Sometimes, cookbooks just don’t have enough pictures. Hello, Cupcake!: Irresistibly Playful Creations Anyone Can Make is one cookbook that does not have this problem. The book is all about creative and impressive ways to decorate cupcakes, from making werewolves from cookies and frosting to painting a sugary reproduction of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
The book is broken up into chapters by theme, so it’s easy to find a genre in which you want to work. The chapter topics include: April Fools (cupcakes that look like something else), Animals, Birthdays, Parties, Halloween/Thanksgiving and Holidays. In each, detailed instructions are given for putting together the main design and for creating variations on it. For instance, there are several breeds of dog mentioned in the puppy chapter that, while they have different shapes and fur styles, are all quite similar. Frosting is arguably the most important ingredient for completing these designs and there are several recipes included. The book also includes directions for several from-scratch cupcakes and a few variations for cake-mix cupcakes, as well.
The first two chapters cover just about everything you need to know about baking cupcakes and cupcake decorating. The author covers ingredients, baking techniques and – more importantly – decorating techniques. Here, some of the specific techniques for creating the finished cupcakes are covered in detail, like making “fur” with frosting and drawing details with melted chocolate. The finishing touches are usually done with candy and the author includes a list of sources in case some are difficult to track down.