Inside every home cook is an artist waiting to show her stuff. We meticulously fold, roll, cut and cook biscuits, cakes and slices ... and now we can decorate like professionals.
Tracey Mann began decorating cakes when she was 12. She is self-taught and now runs her own company, Tracey's Cakes, in the UK.
Cake Decorating Skills, Mann's second book, will help you turn your baked treats into culinary masterpieces with step-by-step photography, clear instructions and simple, elegant designs to set you on your way.
Mann suggests before starting that you think about who you are baking for ... is it a child's birthday cake, mum and dad's 50th wedding anniversary or perhaps Valentine's Day.
From there you make a plan.
The what-you-need section to get you started is surprisingly cheap. You'll find most things on the list will already be in your cupboards. You can move on to fancy cutters, which are readily available, and here is where the fun begins.
I found cupcakes and biscuits a great starting place. A dozen cupcakes, a dozen playing fields, I could make something for everyone.
The chocolate cake with shooting stars is my favourite. This can be made as individual cupcakes.
The book does have a lot of instructions on making flowers, which are not really up my alley. But the book is inspiring and every biscuit for the school lunchbox, muffin for work or cake for the work shout will, from now on, be (I hope) a piece of art.
If you find baking fun, decorating is just, well, it's the icing on the cake.
Cake Decorating Skills
by Tracey Mann
New Holland, $29.99