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If only she hadn't included the word decorate in the title
on 6 May 2011
-- because that part of the book is a disaster.
Take a look at photos of William and Kate's wedding cake-- beautiful, no? Extremely detailed, precise, carefully executed. Now take a look at the photos of the cakes in this book. Sloppy, no attention to detail, looks as if a young child did it. How could this be the same person? But it is. I must come clean and say that I have not tried one recipe from this book; this review is based on the "decorate" part of the title, plus some very odd advice she puts forth.
As for the decorating and the photos in general: It looks as if the icing were poured on any old way in most of the more liquid iced cakes. The yellow coloured icing in the fairy cake looks, well, like pee-yellow at best. In the buttercream ones, it's not smoothed and many of the photos give it a grainy look. The shot of the macaroons makes them look positively disgusting. The edges of the Autumn Leaves look burnt. In the sandwich/layer cakes, they were obviously not lined up and trimmed, so that under the fondant, the layers are very distinct. The fondant roses instructions look pretty good, but the ones on top of the Bollywood Extravaganze cake look very thick and poorly made. The leaves on the Daisy and Sunflower cupcakes look just awful, no definition, the icing melted or wasn't thick enough to hold its shape once piped. On one of the Parcel Cakes, there is an obvious crease in the fondant! Most of the decorations are just pre-purchased cheap paper flags or candies or ribbon or fresh flowers placed on the cake or cookie.
Take note: There is nothing in the book that says something along the lines of "I had every day folks ice these cakes so that you can see what it looks like when a non-professional does it". Most of these look like a 6 year old did it.
She also has some weird tidbits in the forward. To sift flour with your arms way up in the air so that each particle of flour is coated with air. Note that this will also coat everything in your kitchen with particles of flour. She talks about how eggs "curdle" the sugar and butter if added too quickly and that the cake won't rise as it should. WHAT? Beat them in well and there will be no problems. She questions freezing cakes, but relates the story of a friend who did it and concludes "it seems it can work". She also manages to slam the Scots in this section for their "cold hands".
For people who like a chummy quality to recipe writing, that is the books style, as if a friend is chatting and advising as you go along.
If I try the recipes and they are outstanding, I may lift this rating to 3 stars, but given that the title is "Bake and Decorate" and half of that claim is wrong, then it's unlikely.