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Zoe Clarke hails from London and has a shoppe in which she sells and writes and teaches class. Wildly popular for her talents, she is definitely sought after as baker and teacher. This books tell why.
Without a doubt, Zoe has written another fine book on the art of making ethereal cakes! This time, it encompasses 10 sets of beautiful cakes with a total of 30 accompanying ideas and designs to make themed cakes, cupcakes, and cookies.
Anything that comes from the talented mind and hands of Ms. Clarke will always enchant you. This is her third offering for those who enjoy life celebrations, and you will find fresh idea's, some with an edge you might not have thought of before. She offers cakes that are in the vein of "shabby chic" with a twist. Pastels, delicate pressure piping, stenciling, etc are part of the creations that she created.
As far as what level of baker this book is most suited, I would say that some solid skills would be a definite plus. While she does give the steps needed to make these gorgeous themed cakes and such, it is not a teaching bible. But if you the time and patience to learn, with perhaps another basic cake decorating book as your reference, these cakes and treats, will be managed without problem.
As usual, the photography is clear and generous, with the assumption that you have had some exposure to this field of cake decorating. The colors are mostly pastel with a couple of exceptions. The writing is also clear with numbered steps to keep you in line with progression of the projects.
I will really try not to give too much away in describing this glorious book:
TOOLS & EQUIPMENT
This includes all the "baking essentials" and "creative tools" used throughout the book for each project. In some books, the tools are displayed separately and numbered so that you would know which is which and for what they are used. In this book, the tools are grouped into 2 small photos, without numbers, but with bulletpoints under the photos, of names and explanation. As I said previously, this is where the basic knowledge helps.
CHAPTER ONE: Dusky Rose Romance
The cover cake of pastel pink fondant and roses, and of white dots that cover the cake plus cupcakes and wedding cake-shaped cookies to match.
CHAPTER TWO: Damask Elegance
3 graduated square, sherbet green cakes decorated with delicately stenciled white damask pattern on the sides; wow! Ribboned mini-cakes and lightly stenciled square cookies make the match!
CHAPTER THREE: City Wedding
This was modern and different but so perfect for a couple who want something traditional but crave some modern flare! This is a graduated, multi-tiered cake with a simple, one-color, hexagonal shape with sides that have run-outs of city skylines (Paris, New York , London, etc). This gives you no limit as to how to combine the tastes of both bride and groom and even their loved ones. Are they from 2 different cities? No problem! Make skylines from each and place them around the cake. Do they have a special city that means something to them? Make a run-out for them! Want to add a special place of the heart for the parents of the couple? Make a run-out! The petit fours and hexagonal cookies that accompany this cake were just as special and beautiful as well.
CHAPTER FOUR: Jewelled Splendour
This was a knockout AND a shout-out to the era of Art Deco! 3 tiers of various height and sized round cakes are decorated with "jewels" that you make. That being said, you can make the jewels that she shows you with dragees, candy pearls, coarse sugar sprinkles, etc or you could make them with Isomalt and molds, (just another idea I'm tossing in), so you have alot of room to create some really fabulous jewels! The jewelled cupcakes are to just faint over but ever so simple to make and the jewelled butterfly cookies are beyond gorgeous! I gotta stop writing on this one because I could go on forever.
CHAPTER FIVE: Painting with Flowers
3 tiered round cake with 3-D flowers that literally just pop out at you. In this one you get to paint on the cake as well. Very simple but extremely memorable for the happy couple or even smaller in size for a shower or birthday! The mini-cakes and cupcakes are tiny versions.
CHAPTER SIX: Bordeaux Dress
A rounded wedding cake, using ivory and white only as colors, and using brush embroidery and 3-D scallops of lace and flowers that match the brides dress. The mini-cakes and wedding dress-shape cookies complete the vision.
CHAPTER SEVEN: Here Comes The Groom
Well, its about time that we have something just a bit different for our grooms! This is a far better choice for our handsome prince than just a plain chocolate cake. This is a showstopper of "top hat and tails" theme that will knock their socks off. Various sized squares that pay homage to the Roaring 20's with clean lines, embossing, cumberbunds, and bowties. The tuxedo cupcakes and bowtie cookies were perfect finishes!
CHAPTER EIGHT: Sunset Macaroons
This was very simple and clean with 4 separated and graduated tiers of pastel colored round cakes. Each tier is decorated with same colored macaroons. Very, very easy but with a "wow" effect. If making macaroons doesn't excite you, then just make fondant circles instead, as Zoe writes, and the effect is still as beautiful. This one had no cupcake or cookie ideas but suggested macaroons.
CHAPTER NINE: Classical Charm
Once again, the WOW factor for something easy yet very elegant. Various shapes and graduated tiers of cake are used, for which some might think doesn't really work but in this set, it works magnificently. The tiers are unicolor in a pale blue-grey which keeps everything uniformed so that the real star of the show is the pressure piping and painting, in gold, using French-inspired art of thin, delicate lines, scrollwork, and dots. The mini-cakes and medallion cookies are just exquisite!
CHAPTER TEN: Flora Abundance
This is another breathtaking cake that mimics that column wedding dress that is shown in the background of the photo. The ivory, square, 5 tiered, graduated cake has white, 3-D open roses on gold-painted vines; I'm fainting!!!! The petit fours and flower cookies complete that vision for your bride!
RECIPES & TECHNIQUES
You get yellow, chocolate, carrot, and fruitcake recipes along with a chart to determine filling amount for the pan sizes along with flavorings variations.
FILLINGS & COVERINGS
Buttercream frosting, ganache (white and chocolate), sugar syrup, flavorings, portion sizes, and filling and flavoring quantities.
BAKING & COVERING TECHINIQUES
While this is a great chapter on how to assemble cakes and such, a solid foundation of knowledge on the subject would be a great asset beforehand. Prepping pans, filling, torting, carving and sculpting, cakeboards covering, working with marzipan and sugarpaste, and assembling are covered. Also, mini-cakes, cupcake, petit fours, and cookie teaching is covered. Piping, using royal icing, using sugarpaste is also included as well as the templates used in all the projects.
SUPPLIERS, CREDITS, INDEX
OK............I know I said I would try not to give away too much of the contents, but I can't help myself. This is simply another great book from Zoe. Maybe you have enough books like this on your shelves, and you don't feel the need to add more. But if you're a baking fool like me, this was a real pleasure to add to my library.