Decorated: Sublimely Crafted Cakes for Every Occasion has lovely mix and match-able recipes so there are far more possibilities than it appears. It’s really good to see that April Carter doesn’t just focus on the decoration but on the cakes as well, it’s no good if a cake looks great but tastes terrible, this is a fab balance of both cake and topping. What is also wonderful is that it’s not just the usual cakes either, everything from honeycomb to stout is used in the recipes, there’s lots of variety and at least a little something for everyone.
The intro section of baking basics is informative without being heavy, and it’s not just for beginners. Then there is a section of key ingredients before you get down to the serious cake business. Everything inside the book from the notes to the recipes are beautifully written and in a legible font too. It’s always great when so much care has been taken to make a book easy to use so that you want to keep going back to it.
The images by Danielle Wood are gorgeous. If you didn’t want cake when you started reading you soon would. The downside of the pictures is that they are usually of the beautiful finished cakes, it would be lovely to see more of them sliced so we know what the cake looks like inside.
After the main section of recipes there is a little bit of schooling, a how-to-do-it section with lots of step-by-step pictures and careful instructions. This book is perfect for beginners or those wanting to improve their technique. Personally I love it because there is a lot of buttercream (yum!) and not so much fondant (yeuch!) that you usually see in decorating cookbooks. There are even sections on how to photograph and transport your cake to really show it off well. My favourite recipes (so hard to choose!) were the Burnt Butter Hazelnut Cake, the Coconut Cake with Scalloped Piping, the Blueberry Cinnamon Swirl Cake and the Gingerbread Cake with Whiskey Caramel.
The thing that makes Decorated really stand out is the adaptability, Carter has given so many hints and tips throughout the book at how to make the most of her recipes that the book is a joy to use, and to re-use.