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84 of 93 people found the following review helpful
What a lovely book of cake decorating education!! Well done Elisa!! Ms. Strauss is the owner of New York City's "Confetti Cakes". Though she worked in the fashion industry, a playful idea of mixing her love for baking with her eye for fashion brought her to this career, and it seems to suit her well. From her bakery comes this addicting book!!

Having been mesmorized by the feats and skills of such accompished cake decorators, I always look forward with great anticipation, to the latest tomes written on this subject. Ms. Strauss does not disappoint. She has compiled a rather delightful writing of the mastery of cake design and teaches a wide range of baking skills. The cake decorating devotee is given all the information necessary to reproduce what you seen on each wonderful page. This book has the ability for anyone, from novice to professional, to use and create and ooooh and aaaaah!

The instructions run from basic cookies in shapes from onesies outfits (that's the baby's first year everyday garment of basically longjohns) to purses, and cupcakes with beribboned polka-dots to beach sandals to the main event of spectacular cakes that would fool anyone due to their unique appearances, like popcorn bags to a sushi table, replete with "rice" and "California rolls".

The book is sturdy and thick with beautiful and detailed photography of each creation so that any questions can be answered with just a glance of the eye. Her explanations are clear and concise and they are given to you in steps both for the actions required as well as the timetable needed in order to plan your time wisely.

Her book is written in this order:

EQUIPMENT AND TECHNIQUES:

This photographic and written section has what you need to work with as far as equipment and decorating tools, and each piece is numbered with a matching explanation of how you use it. There is a glossary, baking terms, practical matters, how to transport your creations, techniques for the actual decorating, filling cakes, sculpting cakes, covering cakes with fondant, constructing the cakes to hold their weight, piping with frosting and royal icing, brush embroidery, "wood staining" for making candied "tables" and "crates", making sugar bows, and more.

BASIC RECIPES:

Chocolate cake

Vanilla cake

Red velvet cake

Banana cake

Vanilla sugar cookie dough

Chocolate cookie dough

Cupcake frosting

Swiss meringue buttercream

Chocolate ganache

Royal icing

Simple syrup

Rolled fondant

How much fondant

COOKIES: (some templates are included)

Heart cookies

Snowflake cookies

Stacked wedding cake cookies

Baby onesie cookies

Birthday cake cookies

Stiletto cookies (so much fun to make!)

Handbag cookies

Witch's wardrobe cookies

Modern wedding vow cookies

Fruit cookies (they look so real)

Dragon and butterfly cookies

CUPCAKES:

Crystal cupcakes

Polka dot cupcakes

Sports cupcakes

Pool ball cupcakes

Flip-flop cupcakes (yep, little tiny sandals!)

Seashell cupcakes (the "seashells" are so easy to make)

Snowman cupcakes

Rubber ducky cupcakes

Hydrangea cupcakes

MINI-CAKES:

Tomato mini cakes (a tomato sitting in dirt in a pail)

Monogram mini cakes

Party hat mini cakes

Dice mini cakes

Mini present cakes

Retro TV mini cakes (so darn cute!)

Popcorn mini cakes (this is easy and fun and everyone loves them!)

Tote bag mini cakes

Mini wedding cakes

Teacup mini cakes

CAKES:

Bow cake (very simple yet elegant, especially for a first time project)

Baby blocks cake

Baseball hat cake

Chinese takeout box cake (clever; fortune cookie recipe too!)

2-tiered stripes cake

Brush embroidery (another very elegant first time cake)

Hydrangea cake

Appliqued flower cake

Chocolate embroidery wedding cake

The handbag cake (from the from cover of the book)

Wine bottle cake

Sushi cake

Sugar stiletto cake and shoebox cake (this put Elisa in the spotlight and you will see why!)

RESOURCES

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

INDEX

Being prejudiced to all that is baking, I am picky about what really inspires and educates and this book is up there with the other great volumes of true baking eduction. I would highly recommend this for anyone who enjoys this type of culinary conquest; no doubt about it, you'll be happy with this acquisition to your baking library!
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2009
I was very excited about this book before it arrived, I even purchased the other book from this author specializing in kids cakes; I have to say that once I was able to finally read it I was deeply disappointed, the recipes presented are scarce and not accurate, the instructions and step by step guides inexistent, or at least ineffective for novices in cake decoration (I have studied 4 different Chef courses and still find it difficult to follow).
Photographs of finished cakes are quite impressive, but basically there are no photographs for the whole construction and decorating process (which was what I was looking for).
From my personal opinion this book is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished with great marketing strategy, but not necessarily provides anything in terms of learning.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2007
Finally, the book we've all been waiting for is out. I've seen Elisa interviewed and do demonstrations and seen her work, and now some secrets are out and helpful hints and stunning pictures are all in this great book.

For some people, I imagine you'd want to dive right in and begin/attempt to recreate some of the fabulous cakes in here (I personally don't think I even have half the skill to try), but whether you want to try and make them or just admire her fantastic work, this book is spectacular.

