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Simply Spectacular Cakes: Beautiful Designs for Irresistible Cakes and Cookies Hardcover – April 13, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

PEGGY PORSCHEN began her career as a pastry chef at London’s Lanesborough Hotel. Quickly developing a highly individualized style, she started her own business making cakes and cookies for celebrities such as Elton John, Stella McCartney, and Gwyneth Paltrow, and companies like Burberry. She also supplies Fortnum & Mason with an exquisite range of cookies and specialty confections, including a wedding cake collection. Peggy grew up in Germany and currently resides in the UK.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter (April 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307464555
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307464552
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.7 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #749,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a book of spectacular-looking cookies and cakes as the title suggests but be warned that it is published for the American decorator as there are no metric weight measurements or celcius oven temperatures in this volume. Wish someone had told me that earlier as now I will have to convert.
If you're after the same with metric measurements then you'll need to buy Peggy Porschen's Cake Chic (the UK edition).
That aside, the book itself is gorgeous to look at and would make a beautiful coffee table book if you don't bake.

The amazing thing, which Peggy achieves so effortlessly in all her books, is the ability to translate fashion into food and her cakes and cookies are all catwalk-ready. The cakes and cookies here are all very stylish and not one cake or cookie ever gives the impression that it is over-decorated. The result is always just right and ever-so-chic.

The cakes and cookies in this book are very rich-looking, celebratory creations and certainly not for your average bake sale but everything does evolve around a few very simple recipes - Victoria Sponge, royal icing, and sugar syrups.
This is definitely in rhythm with the author's other books. This is a decorating book not a baking book.

For decorating cookies, it is good to see the author return to the traditional iced biscuit and make use of Royal Icing techniques.
The cakes are all fondant-based designs.

I am amazed to see the author achieve all her gorgeous piping designs with a pastry bag made from silicon paper - a technique she shares. Not a metal tip in sight! Certainly, this attests to Peggy's skill with icing. I'm not sure if I'm willing to give up my icing tips just yet.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My long and excited anticipation of this book was not in vain.........it truly is simply exquisite! This has been on the top of my book wishlist for quite some time and like a child, I thought it would never get here. But it has finally arrived and I couldn't be happier with its beautiful contents!

Peggy Porschen has once again given us delicate and achievable cake projects with which any cake decorating aficionado would agree. While this might not challenge an experienced or professional decorator, I feel this is geared towards those of us who are in awe of how the professionals do it and we gratefully thank those who take the time to teach us.

Having said that, I feel this book is geared towards someone with a solid foundation of cookie and cake decorating abilities. You need to know why and how the materials and mediums are used and why you could not substitute one for another such as why you can't use regular icing for royal icing or why fondant cannot be subbed for gumpaste. Though Peggy is quite good at explaining the process in detail, you still need to possess a basic foundation of cake/cookie decorating, though once you do, this book will become a great companion in which to further build your skills and confidence. And lastly, yes, she only uses paper pastry bags in which to decorate so no tips and pastry bags are used; this helps in cutting down on costs for bags, couplers, and tips, plus it is all disposable. But if you have them, I would encourage folks to use them as I am used to them and find it easier.

Peggy has teamed up again with Georgia Glynn Smith, her photographer of her previous book, "Pretty Party Cakes" to deliver large, sharp, close-up, detailed, and well-styled photographs of her projects.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful book to place on a coffee table or good reading. I made a couple of the recipes and was dissapointed on how the cakes cake out. I followed the recipes and the cakes were a bit heavy and not sweet at all. I have been told that European cakes are not supposed to be sweet, but I was hoping these recipies would be a little different. I will try to make different recipes in the future and use the decorating suggestions in this book. The pictures are beautiful and the book is an easy read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful cakes and other ideas. The reason I give it four stars instead of five is because the book gives instruction, but it could have used more detail in the "how to" areas. I'm glad I took some classes, so I kind of knew what she was talking about. I think someone who already has more experience (than me) would have an easier time using this book. However, it is great for inspiration. I think a lovely cake book can make one daydream about what they'd like to make, and this book does that. A book that doesn't spark the imagination isn't worth buying, but this book is well worth it to me. I think that someone who does not know a lot about cake decorating can still get a lot of use out of this book, and might just need to look online to fill in the blanks where they need a little more clarification on how to do certain things. She definitely makes it look easy, but we can all get there with practice.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It isn't a modern, latest trends type of book. These are more traditional and classic decorations that still look good and probably will for a while to come. It contains cookies, cupcakes, petit fours, mini cakes, and one-tier to multi-tier cakes in many different levels of complexity. Techniques include fondant (or marzipan), modeling chocolate, gum paste, royal icing and buttercream used as filling. Skills covered are gumpaste flowers and shapes--both from cutters and hand formed--piping, and covering with fondant.

There are both detailed illustrations of the steps and clear written explanations. I wouldn't dive into any of the projects with absolutely no experience but a general knowledge and a little experience should be enough. Within hours of receiving it I attempted the hand-shaped flowers shown on the white-on-white cake and they came out exactly as shown. The instructions were clear and didn't skip any part of the process. Sometimes, you get beginning and ending instructions and you find yourself having to wing it in the middle. Not this time.

About the only project I would never attempt are the projects with silhouettes of children--my drawing talents just don't extend that far and my hands aren't that steady. But just about every other project in the book has potential use. Not just because they are doable but because they are flexible enough to be adapted to any event or situation an average person might have. This is pretty rare in a cake decorating book. Usually there are two or three you really like, and one or two you might find use for and the rest is filler.

A little under 1/3 of the book is dedicated to recipes, lists and photos of tools and supplies (such as food colorings). The recipes are English-inspired ones such as Victoria Sponge cake.
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