Book Review: The Icing on the Cake by Juliet Stallwood (Decorating Baked Treats)
Here at Tasty Gorgeous we were sent this fabulous book to review – The Icing on the Cake: Your Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Decorating Baked Treats by Juliet Stallwood. Those familiar with her work will know her as a proclaimed baker and cake decorator. She has a long history of innovative cake design and her own bakery business located in the village of Semley in Dorset. She makes and sells her products to a devoted following including Marco Pierre White and Atul Kochhar. She was also recently featured in Country Living Magazine and also runs classes teaching people how to decorate cakes and baked goods. She has now published ‘The Icing on the Cake: Your Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Decorating Baked Treats’ for home bakers also.
This as her first book, is a wonderful look into decorating many tempting treats such as cakes, cookies, meringues, whoopie pies, chocolates and brownies. Plus it has useful hints and tips for bakers no matter their level of expertise.
The book is divided into five sections, not alphabetised or by type of baked good as you might expect but describing situations when you might want to bake, for example the book begins with the chapter entitled ‘Decorate to Indulge’ is followed by both ‘Decorate to Love’ and ‘Decorate to Celebrate’ and ends with the more decadent chapter ‘Decorate to Impress’. The final chapter sees Stallwood describe her ‘Best-Kept Secrets’ including details of equipment, handling and covering cakes and a number of guides and templates to recreate her recipes with ease.
Many of the recipes and techniques given could be sourced elsewhere and don’t seem particularly distinct however both the language used is likeable and easy to understand and the designs shown throughout the book have been displayed in a fresh and unique style.
Decorate to Indulge includes some wonderfully simple but effective ways to decorate a multitude of baked goodies with beautiful full colour page photographs, guides and illustrative drawings. Techniques covered include creating sugared rose petals, chocolate work and piping skills whereas recipes of whoopie pies, macaroons and biscuits are also presented.
Decorate to Love shows off Stallwoods signature style with some stunning corset biscuits, decorated and piped to perfection. This chapter also includes some useful recipe charts for chocolate and sponge cakes of different sizes which makes a great reference guide. She also tackles some more difficult techniques including stencilling and using royal icing efficiently.
The next chapter is Decorate to Celebrate which covers as you might expect cakes and baking ideas including occasions such as christenings, birthdays, christmas and weddings. This chapter concentrates mostly on using sugarpaste decorations and modelling featuring a fancy gingerbread house and a helpful fruit cake recipe chart. For those who enjoy figure modelling you’re sure to love the cute party penguins and adorable baby shower cupcakes.
Decorate to Impress is full of ideas that look visually stunning and although appear to be more difficult, the step by step guides are easy to follow. The recipes in this section are a little more challenging and include how to create a tiered wedding cake and make realistic looking sugar flowers.
The Best-Kept Secrets chapter is a wonderful reference for new and experienced bakers alike including everything from an ideal list of baking equipment to lining a cake tin to covering, icing and stacking cakes. A limited suppliers list is also included.
In conclusion The Icing on the Cake: Your Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Decorating Baked Treats is an engaging book that covers a multitude of invaluable techniques and includes over 50 achievable recipes. Although it is more suited to a beginner or novice baker it is equally good for those with more experience as a reference guide, to refresh the mind on techniques or to read for a little inspiration.
The Icing on the Cake: Your Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Decorating Baked Treats by Juliet Stallwood is currently available, rrp £16.99.