COOKBOOKS, FOOD + DRINK, REVIEWS | September 12, 2007

The Secret of Fabulous Special Occasion Cakes in 4 books

spectacular cakes :: cakes to dream on :: pretty party cakes :: confetti cakes

We all dream to be able to decorate cakes with like the pro instead of making all-buttercream cakes. If you are not a beginner cake decorator, you may be ready to learn the art of fondant and royal icing.

Before you invest in cake decorating classes, flip the pages of books to see if this is for you. I compiled a list of 4 excellent books.

They all received great reviews on Amazon.com by people that effectively tried to make the cakes. And they passed my tests for the aesthetic and the usefulness of their instructions.

Spectacular Cakes: Special Occasion Cakes for any Celebration by Mich Turner

Mich Turner‘s credentials include wedding cakes for Madonna, Pierce Brosnan, Paul McCartney, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. In November 2005, her first book Spectacular Cakes was published. She wrote a second book which will hit the store on November 6, 2007.

Her book, Spectacular Cakes goes over cake decoration styles and techniques from the traditional to the cutting edge. Mich Turner’s book supplies cake recipes plus a portfolio of incredible cake designs with step-by-step that you can copy or adapt to suit any formal or informal event.

Cakes to Dream On: A Master Class in Decorating by Colette Peters

The second book of Colette Peters targets serious home bakers and chefs. But this book cannot be a source of inspirations for all of us. I saw some easy to understand graphics via the See Inside feature of Amazon. The instructions and techniques seem easy to grasp. The difficulty, I thing, comes from the execution.

Cakes to Dream On unveils how to construct a multi-tiered cake, from determining serving sizes and choosing appropriate cake pans to making fillings, and ultimately stacking layers so they don’t tumble off the table. Cakes to Dream On is the most dated one of the four, having been released in November 2004.

Pretty Party Cakes: Sweet and Stylish Cakes and Cookies for All Occasions by Peggy Porschen

Like Mich Tuner, London-based Peggy Porschen is a cake decorator who catered to celebrities. In Pretty Party Cakes, Peggy shares the tricks behind her showstopper cookies, cupcakes, and cakes. They are supposed to be as easy to create as they are spectacular.

Some reviewers on Amazon.com said that this book is more accessible than Cakes to Dream On by Collette Peters while other complained about the lack of instructions for multi-tiered cakes. Since these are affordable, I suggest you get both books. Pretty Party Cakes was first published in April 2006.

The Confetti Cakes Cookbook: Spectacular Cookies, Cakes, and Cupcakes from New York City’s Famed Bakery by Elisa Strauss and Christie Matheson

If you were a fan of Sex and the City, you might recall the extravagantly beautiful, three-tiered Chocolate Embroidery Wedding Cake done by the Confetti Cakes. Their cookbook contains projects for every skill level.

Featured projects run from the relatively easy Pool Ball Cupcakes, Dice Mini Cakes and Snowflake Cookies to more advanced items like Teacup Mini Cakes that look like detailed porcelain. This is the most recent book of the four; it was published in May 2007.

These four books will help you create show stopper cakes if you have some cake decoration skills and patience. In the worst case scenario, they make delightful coffee table books.

If you have a friend who enjoys baking and cake decorating, why not bring one of these books as a hostess gift? That is an excellent trick to be invited again since your friend will want to show off her creations.

SOURCING:
+ SPECTACULAR CAKES: Special Occasion Cakes for any Celebration – price: $23.10 USD
+ Cakes to Dream On: A Master Class in Decorating – price: $26.40 USD
+ Pretty Party Cakes: Sweet and Stylish Cakes and Cookies for All Occasions – price: $18.90 USD
+ The Confetti Cakes Cookbook: Spectacular Cookies, Cakes, and Cupcakes from New York City’s Famed Bakery – price: $19.79 USD

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