I am an absolute sucker for baking books, and I have branched out in the last year to acquire a range of beautiful baking books, where the presentation is (I blame Hayley from Desperate Reader partly for this, for her post last year about Susannah Blake's Afternoon Tea Parties, an absolutely exquisite book, and posts about other books such as this lovely book by Fiona Cairns which I just had to own after reading about) as important as the content. I love the pictures, the ideas and the potential inspiration for having fun in the kitchen.
Baking as you all know is one of my passions - I love to make yummy edibles for my fiance, but baking has proved somewhat frustrating in 2010 as due to being on a diet that excludes both dairy and gluten. So, I have decided to embark on a cake/cookie decorating project so I can get pleasure from what the things look like as much as the taste (plus I can make dairy free icing and marzipan!). Ultimately I hope to go to a day school or evening class, as I'd love to learn how to ice a celebration cake (wouldn't it be amazing to do my own wedding cake?) but time and money has put this on hold for now.
Instead, I've been having some fun at home. I've acquired a few books to inspire me of late. Bake me I'm yours is full of beautifully decorated cookies, but far too hard for me to imitate. The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook came from the library, as still very expensive, and annoyed me slightly, but provided the recipe for making some wonderful cupcakes (see below). Cupcakes (Susannah Blake), Cakes and bakes from my mother's kitchen (Linda Collister) , Bake and decorate (Fiona Cairns) are all lovely lovely books to browse through and drool over. I've also got a couple of sugarcraft/cake decorating magazines and a goodhousekeeping book. In the end I didn't really follow any of them, but they got me in the mood for having a play around.
Here are some recent creations:
Hummingbird bakery cupcakes - very disappointed by these actually, as neither the icing nor the cake were a patch on my traditional recipes.
Sugar biscuits decorated with water icing and sprinkles.
Sugar biscuits decorated with sugar paste - I enjoyed using mini plunger cutters to cut out the mini hearts, flowers and stars.
I've got a lot of bookmarks in the Fiona Cairns book, and I am sure that I will be posting some results of my experiments with it in due course!