Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Decorating cake books to inspire cakestars:

I can hardly pour milk on cereal without setting off my kitchen smoke alarm, so baking a cake that is edible and beautiful seems as achievable as beating Usain Bolt in the 100-metre dash. But help is at hand for kitchen-phobes like me.
By AAP
Date: August 25 2012
Editor Rating:
decorating-cakes

Two new books promise to transform the most cautious home cooks from butter-fingered fire hazards into master bakers.

With a copy of Jade Lipton's Cakestar, or The Australian Women's Weekly's Decorating Cakes, creating beautiful, edible art is easy-peasy.

Decorating Cakes includes recipes for beginners, experts and everybody in between. While cooking a basic cake in Cakestar requires a slightly higher level of technical skill, it's not that difficult.

Both books include step-by-step instructions that make the most complicated sugar sculptures achievable.

The two tips I would give to first-timers would be to leave plenty of time to make your cake and don't be afraid to experiment with fondant. Fondant (or ready-to-roll icing) is surprisingly easy to use and gives a professional-looking finish to your creation.

CAKESTAR

Whether it is delicate, tiered cupcakes or a red and blue Batman skyline that will delight little boys, the bold and professional Cakestar cakes all involve the manipulation of fondant into shapes and patterns.

But don't be put off.

Fondant, available at supermarkets, is soft and pliable and incredibly versatile.

If you have the time, it is worth setting aside a couple of hours to experiment with fondant and food colouring and shaping tools so that you feel confident with it before attempting a cake.

And don't let the mention of specialist tools worry you.

Cakestar provides templates that will help you create some of the trickier shapes.

A piping bag, a good knife and a few biscuit-cutting tools should see you on your way to being able to achieve many of the designs in the book.

For beginners, Cakestar includes basic round cakes that are brought to life with fondant embellishments.

And for seasoned cake creators, Cakestar will challenge your skills with Eiffel Tower piping projects and a Vanilla Bean Birdhouse that will wow your guests.

Designs are included for all sorts of occasions. So whether you're catering a baby shower or a graduation party, there is something in Cakestar to inspire.

DECORATING CAKES

This book is great if you are nervous about executing fondant decorations. Divided into easy, experienced and expert sections, Decorating Cakes uses meringues, spun sugar, lace and flowers to achieve breathtaking cakes.

Beginners will learn how to use dyed sponge, curled chocolate and tiered cakes to stunning visual effect.

Experts will receive tutorials on assembling flawless wedding cakes with flocked, embossed, frilled and stencilled sugar.

One of the strengths of Decorating Cakes as an instructional book is that it contains lessons on the mechanics of cake decorating.

Many of the cakes rely on piped patterns to achieve their elegant finishes.

Even if you aren't confident with a piping bag, there is a section that shows how to execute shell-edging, stars, basket weaves and rope.

Decorating Cakes has a wider range of cakes than Cakestar.

While many of the beginner cakes could be mastered by someone with a very basic level of skills, some of the expert cakes would have Adriano Zumbo crying into his piping bag.

But the best thing about this book is you can gradually move from start to finish, building on your skills as you go.

So with a little perseverance and some royal icing a beginner can become an expert in no time.

* Cakestar By Jade Lipton is published by Penguin, rrp $35

* Decorating Cakes by The Australian Women's Weekly is published by ACP Publishing, available from September 3, rrp $49.95

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Gina says: 2012 08 26
Rating:

Cake decorting is something I haven’t mastered the art of. Usually I’m so thrilled to just have finished a cake. Good for kids birthdays though

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