I admit to owning six cupcake books (to date...)I know, I know...but cupcakes are just so perfect: Fun to make and decorate, easy to serve and oh, so cool to enjoy eating. This is the most "complete" book I've seen so far.
There is a cupcake for everyone, for every occasion, for all baking and decorating skills. The recipes include the basics found in all the other books, but the variations presented are staggering. Many, many different flavorings, add-ins and batter combinations as well as interesting icings and toppings guarantee lots of opportunities for moving well outside the standards. The presentations range from sophisticated dinner-party-finish to a child's delight.
The book is well organized and the introduction explains the basics of baking, frosting, toppings, substitutions, choices of pans, transporting and storing, plus a bit of cupcake history. (A previous reviewer commented that there is no indication of how many cupcakes the recipes make, or how much frosting you will have...the author states in the introduction that each recipe makes 18-24 medium cupcakes, with some recipes calling for two or more batches; the frosting recipes are geared to the number of cupcakes.)
The decorations are also quite comprehensive with most requiring little cake decorating skills, i.e. pastry bags and Wilton tips. Instead, the author makes great use of small candies, shaved chocolate, fruit and fondant, all of which are described in detail in the introduction so that when you see the pictures, you already have a pretty good idea how she accomplished the finished product.
If there is one slight criticism, it would be that the photos are not usually next to the recipes; sometimes several different cakes are grouped together in one photo. I have become spoiled by the other books which have large, glossy photos of the decorated cupcakes on the page with the recipe or on the facing page: A small price to pay for such a wealth of information and excellent recipes.
And the raves from my girlfriends on chick-nite for the Screwdriver Cupcakes with Spiked Orange Frosting was as enthusiastic as my 17 year-old son's for the Mint Chocolate Chip cupcakes with the Dark Chocolate Icing.
I do so enjoy being considered a cupcake goddess....Thank you, Krystina!