BOOK REVIEW – THE ART OF SUGARCRAFT
Have you ever considered making your own wedding cake, or birthday/celebration cakes for others? Whilst it is a bit of a daunting prospect, the sense of satisfaction and achievement when you make something yourself is immense. When Mr Lilguys and I got married in 2008 we were working on a very tight budget so anything that I could make myself I did. Years ago I used to make very rich (and very boozy!) Christmas cakes so I decided to make our wedding cake. The making of the fruit cake was therefore not too daunting for me, however, the decorating of it was! Although it was very simple and I was pleased with the result I really would have liked to have done something a bit more elaborate.
If you’re interested in making and decorating cakes The Art of Sugarcraft from Squires Kitchen school is likely to become your ‘bible’. 25 years in development, this book brings the knowledge and expertise of 20 of the world’s top sugarcraft tutors (with a combined total of over 320 years of teaching) together so that you can learn from the best.
With cake recipes and fillings the book takes you through making everything from cupcakes and cake pops to macaroons, petits fours and croquembouche. It takes you through basic sugarpaste skills, chocolate decorations, animal modelling and caricature figures as well as painting and stencilling techniques, making wired roses and using royal icing to pipe roses and scroll borders, to name just some of the techniques you will find detailed within the 500+ page ‘bible’. There is even a section on taking your interest in making and decorating cakes to a commercial level.
What I particularly like is the very easy to follow numbered steps for each project – I’m much less likely to miss a vital step of a recipe or procedure if it’s broken down into clearly numbered steps! There are also good, clear photographs accompanying the text and some great Tutor Tips.
Is this a quick and cheap alternative to buying a professionally made wedding cake? No, it’s not. You will want your wedding cake to be remembered for all the right reasons, not for it looking obviously home made! There is a reason why professionals can charge for their work – because they have studied and practiced their craft over many years to give a consistently great look. However, if you have plenty of time, patience and perseverance to practice the techniques in this book you will be able to create something beautiful for your wedding day, whether it be the main wedding cake or hand made favours for your guests to take home.
If you’re interested in visiting Europe’s longest-running sugarcraft exhibition at the Farnham Maltings, Surrey which runs from Friday 14th to Sunday 16th March you can get the full details and book your tickets here. The Art of Sugarcraft will be launched at this exhibition and you will be able to get your copy signed by some of the tutors. There will be free demonstrations throughout the weekend as well as a chance to see the wedding cake showroom and competition gallery. But be quick as this event is always a sell-out!
For more information on Squires Kitchen visit their website, follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and for scrumptious pics of delicious looking cakes and treats head over to their Pinterest page and follow all their boards.
All images courtesy of Squires Kitchen.