I am not much of a reader, so when my local Border’s Bookstore announced its “Going Out of Business Sale,” there was only one section I was interested in checking out; the Baking Books section. Unfortunately most of the books were gone by the time I got there. I was about to leave when my eye happened upon a brightly colored circus cake gracing the cover of a book that had been misplaced on a different shelf. I picked up the book to find that it was written by two of my favorite baking book authors, Liv and Kaye Hansen. The book’s title read: Kids’ Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse: And Other Treats for Colorful Celebrations.
The book was 40% off because of the sale so I figured it was worth checking out. Once I got home I began flipping through the pages and quickly realized that I had found myself a treasure. The beautiful pictures popped out on the pages and there were ideas in it like I have never seen before. This is so much more than just a cake book. It has all sorts of baked goodies in it. Before I tell you anything else, though, let me quickly give you a look at a couple things I made this week after following recipes and instructions in the book.
Aren’t these just the cutest cookies ever?!
Here is a close up of one single lipstick cookie.
Being that I have two preteen daughters, I have done my share of makeovers and girlie parties so when I saw these lipstick cookies I knew they would be the first ones I tried making. I just love how cute they are. I especially love that they can be made for women of all ages. Little girls would love them for a dress up party, they would make a great Sweet 16 treat, and women of all ages would appreciate them for birthdays, Mother’s Day or just as a special dessert.
Here is a picture of me making them. I am dipping a lipstick into black colored chocolate.
They brought out the little girl in me and I had to pretend I was applying one like real lipstick before I ate it.
Next I found instructions for a technique I have been wanting to learn, creating portraits in chocolate. I should remind you that I am not an artist and have a hard time drawing a decent stick figure so give me a break when you look at my first attempt at a chocolate portrait. I chose to do a portrait of my husband since I knew he would still love me even if I made him look like an alien. Here is my result from my first attempt.
Okay, so his nose turned out bigger than it should have, I gave him buck teeth and he sort of resembles President Obama but still, it’s not too bad for a first try, right? Here is the photograph I was working off of.
As you can see, he is way better looking than my chocolate version of him but at least you can sort of tell it is the same guy. And with this version, if I get mad at him, I can literally bite his head off! I am excited to keep practicing this technique since there are so many ways I can use it on cakes and cookies.
Coming back to the book itself, I think I can say that this is going to become one of my favorite baking books. It can be used by people of all levels. They have done an incredible job of laying out the basics for those who are new to decorating and have filled the books with projects that even advanced decorators can learn from and enjoy.
One thing I really love about this book is that it is written with kids in mind. The treats are designed for children’s parties and events (although they will appeal to all ages) and each project has a section telling you how you can involve your kid in helping you make the treat. They also keep kids’ taste buds in mind. You won’t find much fondant in this book; most of their decorations are done in chocolate. And I can’t forget the recipes: Banana Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cake, Peanut Butter Cake and Root Beer Cake. Those are just a few that got the kid in me excited.
This book is more than just a recipe/baking book. Each section starts off with a theme and gives you ideas for throwing a party based on that theme. It follows with great recipes and then instructions for projects that incorporate those recipes. There are notes listed throughout, titled “Plain + Simple” that tell you how to make a simpler version of the project if you are short on time.
They have included a coloring chart, measurement conversion chart, templates for all the projects and even a page of photographs of their sliced cakes with their different fillings so you can see how the layered cake will look on your plate. And don’t think that this is only a cake and cookie book. There are recipes for play dough, pancakes, funnel cakes, flan and more.
The projects are so unique and creative. A couple of examples include: greeting cards made from cookies and an adorable gelatin dessert made in a fish bowl, complete with a chocolate goldfish and seaweed.
I really just can’t say enough good things about this book. I love it. And since I love it so much I just have to share it with someone else. That means I am going to send a copy of it to one of my lucky readers. All you have to do is comment at the end of this post and tell me your favorite party theme you have ever thrown or attended. And if you haven’t ever attended a party (poor you) then tell me what you would imagine would be a fun theme. Each person commenting will be entered into a random drawing. All entries must be received by midnight on Wednesday, April 6th, 2011 MST. I will announce the winner on Thursday, April 7th. You are free to enter again even if you won my give away in the past.
Now I’m going to go get started on my next project. I have to try that Root Beer cake recipe! I will use it to make a simple cake that I will share with you in next week’s entry.
Until then, God Bless and Sweet Dreams.