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Wedding Cakes You Can Make: Designing, Baking, and Decorating the Perfect Wedding Cake Hardcover – March 11, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"I do not believe in cakes that are made for beauty and ceremony only. I believe they should be eaten—and enjoyed! In fact, the majority of the time my cakes are used as the dessert, as opposed to a symbolic addition."
—Dede Wilson

Let them eat cake—in fact, let them eat your cake. Whether you're the bride, the groom, or a loving friend or family member who wants to make that special day unforgettable, public television cooking show host Dede Wilson knows that you—yes, you—can bake, frost, assemble, and decorate a spectacular, delicious, and totally unique wedding cake that won't put your budget over the edge—even if you've never mastered anything more complicated than a birthday cake or two. In Wedding Cakes You Can Make, this top-tier expert reveals that all it takes to make that big-day cake is a love of baking and a willingness to plan properly and work patiently.

Whether you're feeding 20 or 150 people, preparation begins long before you preheat the oven. In this easy-to-follow, hands-on guide, Wilson takes you through the entire process, from the drawing board to the presentation table, sharing time-tested techniques that help you turn that cake of your dreams into a delectable reality.

She helps you get started by having you write a wish list that can be honed into a framework for the ideal cake. Then it's time to make the cake happen by working through all the practical elements that come into play, such as setting your budget (and sticking to it); choosing the essential flavors (if chocolate is the bride's passion, don't leave it out!); considering the wedding date (if it's October, think about fall colors); accommodating the number of guests (small guest list equals modest-sized cake); keeping in tune with the wedding's style or mood (beach-casual vs. black tie-formal); and getting organized (time to borrow that decorating turntable).

When it comes to execution, Wilson encourages you to use the highest-quality ingredients and equipment specific to the task, and to gain a foundation by making a six-inch sample cake—an integral step that, much like dating, allows you to try the cake on for size before making the final commitment. She shares her own favorite flavor combinations as well as those most frequently requested by bridal couples. For each of the 16 cakes, Wilson provides essential details—a timeline, thorough recipe directions, and tips. Recipes range from the lighthearted Raspberries and Cream Cake to the contemporary Nutella Cake and the sophisticated Gilded Mocha Cake. Color photographs of all the finished cakes and dozens of how-to photos give you the inspiration and know-how to bake your own special wedding cake.

As Wilson says, wedding cake flavor and design choices are infinite. In Wedding Cakes You Can Make, she helps you create your own special slice of what is possible.

From the Back Cover

Make the cake?

Yes, you can.

If you love to bake and are willing to plan ahead, you can make a spectacular wedding cake—and you don't have to be a pastry chef to do it! Let prominent wedding cake expert Dede Wilson guide you through every layer of the process—from choosing among flavors and styles to baking, assembling, and decorating your way to a beautiful and delicious cake. This accessible cookbook not only gets you ready for the big event, it helps you lend a truly personal touch to the celebration.

"If you want to make your own wedding cake, Dede Wilson is the perfect guide. She helps you bake with confidence every step of the way to a delicious personalized result."
—Donna Ferrari, BRIDE'S magazine

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (February 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076455719X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764557194
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dede Wilson is a popular food writer and television personality with her own public television show, Seasonings with Dede Wilson, in wide distribution throughout the U.S. and Canada. An additional show, The Holiday Table, began airing in Fall 2006 and will run through 2009; the 90-minute Holiday Pledge Special that she produced for PBS in 2005 was re-broadcast throughout the holiday season in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Wilson has been a spokesperson for KitchenAid, making frequent live and televised appearances around the country for KitchenAid products. She is also a prolific cookbook author and a contributing editor for Bon Appetit magazine. Wilson has appeared on all the major TV networks, and has been invited frequently to appear on shows including Today, The View, and Live with Regis and Kelly. She has also appeared on QVC to sell her cookbooks, has been featured on Bon Appetit podcasts, and makes personal appearances at Bon Appetit events around the country. Currently she hosts a monthly Bon Appetit segment on the CBS's Early Show.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

157 of 157 people found the following review helpful By B. Cline on June 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have an enormous collection of cake decorating books and I was pleasantly suprised when I received this wonderful book by Dede Wilson. Most of my books are either centered around the DESIGN of the cake, with very little emphasis on the specific how-to's (like how to transport the cake, which icing to use, etc.)to the taste of the cake (focusing little on how to decorate.) Both categories are important but can be daunting if you don't know where to start.

