Kitchen & Dining

15 Best Cake Decorating Books

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Decorating cakes is an artform that can be learned. If you love the kitchen and love baking sweets then it’s both a fun and delicious process.

All of these books focus on the different styles of cake decorating from cupcakes to huge multi-layered desserts for the whole family.

It does help if you already have baking experience because very few of these books are for complete newbies. Granted I don’t think baking is really that difficult, but you should at least have a love for baking and creating beauty in your food!

The Complete Photo Guide to Cake Decorating

If you’re looking for an all-around guide for learning dessert decoration then The Complete Photo Guide to Cake Decorating is an excellent place to start.

This book covers all the typical coatings like frosting, fondant, icing, and even hand-modeled cake figurines. You’ll learn all of this from scratch following photos that take you through a step-by-step process. It can’t get much easier than that!

With over 100 cake designs and 600+ high-quality photos you’re guaranteed to get some value from this book.

Each chapter covers a different technique with the early parts explaining which materials you’ll need to get started. I absolutely recommend this book for yourself or any baking fanatics in your family.

It covers such a diverse range of techniques that you can bring yourself from a novice baker to the cake king or queen of the neighborhood.


Simply Beautiful Homemade Cakes

This cover photo is mouthwatering and the detailed recipes inside are to die for.

Simply Beautiful Homemade Cakes by Lindsay Conchar spans 250 pages with dozens of quality cake decorating tutorials. You’ll learn everything about frosting and decorating with fruits, chocolates, spices, and seasonal recipes like an eggnog spice cake for the holiday season.

Lindsay runs her own blog called Life Love and Sugar where she shares home tips and baking techniques. This book goes deeper than any blog post with so many photos and extra tips that Lindsay’s picked up in her years of baking sweets.

One nice thing about this book is that you can be fairly inept in the kitchen before starting. Lindsay teaches you how to measure out ingredients and how to whip up cream so you can follow along regardless of your culinary abilities.


First Cake Decorating

First Cake Decorating: Simple Cake Designs for Beginners is perhaps the de-facto intro book for cake decorating. You’ll learn everything from the basics of mixing to the complicated process of layering and perfecting your frosting.

It’s a super cheap book and with 120+ pages you’ll find plenty of recipes. If you’re on a budget this cake decorating book is the best investment you can make.

Later chapters do get pretty complex where you’ll learn to make custom shapes like animals and houses. These recipes are much more advanced so they can feel intimidating.

But the writing style is easy to read and you can push through without a hitch if you have the drive and really want to learn.


Baking With The Cake Boss

The infamous cake boss Buddy Valastro released his own book called Baking With The Cake Boss. It offers a peek into his wild baking lifestyle covering over a hundred custom recipes and decorating secrets.

Early chapters talk about the kitchen environment and the equipment you’ll need to create beautiful cakes. This book is not for your typical everyday dessert. Buddy’s years of experience shine through in these wacky recipes and you’ll learn why he’s known as the “cake boss”.

But this is not just a cake book. It’s really a baking book with recipes & decorations for cookies, pies, and other pastries.

So if you just want to make your own cakes then this book may be overkill. He does have a sizeable chapter on cupcakes & larger cakes but it’s certainly not the focus.


The Contemporary Cake Decorating Bible

For a detailed look at cake baking you can grab a copy of The Contemporary Cake Decorating Bible by Lindy Smith.

She runs her own sweets business called Lindy’s Cakes and I think her work speaks for itself. You can find dozens of examples on her website and those are just some of the techniques you’ll learn in this book.

Over the course of 160 pages Lindy spills the beans sharing eighty top-notch recipes you can follow at home. Each recipe has its own step-by-step approach which makes this a fantastic book for experts and novices alike.

Every new recipe also introduces new techniques you can use for creating special patterns, designs, typography, and for brainstorming your own custom designs.

The more you practice the better you’ll get, but having this book on your countertop while you bake will help you learn at 10x the speed.


The Contemporary Buttercream Bible

Bakers who work with buttercream icing will melt after reading The Contemporary Buttercream Bible.

It is a massive guide to customizing your cake designs with buttercream icing on every inch. And this book covers 50 different recipes from scratch you can follow to learn & master the buttercream way of life.

Early chapters start with simple recipes that anyone can follow. You’ll learn how buttercream icing spreads and how to work it into a recipe without ruining the dessert.

From there you’ll get into more complicated details of cake design with excessive recipes and techniques used by industry experts.

I understand that buttercream is not for everyone. But if you are a fan then this cookbook will be right up your alley.


Hello, Cupcake!

Cupcakes offer a much more intimate design style where everyone can have their own and you can try many decorating ideas in one batch.

Hello, Cupcake! is the #1 best cupcake baking book on custom decorations. It’s a lengthy read with 240 pages and dozens of recipes, but each one is so unique that you’ll find yourself glued to every page.

From candies to oreos and April Fool’s designs you’ll be amazed how much variety is squeezed into this book. It is by far one of the most interesting ways to bake and it offers so much variety for cupcakes in wacky shapes(the “pup cakes” on the cover are to die for!)

This book will amaze and inspire your entire family and keep them coming for more.

If you love baking and want to dive into custom cupcakes then this is the only resource you’ll need.


1,000 Ideas for Decorating Cupcakes, Cookies & Cakes

To go a little broader in confectionary sweets take a look at this 320-page cookbook 1,000 Ideas for Decorating Cupcakes, Cookies & Cakes.

Author Sandra Salamony has many interests from home decorating to custom designing and baking. However I should note this is not a how-to book, but rather an inspirational book.

Each chapter looks into different types of desserts covering many styles and decorating patterns. The book is full of glossy photos and they look even better in print, making this a brilliant coffee table book or a gift for the honorary baker in your family.

