Lindy Smith, a veritable diva of cake decorating from the UK, has come out with a little gem (7"x7") of a book that is a great tutorial for those whose interest in cake decorating is in its early stage, as well as some great idea's for cupcake treats to delight the eye.
While she has written larger and more detailed books on this subject, this one is a mini-education on those delectable little treats known as cupcakes. The first half of the book is dedicated to the basic skills and talents you will need for the variety of projects offered. I would say that a beginner would learn well from this but keep in mind that you might need one other reference book at your side should a technique or term escape you. This would definitely be perfect for an intermediate cake decorator or someone who is trying their hand at these smaller versions of cakes.
The photography is fabulous and close-up as usual; the detail is easily seen so any concern with a technique or color or idea can be easily interpreted.
The book is layed out as such:
BASIC TOOLS and EQUIPMENT: Layed out with photo, number, and with accompanying explanation.
BAKING EQUIPMENT: Pans, cupcake liners/cases
CUPCAKE QUANTITIES: This is both in metric and english measurements. A great reference guide for the approximate amount of batter needed for mini-cupcakes, standard cupcakes, and muffin size.
CUPCAKE RECIPES: Tips and hints. Batters: sticky ginger, orange and poppy seed, hummingbird, chocolate cherry mud, date and walnut, pear and chocolate chip, lemon polenta (this was incredibly delicious), and honey cake.
DECORATION RECIPES: Standard buttercream, flavoring possibilities, swiss meringue buttercream, chocolate ganache, glace icing, royal icing, sugarpaste, modeling paste, how to color both sugar and modeling paste, pastillage, sugar syrup, flowerpaste, sugar glue, and gum glue.
COVERING TECHNIQUES: How to prepare the cupcakes for decorating, using buttercream, making swirls, making roses, buttercream peaks and domes, fluffy buttercream, and sugarpaste.
DECORATING TECHINQUES: Stencils, edible lustre dust, royal icing, using molds, using cutters, sugar shapers (those little hand-held machines, with barrels and plungers, that use discs for extruding different shapes; can be found at craft stores), how to make twirls, flowers. There are also idea's for storage and transport of the cupcakes, as well as presentation and display of your baked marvels.
Vintage Chic: cameo brooch and ribbon
Afternoon Tea: cupcakes with flowers on top gently set within a delicate tea cup
Zen Garden: Asian-inspired with a chinese happiness character and blossoms
Card Trick: King of Diamonds? Queen of Hearts? More detailed therefore more labor-intensive project
Flower Power: Sugarpaste top with flower
Rosy Swirls: Marbled-effect piping of swirls, VERY impressive!
Lovebird: Literally a little bird perched atop a cupcake with blossoms
Floral Fantasy: Embossed and brushed embroidery technique sugarpaste cupcake tops
Tiered Miniatures: Embossed cucpake tops with mini-wedding cakes (talk about little details!)
Roses Are Red: Using laser liners, these swirls and roses and twirls make a spectacular sight!
Birthday Bears: Adorable little bears perched atop embossed tops!
Play Time: Kids jumping in a large box of colored balls; just like at those kid pizza places
Odd Socks: Detailed socks flush atop cupcakes
Perfect Pets: Embossed animals flush atop cupcakes
Rubber Ducky: Exactly that........a little rubber ducky perched on top
Beautiful Butterfly: The cover photo of a gorgeous butterfly resting gently on top
Spring Violas: Beautiful violas delicately showing themselves off
Falling Leaves: Orange liners, choc batter, beige buttercream, and orange/brown/rust fall leaves!
Snowflakes: How beautiful!!Simply delicate snowflakes standing in pure white buttecream snow!
Festive Firs: Foiled liners with sugarpaste tops and stenciled Christmas trees
Animal Print: A unique method of using rolls of tri-colored paste to make animal print medium
A Touch of Class: Stunning purple sugarpaste tops with stenciled gold designs
Floral Elegance: Embossed tops with flowers
Shopping Spree: Embossed shoes and dresses on cupcake tops (a bit labor intensive but adorable)
Retro Party: A free-spirited set of ideas of design and form that are somewhat of a past era
SUPPLIERS: This is a list of suppliers used and from whom you can purchase much of the equipment. Understand that there are many companies that are located here in the states that can also furnish you with the same things, though many of the oversea companies listed can ship it to you as well.
While those more experienced may find this book repetitive in certain aspects, I would highly recommend this for those just starting out; its a rather compact teaching tool that would suit them just fine. Peace!