Friday 11 May 2012

The Busy Girl's Guide to Cake Decorating by Ruth Clemens

I love the Great British Bake Off. I mean, I'm actually obsessed. It fascinates me for two reasons:

  1. There is cake. Lots of cake. 
  2. They are normal people like me. People who make cakes in their spare time. Then boooom! There they are, writing their own book! Hats off folks...

I am in total awe of these normal folk who have the guts to go on national TV and try things they've never made before. Ruth was my favourite from 2010. I was team Ruth all the way! Then I heard on Twitter that she was bringing out a book. I literally couldn't wait to get my paws on it. And here it is. In all its pink, flowery and decorated glory.

What's really impressive about what Ruth has achieved, is that she is completely self taught. She has an eye for what will look pretty, and none of the cakes in her book look overworked or typically 'cake course'.

The styling of this book is superb. Made to look like your school exercise book, it is full of useful tips and step by step guides. It presumes nothing, so you never find yourself wondering 'but how the hell...?' It is clearly split into a logical order which guides you through the basics and builds to absolute masterpieces! 

  1. Get Ready
  2. Get Baking
  3. Get Decorating
  4. Now Get Busy!
  5. Evening Whip-Ups
  6. Half-Day Delights
  7. Weekend Wonders

Yes. That's Sindy. And her pal, Sindy.
Again, this is the type of book I like because it has variety. Ruth gives a range of basic recipes to use as a base, including:

  • Madeira cake
  • Chocolate cake
  • Fruit cake
  • Vanilla cupcakes
  • Chocolate cupcakes
  • Lemon cupcakes
  • Blackberry cupcakes
  • Vanilla sugar cookies
  • Buttercream (vanilla and chocolate)
  • Royal icing

What's really clever is that she gives a table next to each recipe which indicates volumes of mix required for specific sized tins, or a given number of people. It also adjusts the cooking time. Genius. 

Some of the projects like the Strawberry Fields cookies are really simple, and even an absolute beginner could produce something wonderful. Others, like Ruth's signature Pink Whisk cake are designed to be a bit more of a challenge. What's nice is that she's realistic with timescales. She talks through how to make the most of your time, and how to effectively plan a project.

I'm saving this one for when I have a really special occasion. Watch this space!

See also:

The Busy Girl's Guide to Cake Decorating by Ruth ClemensPublisher: David & Charles, April 2012
Hardback, £14.99

Buy the book at
Disclaimer: I reviewed this book because I am a fan of Ruth. I watched her on the Great British Bake Off, and I read her blog at The Pink Whisk. I was excited as a bugger when this came out. I received no payment from the publisher.
Read more about the author at David & Charles.

Reader offer alert!
Readers can order The Busy Girl’s Guide to Cake Decorating  for the special price of £11.24 (rrp £14.99 with free p&p (UK only).
To order please visit
Guide_Cake and quote promo code R11674 upon checkout or call RUCraft on 0844 8805851


  1. Excellent review! It's already on my wishlist. I've got some awards for you on my blog. Details here

    1. It's a belting book! And thank you very much indeed!!!


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