However, Wilson provides designs that almost anyone can do, as well as fabulous recipes that I have not seen in condensed form in any other book. Usually, the reader is provided with a white and chocolate cake recipe, a ganache, and a buttercream. This is perfectly fine, but I was looking for something that took my recipes to the next level. Wilson provides recipes like Lemon Blackberry Cake, Raspberries and Cream Cake, Marzipan and Orange Essensia Cake, Chocolate-Covered Caramel Cake, and my FAVORITE, the Chocolate-covered Cherry Cake. The design of the last cake has an inside of white cake layers with bittersweet chocolate shavings folded in, kirsch moistening syrup, and a filling of vanilla buttercream with actual chocolate-covered cherries. The outside is a stunning white-on-white with a bead border and chocolate plastique roses that are easier to make than you think!

Wilson provides recipes, ideas, and pictures for a simple and casual summer wedding cake like the Italian Rum Cream with fresh fruit on top, to a sophisticated Gilded Mocha Cake with a chocolate glaze topping and real gold leaf.

In addition, she goes further than any wedding cake book I've seen in explaining exactly how to transport the cake and set it up in the venue, and EXACTLY how far in advance EVERYTHING can be done. I just can't say enough about this book---IT IS A MUST!!!
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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Home Baker on August 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I recently agreed to make a wedding cake for my friend's wedding and although I bake regularly, I had never undertaken such a large project as a wedding cake. After coming across Dede Wilson's book and poring over it I was able to make a beautiful wedding cake with confidence. The pictures are beautiful, the recipes are wonderful, the instructions are clear and Ms. Wilson provides helpful tips throughout. A great book for anyone considering making a wedding cake.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mary on August 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book for beginners. Included in the book are the following:

A few cake recipes

Buttercream recipe

Sugar syrup recipe

Resource guide to help fine supplies

General tips and advice on which tools to use

Cake pictures and the instructions on how to make/assemble the cakes.

I found the resource guide to be extremely helpful

Another feature in the book that I find helpful are the cake batter recipes. In most books they give you one recipe that only yields enough batter for one particular pan size. If you want to make a larger cake then you have to guess as to how much batter and/or ingredients you'll need which can lead to unfavorable results. In this book however, the author gives recipes for different pan sizes. Recipes/batter amounts are given for 6", 8", 9", 10", 12", 14" cake pans. The reader then does not have to guess.

All in all I found ti to be very informative and well written
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Jen@dazzleM: on January 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a very practical guide to baking and presenting a quality product. You will not learn how to use pastry tips -- plenty of places to do that...but if your goal is to bake a really good tasting cake and good looking cake, this book gives you great advice. Resources in the back of the book are terrific.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By T. Fagan on June 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I decided to learn about cake decorating so I could make the cake for a family wedding. I was completely new to the process and didn't have anyone to give me advice on it so I was pretty green. I've bought a few books and looked up information online but this book is the one I've referred back to the most. It answered a lot of the questions I had about the actual beginning to end process of my cake. There's tons of helpful information that saved me from having to learn on my own or waste a lot of time and effort guessing. The 5 tier wedding cake, which was made in one state and setup in an another state, went off without a hitch with lots and lots of compliments! I Love this book!!!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Marie D. Cheek on August 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a wonderful step by step guide. It has great recipes and suggested combinations of flavors for cakes and fillings. It is excellent for beginners through advanced cake decorators. I haven't done a wedding cake in a long time and this book has really gotten me prepared to tackle this fun project again. If you're trying to decide whether or not you've got the guts to try to make a cake for yourself or a friend this will give you all the tools and confidence you need!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By E. Stearns on November 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book on the basis of the reviews --wanted to get at the scaled recipes-- and am so very glad I did. It was a really valuable resource for me. The basic yellow and chocolate cake recipes are wonderful -- the chocolate cake in particular is a delicious standout, with a very moist crumb. The yellow cake is not actually that yellow for those of you concerned about color; I'd say it's ivory.

I used Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe found elsewhere) which worked beautifully and eliminated the stress of boiling sugar, which would have been too overwhelming for me. I used the book's proportions to cut the buttercream with passionfruit curd (for bride's cake) and Valrhona Noisette, though -- and both frosting turned out beautifully.

Giving this four stars instead of five because I think the book leads first-time bakers astray in a few areas. First, the "hot spatula" technique should be called out in very big, bold font -- it's really the only thing that is going to give a perfectly smooth finish on the "finish coat" of the cake. And, as an amateur you can't underestimate the amount of time you'll spend dipping that spatula into hot water, wiping it and running it over the frosting -- but it works like a charm! Second, she recommends transporting the cake already stacked. Holy recipe for stress and disaster! To do this you need to drive a pointed dowel through the entire cake -- I honestly can't imagine anything more terrifying after you've spent so much time (and money) creating this masterpiece. If you're doing a simple flat coat with floral embellishment, save yourself some stress and transport the "finish coat" layers to the wedding site, stack them there and then apply the final decoration.
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