Cake decorating, like sewing, has never been my forte. Perhaps I was standing behind the door when those skills were being handed out. Food stylist and cook, Lyndel Miller, has come to rescue of those who don't like working with fondant and don't have the patience to do all that painstakingly intricate decorative icing with a piping bag.
So, what is a naked cake? Understated and elegant, naked cakes are left bare to reveal their stunning layers, which are sumptuously sandwiched together with sweet creams and frostings. Their unadorned tops provide the ideal blank canvas for gorgeous embellishments - such as edible blooms and candied fruits- showcasing the cook's creative style. Hallelujah, I say!
In Naked Cakes, Ms Miller provides detailed practical information and inspiration. There's baking tips, advice on flavour and colour combinations, and step-by-step instructions for making decorations too. This beautifully-photographed book includes chapters on building on a cake, bases and blank canvases to inspire; as well as recipes for buttercreams, glazes, syrups and sweet finishes. There's also a chapter on handmade decorations and instructions on putting it all together.
These show-stopper cakes are achievable under the author's guidance and well written instructions. Among my favourites are a coconut and limoncello cake with honey buttercream and lemon curd; a stunning watermelon cake decorated with sweet coconut cream, figs and berries; a lemon and rosemary cake with vanilla buttercream; and a lychee cake with mascarpone buttercream.
There are also recipes for sweet finishes, such as salted caramel popcorn; candied walnuts; watermelon and rose jam (yum!); caramelised figs; and crystallised flowers.
A delicious addition to every cook's bookshelf and definitely one for the Christmas shopping list.
Naked Cakes by Lyndel Miller, $49.99, Murdoch Books. Thank you to Ms Miller and the publicity team at Murdoch Books for giving me the opportunity to review this title.
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