My fingers can't type fast enough to write about this wonderful new presentation from Elisa Strauss, of Confetti Cakes, her happy bakery in New York.
This latest gift of cake-baking delight is simply a wild ride of color and fun. Even when you first receive this book, the bright and neon colors of its packaging, will pull your curiosity.
Yes, there are many wonderful cake-decorating and cake-baking books out there, and as this particular art form has exploded in design and whimsy, the backbone of a good cake book is how it instructs. Through attention to true decorating education, as well as having excellent photography to explain it visually, once again, Elisa's book does it all. It is within the first three chapters of Cake Basics, Techniques, and Basic Recipes, that you will really learn. Some of the cakes are quite simple, so a first time baker will not be intimidated, but for those who want a bit of a challenge, you'll find a couple that will indulge your desires, in particular the cake section.
This was so well written. On one page is a large color photograph of all possible equipment and tools needed, with each one numbered, along with its sister page of explanation. Everything and anything you need to paint, mold, shape, and mix is listed for your understanding.
Baking Terms (all the types of icings and syrups you will use).
Basic Decorating and Cookie Techniques (with step-by-step photos of piping, drop-in flooding, overpiping, and how to make templates, with all templates needed located throughout the book).
Cupcake Techniques (creating a dome of filling and covering cupcakes w/fondant).
Cake and Mini-Cake Techniques (great step-by-step photography of how to split cakes, fill cakes, sculpt cakes, crumbcoating, covering a cake w/fondant especially those with odd shapes, dowling and securing sculpted cakes).
Decorating Techniques for Fondant, Gum Paste, and Marzipan (deciding which type of covering, how to store the different coverings, how to dye them, painting with gels, the use of a pasta machine for them, making loop bows, using egg whites/water as "glue").
Practical Techniques (planning your creations and transporting them).
Vanilla sugar cookies, chocolate cookies, gingerbread cookies, chocolate brownies, chocolate cake, yellow cake, apple cinnamon cake, gingerbread cake, carrot cake, lemon cake.
Vanilla buttercream, peanut butter buttercream (something different to try), lemon curd buttercream, lemon curd, brown sugar buttercream, cupcake frosting (your standard, basic frosting), milk chocolate ganache, royal icing, simple syrup, rolled fondant, fondant/marzipan, gumpaste chart to determine amount.
Star cookies, lollipop cookies, farm animal cookies, hula kids gingerbread cookies, Easter cookies, pajama cookies (these are adorable!).
Ice cream cupcakes, garden mini cupcakes (chocolate mounds with little flowers and "insects"), counting cupcakes (numbered cupcakes w/ matching fishes ala Dr. Seuss!), burgers and fries cupcakes, ornament cupcakes, beach pail cupcakes (these are soooo cute!).
Slice of cake brownies (the use of brightly colored mismatched frostings and fondant were perfect!), mini heart cakes, mini spring cakes (little, brightly decorated "boxes" with bows and such), pumpkin minicakes (these are so whimsical with the exaggerated "faces" placed on them!), MP3 cakes.
"Gift box" with safari animals/theme (this is just precious and a bit more time consuming but totally worth it!), candy factory cake (with all kinds of childhood candies to use), Quinceanera cake (brush embroidery and delicate piping is taught; very glamorous for any special occasion), toy train cake, sock monkey cake, monster cake (from the front cover; absolutely perfect for anyone with a wild imagination), backpack cake.
While some of the creations are industry standards, there are some very creative ideas that I haven't seen in other books. But my main reason for liking this so much is that it is a wonderful instructional book that would be an excellent teaching tool for a beginner, and for those who appreciate a good visual guide for learning. Thank you Elisa!
Seriously Elisa, you have really outdone yourself and exceeded my expectations!!! This is a magical, inspiration to cake decorators everywhere. I just spent an hour on the confetti cakes website because now I am obsessed with Elisa Strauss' work. So far I have been in love with Margaret Braun and Collete Peters, but I have surely added Elisa to my list thanks to this book.
Alot of books from great decorators are just "show-off" books that scream "good luck trying to figure out how I did that!" Colletes books are alot like that, not more than a page of instructions on a cake that probably has over 100 hours of work. Confetti cakes has a surprising amount of instruction. Some cakes have 3-4 pages of how to. Don't get me wrong you still need to know what your doing, but she doesn't leave you quite as high and dry. Amazing, super colorful, flawless, pictures!!
I slept with this book last night :)
I just received this today and I must say that it is delightful! The pictures are great and it is full of step by step easy to understand detailed direction. She covers everything in detail from tools to the finished cakes. She gives you little tips throughout the book to help make thing easier too. There are recipes for cookies, brownies, mini cakes and cakes. I have not had a chance to try them yet because I can't put the book down.
The lollipop cookies and the farm animal cookies are so cute but I think I will be trying the pajama cookies first. Great for a sleepover with grandkids.
The burgar and fries cupcakes are the best and I think my neighbors will be getting the ornament cupcakes for christmas. There is an MP3 mini cake that is awesome, along with conversation heart mini cakes that are very well done.
Also there is a Safari Cake, Toy Train cake, backpack cake, and of course the Monster cake that is on the cover of the book. There is much more but these are some of my favorites so far.
This is a must have in my opinion, if for nothing else the pictures will delight you.
I love Elisa's design aesthetic, but was disappointed to see that a large portion of this book is dedicated to cookies, cupcakes and minicakes. There are only 6 cake projects in the book.
Elisa's instructions are very, very vague. If you're looking for step by step help with creating any of the more difficult projects, you might feel lost. Her directions for creating 3-d gum paste animals are so frustrating if you don't have experience with them.
Also, it's weird that on page 70 there is a chart showing how many servings you get from each size cake pan, but the size pan that she consistently suggests using in her recipes (the 9" round) is not on the chart. Sure it's easy information to find on the internet, but why it's not in her book I don't understand.
I do like her recipes a lot. I've made the chocolate cake and the yellow cake a half dozen times and they are always delicious and sturdy. Note that the chocolate recipe calls for almond and vanilla extract, and the resulting flavor is decidedly almondy.
The swiss meringue buttercream recipe is pretty easy to follow, although, she doesn't give you a temperature to get your egg whites to like other recipes. She just says "as hot as you can get them without cooking". Sort of vague.