"MARTHA STEWART'S WEDDING CAKES"
By Martha Stewart with Wendy Kromer (Potter, $60)
What it is: Can an oversized book starring over-the-top, multi-tiered, massive wedding cakes daunt the mighty Martha Stewart? OK, we know the answer to that. If anything, the cakes have met their match. This book, a celebration of every bride and groom's dreamy dessert, is a serious confection, filled with good advice, several recipes and able assistance from co-writer, wedding cake expert Wendy Kromer.
Praise (and quibbles): Let's get past the quibbles. First, it's 60 bucks. That's a hefty sum, though in American Brideland -- a fantasy world where cost (seemingly) is no object -- this is a bargain compared to, say, the $8,000 dress or the $2,500 invitations. (We are not kidding.) We also wouldn't advise a bride, however skilled, to make her own wedding cake, or expect a friend to -- at least not one from this book. It'll take a pro to create the masterpieces here, so fair warning.
That said, what a marvelous resource this is. Even if you aren't going to make the seven-tier "Devil's Food Finale Cake" to serve 380, you'll learn the ropes before you visit pastry shops. You'll also glean terrific ideas just by looking at the stunning, informative photos. We never thought of buying a vintage cake topper (available on eBay and the like) -- and what a great suggestion that is. What's more, these ideas will inspire the cakes you make for smaller celebratory occasions year-round. Charts and techniques for frosting, piping and decorating are thorough and well-written.
We made the white butter cake and fudge frosting from the book; the cake's crumb was slightly dry but quite sturdy -- ideal for the rigors of layering. The frosting was easy, and tasted divine.
Why we think you'll like it: After the wedding, this book will continue to earn its keep -- something that can't necessarily be said for that $8,000 dress.
Keywords: FOOD; BOOK; REVIEW