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Cakes too pretty to eat

Cakes with a fashion flair are popular today. Beautiful cakes with innovative decorations in all sizes and shapes are carried by specialty bakers. But the home baker can create these gorgeous, appetizing treats with a little practice. 

Sweet treats to make, decorate and give : over 35 step-by-step recipes for making and decorating cakes, cookies and candies
Laura Tabor.
New York : Cico Books, 2011.
This unique collection of sweet treats is packed with 35 delicious decorating ideas for cakes, cookies, and candies. In this book, designer Laura Tabor, has combined her passions for jewelry and baking, producing a range of beautifully decorated edible gifts. The first chapter, Beautiful Treats for Girls, has chocolate cameos that look just like the real thing, marshmallow pearls, and candy bangles. Seasonal Gifts is packed with ideas for Christmas cookies, Fabergé-inspired Easter eggs, and a fondant Valentine's rose locket. Kids will love to make the rice paper flower pendants, jelly gems, and liquorice friendship bracelets in Fun for Children. The final chapter, Gentlemen Adorned, has recipes for candy cufflinks, vintage chocolate buttons, and a candy monocle and moustache. Clear step-by-step instructions make this book perfect for novice bakers, while more experienced cooks will enjoy the challenge of creating something uniquely different.• 35 amazing recipes that not only look a million dollars, but taste incredible, too.• Each project will be the perfect gift for others or a delicious treat for yourself.• Ideal for both beginners and experienced bakers.
     
The art of the cake : the ultimate step-by-step guide to baking and decorating perfection
Mich Turner ; with photography by Malou Burger.
New York, NY : Universe Pub., 2011.
This wonderfully presented class to making and decorating cakes, cupcakes, and other visually stunning baked delicacies from the renowned cake designer is perfect for bakers of all levels, from event planners and caterers to home cooks. Whether planning a grand fête or an intimate dinner, Mich Turner's cake designs are the perfect dessert for a celebration. The book begins with a thorough overview of basic equipment and ingredients, along with step-by-step demonstrations and recipes for Turner's signature cakes, including the famed truffle torte. The heart of the book explores decorative effects with fillings and icings that are delicious as well as lovely, such as chocolate ganache and royal buttercream, along with special techniques, like covering a cake with marzipan and sugar paste or coating cakes with chocolate. An entire chapter is devoted to Turner's signature piping designs, from the simple to more elaborate curlicues, pearls, and weaves. The book concludes with sections on advanced techniques, like making petal-paste roses or elaborate ribbon loops, and a portfolio of her most renowned designs, ranging from opulent chocolate sculptures to charming cakes adorned with confectionary frills and flowers, along with detailed instructions for re-creating them. Anyone who has wanted to take a professional baking course will relish this lavishly illustrated "master class" from London's renowned master baker and cake designer.
     
To have and to kill
Mary Jane Clark.
New York : Harperluxe, c2011.
Piper Donovan never imagined that decorating wedding cakes could be so dangerous! A struggling actress with no immediate prospects and a recently broken engagement, Piper moves back in with her parents to take stock of her life. She steps tentatively into the family bakery business and finds herself agreeing to create a wedding cake for the acclaimed star of a daytime television drama. But soon someone close to the bride-to-be is horribly murdered and it seems that somebody is ruthlessly determined to stop the wedding. With the help of her former neighbor, Jack, a handsome FBI agent with a soft spot for the gorgeous cake-maker, Piper moves closer to the truth. As she narrows in on a suspect, Piper realizes that it's hotter in the kitchen than she may be able to handle. . . .
     

Classic Cake Icings

Butter Crme
Fudge Frosting
Marzipan
Meringue
Royal Icing
Sugarpaste

It all starts with the foundation- the cake itself. What kind will it be? How many layers? Determine the shape and size to serve the appropriate number of people. Flavors can vary from simple white or chocolate to the exotic and fruity. Layers can be different as long as they are compatible flavors.

Essential Cake Baking equipment

Sieve:  Used to aerate flour and to remove lumps from sugar

Scales: for consistent results, precise measuring is key

Bowls: various sizes in glass or china

Measuring jugs and spoons: for large and small amounts

Beaters and whisks: electric and hand operated, they beat and creme ingredients

Cake tins:  many shapes and sizes can be used; the thicker the metal, the less likely the cake will overcook

Whats the theme of the occasion? A cake for a fun, casual event will differ from a cake for an elegant gathering of sophisticates. What are the ages of people at the party? A childrens cake may have large whimsical decorations in bright colors. Ladies at a spring luncheon would enjoy a pastel cake covered with small flowers.  What about a gold cake shaped like a jewel box and decorated with jewel colored fondant medallions for a 50th anniversary party?  It makes for a more enjoyable celebration when the cake design reflects the partys theme.

Designs that use fondant or marzipan incorporate the most popular trend in cake decorating. A simple but beautiful cake can be made piping icing in straight lines and dots. Advanced artistry is needed to create more elaborate cakes with many kinds of flower decorations. Patience and practice allows those with creative talent to craft a customized confection, perfect for the occasion.

More about cake decorating

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff