Top positive review
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Excellent cake decorating education!
on October 13, 2011
Please note: This book, as well as "The Contemporary Cake Decorating Bible: Over 150 Techniques and 80 Stunning Projects" are one and the same; this review is based on that book. Why the difference, I don't know.
Anyways, back to this book. Just 2 words for you............BUY IT!!! Just get out your wallet and purchase this fabulous book; you'll have no regrets as it is definitely one of my Top 10 cake decorating books. While I feel that it will probably be too simple for those already comfortable with their cake decorating skills, it is still a wonderful reference book. For those who are beginners in this field, I feel that this will give you a wonderful education and be a great support and/or reference book for you. This book is loaded with step-by-step photography of every project, as well as tools, molds, cutters, pans, etc.
It does not lack in any area of basic decorating and in fact, felt that it gives the reader some room to express their creativity with othe love of sugar. Some of the highlights for me were: the section on "Cake Carving" which can be tricky for even the experienced baker in that getting just the right angles can make quite the difference when designing a shape for a themed cake. I also found her "Color Wheel" section marvelous in introducing colors that are used in tinting creams, sugarpaste, and dusts. Her "Transferring an Image" with scriber and pen were fabulous as getting patterns onto a cake can be challenging. Her "Non-Sugarcarft Tools" was a great idea that my pea-brain hadn't thought of, in which you can use regular paper crafting items to help in the cake decorating process.
One note extra is that Lindy does have some amazing and fabulous DVD's that she has created, in particular her "Cake Jewelry" DVD, but unfortunately due to the difference in British pounds and American dollars, plus shipping, they can be quite expensive. But if you should have some extra money that you can manage to spend, go for them. They are just wonderful and and your investment will come back to you tenfold. Also, she has a terrific website so that you can purchase many of the materials and tools that she used in this book, as well as learn other hints and tips to make your experience the best it can be.
This is the outline of her book:
This covers the prepping and planning of a cake, all sorts of pans and pan sizes, cutters, molds, how to line the baking pans, and cake recipes with batter amounts that go from 3 inch to 14 inch cakes. Cookies and cupcakes are another part of the section along with recipes for the different sugars used (sugarpaste, buttercream, etc). Covering cakes (in particular the ones with sharp corners), cupcakes, and cookies area also included, as well as stacking and transporting them when finished.
This is one of my favorite chapters in that certain cakes like purses, topsy-turvy, and wine bottles, etc require a good plan before shaping.
This was great in that the use of color, and how much to use, is important in order to make a shaped cake seem real, especially if you have the actual item in front of you as the example. Using the color wheel provided is an excellent way of finding contrasting, yet agreeable opposites to complement each other. The instructions for the marbling effect, stripes, checks, floral prints, and how to repeat patterns are also provided.
Using the paintbrush to "paint" your projects can be a daunting task but Lindy shows you how the basics are not that challenging. Stippling, sponging, color washes, metallics, and the use of embossers were demonstrated in clear photography and print. The most interesting part of this section was on tranferring an image using either scriber or pins; it takes a bit more work, but if you have a graceful or delicate image that you wish to place on a cake, the effects can be breathtaking.
Using this form of decorating on cakes, cookies, cupcakes, etc can be fun as well as easy and she shows you the different forms that can be used. I particularly liked her example of the cookie "flip-flop" sandals she made; very creative!
Ah yes..............cutters!!! This was a fabulous section that teaches you the tools and steps needed to give you the creativity to make 3-D effects on anything by the use of cutters, molds, plungers, etc. Layering designs was the simplest of this chapter, but you will definitely need more time and patience as you learn the skills of "inlay work", "abutting", and "mosaics". If you have ever seen this type of work in churches, stain-glass windows or artwork, etc you will have an idea of how time-consuming, yet how very satisfied you will be when your project is finished.
When you want to give a certain look of texture to your projects (such as make something look like fabric or perhaps have a certain feel to it, then embossing is fantastic. If you have ever worked on homemade Christmas cards or if you enjoy scrapbooking, then you know the beauty of embossing to give a project some depth or texture. Through the use of embossers, textured rolling pins, cutting wheels, etc you can have the dimension and depth a project might require.
There are endless tools in the cake decorating world that you can either buy or make on your own. Since it is a infinite list, this chapter gives you some basics in which you can either be very creative and make your own, or you can go to the hundreds of websites that sell them, or perhaps to your local hobby and craft store. Regardless, anything that doesn't move can be a potential decorating tool.
The basics of piping are pretty easy for most folks. But learning the different things you can do with the piping tips as well as the mediums that can be used in the piping bag, is what this chapter is about. Regular piping, brush embroidery, and dropline work with royal icing is shown.
MOLDS (aka Moulds)
I just LOVE using molds, in particular silicone molds! The sugarpaste just pops out of them and the impressions are perfect. Using the variety of molds available, how to color them before or after, veiners, even making your own molds, are shown to you.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this chapter!! Lindy has a DVD on this subject and it's my next "wish" DVD. If you have the time or patience to make real bead and garland "jewelry" for a project, and let's say that it's for someone really special, by all means, do it. There is something about the way cake jewelry makes the cake "pop" when someone sees it; and though it's not edible. people can take it home with them and have a beautiful piece of your artwork to remember the occasion.
The remainder of the book carries all the projects that were made in each section with step-by-step instruction. You will find yourself going back to the chapter for which the project was made so that you can understand what needs to be done. Cakes, shaped cakes, wedding cakes, cookies, cupcakes, and mini-cakes are part of this section.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As I mentioned at the beginning, this will be a great source of information for those starting out in the cake decorating artform but you will need some basic comfort with cake baking to get started. But I would most sure that even those in the intermediate group of decorators, there would be wonderful hints and lessons that would be appreciated. Have fun! Thanks Lindy! Peace!