Cressida Bell’s Cake Design blows my mind!
We’ve seen a lot of cake baking books in the last few years – far too many about cupcakes if you ask me – but nothing like this. Textile designer Cressida Bell’s new book Cressida Bell’s Cake Designs is magnificent.
Cressida Bell is a renowned textile designer and certainly has an eye for patterns. Her cake designs have a lot in common with her beautiful scarves, wallpapers and rugs – they are inspired by grand themes, like Russian crowns, and Turkish tiles, and all look fantastic from above. This book is all about decorating cakes – there’s a basic cake recipe but not much more – and is aimed at professional cake decorators and the very adept. With sections on children’s birthdays, adult birthdays, christenings and more, there are 50 designs to inspire you and plenty of advice along the way. Cressida gives ‘recipes’ for the decorations, noting what type of sweets, dragees and silver balls you might need and how to stick them on.
I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind for the last few weeks. I just keep thinking of patterns, dreaming about when I might have the time to spend hours decorating a cake like it’s a work of art or a dress that needs pearls or sequins individually, faultlessly stitched on it. This book makes every other book on cake decorating look twee, overblown and drab. (As an aside, the images featured here are good, but there are even better ones in the book itself!)
With my little one’s birthday coming up, I’m inspired to try a complex and beautiful design out (and will be leaving the likes of Peppa Pig and Fireman Sam behind in my quest to do it). I’ll post pictures when I’ve done it so you can see if I’ve managed to create a cake with Cressida-like flair. I would say that the designs in this book are fabulous and beautiful, making cakes look like a work of art, but they are complicated, expensive to make and very time intensive too. And if the book has a flaw, it’s that all the cake images are taken from above – the best angle to be sure – and I’d love to see a few shots from the side too, or of the cakes at an event.
Overall, this book is a complete breath of fresh air and really inspirational. How cool is it that the cover of the book is done as a cake too?! The publishers loved Cressida’s cake decorations so much that they set up Double Barrelled Books with the express purpose of creating this book. If you like the look of it too, it’s available here, costing £20.
All photos by Sonja Read