactly what this magazine provides you with! It is a weekly magazine and there are 90 issues to collect! (See what I mean about them going on for years!)
~ Price & availability ~
Cake decorating is available in most supermarkets; however I have struggled to get hold of the latest issues as some supermarkets stock the older ones and wait until they've sold before restocking with the newer ones. They are sold at £2.99, which compared to other similar magazines available this is very reasonable considering what you get with the magazine as well.
~ What do you get? ~
Cake decorating is a full-colour magazine with on average 22 pages filled with recipes, baking tips, step-by-step instructions on how to use special baking equipment, how to choose the right baking equipment and decorating tutorials and ideas. Each issue comes with some sort of very high quality gift, such as silicone bake wear, metal cookie cutters, embossers, textured rolling pins, icing nozzles and bags, edge crimpers and handy icing tools. Sometimes you even get two or three gifts for the same price! Considering what you pay for good quality bake wear such as metal nozzles and cutters this magazine is exceptional value as they are all included in the price with the magazine.
~ Front, Back & Inside ~
The magazine is beautifully presented with excellent photography and graphic designs. The front of the magazine clearly displays the name of the magazine in white swirly writing within a pink oval. Underneath this there is always a large photo of the main feature of the magazine, for example the magazine I'm looking at now has a photo of some gorgeous blossom decorated cupcakes and underneath it says, learn how to pipe perfect swirls using your wide round nozzle (the gift that came with that issue) and top them with beautiful blossom flowers. Down the side of the magazine there a series of smaller images giving you an idea what else is inside the issue. The back of the magazine tells you what's inside the magazine including master classes and recipes along with the main feature of next weeks issue along with what gift you get. The colour scheme is mainly pale, pastel colours throughout.
Inside the magazine you will find a contents to make it easy to find a certain page. Throughout the magazine you will come across clear, easy to understand and read instructions for decorating your baked goods paired with excellent photography. In each issue there is at least one classic recipe, for example chocolate cake or scones with variations. Each recipe gives you a full ingredients list including amounts and specific types of ingredients you may need. You are given key skills to learn and given the best possible steps to ensure you get the best possible results. In each issue you are always given recommendations on good-quality bake wear to use to give you the best of your baking and perfect presentation tips. As well as actual baked goods recipes you are also given icing modelling tips and cake covering recipes, such as royal icing and butter cream.
~ Overall opinion ~
This magazine is brilliant! It's so clear and easy to follow and has stunning images included to help you. I have learnt a lot from this magazine and I will continue to buy it. I would recommend this magazine to anybody who enjoys baking and cake decorating or wants to learn how. It caters for all abilities and ages. The only thing I can pick out that's bad about this magazine is it's headed towards females rather than males and I don't see why males shouldn't want to try cake decorating either. It doesn't look very inviting to men with its pastel colours and very florally recipes and feminine tools such as hearts and flowers, there should at least be some recipes inside that cater for men (like a football cake or something) because some of us bake for our husbands and sons you know!
I'm not really one for buying magazines, I do on occasions buy the odd one if something in it interests me, but if I am to buy a magazine it is normally because it comes with something free that I want. Baking is something I often do and enjoy doing although I am not the best when it comes to decoration. A few weeks back I borrowed my mums icing bag and nozzles to decorate a cake I had made as this is something I do not have, I was actually very impressed with the finished product so decided to buy my own, however they all seemed quite expensive. The other week however I saw advertised the 'Cake Decorating' magazine and the free gift that came with it was a icing bag and nozzles, buying th magazine was actually cheaper than going out and buying an icing bag so on my next trip to Tesco I picked one up.
The Cake Decorating Magazine is published by a company called DeAgostini, the name of the magazine is pretty self explanatory as to what it is going to be about. To be honest I thought that the magazine would be full of complicated cake decorating ideas that to most people would be virtually impossible unless you are very artistic, which I must point out I definitely am not!!! I actually purchased issue 2 and missed the first one as this magazine only caught my eye when I noticed the free icing bag set. The magazine came attached to a large colourful piece of cardboard, from what I can remember it had the name of the magazine on it and further pictures on the back and around the sides, however I threw this away straight away due to it being far too bulky, the magazine was attached to one side of the A3 sized piece of card and on the other side was the free icing bag and attachments. The magazine was attached to the card with glue which easily peeled off without tearing the back of it, the icing bag and accessories were attached in the same way and all sealed inside clear plastic bags, this kept all the bits together as well as clean and undamaged. As I said I removed all of the items from the card straight away as I found it far too bulky and there was no way I could store everything still attached to the card.
I decided to have a little flick through the magazine as I had bought it, even though it was the free gift that I was interested in.
