Cakes in Bloom by Peggy Porschen This post has been a long time coming! I received this book ‘Cakes in Bloom Peggy Porschen‘ back in May when it was released and one thing and another (mainly a chance to take part in one of the Peggy Porschen flower master classes- which you can read about in the next post) it didn’t happen. It’s been on my to do list since then and it’s November! Where has the year gone?
About the book
So, this is a different kind of book to the others that Peggy has written. Yes, there are cake recipes – at the back (including Victoria sponge, rich dark chocolate cake and a luxury fruit cake) but it’s all about sugarpaste flowers. The flowers are so beautiful and shot so close up that when I showed my mum the book (I did get a bit over excited when I got my hands on it) she didn’t believe that the flowers weren’t real. They are the most realistic sugar flowers I have ever seen and I’ve seen these up close and in the flesh.
So what’s the best thing about this book? Or rather why is it a winner in my eyes? Well, apart from the stunning flower creations by Peggy – it has to be the photography. Georgia Glynn Smith you are a pro! The shots are sheer perfection for a complete sugar flower making beginner like myself. I’ve never really gone further in detail than with a simple rose or a rose bud and maybe a few blossoms cut out with a plunger cutter. These flowers look so complicated and like you need so much equipment but that isn’t the case. Now, I know that I have quite a lot of equipment and cutters are a big part of my collection but I found a ton of blooms I could make straight away without having to purchase anything else.
I’m going to be completely honest here. I’m not much of a flower on a cake sort of a person. But I was so intrigued by the book I had to have a go and just as the book landed I had a cake request with loads of flowers on. Funny how that happens isn’t it? The first bloom I attempted from the book was a Dahlia. It looked okay. I used sugar paste instead of flower paste. Flower paste is much sturdier and can be rolled out so it’s see through and thin like paper. It makes really delicate flowers. Sugar paste still makes a good flower but no where near as realistic. Sugar paste also takes an age to dry out.
My Dahlia took me absolutely aaaages to make. I hadn’t planned this into my cake design and I was up all night because I was enjoying making the flowers so much I wanted to make three to five of them. But I loved every minute of it. Had I read the instructions before I attempted to make them for a cake I would have realised that I needed to make some parts the day before so they had time to dry out. Oh well- I knew for the next time.
So, back to the book….Cakes in bloom by Peggy Porschen
Sugar flower basics
How to get started, the basic tool kit and specialist tools that are a bit new to me too. There’s also a whole section devoted to flower paste.
Okay- deep breath. The flowers covered are Spring blossom, purple Pansies, Frangipani, Carnation Pomanders, Roses and Lily of the valley, Snowballs, Dahlias, Daisy wreath, tumbling hydrangeas, roses and violets, Iceland poppies, White rose and petals, Ombre petals, Sweetpea posy, English garden roses, Climbing Cosmos, Peonies, Chrysanthemum trees, white Orchids, Blush Anemones, Vintage blooms, cherry blossom, Camellia Lace and Floral cascade!!!
Baking and icing basics
I really like the ‘planning ahead’ section on what you should do on each day. I need to adhere to this a bit more. There’s also details on baking tools, how to line a cake tin, the cake recipes including butter creams, how to layer cakes, covering cakes with marzipan and sugar paste. How to dowel a cake, ice a cake board, then there’s a whole section on royal icing.
These pages show you how much ingredients you need for different cake tin sizes, how much sugar paste, marzipan, ganache etc you need for different cakes.
Sugar flower glossary
Just in case you don’t know how to do a technique Peggy explains it in full in this section. Dusting anyone?
Where to buy Peggy’s tools and equipment
The book is really beautifully laid out. Loads of space and load of amazing pictures. The step by step shots for each arrangement are really, really thorough. I’ve been sent quite a few ‘how to make flower’ books for review here on CakesBakesAndCookies.com but none of them have been good enough to feature. I have to say that EVERY step is covered in this book. There’s no guess work. Anyone can make these flowers – just make sure you leave yourself enough time!
So armed with all of this information don’t you just want to have a play at flowers? I reckon this book will be a good Christmas present so if you have a list (well it is November after all) then I would pop this on it. You won’t be disapointed!
Oh and just in case you wanted to see my cake with my first attempt at Peggy Porschen flowers on it. Here it is. Not bad for a first attempt.
Cakes in Bloom: Exquisite Sugarcraft Flowers for All Occasions by Peggy Porschen, £25 published by Quadrille
Disclaimer: The product in this post was provided by Quadrille Publishing All thoughts and opinions and entirely my own.