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Cake Art: Simplified Step-by-Step Instructions and Illustrated Techniques for the Home Baker to Create Show Stopping Cakes and Cupcakes Hardcover – January 11, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Lebhar-Friedman (January 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0867309229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0867309225
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.8 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #893,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

A GREAT cake decorating idea book.
Dorothy Govenettio
I have been through the book four or five times trying to convince myself I'm glad I bought it.
G. Cuevas
The book is very good and has some excellent cakes in it with easy to follow instructions.
R. F. Husted

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Erik Sherman on May 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Culinary Institute of America has come out with yet another beautiful and useful book: Cake Art. If you've ever had an interest in interest in creating dramatic desserts, this is a volume for you, although I wouldn't call this a book for beginners. It starts with an overview of tools and components that I found myself wishing had a bit more to it: more individual photos of each item rather than trying to discern elements in group photos, more explanation of what to do and how to do it, and more tips.

However, it's not a paralyzing shortcoming, as you can get some of that from browsing online retailers, stores, and catalogs. Where the book really shines is in the techniques and instructions. For example, on page 31 there is a photo with three spoons of meringue, one stiff, one medium, and one soft-peaked. There are formulas for both hard and soft ganaches (Books often don't explicitly set the two side-by-side, and there's a big difference in the resulting texture and use.) as well as modeling chocolate. You can learn to make ribbons and coverings of fondant. Pipe a flower from buttercream (with a tip on how to reconstitute the mixture if it separates) or mold it from molding chocolate, marzipan, or fondant. In short, there is a lot to learn.

And that might be the big problem for many would-be cake decorators. Some of these techniques require practice, and a lot of it. If you go directly to the projects and try to work your way backward into the techniques, the results are going to be disappointing. If you want to undertake a given project (each, smartly, tells you how far in advance - weeks in some cases - to start different parts), then read through, write down the techniques that are necessary, and practice well in advance. You don't really think that pastry chefs start on this level of work their first day of class, do you? However, if you are willing to spend some time, this book should be well worth your while.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Brikl on March 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I'll admit that this book has interested me enough to check it out from the library about three times, but after trying two projects, I am now convinced more than ever that I would not buy it.

--pretty pictures
--some good projects ideas which inspired me to try new things
--good selection of basic recipes
--some good tips
--the time-line details about the projects

--lack of pictures to better show how to do things
--pictures that are there often don't really show what you need to see
--pictures and directions for mums and begonias switched, maybe other mistakes, too
--directions printed above and then in one mass lump next to the pictures below--not the least bit any further enlightening
--the description of how to make a rose seems rather wrong to me--using a #5 tube for the base and making the base 1" tall?? And the pictures wouldn't help a beginner much at all!
--the directions for making rosebuds are supposed to be there, but I couldn't find them anywhere
--there isn't any info about how long a project can be kept at room temp or refrigerated
--the info about coloring the buttercream is rather confusing
--the actual directions for the projects are too short and lacking info, such as which color did they actually use and how much buttercream do I need to make

These are just the things I noticed from making two projects. I wrote to one of the authors about the mixed up mum/begonia pictures and never received an answer. (I wrote to Nick Malgieri recently and received an answer as well as a follow-up!)

I've noticed that there is a DVD that goes with this book and I wonder if the lack of information is intentional to "encourage" you to buy the DVD.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Toni VINE VOICE on August 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Many reviewers have written wonderful and positive critiques on the book "Cake Art", of which I am in joyful agreement. And it was because of one such a review that I read about the companion DVD to the book. So in that spirit of joining the two aspects of "Cake Art", I wanted to scribble a bit on this visual offering given to us by the CIA (Culinary Institute of America).

I initially tried Amazon in order to purchase the DVD but they were unable to offer it, due to the undertandable legistics of rights and ownership. So I then went to the CIA website to garner information on it. I would highly recommend this DVD for anyone who is a beginner as well as consider this a wonderful gift for someone who enjoys this edible art form.

The price is reasonable, runs over an hour, and teaches very useful basic cake decorating information to whom I would steer beginners and intermediate cake decorators. Experienced decorators would not be challenged.

Two of CIA's top baking chefs will take you through the various stages of the prep work and execution of basic cake decorating using the various skills and materials needed to help you accomplish the task. Buttercream, fondant, gels, etc are part of the vast array of delicious tools needed to coat and cover cakes. You also get a wonderful segment on cupcakes that will teach you the simple, yet stunning presentation of making buttercream flowers on top of the cupcakes; many can see this performed on YouTube if you have a moment to look it up. Then at the end, you will enjoy the process of watching how the cover cake for this book is created just by using a few basic decorating tools; it was very enjoyable and it really is such a stunning cake!
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