Tish Boyle writes a wonderful book on cake making. She gives many recipes, which is to be expected. What she does different is that she spends time speaking about the nature of different cakes, ingredients, and techniques. This makes this book so much more than a just a recipe book about cakes.
The book starts with a general discussion of ingredients. She carefully tells you the differences in flours, fats, sugars and other sweeteners, leaveners, nuts and dried fruits, and other flavor additives. The book then goes onto baking equipment. I like that she points out what is essential, and then what you should have ideally. Her chart on cake pan sizes is wonderful. So many times I have often wonder the volume that an odd ball cake pan would hold.
Before we get into the recipes, she carefully describes pan preparation for different cakes. I like that she describes the differences in greasing a pan, or adding grease and flour. She gives tips that work on softening butter, separating eggs, creaming butter and sugar, and folding in more ingredients. Ms. Boyle then spends a great deal of time on decorating a cake. She will guide you through trimming and dividing cake layers, filling and frosting the cake. Piped decorations are also covered. She also covers a variety of other cake covering ideas such as marizpan, fondant, chocolate, and so much more.
Now, finally she starts with cake recipes. What I think she does to make her recipes unique are several different things. She rates the recipes by difficulty level. This gives you a good idea if this is something you can simply throw together, or if it is something that is going to take longer. She suggests other recipes to go with a particular cake, or a few changes you an make to customize the recipe. She lets you know if any special equipment is needed before the recipe is listed in the book. The recipes are written clearly, and the directions come in concise numerical steps for you to follow. She finishes each recipe with how to best store the cake, and how long it will stay fresh.
As you can see, a lot of thought has been placed into this book. I really feel Tish Boyle does an excellent job of educating you about cakes, their ingredients, techniques used in baking, and covers a variety of cakes. I would highly recommend adding this book to your collection.