I've recently gotten into making elaborate cakes, and have bought several books about decorating. This is the best one of all, with great batters and besides the frosting ideas, there are also beautiful ways to decorate with split figs, nuts, and glazes. Each cake is shown finished, and the method is accompanied by several pictures of the key steps or techniques. Although a book about elaborate decorating, several of the holiday cakes are classics presented in more up-to-date versions, getting away from the icky dried fruits that nobody likes. These could be dessert for French or Italian dinner parties, with guaranteed oohs and ahs. It's an inspiring book, well thought out, great photos, a treasure chest of new ideas. The other reviews offer great comments, too.