“Betty Crocker New Cake Decorating” by Betty Crocker, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24.99, 208-page spiral-bound hardcover (also available as an e-book)
Anyone who’s ever seen “The Great British Baking Show” on PBS knows there are home bakers and then there are serious baking enthusiasts. You know, those home bakers who always wow family and friends with gorgeous or whimsical cakes.
If you’d like to learn how to decorate your own original cakes without having to spend hours doing it, check out the “Betty Crocker New Cake Decorating” book. While some of the cakes call for “from scratch” baking, most of the 75 creations from the Betty Crocker Kitchens take advantage of cake mixes, making it easy to get to the fun of decorating. Some also require expertise with a piping bag, but others are perfect for beginners with little or no decorating experience.
The book opens with information on decorating basics and includes plenty of step-by-step, full-color photos.
Next comes a chapter on “whimsical and fun” cakes, such as The Dye Poke Cake that uses fruit gelatin to make stripes of flavor and color in the cake and Spice Cake with Dulce de Leche Frosting that is decorated with caramel acorns.
Among special occasion cakes are those for every holiday from Love Bug Cake Balls for Valentine’s Day to Snow-Capped Gingerbread Trains for Christmas. That chapter even includes a couple of wedding cakes for the ambitious home baker.
Lastly, there’s a chapter on the basics: recipes for cakes and frostings for making your own special creations.
This book is perfect for the do-it-yourselfer or home baker on your gift-giving list.
Cheramie Sonnier is a food writer and columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Twitter, @CheramieSonnier.