Layered: Baking, Building, and Styling Spectacular Cakes, by Tessa Huff

23 Feb
layered tessa huff

Five of FIVE stars

There is no possible way to give this book anything but five stars, even though I know if I tried any of these ideas my cake would end up as the banner pic for one of those “Pinterest Fail” sites.

This book gets five stars just for the photos. Gorgeous and spare, there are photos of each completed cake (all impeccably decorated) and also of one slice to show the beautiful layers inside.

It gets five stars for the gorgeously decorated cakes.

It gets five stars for all the cake recipes and individual frosting and filling recipes (often several different ones for each cake).

It gets five stars for all the prep information included. There’s the requisite “stocking the layered cake kitchen”, tools needed, terms used, and helpful hints.

Five stars for making my mouth water.

Five stars for including many recipes using alcohol (a sure-fire way to get five stars from me).

Five stars for the section on Holiday Cakes, all of which I want on my kitchen counter NOW, all gorgeously decorated, all wanting to be in my belly ASAP.

The only way I would mark this book down is in how little attention it gives to the difficulty of actually making a several-layered cake. If you have tons of baking experience, you’re good to go. If you just want to drool over the pictures, get this book now. But if you want to start making layered cakes (several layers, not just two), I am giving you some free advice here: start practicing on your own before you decide to dive into any of these from the book. I give you this advice purely from my own experience of ONCE trying to layer a cake. I made a cake with six layers and frosted it the night before my daughter’s fourth birthday party. It was going to be her “Princess Cake”.

There is not much that will destroy a newly-four year old girl more completely than to wake up and find her beautiful Princess Cake toppled and crumbled and destroyed by gravity overnight. It didn’t lean over and fall, it developed cracks in the middle and just came apart from the inside out. That birthday required an emergency visit to the grocery bakery to pick up a new, non-princess cake.

There are a few warnings about this crumbling that layered cakes tend to do, but not much that solidly says “HEY. Be careful because your cake may destroy itself!” or “HEY. Pay attention to this helpful hint that will save all of your very very hard work and high expectations!” So I’m giving you that part now: READ ALL THE DIRECTIONS. READ all the notes and hints and help!

But once you do that and once you make at least one practice layered cake, then go stock up on sugar, flour and eggs and start your baking! And then bring over all your samples to my house. I’ll buy the book for the photos, but my layered cake making days died with the Princess Cake twenty years ago.

Thank you so much to Netgalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. My honest review: This book is amazing and gorgeous and you should get it.

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