Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wednesday Review: Fun & Original Character Cakes

Fun & Original Character Cakes by Maisie Parrish is a wonderful book! 

What I Like:
·         It's another British book! We get to read about sugarpaste, colours, and humour! While there are weird terms I don't know like "tylose powder" and "gum tragacanth" (I'm assuming they're just the British way of saying things instead of baking terms I'm not familiar with) they are fully explained in layman's terms in the book.
·         This book is a wealth of information. It tells you how to color, store, and paint fondant. It includes tips on how to store, transport, and cut your cake after it's made. It also has a section dedicated to the equipment you'll need to make the models complete with labeled pictures and explanations.
·         Recipes! You know by now that I love when books include recipes. There aren't a ton of them but there is a paragraph included with the benefits of each kind of cake (how long it lasts, easy storage etc). Of course there is a fruit cake recipe. (ahhh the English.) And because I love all things miniature, I'm excited that there is also a recipe for mini cakes (though why it’s a different recipe all together I'm not entirely sure.) There's also a recipe for pastillage - remember when I had no clue what this was? Well along with the recipe is an explanation that it is a form of sugarpaste that dries very hard. Also - edible glue recipe. Need I say more?
·         There are over 30 individual characters described in the book and they all seem relatively simple to make. As Maisie puts it: "everything starts with a ball". There is a mini tutorial on how to make a mouse, monkey, lion, elephant, rabbit, crow, and dog before you even get into the project instructions. The characters are all very cartoonish which I love.
·         The instructions are very easy to understand and really break it down into a step by step process. I also love the fun tip that dry spaghetti can be used to support the fondant models. SO COOL.
·         "A little More Fun" section at the end of each project suggests ways to decorate cupcakes and mini cakes with the same theme to compliment your cake.
·         There is a list of suppliers in the back which include both UK AND USA (as well as a few other countries) And woohoo! There's a store in Springfield! I will soon be very poor.

What I don't like:
·         I have a love hate relationship with the Brits. While some of their crazy lingo is explained for us yanks, you may still need to Google some of the words/phrases. It's also measured out with the metric system - grams pshhh. While the amount in oz is also given, there is a disclaimer that it is not precise and I'd prefer it all in cups and teaspoons anyways.

Per usual, there isn't a lot I can find that I don't like about this book. It has fantastic tips, goofy characters, great pictures, and I want to go home and start baking immediately. 

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