When you slice open a tall layer cake, you usually only expect to see layers of cake and filling inside. The cakes in Surprise-Inside Cakes deliver a little something extra: a colorful, edible design that is hidden inside of the cake and isn’t revealed until you are ready to slice and serve. The inspiration for this style of cake came from the author’s desire to set her cakes apart from every other cake at the bake sale and it just took a little bit of thinking outside of the box – and inside of the cake – to make it happen.
This book is all about assembly, so all the recipes are all at the beginning of the book and the individual cakes refer back to these basic recipes with instructions for modifying them as needed as you tackle individual projects. This does mean that you’ll need to flip back and forth a bit, but this is a good format for this type of book and helps streamline the instructions a bit. The introduction of the book also covers basic cake-baking questions and cake-decorating techniques that you’ll need to use repeatedly. The projects are divided into easy, medium and challenging categories based on how much skill you’re going to need to pull off the finished design. The techniques are all well-explained, but it is best to start with the easier projects while you hone your cake-carving skills before tackling the most complex cakes. Surprisingly, you won’t need too many special tools to try these recipes, but you will want to have a generous supply of food coloring on hand to ensure that you get the look you want in your finished product.
The cakes are beautifully decorated, both inside and out, and there are plenty of illustrations that show how to assemble the cakes so that you get the surprise inside that you are looking for. That said, carving out the interior of these cakes is clearly a skill that takes a little while to develop, so it might take a little bit of practice to get your designs neat and clean on your own cakes. Fortunately, everything in the book is edible and you’ll have fun while you practice. In the end, the effort will be well-worth it to see the look on someone’s face when he or she cuts open one of your cakes to see a brightly colored design inside.