If you’re hoping to learn how to bake these sweets then this book will be disappointing.

Anyone with some experience in the kitchen can probably reverse engineer these photos and recreate them from scratch. But at its core this book is just a picture book full of inspiration and delectable treats.


Wilton Decorating Cakes Book

The Wilton School is a renowned cake decorating school with classes that can teach anyone how to create gorgeous cakes from scratch.

Recently their team published a book called the Wilton Decorating Cakes Book and it’s phenomenal. The book covers 30 distinct cakes and teaches well over 100 professional techniques along the way.

Each chapter is full of photos with more than 400 in total. They’re all high-quality photos that can help you follow the recipes each step of the way.

Plus you’ll also get Wilton exclusives like charts, resources, and utensil recommendations that the pros use every day.

This is no simple book to just pick up willy-nilly. It’s a book written by professionals with a huge depth of knowledge. It may be tough to work through all the recipes but you’ll learn a lot about cake decorating in the process.


Professional Cake Decorating

This massive 400+ page compendium can help you design amazing cakes for your family and your neighborhood.

Professional Cake Decorating starts from the beginning teaching how aspiring cake decorators and pastry chefs learn the trade. Baking a cake is a whole separate skill from decorating a cake.

In the early chapters you’ll learn the basics of cake decorating and the tools you’ll need. The authors moves in a progression through piping, decorations, patterns, and writing messages with icing.

Later chapters get into more specific recipes and detailed cake designs with many versatile patterns. Despite the title claiming to be a “pro” cookbook I really think beginners can learn a lot from these recipes.

It’ll require a few tries to get your cakes to look as good as the pros. But these recipes are sweet and the directions should be easy to follow regardless of your background.


The Complete Book of Icing, Frosting & Fondant Skills

The Complete Book of Icing, Frosting & Fondant Skills really lives up to its name with 288 pages of advice and recipes.

So many people take the easy way baking with pre-made cakes and the classic frosting in a can. But this guide pushes you to take that extra step by creating your own frosting, marzipan, fondant, and similar toppings.

This book shares over 50 different projects to follow that’ll help you master the art of cake topping. From layer cakes to smaller cupcakes and everything in between, this book has a little bit for everyone and a lot of variety.

With 400+ high-quality color photos you’ll also have an easy time following these step-by-step guides to completion. I can’t say that you’ll enjoy all of these recipes because there are so many different ingredients and varieties to follow.

But this book is a godsend to master the art of decorating cakes with a full arsenal of icing & frosting at your disposal.


Absolute Best Mug Cakes Cookbook: 100 Family-Friendly Microwave Cakes

If you’ve never tried a mug cake then you may be surprised to learn this is actually a thing. They taste delicious and these recipes borrow ideas from traditional baking.

Absolute Best Mug Cakes Cookbook: 100 Family-Friendly Microwave Cakes is a wildly fun cookbook that’ll push you outside your comfort zone. From Mexican chocolate cakes to cinnamon roll designs and everything else you can imagine, this book has it all.

In the very early chapters you’ll learn the basics of mug cakes and what sort of ingredients they use. Then you’ll work through tons of recipes starting with the classics for simple recipes while slowly learning new techniques along the way.

You’ll find recipes for fruit cakes, birthday cakes, and seasonal cakes, all of which squeeze into your traditional cocoa mugs. An excellent book and well worth following if you want to try cake decorating in a slightly different style.


Cake Decorating With Modeling Chocolate

Kristen Coniaris shares her secrets in this book after years of working as a professional pastry chef. Cake Decorating With Modeling Chocolate spans 176 pages and dozens of recipes that all rely on the flexible chocolate we all know & love.

You’ve probably eaten cakes with modeling chocolate before, but not many home chefs have used it. This material is super versatile and it really paints a broad picture of what you can do with chocolate on your own.

In this book Kristen shares her expert advice along with 40+ recipes and hundreds of HQ photographs. From wedding cakes to birthday cakes and even custom-sculpted cakes from scratch, this book has it all.

I absolutely recommend this title for anyone who wants to dig into the beauty of modeling chocolate. Kristen is the expert in this arena so her advice will prove incredibly useful.


The Art of Modeling Chocolate

One other noteworthy book on modeling chocolate is The Art of Modeling Chocolate by Nadia Flecha Guazo. Granted Nadia is a self-taught baker so she doesn’t have the pro pastry experience like Kristen Coniaris.

Yet this book is still surprisingly dense with lots of info for young bakers. Because Nadia comes from a hobbyist background her writing style feels relaxed and easy to consume.

Over dozens of custom recipes you’ll learn the true art of working with modeling chocolate. Each recipe has tons of illustrations that showcase step-by-step formulas that anyone can follow.

Birthday parties, wedding receptions, and even fun family dinners are all great reasons to break out the modeling chocolate. And with Nadia’s baking book you’ll have a lot of fun digging into some really crazy recipes with all the sweetness fresh off the cocoa tree.


Sensational Sculpted Cakes

This is perhaps the most technical book in the entire list. Sensational Sculpted Cakes by Rose Macefield teaches you how to bake cakes with custom sculpting.

Rose has years of experience working as an expert baker. Her knowledge shows just how much you can do with some cake mix and carving tools.

Early chapters cover all the materials and basic ingredients needed for these wacky cake designs.

As you delve deeper into the book you’ll learn sculpting and crafting cakes to perfection. Designs include a rock n’ roll guitar cake, a toy train set, and even household furniture designed in the most delectable fashion.

If you’re willing to go the extra mile then you’ll learn a lot from this book. It’ll take your cake designs to artisan levels and you can bet that photos of your homemade sweets will get a lot of likes on Instagram.

But even if you don’t want to design crazy sculpted cakes that is totally OK! This list is huge and if you take another look at these books you’re bound to find something you like.

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