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The Well-Decorated Cake Paperback – October 1, 2004
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A recent review of Collette Peters' "Cakes To Dream On" (a book which claims in its subtitle to be a "A Master Class in Decorating") says, and I quote: "While I concede that this book is stunning to look at, Colette Peters does not want you to learn how to make these cakes. The cake decorating instructions are vague and absurdly simplistic in the extreme; general discussion of technique ... is either absent or useless in its brevity... This is another narcissistic venture by Colette Peters."
Well, Ms. Garrett, on the other hand, is REALLY offering you 'a master class in decorating'. Unlike Ms. Peters, Ms. Garrett DOES want you to learn how to make these cakes and DOES want to help you do so. I am overcome with admiration for her for that fact alone. She'd have every right in the world to be narcissistic and stuck-up, to jealously guard all her professional skills and secrets ... and yet she's not and she doesn't. She gives the real deal in this book and it's worth every penny and more of its purchase price.
Books like Ms. Peters' various books which may in truth, despite claims to the contrary, serve only as inspiration rather than instruction, still meet a very real need -- and I don't mean to imply otherwise. However, what's so admirable about "The Well-Decorated Cake" is that in it, Ms. Garrett -- a seriously skilled decorator -- offers BOTH: real, hard-core instruction on sophisticated, professional techniques, AND inspiration and ideas galore thanks to the numerous photos of completed cakes.
Would this book be appropriate for absolute beginners? I'm not entirely sure -- it aims high and assumes at least a working familiarity with the fundamental components involved. Still, it spells out any number of details carefully and thoroughly -- far more carefully and thoroughly than any number of books and/or articles I've read in my years of researching this subject. She teaches professionals and it shows.
By the way, I purchased the paperback edition and am more than pleased with its quality. The paper is heavy and smooth and the font crisp and clear. Add to that truly superb photographs in abundance and lovely line drawings and diagrams.
This book is, undeniably, a winner. Congratulations, Ms. Garrett, and THANK YOU!
P.S. (April 2006) I see Ms. Garrett is coming out this September with another book on cake decorating (Professional Cake Decorating, Wiley publisher) intended for professional students. Betcha it'll be really comprehensive and solid. Keep your eyes open!