Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Artisan Cake Company's Visual Guide to Cake Decorating

I aspire to be a better cake decorator. I'm a heck of a lot better at it than I used to be, now that I've mastered the technique of piping flowers all over a cake.

I thought it might be nice to up my game a bit, so I have in my hands a cake decorating book. It's the Artisan Cake Company's Visual Guide to Cake Decorating. And there are a lot of photos, for sure.

The book starts with information about tools you'll need, then moves on to some important basics, like a few cake recipes, baking tips, and several different frosting recipes. Then it moves on to other basics, like tips on filling a piping bag.

It sort of eases you into the scary stuff. Like actually assembling and decorating a cake.

What I thought was really interesting was the section where good cake design and bad cake design were compared. In some cases, I looked at the "bad" and thought that although it wasn't stunning, it was okay.

Then, after I read the explanation of why the design wasn't great, I could see the flaws. Aha!

There are a lot of fondant-covered cakes, but also a section on texturing buttercream. I'm definitely going to try that, the next time I'm faced with a cake that requires frosting. I'm not a huge fan of the flavor of fondant, so I'm much more likely to use buttercream. Or some other similar frosting that isn't fondant.

The book doesn't hang around with beginners forever, though, and it gets into some quite complicated techniques, like using modeling chocolate, gumpaste, or fondant to form decorative figures and flowers. There's instructions for making a cute little elf that looks like it should be easy ... maybe.

The sugar flowers look amazing. I don't know how successful I'd be at making one of them, but the instruction seem clear, and the photos would be very helpful if I wanted to give it a shot.

To be perfectly honest, I have a feeling that I might never get too far beyond the cake and frosting recipes and the most basic decorating projects, but it's nice to know that if I ever do want to tackle something more complicated, I have somewhere to look.

How about you? Are you ready to take on a project like that elf in the top left corner of the book cover? Or the flower or the balloon cake?

I received this book from the publisher at no cost to me.

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