For those of you who don't know who Mich Turner is, now would be a good time to get aquainted. Why? Because she has a new book out which I'll be giving away to one lucky person!
She's also the founder of the Little Venice Cake Company in London, and the cakes made there have appeared on tables for Madonna, David Beckam, Paul McCartney and even her Majesty the Queen.
With clientele like that you can be assured that her cakes are like beautiful works of art that one would probably want to have on display for as long as possible before eating.
I was thrilled to receive her new book from the publisher, Mich Turner's Cake Masterclass: The Ultimate Guide to Cake Decorating Perfection, and the moment it arrived I was thumbing through going "oooh!!!" & "aaaah!!!". Page after page the eye-candy that leaped from the book was so inspiring I almost wanted to make an extravagant five tier cake that night. Then I remembered that the hubby and I probably wouldn't be able to eat all of it.
Besides the gorgeous photos taken by photographer Malou Burger of her amazing cakes, she gives detailed instructions on a few simple and not so simple techniques that you can use to make your baked creations look impressive to boot. Listing the equipment you'll need and carefully going through each step with clear photos helping the process.
It all starts with the essential equipment for cake making, cake filling, covering and decorating, then on to a few of the recipes. Queen Elizabeth Date Cake, Chocolate Truffle Torte, Mocha Coffee, Rich Fruit Celebration & Moist Carrot cake, to name a few. The recipes that can be upscaled for bigger baking tins have a table with all the ingredient quantities worked out for you, my kind of book!
I decided to give her Luscious Lemon & Cherry & Almond cake recipes a try, but in cupcake form (easier to share!).
Both recipes were brilliant. I'm the sort of person who always fiddles with a recipe, but I made an effort to bake these as written (albeit in cupcake form instead of cake). Trust me when I say that neither recipe needed any tweaking or fiddling, they are perfect just the way they are. The Luscious Lemon was light and fluffy and the lemon drizzle was just enough to make them moist (not soggy!) and with enough of a lemony tang.
The Almond & Cherry was fantastic too, I definitely want to make this in cake form and also try out her crunchy almond topping instead of using frosting. Chunks of cherry dotted the sponge which had such a great texture from the almond meal. Not too sweet but not too plain either.
Both recipes were a win and I can't wait to try some of the other recipes in the book.
On to recipes for fillings, frostings and coverings like ganache, fondant and modelling chocolate. I went for something simple to go with my cupcakes and chose the cream cheese frosting. This one's a little different from the one I make for carrot cake, instead of using cream cheese, it uses mascarpone. I'm a big fan of mascarpone so was curious to taste it in a frosting. Turns out, wow! It whipped up beautifully and was like a rich whipped cream on top of my cupcakes.
Then her book covers techniques likes covering cakes in fondant, how to stack tiered cakes, where to put supporting dowels and everything else you need to know to make a tower of a cake that won't fall over. It also shows how to cover individual cakes, so it's not all about the huge impressive cake.
After that the book moves on to the "Masterclass" chapter which shows a few decorating techniques, both simple and a little more challenging. Hand piping, pressure piping, hand moulding, cutters, ribbons and even hand painting.
I focused on the section for hand moulding gumpaste flowers. She shows step-by-step how to make simple flowers like roses, buttercups, daffodils and more. With Spring in the air and the daffodils blooming all around, I went with the sunny yellow flowers for my cupcakes.
The publisher also e-mailed me two links of Mich Turner in action, one of them showing how to make Mich's rich fruit cake, which you can see at the end of this post, and the other for the above mentioned gumpaste roses. So simple to make when you just know how!
After all of the "basics" are covered, the "Cake Gallery" follows on. This is where the serious eye-candy is. Page after page of stunning cakes. Cakes for weddings, cakes for Christmas, cakes for kids. Individual cakes both quirky or elegant. And with each cake Mich tells you exactly how to do it yourself. I felt a little like I was spying in on a secret method that I shouldn't be allowed to know. But there it is for you to see and do for yourself!
She finishes off the book with templates used for the cakes in the book so you can copy them instead of having to make your own. And finally, she even gives a list of useful addresses for various supplies (useful to those of us that can get things shipped from the UK, of which I've already used a few ;) )
So even if you don't ever intend to bake tiered cakes, the techniques that are shown in the book can be used in full or in part to give your baking that "wow!" factor. Like I said, it's not just a tutorial on making weddings cakes, there are cute things to do for kids, beautiful ideas for a Christmas cake, quirky things for a ladies afternoon or a birthday and so much more.
So really, in a nutshell, I Like Mich Turner's "Cake Masterclass" :)
As mentioned above, Mich Turner's video of making the perfect moist and rich fruit celebration cake.
Also, do have a look at the Little Venice Cake Company's website and browse through the cake galleries. Just don't do it hungry!