Hello, Cupcake! by Karen Tack & Alan Richardson is definitely one of my favorite decorating books. For those of you who live in DC, it's not affiliated with the Hello Cupcake bakery in Dupont. The book contains amazing pictures and easy to follow instructions on how to make ridiculously awesome cupcakes.
What I like:
· The book starts off with helpful decorating techniques. They boast "no baking skills or fancy equipment required!" which is true as they use Ziploc bags for pretty much everything - to fill the cupcakes papers with batter, to melt chocolate, and to apply frosting. By cutting the corner off the bag, icing can be easily piped on the cupcake. Different sized and angled holes create the same effect as Wilton tips. It's definitely a cheap alternative to pastry bags. Though I usually end up cutting the hole too big or at the wrong angle, so I still prefer the Wilton tips. But I guess practice makes perfect!
· They show how candy (M&M's, taffy, cereal, sprinkles, Runts, and circus peanuts to name a few) can transform your cupcake from ordinary to extraordinary.
· The book describes how to decorate normal cupcakes, mini cupcakes, cupcake pull away cakes, and use other things for shaping your design like Twinkies, mini donuts and donut holes.
· A lot of the designs involve melting chocolate wafers to draw different designs like wings for butterflies or bones for cupcakes that look like fried chicken. Don't worry if you're a terrible artist, the book provides templates that are easy to trace.
This isn't from the book, but a good picture of using melted chocolate
wafers on wax paper to make different designs.
· There are ideas for your typical cupcake worthy days/events such as Easter, 4th of July, Halloween, Christmas, baby showers, and weddings. And then there are just bizarre ideas like making your cupcakes look like corn on the cob, fried chicken, or billiard balls.
· The book also provides recipes for several cakes and frostings and a sources page for where to buy ingredients and decorating tools.
What I don't like:
· Most of these cupcakes are pretty time consuming to make so you have to either plan in advance or find a friend to help you make them.
· I can't think of an occasion to make cupcakes that look like fried chicken or spaghetti and meatballs.
Obviously over all this is an amazing book and I highly recommend it to the cupcake enthusiast. It not only gives you great specific ideas, but also tips you can use to design your own fun and creative cupcakes. Karen and Alan's website has fun videos and more tips. They also have 2 more books - What's New Cupcake? and their newest (which I just got in the mail this week!!) Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh, My! So look for those in future Wednesday Reviews!