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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 13 November 2006
This book is excellent value for money and covers far more than just decorating cakes. The parts of the books devoted to decorating are inspirational. Not all the cakes are to my personal taste but with so many cakes shown this book must come close to catering for all tastes. There are traditional birthday and wedding cakes, novelty cakes, simple cakes and some that would be tricky if you were a beginner. There is also a large selection of dessert cakes which look good enough to use on a special occasion if a sugar paste creation is not your cup of tea.

The great thing about the book is the vast range of techniques shown and the number of delicious recipes. Normally books with the level of detail for decorating cakes that Jane Price has provided don't focus on making the actual cake but this book is different. There are clear and easy to follow instructions for all of the cakes and more detailed information for working with sugar paste and royal icing including making flowers, figures and animals. There are 50 pages devoted to gateaux which all look stunning. There is the peach and orange mouse cake made with white chocolate mousse, cappuccino truffle cake with instructions on how to make homemade cappuccino truffles coated in white chocolate, pears baked in Madeira cake with a spun sugar halo. The section on working with chocolate was a bonus I hadn't been expecting, it isn't very in-depth but there is enough information to make me want to have a go.

Everything I have tried so far has turned out really well. I am really glad I bought this book.
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on 10 April 2008
This is a great book for starters who need to know everthing about cake making. I love how this book has recipes for gateaux's and layer cakes etc as well as cakes recipe's as well (ideal for icing). The other books I have bought contain tips on decorating cakes, but not on actually making the cake itself.

My one warning would be that there is a duplicate of this book being advertised on Amazon:
"The Essential Guide to Cake Decorating" by Merehurst Ltd. I ordered both these books assuming they were different, they both have largely the same content. However, having bought both, I recommend "The Essential Guide to Cake Decorating" as a sturdier, easier to use and much broader book.

Whichever one you choose, I can recommend them both.
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on 15 May 2008
I very rarely feel compelled to write book reviews but this book is fantastic. Brilliant illustrations, straight forward practical steps to achieving great results and the best chocolate cake recipe I've ever tried.

Needless to say my friends and family are seriously impressed with the cakes I have produced since reading it.
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on 26 May 2009
On the whole the book is very good and has some nice ideas in it but also has some flaws...for instance it does not explain, for first time users, how to join the ends of fondant icing together - so if you are wrapping a tower (as for the castle cake) in this icing how you get a seamless finish...also step by step instructions on how to get rid of folds in fondant icing when covering a cake would be good- there is not enough detail on using this type of icing for newbies...Also, I made the castle cake which turned out well but nowhere in the book does it tell you how to fix the towers to the base cake - I ended up using buttercream but was worried that they would fall off as I had never made this type of cake a little more detail for first timers would be good.

That said there are good basic cake recipes with amounts for different size cakes in the back and once you have mastered wrapping your larger cake tins to prevent drying out (this is illustrated) then the Madeira cake turns out beautifully (note. for a fan oven I had to cook it at 125 degrees rather than the 160 they suggest.)
I would recommend this book but still feel I need more on the basics of fondant use...
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on 25 February 2007
I have always enjoyed baking but I was not fantastic at decorating cakes, This tells you everything you need to know especially for the beginner. The cake recipes at the back of the book are fantastic, I followed them and produced my best cakes ever! Made my first wedding cake from this book and judging by the comments from the guests it was a big hit!
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on 11 September 2008
This book is really great. It caters for beginners in cake decorating as well as more advanced sugarcrafters. It is a comfy size with gorgeous colourful pictures and fantastic advice throughout. I am thrilled to bits with my purchase!
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on 10 January 2009
I received this book from my boyfriend as a gift...


It has a good range of cakes for beginners to experts, all equally impressive.

The book covers simple basics, that are hard to know if you don't have anyone to ask, like how to line a cake tin and the recipes for basic cakes and marzipan etc.

There are also instructions on more advanced things like wedding cakes and sugar flowers.

A lot of the cakes only need 1 cake tin, which is great when you are starting out.

The book has many sections, including wedding cakes, childrens cakes, Christmas cakes and gateauxs.

I would say this book is more aimed at the beginner, but someone who has made cakes before could still learn from the sugar craft section and inspiring designs.

All in all the best gift ever!
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on 22 February 2009
I bought this book after reading its reviews and you know what? i was not disappointed! Let's just say that i have spent many days reading this book and trying out recipes. I found the best recipe for a madeira cake...hippeeee!!! This book is loaded with ideas for you to make a wonderful character cake with bits and pieces you'll find in your larder.I love the easy to follow instructions on making animals, objects and figures etc. I have thoroughly enjoyed using the instructions in the book to decorate many cakes. It is a must for beginners in cake decorating to have this book.
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on 11 February 2009
Although it's only a softback book, don't be put off by this. Out of all the cake decorating books I looked at (and I looked a quite a few), this was by far the simplest to follow, had the best pictures and the most comprehensive.
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on 29 July 2011
When I bought this book I hadn't baked a "proper" cake in years but the cupcake craze had rekindled my love for baking and I was looking for a book to teach me about sugarcraft mainly. I am so glad this is the first book I bought on the subject. It has become my bible when it comes to cake making. There are recipes for every type of icing you could want and talks about the many different effects you can get using royal icing and sugarpaste with lots of photos. There are also sections devoted to how to make sugar flowers and models.

The cake basics section and the recipes in the back of the book are what made this book great for me. There are recipes for most cakes you'll want to bake (maderia, chocolate, chocolate mud, carrot, coconut, 3 different types of fruit cake) with a chart showing the quantities and cooking times for tins from 5" all the way up to 12".

The chocolate mud cake recipe is the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted, let alone baked myself. The carrot cake is delicious and I tend to use the maderia recipe whenever I want a plain sponge. I haven't tried the fruit cake recipe (Delia would never have forgiven me) but the advice on collars and lining the outside of the tin were invaluable when I made my Christmas cakes.

The mid section of the book is made up of a mixture of recipes and more just decoration ideas. There are some wonderfully inventive cakes and I've posted a photo of the castle cake I made using this book.

I really think this book is a must for any would-be cake maker. The recipes and techniques you'll learn make a great foundation for you to build on.
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