"Can you imagine a birthday party, a wedding or even an afternoon tea without cake? For me, apart from the chance to satisfy my sweet tooth, a beautiful, thoughtfully crafted and delicious cake makes an occasion special, brings people together and makes them happy. I love that moment when the candles are blown out, the cake is cut, the slices are passed around and everyone gathers together to eat. All the better if you are the proud baker that made it happen"-- April Carter, Decorated
I'm the kind of person who jumps at any chance to whip up a cake, and April Carter's cookbook Decorated serves as a perfect guide to constructing delicious and impressive layer cakes that will wow friends and family. The format of the book is very comprehensible: alongside baking tips, essential cupboard ingredients and technical tips (such as adapting recipes for different cake tins), each chapter in the book is dedicated to a specific part of the cake making process, meaning it is very methodical and easy to follow. Chapter one, being the biggest chapter in the book, is made up of the cake recipes themselves. From there, chapter two delves into tips and techniques on how to colour and flavour buttercream, chapter three gives step by step instructions on how to construct a perfectly leveled layer cake and chapter four and five are all about decorating and final touches (my personal favourite part of the process!).
While I wish I could say that I have tried and tested every single recipe in the cookbook, so far I have only tried out two recipes being the Carrot, Orange and Golden Pecan Cake and the Fig and Almond Cake with Honey Vanilla Cream (see my recreation here). Both were absolutely delicious! It's always a little disappointing when the first recipe you try out of a new cookbook doesn't quite work out-I have had my fair share of baking disasters which put me off trying other recipes in a cookbook based on initial failures. It boosted my confidence getting such excellent results from the first two recipes I tried in Decorated and the fact that they turned out so successfully definitely makes me want to bake as many of the recipes in the cookbook as possible!
The recipes themselves are quite varied and there are a good amount of chocolate cakes (you can never have enough chocolate in my opinion. It's always a crowd pleaser!). What I really like is that the basis of the cakes are quite simple, but it's the combination of flavours and presentation that make them shine! I'm hoping to find some opportunities to make the Sea Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake (pictured above), Apple, Parsnip and Rosemary Syrup Cake and White Rose Cake soon.
All in all, Decorated is my idea of the perfect cake cookbook if you enjoy baking and are interested in cake styling. I admit to not being the best at styling cakes, but I feel that Decorated is ideal for beginners as the styling is simple but also involves the mastering of a few techniques, all of which are explained in great depth with accompanying photos. The stunning photography, good amount of recipes and helpful guides make me feel like I'll be hanging on to this cookbook for years to come, and that it will remain a source of constant inspiration for everything; from birthday parties to modest afternoon teas.