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VINE VOICEon 2 July 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was disappointed and surprised to see that this book recommends using cake mix! Admittedly there is one page of cake recipes tucked away at the back, but as the cover says 'a collection of new and favourite recipes', I expected more than seven cake recipes in all!
There are suggestions for many forms of decoration - the main focus of the book. Again, I was disappointed. Some of the ideas are OK, but most are very dated, very amateur-looking and make use of bought decoration! On the pages where you are told you can make decorations as well as buy them, instructions for making them are not included, for example, page 102 features penguins - 'Buy small plastic toy penguins or make your own by moulding coloured ready-made white icing.' This is not helpful if you have never done it before. The reliance on heavy-handed use of butter cream is offputting and overall I do not feel this book is good value.
On the plus side, very young children will probably love the cakes, and templates are included to assist with cutting the cakes to shape.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 25 October 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have unfortunately started a trend in our house where I cook my daughters'
birthday cakes. I have to say my daughters and guests have welcomed my
attempts alike, but I do find the whole episode rather stressful because I'm
really a novice at cooking cakes. "I'd like a fairground cake" and "I'd like a pig
-shaped cake"; sometimes wish I'd never started making request cakes!

I usually resort to Google images for ideas, and basic cookbooks for cake-mix
recipes and I have always made the whole lot including decorations myself.

When I saw this book I initially thought it might solve all of my problems in one
go. There are lots of ideas with a double page spread with a good photograph
and simple instructions. At the back of the book there are paper templates and
the usual glossary, equipment guide, and a general step by step guide.

I think this book is aimed at those who may want to make the cake with their
children, or who have little experience or time. I'm not keen on the fact that
every recipe is based on multiple packets of cake mix and quite often use
purchased decorations.

It does state that the reason for ready-made cake mix is time and consistent
baking times (and space in the book); there are seven cake-mix recipes in the
back of the book.

Some of the cakes look a little dated (but that says more about my age) although
I have to say both of my daughters (three and six) really enjoyed looking at the
cakes and I expect I'll use the book as a visual ideas resource (along with Google),
rather than a cookbook.

Still worth a look though.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My wife and I make 2 good cakes a year for our now 8 and 9 year olds and I ordered this book as we have a Women's Weekly cake book that my mother-in-law gave us that she had bought in the 1970s for my wife's birthday cakes.

About 80% (or maybe more) of the cakes in this 'new book' are lifted from the 1970s book and, using exactly the same photos slightly recoloured and with a more modern background, are passed off as new.

The cakes are horrible!!! Very 1970s. lots of rough, brown icing, not a regal-ice decoration is sight.

The introduction does confess that this is a compendium of cakes from over the decades but this is more than that. This is a rebrand of an old book with a couple of extras added.

The pictures in this book made us laugh out loud!! Much easier to come up with a cake idea and google it and look at the images.

Very disappointing indeed!!
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Bumper Book of Kids Birthday Cakes

Great brightly coloured pictures with easy to follow instructions and good cut out pattern stencils included in the back of the book, make the cakes fairly easy to make. Some amazing ideas which can also be used to adapt to your own designs. I was extremely impressed with the quality of the book and the fact that all the pages including the front cover can easily be wiped clean with a damp cloth.

Ignore the fact that the book was made in Australia, the country of origin is irrelevant. If you make cakes for kids, need cake stencils or just want ideas, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

6 out of 5 stars !!!!
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on 3 April 2015
brilliant - loads of ideas, has all the cakes from the classic version plus new ones. The design use packet cake mix, but there are also a few recipes included that are equivalent to the volume of the packet cake so you can make your own if you wish - enough basic choices - butter cake, carrot, choc, dark choc mud, white choc mud and some gluten free. Great ideas and tips, very inspiring
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VINE VOICEon 30 November 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This comes from the Australian Women's Weekly stable which means reliability. This is a terrific book if you bake for children or grandchildren with a huge variety of celebration cakes to choose from. There are even patterns for the various shapes which is a real boon for people like me who cannot draw. The instructions are clear and easy to follow and the book is colourfully illustrated.

