I love cake decorating books. The best ones are so inspiring and so beautiful, I read them cover to cover when I have the wonderful treat of buying or receiving a new one! Here are four of my favourites from my rapidly growing library ….! ♥
Hello, Cupcake! by Karen Tack & Alan Richardson
This was one of the first books I bought. I started out making mostly novelty cupcakes rather than larger celebration cakes, and this book has some amazing ideas. Most of their designs are very simple, and many use sweets for the decorations so there’s not a lot of sugarcraft skill required. The book is American so many of the sweets they mention aren’t available everywhere else such as here in the UK, but there are similar substitutes and I have made some of the decorations from sugar paste instead. The designs don’t require any more equipment than what’s in the average kitchen, which is great when you’re just starting out, or only making occasional cakes.
The real selling point of the book for me personally, is the inclusion of the ‘fake food’ – well, it’s edible, but it’s not what you think! Cakes are made to look like corn on the cob, chicken dinner, spaghetti & meatballs, popcorn …. you will see their influence in my own cake gallery. I couldn’t decide which to try first!
It’s a really fun book and definitely a great one for beginners. I also have their second book, What’s New, Cupcake? This has loads more ideas on a similar level and even more fantastic ‘fake food’ such as chips, pizza and Chinese takeaway!!
Animation in Sugar by Carlos Lischetti
In contrast, this beautiful book is definitely for the more experienced cake decorator, or the very ambitious one! Although, that said, it is a book that anyone interested in cake decorating would surely love to read. The level of work is tremendous and these are some of the best sugar paste models I have ever seen. The finished models are flawless and such perfection is definitely inspiring if a little daunting! I guess we all need something to aim for!
Most of the projects included in the book include figures such as a ballerina, a granny and children, the Queen of Hearts and a Moulin Rouge performer. There’s also a robot, a dune buggy and a penny farthing bicycle!
The instructions are very detailed and an experienced sugar crafter would be able to create some truly wonderful pieces.
Planet Cake Kids by Paris Cutler
There are lots of ideas for unusual characters to top your cakes or cupcakes, and they’re surprisingly easy to make. Everything is bold and bright and fun and you don’t need to be an expert to get some great results. I’ve made the cartoon cake shown on the front of their book – I loved the idea that it looks like a cake is supposed to look!
Lots of their ideas could be used for crazy grown-up cakes too, not just kids. (Crazy cakes, not crazy grown ups, although …………..!)
Simply Perfect Party Cakes for Kids by Zoe Clark
This is a lovely book with simple ideas that are beautifully presented. I find the simplicity combined with the perfection of the finished results in the photographs very inspiring and encouraging.
As well as the main featured cakes, the book also includes some ideas for cupcakes or cookies to accompany the main cake – a great idea for parties where you need a birthday cake, but then individual cakes or cookies for people to take home. For example, there’s a superhero cake and then instructions for superhero mask cookies to accompany it.
There are cakes for teenagers as well as younger children, with a disco mirror ball, a surfboard cake and a paintball party cake with camouflage effect sponge!
I think my favourite cake in the book is a garden design cake with quilled flowers and insects – strips of sugar paste are coiled and shaped as you would do with paper strips in traditional quilling – it is a great technique resulting in a very striking cake.
You can get so many ideas, tutorials, recipes, etc. from the internet – like this blog ♥ but for me there is something special about looking at the beautiful photographs on the glossy pages of a lovely new cake book. I’m off to see what’s new on Amazon ….!! ♥