I need to choose 1 (or more) cake decorating book for a gift. It is very difficult to judge a book by reading reviews sometimes. Many are described as beautiful, but the reviewer hasn't made any from the book. The baker is talented, not a professional, but has created some extremely beautifully decorated cakes. I guess the best way to describe what I'm looking for is a book that is practical, enjoyable to look through and actually use, and not meant to be a coffee table item.
These are the books that I've identified as possibilities
The Perfect Cake, The Ultimate Guide to Classic, Modern, and Whimsical Cakes A. Test Kitchen
Wilton Decorating Cakes Book
Favorite Cakes, Showstopping Recipes for Every Occasion Williams Sonoma
If anyone has thoughts on the 3 above or other suggestions I would welcome advice.
Keba, your may have already chosen a book, but of those three, I would only classify the Wilton as cake decorating. The other two are more about what is on the inside -- though they produce pretty cakes. The Williams Sonoma one is a bit of a hybrid -- focussed on the recipes and showing fairly simple ways to make them look great without getting into a lot of piping skills, fondant, sugarpaste, etc. It could be a good choicefor someone who wants ideas on how to make good looking cakes without getting into serious decorating. If the person wants to learn the piping, the molding of sugar and gum paste, fondant techniques, airbrushing or painting cakes -- there are probably books on each of those subjects. These are more of what I think of for cake decorating -- not sure the level you are looking for (if you aren't either a gift card or gift receipt for possible exchanges can be helpful).
Contemporary-Cake-Decorating-Bible-Techniques by Lindy Smith
Icing-Cake-Decorating-Stunning-Desserts by Tessa Huff (looks like a beginner book)
I searched Amazon and they do not help -- so little to go by in pictures. You may have to rely on comments to get an idea what direction the book takes. I think I have that Lindy Smith book, but didn't recognize others.
I know I have the Contemporary Cake Decorating one by Lindy Smith, but I cannot find it. DH moved all my books from one room into another -- to have more shelf space, which was good, but in no particular order, which was bad. He then took up daytime residence in that room, claiming the table I was planning on using to sort. I know it is there, and I was going to take a few photos to try to help you see what it is like, but I just cannot find it.
What I did find was a couple of other ideas, depending on the direction you want to go.
Fantastical Cakes by Gesine Bullock Prado. She also did Bake It Like You Mean It. Like the Williams Sonoma Book, it is not cake decorating in the traditional sense, but every cake is great and she does some real showstoppers. I will also plug her Let Them Eat Cake as one for any baker who needs to bake for GF or vegan folks. She gives those and a healthier option for every recipe. I've done a couple of receptions using some of her recipes and had everyone grabbing GF treats without knowing or caring the difference -- and the folks who need GF really appreciate not being left out. It's one everyone should have, in my book.
Cake Confidence is one I am not familiar with, but it popped up when I was searching these others and looks like a possibility.
Then I saw a couple of books I bought years ago -- for molding fondant or other sugar animals or figures for cake toppers. In the years when my sons were little, being able to mold critters was of more interest than piping flowers. If the giftee has little ones, that could be fun. I remember buying them for under $10 -- maybe on sale or used, but just as an idea -- Fondant Modeling for Cake Decorators, 100 FOndant Animal Cake TOppers and Sensational Sugar Animals. One of those might be fun too -- maybe an add on if it's not too much.
DOn't know if that will help or make your choice harder. Don't you miss the days when we had multiple book stores to go to and actually look at books before buying them? You might see if you can preview any at the library.