For each recipe, there is a complete list of what you need (materials, equipment, and techniques etc). To me, I like simple, and this isn't. It can be mind boggling if you aren't practiced in baking, but I can't stress enough how beautiful this book is, and it would make the perfect gift on Mothers day or for a birthday for anyone who loves baking, or just amazing and stunning looking cakes. I love this.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2007
I LOVE this book!!! Some of the cakes pictured in it are incredible to look at but a stretch for my limited artistic abilities....but most are totally doable, especially with the very specific instructions provided. Details like when to use what kind of icing, when to use a dowel to support the cake structure, what to transport the cake in, etc, are really helpful. So is the section on "techniques", which gives the foundations of decorating, before the book launches into the specific design ideas. A great mix of different kinds of cakes, cookies, mini cakes, etc, also. So far I've made two of the cake receipies and the cookies a few times: and people loved the flavors and textures too.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2007
I have just begun taking cake decorating classes and thought to buy a couple of books to expand what I have learned in class. Although I am not a big fan of how fondant tastes I can't wait to try some of the cakes in this book. I like the fact that there are templates and recipies in the book and not just pictures.

Note: The Sugar cookie recipie on pg 53 on the flour amount, change the 4...cups as written to 2 1/4...cups. (It says it on her website also)
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2007
I went online to the Confetti Cake's website and they had a special pop-up note about a recipe in this book. Here's exactly as they wrote on the site:
"Oops! There's a mistake in The Confetti Cakes Cookbook. We
want everything you make to be delicious, so please change the amount of all-purpose flour in the Vanilla Sugar Cookies (page 53)
to 2 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons
(11 ounces). Enjoy!"
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2008
Apparently, the entire budget for this book was spent on photography and food styling. It is absolutely beautiful to look at, and Elissa Strauss' creativity is awe-inspiring. But do not waste your time nor ingredients with her cake recipes! I decided to try her "heavenly chocolate cake" for my first effort in the book. She says it is her most requested cake, so I figured it had to be good. What a disaster! She instructs you to bake 9 inch cake pans for one hour at 350 degrees. If you do you'll end up with charcoal. It would have been nice if there had been an editor involved with a book this beautiful. What a waste. What a disappointment!
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2007
I'd been eagerly awaiting the release of this book and it was so worth the wait. As previously stated by another reviewer, there are cake, cookie and cupcake projects for all levels which is great if you're just starting out. I love that the recipes are given in weights guaranteeing perfect results everytime. the book is filled with tons of photos to guide those of us that tend to lean toward visual learning and very specific instructions on how to do each project. She also provides templates for the cookie designs she uses in her book so we can replicate her cookies without necessarily having to go out to buy another cutter.

This book is a great learning tool for decorators of all levels!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2007
I don't like to cook, and I don't like to bake. What I do like is reading/studying cookbook recipes and partaking in the mouthwatering delicacies that inhabits the pages of cookbooks. And if it's a cookbook that features cookies, cakes and cupcakes--all the better.

Confetti Cakes Cookbook is a gift from Elisa Strauss of New York City's famed bakery Confetti Cakes. This cookbook is a work of art where Strauss divulges her secrets for creating mouth-watering, unique confections. And she offers projects for every skill level.

The cookbook is divided into sections. You won't want to miss the equipment and techniques portion, especially if you're a beginner. Strauss then moves on to basic recipes, cookies, cupcakes, mini cakes, and finally cakes.

The inclusion of the equipment and tools necessary to complete a project makes it easy for a neophyte like me to be prepared and be successful. I found the glossary helpful and wouldn't be able to accomplish anything without the detailed tips and techniques.

I love all things sweet, but if they're brown (chocolate), I am in heaven. The Red Velvet Cake is scrumptious, and the chocolate cookies make a nice 'chaser.' There are cookies for every occasion and the photographs are an added bonus. I am determined to bake the Dice Mini Cakes. We are awaiting the birth of a new grandchild; and the Baby Blocks Cake is perfect for a baby shower. And if you've overdone the sweets, try the Sushi Cake. Who knew?

Armchair Interviews says: A perfect cookbook for those everyday and special occasions. It's a keeper.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2008
I stumbled across this book in a book store. I'd never heard of the author before nor had I seen her work. The book itself is gorgeous. Big colorful pages add a lot of inspiration. I am not new to baking and therefore have my old standby recipes. For that reason, I don't buy cake decorating books for their recipes, but rather for techniques, hints, construction ideas. This book has that in spades. The author shows in a few photos what would take pages to describe. I was able to make a near perfect gumpaste rose after seeing her step by step process. Overall this is a great book for anyone interested in cake decorating or for anyone who wants a fabulous coffee table book.

If you're looking for recipes, maybe it's best to look elsewhere. If you want helpful hints, good advice and great photos, start here.
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