It's not quite perfect. Some of the recipes make use of cake mixes with recipes at the end of the book which can be substituted. There is a problem with this as no baking temperature is given and we are told both follow the mix's instructions - an issue if you never use cake mixes. I had to guess the baking temperature and luckily it worked out OK. The oven temperatures are only given in centigrade and Fahrenheit so you need a conversion table if you use gas. Although most weights are given in imperial and metric, the cup measurements are metric, so it helps to have a metric scale/weights. The cake decorations also include a lot of sweets, often of more than one variety. I think sometimes icing can be used to produce the same effect which will prevent having a lot of smarties, jellybeans or whatever left over. But the ideas and designs are terrific and the methods of achieving them can be adapted.

On the whole, a book worth having.

- Ma Roast
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on 21 August 2015
Really good book, loads of cakes, loads of indexes at back wit info on receipes, sweets used, cake tins etc. would defo recommend ..... They make it look so easy- but obviously unless ur a prof baker u do need to practice them b4 the big day and b realistic about ur skill level ;-)
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 31 July 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have several of these "Australian Women's Weekly" cookery books and they are usually quite good; this one, however, is a disappointment.

There is a noticeable lack of "cake making" involved. Every cake I have looked at is made from packet cake mix. For some strange reason I had expected an actual cake recipe in this cake cook book - even if it was just a basic one. I have always found that home-made tastes better than packet mix and, of course, there is the sense of achievement at making your own cake from scratch.

A basic Victoria sponge cake can be substituted for the packet mix; and it is very easy to make.

There's a large amount of artificial food colourings and flavourings used in the book which shocked me as there are plenty of natural food colourings and flavourings available.

There is a "chicken cake" where, instead of using a butter cream icing, a pallet knife and a fork to make a feathered effect they have put popcorn on the icing. The popcorn goes gooey after a short time and becomes unpalatable and gives a strange flavour to the icing meaning that after the first bite few people want a second one.

Many of the cakes have a Fanny Craddock "slap the icing on and spread it around roughly" look. Some of them look like there has been little consideration for the finished appearance of the cake and others ... well, if it didn't have a "name" on the associated page I wouldn't have known what it was supposed to be - for example, the "bat cave" cake is a round (pudding bowl) cake with brown icing over the top - more muck pile that "Batman".

I am sorry to say that I am very disappointed with this AWW cake book.
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VINE VOICEon 10 October 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Having been very impressed by the Cake Decorating book in the same series, I had high hopes for this book of Kids' Cakes designs. Sadly those hopes were not realised.

I know designs for children tend to be bolder, brighter but that doesn't mean they have to look cheap. And sadly there are a number of designs here that really do look amateur. I know you need to pitch them at a level where people can feel they can achieve them - but there seems to be a lack of finesse, creativity and flair in too many of the designs.

There is also an over-reliance on using confectionery as decoration - meaning that if you don't have easy access to the sweets favoured by the Australian designers, you will struggle to match the look. Also - do we really need to give children even more sugar as part of their cake?

Again, I appreciate that parents are busy people and so using a cake mix is a time-saving option (though not much of one), I would have thought that a bumper book of cakes might have more actual cake recipes...

There are a number of fun designs that would come in handy should the need arise - but I don't think this is of the same standard as I experienced with the Cake Decorating manual from the AWW.

I would urge potential buyers to look before they leap on this one.
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VINE VOICEon 9 October 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Making children's cakes seems suddenly so easy thanks to step-by-step instructions and how-to images however don't expect fancy cake recipes but rather ideas how to make birthday cakes looking pretty in no time. Almost every single cake is based on ready butter cake mix so you don't really have to have baking any skills to make most of the creations. Good book for beginners, advanced bakers may find it frustrating ( as there is no real baking involved) and use as inspiration only... I give it 4 stars for the amount of different cakes included, pattern sheets and because my girls love the book.

PROS

There is loads and loads of recipes/ideas for boys and girls to choose from.

Small how-to images are very helpful in figuring out how to make things.

Provided sheets with actual size shape patterns, useful if you can't draw to well.

Kids love flicking through the pages and planning what to make.

CONS

Most of the recipes use ready sweets and butter cake mix packets instead of nice, homemade cake recipes (!)

The book is quite heavy, too heavy to be published as paperback in my opinion, it won't last.

Being graphic designer I find some of the graphics/cutouts in the book a bit amateur.
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