The first thing I noticed about the magazine by looking at the front cover was that it was quite bright and colourful. The name of the magazine "Cake Decorating" can be found at the top of the magazine written inside a pink oval in white writing, the words "Learn how to create beautiful cakes" is written just underneath, the magazine issue can also be found next to this in a pink circle. The rest of the front cover is taken up with pictures of various decorated cakes which can be found inside the magazine. When you open the first page you are greeted by an equally bright and colour contents page, this is very clearly set out and informs you of the different sections contained within the magazine, these include
* Mini Cake
* Essential Equipment
* Classic Recipes
* Special Occasions
* Decorating Master class
* Cakes of Kids
These sections may vary a little from magazine to magazine but these are the ones included in my issue. The contents page also includes a list of the recipes listed inside the magazine and also the various skills that you can learn. After scanning over the contents page I was a bit more interested in the rest of the magazine as it sounded quite interesting and like it might actually teach me something and contain information and skills suitable for the everyday person rather than those who are extremely artistic. On the contents page you can also find various contact details for the publisher.
As I have said the magazine is divided up into various sections, these are clearly labelled at the top of each page and each section is just a few pages long so you do not have to read through loads of pages just to find out the information you need to know.
* Mini Cakes - In this section they show you how to decorate mini cakes with simple yet effective designs, all of which can be achieved using the icing bag you receive with the magazine. The guide is set out in a way that makes It easy to follow, at the top of the first page is a list of ingredients you will need to make the icing and also a list of equipment that you will need, you are then given 2 or 3 step by step guides to different icing designs for your cakes, these are all accompanied with pictures so you can see what your finished product should look like. You also are given a recipe for a Madeira cake in this sections, again accompanied by a picture and a list of what you will need.
* Essential Equipment - This basically consists of a guide to different icing bag nozzles and what different designs you can do with them. The designs are in a list form, they consist of pictures of the nozzles you need, followed by the different designs you can do, shown in actual icing and then a brief instruction of how to achieve the different designs. Some of the ideas you are given include Star shapes, Petals, Leaves and basket weave, although they do show you several others.
* Classic Recipes - In this section they show you how to make a traditional cake, which in this case is a carrot cake, they then go on to show you how to decorate it in a professional way. Again the recipe and the decorating are done in step by step guides. You are also given a list of what you need and the equipment you will need, everything is accompanied by pictures.
* Special Occasions - In this section you are shown how to decorate a cake which would be ideal for as the title says special occasion, in this case they teach you how to decorate the 'Blossom Cake'. It starts off with what you will need and the equipment you need as with the other sections. You are then given a detailed step by step guide of how to decorate the cake as per the picture. The cake is basically a bright blue cake covered with delicate white petals. This section is quite detailed and I think the steps in this section will take a bit of mastering and practise, however the instructions are clearly set out and illustrated with pictures.
* Decorating Master class - This section is mainly about the free icing bag you receive, it gives you various tips from filling it, to the different designs you can do with it. The guides are clearly set out and all accompanied with pictures as with the other sections.
* Kids Cakes - In this section you are given recipes and are shown how to transform plain fairy cakes into farm yard animals, the designs are simple yet effective. You are told exactly what you need to achieve the look and given various different designs to follow.
On the last couple of pages you are shown what will be included in the next issue and also what free gift you will receive, from what I can see you get a different free gift with each issue.
The Cake Decorating magazine can be purchased in various supermarkets, newsagents and corner shops, as well as being available to subscribe online or by telephoning the number inside the magazine. The magazine is only £2.99 a copy and comes out weekly, personally I think that this is quite good value for money as you do get a decent free gift, not just some random item that you will never use, all of the freebies are cake decorating tools and are items you are likely to use when baking. Also the magazine is not massive but you do get a lot of information included in it so in my opinion it is definitely worth the money and you do get a lot for your money.
Overall I would recommend the Cake Decorating magazine, personally I only purchased it originally because I wanted the icing bag set that came with it, however after reading the magazine I was very impressed. The magazine is aimed at anyone even if you are a beginner when it comes to baking, the items that are used are everyday things not complicated ingredients that no one has heard of. I like the way the magazine is set out in step by step guides as this makes it very easy to follow, also the pictures allow you to see what your finished item should look like as well as what it should look like at various stages throughout the procedure. The magazine is very reasonably priced and you get a lot for your money. I'm not sure whether I will buy every issue of the magazine but I would definitely purchase it again and will certainly be trying out some of the ideas included. A lot of the designs are simple yet effective and give you a professional finish. This was definitely worth the money and is something I would recommends especially if like me you enjoy baking but are not the most artistic person as this magazine will definitely help give you some simple yet effective ideas for your cakes.