The Painted cake by Natasha Collins
If you’re anything like me you love a new cake book. There’s something very appealing about finding a new technique, tip, recipe or design to add to your repertoire and The Painted Cake by Natasha Collins (above)is bursting full of great ideas.
Natasha Collins was an illustrator and turned her talents from paint and paper to sugarpaste and cakes. She has a beautiful style or ‘hand’ as she puts it and transforms the plainest of cakes into something really unique. The owner of the ever popular Nevie-Pie Cakes she has written this book as if she’s talking to a friend who has no idea where to start ; and let’s face it not many of us would know where to start when painting a cake!
What’s in the book?
This book is just beautifully illustrated (as you would expect) and the equipment page is no different. Just look at this page!
You don’t actually need a whole load of new equipment to start painting cakes. In fact Natasha recommends only three sizes of brush to start with. She also uses water not alcohol to use for watering down her paints. I was surprised by this but when you think of the amount of cakes she must do it makes financial sense. Water allows the paint to be used in a slightly different way. Alcohol dries much faster- too fast for some painting techniques.
Design and painting techniques
I love these pages. They’re like an art lesson and they make the whole experience look like so much fun. Natasha shows how she plans her designs, marking out the initial flower and then how she layers up the colours. There are tips on mixing tones, how to add high lights and low lights and when to leave an area unpainted.
There are really good detailed guides on how to paint flowers so even the novice can get a beautiful cake first time round. The troubleshooting pages are also very informative you can even remove paint from a cake if you know how!
No cake decorating book is complete without a load of yummy recipes and as Natasha says “There’s no point in spending hours (or days) perfecting a design if it’s not worth eating”. The recipes included in the book are sponge cake, fruit cake, cookies and gingerbread cookies. I have to say that this is the only part of the book that is let down by the layout. The recipes are a bit scrunched up and whereas normally ingredients and their weights are listed clearly one under another here they are in one long paragraph – which I find a bit hard to read when baking. Still it wouldn’t put me off the book.
Preparing your canvas
This is all about layering up your cakes with buttercream and jam and covering them in sugarpaste. How to get smooth finishes and how to place sugar paste on cupcakes ready to paint.
There are five levels of difficulty to the cake and cookie designs in this book, but even the easiest one gives you scope to add your own twist on it. Each design is clearly shown in small achievable steps and this is what makes this book so good. Whether you’re an avid painter or haven’t touched a paintbrush since your school days you’ll be able to do any one of these projects by following the steps. The projects include painting actual cakes, painting pieces of sugarpaste to stick on top or on the side, there’s butterflies made to look colourful and like they’re flying, chick cupcakes, cookies for every occasion and so much more- thirty projects in total!
You’ve guessed it! There’s no guess work here to get- just copy these for ease of use.
Why this book’s a winner
Once I knew I was getting this book I couldn’t wait! I was really excited about it. So excited that when I had a cake to do I painted it. (I’ll share that with you soon) before the book was even delivered!. Painting again was really good fun and felt quicker to design than traditional decorating methods but I would do that cake differently now I’ve read this book. I’ve picked up so many better practices.
The preparation and painting techniques are so clear that I really want to make a cake with flowers on it now. Natasha’s roses are so beautiful and in a style all of her own – the way a Cath Kidston rose is recognisable. I feel I have learnt a lot from this book. It is truly inspirational.
If I had to choose a favorite project I would say that I love the woodland cake with it’s separate painted elements. Great for getting kids involved. The bunting cake is really cute and would be a quick and easy cake to make. I also really love the numbers painted onto sugarpaste ready to stand up as a cake topper. So clever!
The whole book is beautiful whether that’s in the illustrations, photography or the little details like forks full of yummy cake. There are loads of pieces of painted sugarpaste just creeping onto the page. Such a nice touch.
The Painted Cake by Natasha Collins, published by Murdoch books available on Amazon
So how about you? Do you fancy painting your next cake? Have you ever painted a cake? I’d love to see. Why not post your painted cakes over on the CakesBakesAndCookies Facebook page and share the painted love?
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Murdoch books. (Thanks you guys) All thoughts and opinions are my own and are honest and true.