I'm sure many of you in this country are familiar with Dede Wilson as she appears often on the Today Show, representing Bon Appétit Magazine for whom she is a regular columnist. She is also author of seven cookbooks including her just published "the Birthday Cake book, 75 Recipes for Candle-Worthy Creations," (Harvard Common Press). Dede is one of the liveliest and fun people I know and I am a great admirer of her work as well. The first time I met Dede she told me a hilarious story which perfectly describes the originality of her approach to baking. At the time "The Cake Bible" was published Dede had a bakery and decided to make the Chocolate Pinecone which involves tempering chocolate and spreading it into dozens of tiny oval shapes that then get stuck into the ganache coating the cake. After completing the cake she decided she would never make it again (who could blame her!) but would put it on display in her showcase. However... while she was out one of her salespeople who didn't know it wasn't for sale allowed a customer to buy it and also took an order from a second customer. That's when Dede, out of desperation, came up with the brilliant and original solution: She placed chocolate chips on a sheet pan and melted them in a very low oven. Then she took the pan and dropped it on the floor so that the chips skidded out into perfect ovals. I knew right away that the future held lots more surprises from Dede Wilson. And this new book certainly qualifies as one! Photo (c) 2008, by Melissa Punch The book is filled with luscious and creative ideas for birthday cakes, from apricot roses to Red Velvet Cake, German Chocolate Cake, and even a cake that can be sent in the mail. I especially love the one pictured here called Pretty-in-Pink Cake. What a brilliant idea to use raspberries and candle holders. And I love the velvety crumb of the cake and the opulent huge petals of frosting. I also like that the cake isn't leveled--the doming looks so natural and approachable--in fact the whole effect is friendly and delicious. Photo (c) 2008, by Melissa Punch If you're looking for great decorating design ideas for people of all ages and a great collection of well-conceived recipes this is IT!
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