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on 6 December 2007
As always you will find spectacular looking cakes on this last LS's book. Tons of instruction on beading work, extensive usage of speciality sugarcraft tools (so if you want to copy this cakes be prepared to spend for tools) and very detailed step by step photographs. For each design there are shown cup cake versions which are very beautiful too. I didn't give the last star because I found instructions on wonky cake not enough considering that I bougth the book to learn the ins and out of this particular technique and that this technique is the author speciality. Shame....
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I was originally drawn to this book because of the title and the front cover; both are a wonderful reflection of what this book is really about! I love baking but I'm still fairly new to cake decorating although many of the ideas and designs in this book are surprisingly simple to make up - you don't HAVE TO follow them exactly either. Many of the cake designs are huge tiered creations (as with many books like this) but the designs can be adapted to smaller single layer versions or even to cupcake versions.

One thing I would criticize is that if you are trying to replicate designs exactly, some of the instructions are quite hard to follow. Maybe this is because I am still a beginner but on the plus side, I found the diagrams to be very helpful and once you know the basic techniques, it's possible to reproduce similar designs just by using the pictures for inspiration. Be aware though that cake decorating is quite time-consuming and it's been a real test of patience for me! That's where a book like this really helps because it's got lots of great pictures to keep you motivated and on-track.

Something else I love about the book is that everything you see on its pages (tools, cutters etc) can actually be purchased directly through the author's website! This is brilliant in my opinion! Having said this, I also think some of Lindy's cutters are a bit expensive and if you have the time, there are lots of UK online shops to browse (plus ebay) where you can get similar cutters that will do the job just as well. If you don't have the time to shop around, Lindy's shop usually has good availability.

To conclude, the book genuinely does provide inspiration and I always refer back to it when I'm doing some fancy cake-making! It's a great book for getting ideas and I think it's suitable for all levels whether you are looking for general inspiration or looking for step-by-step instructions. The hardest thing for me has always been covering the cake with a sheet of icing - once you get a hang of this, the rest is quite fun and you can be as creative as you like! ...It's amazing what you can create just by investing in a few cutters, a bunch of food colours and a bag full of patience! :)
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on 25 April 2015
I bought this book for decorating ideas but it quickly turned into my go to book for basic cake recipes and best buttercream icing recipe I've found. Invaluable.
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on 18 February 2009
The cakes in this book are inspiring (though the Madiera recipe is certainly not the best I've used - a little too dry!). However, almost without exception, they require pretty substantial investment in cutters (almost all metal and a significant number manufactured exclusively for Lindy Smith!). There are some truly beautiful cakes in this book but you have to be sure you're going to want to do them again to invest in the tools required.
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on 5 February 2009
I'm just starting out with cake decorating, and this guided me through the basics - what is sugarpaste vs flowerpaste to what cutters to purchase - plus it has loads of hints, tips and ideas (such freezing cakes to cut them more easily!) which really make sense. It even has recipes with scaleable amounts for different sized cakes. All this on top of really wonderful ideas to have a go at!
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on 26 February 2008
These cakes look exceptionally creative and interesting. They're fascinating to look at, possibly because they don't look real. However, some don't look tasty and in some cases they don't look edible. Lindy understands this is complicated and overwhelming for the reader on the first few pages when she introduces the equipment and ingredients needed. She also warns that it is time consuming (some take over 2 hours just to bake and can take up to a week to decorate). Although they look like something only a professional could achieve, when she teaches you how to create these cakes it seems really simple. For instance she tells you about the different types of sugar recipes - the way the professionals make icing, and you realise how easy it is to do. Because she teaches you how to bake the cakes and gives you good tips I think both budding and experienced cooks would be able to follow the steps and feel challenged and enthused by her designs.

I love art and craft so I was attracted to this book because of the designs and the artwork. She approaches the colour and design like an artist. The thought of adorning a cake with beaded jewellery really appeals to me. She explains how to make the cut out designs separately, such as the flowers, so if you don't feel like doing the whole cakes you could just make those on their own and put them on top of an ordinary bun or one of her mini cakes.

A warning for vegetarians, some of the icings use gelatine, but there is a veggie alternative you can find in a specialist baking shop and in some supermarkets.

It might be a good idea to practise on the short cut cakes. My favourites are `perfect harmony' with the music notes, the Eastern cakes and the `wonky' cakes. I want to make the `Op Art' one out of cardboard and use it to store the other cakes. This book is ideal for keen and ambitious cooks or anyone that likes the idea of putting jewellery on an ordinary homemade cake.
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on 10 December 2008
I bought this book mainly to find out how to make the wonky cake shown on the front cover and have used it countless times since buying it.
It's full of really useful information for those who are unsure how to cover a cake with sugarpaste and some great recipes for cakes. I use the sponge recipe for all my cakes and not only are they great tasting, but are a good consistency for carving and keep REALLY well.
The projects shown in this book are not overly complicated and the instructions are easy to follow with plenty of photos for those who are less experienced. I found it gave me some good techniques to adapt to my own decorated cakes as well as a great book just to leaf through and enjoy the pictures.
If you're looking for some interesting ideas for your cake projects with sound basic information, this book is for you.
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on 18 February 2010
i loved this book - I wish it was bigger as I could have read it all day. Lovely illustrations & a few basic guides which are useful. There are NOT 35 designs as stated on the cover - there are only 15 as clearly stated in the contents. Each design sprawls over several pages with beautiful photos and step by step guides unlike many books which cram it all into one page with only one photo.

Book is 137 pages including contents/ index. and about 1 cm thick. Book has a nice glossy feel with thick pages. A few of the designs are rubbish that no one's ever going to actually make but most are beautiful and all the techniques are really useful to apply to other projects. One of the better books I've bought & I'll be keeping it in my collection.
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VINE VOICEon 19 January 2011
I am just starting out with the wonderful world of sugar decoration. My baking isn't bad but I tend to just swirl some icing on top or just with icing sugar. I wanted a book to inspire me with a range of techniques and design ideas.

This title does that for me. It offers a wide selection of styles and techniques - all well illustrated and described in the text. As a former jewellery maker, the use of beads delights me. It allows you to add lots of detail and drama to a design without being a wizard with a piping nozzle.

Of course, the author recommends lots of her own products - such is the way of these things. But as I am looking for technique and design inspiration/instruction, I am not bothered by this sort of product placement. Anyone with a bit of crafty know-how can find a way to making things work!

One big plus (for me) is that she shows you a few ideas about how to scale the designs to make mini-cakes. There is also a very clear set of instructions for making wonky cakes (so I can pretend I work at Charm City Cakes!)

A big thumbs up from me for this one.
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on 17 August 2009
This book does have some lovely pictures, and as one reviewer has pointed out - the author is clearly one who is inspired by art in general. The reason for my purchase was however more practical - I was looking for a book that would hold my hand and take me to a sligthly higher skill level of cake decorating. I have done amateur Birthday and Anniversary cakes for friends and family, and wanted to take the next step - there are some useful pages at the front of the book, but it VERY QUICKLY steps up a pace and is swiftly into creations that is way beyond the average home-baker. Obviously, this is just an opinion, and if you're looking for a real challenege then this could be for you - but anything that takes me more than a day to do looses my attention I'm afraid, I simply don't have the time.
In summary, gorgeous book, yummy looking cakes and a good few hints and tips but not enough advice to make me want to keep it. Some of the designs were slightly outdated for me too, from the front cover I was expecting 'funky' all the way through...
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