Not just a cake – a wonderful surprise! 13

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Imagine cutting into a cake to reveal a checkerboard of pink and blue, or layers of beautifully toned pink. Or biting into a beautifully decorated cupcake to reveal a different coloured ball of cake. Or watch sweets tumble out as a cake is cut. Or a butterfly design embedded in a cake decorated with butterflies!

Surprise Cakes and CupcakesCandice Clayton shows how all this and more can be done in her beautifully illustrated book Surprise Cakes and Cupcakes.

This talented lady is an Australian who runs her own cake-decorating business ‘The Fairy Cake Mother’ in Sydney. This means all the specialty ingredients are available in Australia.

Specialties include the Dolly Varden tin, cake ball trays, gum paste, sugar glue, rose gel. Ms Clayton explains many ‘tricks’ such as chilling and freezing the cakes to be decorated, dealing with crumbly surfaces. She includes recipes for all the icings needed and the best cakes to work with. Mud cake, being a denser texture and easier to work with is recommended.

This is definitely a book for the specialist or those who wish to become one. Patience and deft fingers, I think, are also necessities.

My observation with children and cakes is that they suck off the icing and mash the cake into the nearest available surface. These are beautiful cakes for appreciative adults. That said, there are name and letter cakes suitable for both children and adults, so that when a slice is cut there is a ‘5’ or a short name like ‘Ben’ in each slice.

There are instructions for adult jelly shot cupcakes. Definitely not for the fifth birthday!

There are more sophisticated versions of an old favourite, the marble swirl cake.

This is Candice Clayton’s first book. It is a real treasure and inspiration for cake decorators, so I’m sure this will not be her last. Sincere thanks to New Holland Publishers for my ARC.

Surprise Cakes and Cupcakes, by Candice Clayton, is available for purchase a Dymocks


Vivienne Beddoe

  1. Its amazing! There seems to be a trend of going over-the-top or perhaps the extra mile when it comes to food. I have decided to go back to basics and enjoy simple food prepared in the easiest way. Mainly because of something I never believed would happen….I have lost interest in food and cooking!
    I eat for nourishment and occasionally pleasure.

    1 REPLY
    • A new trend in cakes is the naked cake – that is a layer cake with no icing on the sides, just between the layers and on the top, with fresh flowers or fruit. They are lovely and many people are having them for wedding cakes now. Google naked cakes and have a look.

  2. Terrific! Just the gift book for my clever young grand daughter who loves to make these gorgeous things!

    1 REPLY
    • We will expect samples Catharine – or even photos would be great.

  3. I’m sure the colours are great but the flavour doesn’t change and it’s full of sugar. No thanks.

    1 REPLY
    • Actually the flavours can be all different Fred – I made a 6 layer rainbow cake recently for an engagement, each layer was a different colour and flavour – but of course if you want to bah humbug everything, that’s your problem.

      1 REPLY
      • If you have a photo Elaine, we would all love to see it, such a good idea and such a provocative name, The Naked Cake.

  4. The cover looks wonderful – aren’t people talented? it would never dawn on me to layer a cake in this way. You certainly review a wide range of books Vivienne, thanks you.

    1 REPLY
    • Interesting subject for a review Vivenne.

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