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Saturday, 8 September 2012

The Birthday Cake Book by Fiona Cairns

The Birthday Cake Book
Fiona Cairns turns her attention to birthdays, adding a touch of bling to her trademark pretty style. Every day of the year is someone's birthday, the chance to celebrate with close friends or family, or maybe an excuse for a larger bash. A birthday cake is the centrepiece, ablaze with candles, cut with a secret wish and shared to create precious memories. Many families have a treasured recipe, baked for every birthday. Perhaps you'll find a new family favourite in these pages. Whether you are one or 100, a Goth or a gardener, there is the perfect cake for you here. The Birthday Cake Book has 52 new recipes and 61 cake decorations, including 16 cupcakes. Every recipe is delicious. Try the sensational masala chai cake with ginger fudge frosting, or a sophisticated pistachio, Grand Marnier and olive oil creation. Many require no sugarcraft skills at all. Fiona also gives five spectacular themed parties, from Vampires, with an eye-popping crystal skull cake, to Vintage Tea Party, with a super-realistic crocodile handbag cake. So bring a special gift to a birthday party, and get baking!

This book is full of imaginative and inspiring birthday cakes, suitable for any age (child or adult) and for a variety of occasions. Many of the cakes could be perfect for anniversary's, afternoon tea or for a posh summer fund raising occasion.

There are high quality, beautiful photographs of all the cakes included in the book, either on their own or as part of an ensemble picture of many of the cakes together. Some of the recipes have been grouped together in the book in sections entitled: 'Vampire Party'; 'Vintage Tea Party'; 'Alice in Wonderland's Unbirthday Party',  'Glamping'; and 'A Gardener's Delight'. 

The book contains a useful rating system for decorating ease - in one, two or three candles. The book also contains a useful initial section on techniques, hints and tips. There are a list of basic ingredients necessary for cake making which will includes helpful advice on choosing the right ingredients for your cakes. There is a section on baking tips including why it is necessary to use baking parchment rather than greaseproof paper or how to freeze cakes. There is also a list of basic equipment recommended for a kitchen when cooking. There is a page on icing tips and techniques and another on decorating tips.

The cakes are varied - including traditional sponge based cakes, gingerbread houses and cheesecakes which are shaped and decorated in brilliant designs along with less traditional cakes like hidden fruit and veg cakes and liquorice toffee cakes.

I have looked through  the book a number of times and I am still instantly drawn to the beautiful Alice's Teapot Madeira cake with it's intricate icing and the all in one chocolate cake football boots which would be perfect for my son. I really enjoyed the Alice in Wonderland unbirthday party which looks like a great idea for a child's summer birthday party.

In summary, I really think this is a fantastic book if you are looking for inspiration for a cake to celebrate any occasion. I think that the type of cakes included in the book could be adapted to fit any taste and the ideas of style and theme would be the perfect start to any party planning.

Thank you to the publishers, Quadrille Publishing, for sending me the book to review.

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