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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 11 May 2011
I really love this first book by Fiona Cairns. It is packed full of enticing, inspiring projects that crucially, given Fiona's status of Royal wedding cake maker, are all very achievable by an average cook in an average kitchen.

Beautifully illustrated with full page colour photographs for each recipe the book is divided into two sections; bake and then decorate.

The books begins with glossaries covering ingredients, equipment and baking & decorating tips.

The 30 recipes in the bake section cover the classics, such as a chocolate celebration cake, Victoria sponge, sticky ginger cake and coffee & hazelnut cake etc. Contemporary cakes with more exotic flavours also feature such as a star anise, almond and clementine cake or pistachio & orange blossom. The comprehensive bake section is finished off with macaroons, meringues and biscuits, giving you all the baking recipes that you need.

On to the decorate section and some stunning, modern cakes. Most of the ideas in here are very simple, but highly effective. A chocolate cake is covered with deep pink icing and splattered and flicked with chocolate in homage to Jackson Pollock, a forest of Christmas trees grows atop a fruit cake. Vibrant sugarpaste roses cover a chocolate cake in a Bollywood inspired centrepiece (the roses are very easy to make from the clear instructions). The sweet shop cake is perfect for a child's party, and I love the retro feel of the mosaic cake, so simple but so very effective.

As well as large cakes the book features a selection of small cakes with daisy and sunflower cupcakes for a spring tea party, and flying insects or fondant hats! In the final section on biscuits there is a gingerbread mobile, Christmas tree decorations and Easter biscuits.

The reasons this book is so effective is firstly the clever cross referencing - each bake is linked to the decoration ideas for that recipe, and vica versa, so there are many permutations and variations for each bake or decoration idea.

Fiona writes delightfully, and explains everything clearly so it really feels that she is standing next to you, encouraging and giving you the confidence to try something new.
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on 9 March 2011
I was very excited when I received my copy of Fiona Cairns book "Bake and Decorate". I immediately flipped through the book and bookmarked close to a dozen fabulous looking recipes. There is such a wide variety of cakes and baked goods in this book that you're sure to be able to find something that will suit any occasion.

The first recipe I made from this book was the Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake (pg: 22), and I have to admit it was one of the best cakes I've ever made in my life, and I'm not joking! Believe me, I've made a lot of cakes in my day, and this one didn't let me down. The cake is extremely rich, dense and fudgy. It's something that I would gladly pay £6 for a small slice in a fancy restaurant and secretly want to order a second slice! Make this cake and serve it to your friends - they'll be amazed!

As an avid baker and cake decorator I'm used to decorating my cakes a little more intricately, and I do put a lot of time and effort into them. I have to admit that when I opened this book I was a little confused as to where exactly the decorating was in this book, but after flipping through the book I could see that complicated and intricate patterns and designs wasn't what Fiona was after with this book. She wanted delicious recipes that weren't overpowered by fancy handmade fondant decorations. The decorating ideas in Bake and Decorate are very easy to do, with beautiful results. If you're intimidated about baking and decorating cakes, then this book is for you. The ideas are simple to do, require very little time or preparation, and best of all they look and taste delicious.

Great book! I can't wait to make the Victoria Sponge next.
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on 13 October 2014
I have just bought this book and although I have read it from cover to cover I haven’t yet tried out any recipes. Actually I bought it because while looking through it in a bookshop I saw a recipe for Sticky Toffee Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream which caught my eye. I did find the recipe on the Internet but as a rule I prefer to have the book in the kitchen with me rather than the computer or else write the recipe on a piece of paper.

I have to say that most of the decorated cakes are not to my liking but still there are lot of other recipes which I want to try out so maybe in the end I will glad that I bought this book. There are recipes for cupcakes, biscuits, big cakes, Pavlovas, etc. Loads to choose from. There is also a suppliers’ list and very useful baking tips.
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on 24 November 2012
An excellent book for anyone interested in baking cakes, a very good selection of choice, although the cakes and recipes does not follow the television programme as my wife expected. There are some the same but for eg, the Black Forest Delight cake is not in and various others as well. On the whole I would definitely recomend this book to any one who follows FIONA CAIRNS HOME OF FABULOUS CAKES ON TV. Just to say I will be buying the next in the series for my wife in due course.
David Bowen.
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on 30 May 2015
i have made a few cakes from this book with great success . Fiona takes you through each stage to the finish. you are told how to decorate the finished cake using her methods & the tools she recommends..
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on 29 December 2013
This book is absolutely great. There are so many useful recipes. Fiona's recipes are easy to follow and inspirational. I haven't had a failure yet. One of the recipes, using ice cream cups is such fun and were a great conservation point at a recent baby shower. I am very pleased I have this cake book on my shelf.
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on 19 December 2011
This book is a must have for anybody interested in baking cakes.

Well written and easy to follow. The cakes are all delicious and easy to mix and match the recipes.

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on 5 December 2012
Beautiful book with lovely photographs with lovely cakes to make and decorate easy to follow recipes a guide to what ingredients best to use and some useful tips in decorating. It makes the impossible easy the cakes look wonderful and they work.
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on 6 December 2012
great book, bought it for my nan who had been asking for it. she waited in patiently for it however it didnt arrive when scheduled. the delivery date kept changing and no one would give definate answer of when it would be delivered which was a shame. However since recieving the book she has been thrilled and loves the tips.
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on 3 January 2013
I like that the cakes are not all the same cake just decorated differently. There is a huge variety of cake flavours and have a lovely home-made look about them. No pressure for "professional" looking results.
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