Friday, July 18, 2014

"Surprise-Inside Cakes" by Amanda Rettke

Have you noticed how cake baking has become an art form these days? If you check out the cooking magazines on any newsstand, you'll likely see at least a few new titles devoted to elaborate cakes and how to make them. Even home bakers can now learn to make gorgeous fondant cakes, cakes with those trendy "icing roses," cakes with elaborate swirls and squiggles on them, and more. I do love a pretty and delicious cake, and if you do too you will enjoy a new book I recently received for review, "Surprise-Inside Cakes" by Amanda Rettke.

Rettke explains how it was a move from bakery-rich Fargo, North Dakota to a small town in Minnesota (and having five children!) that caused her to learn to bake her own cookies and cakes. In 2009, she needed a cake to take to her church's potluck and created a "surprise-inside" Jack-o'-lantern Cake (included in the book) which was a big hit. Some 40 cakes are featured in the book, which has great step-by-step instructions on how to make these surprise-inside cakes. Wouldn't it be fun to surprise guests with this Christmas Tree Cake?

And what could be better to take to a Bible study than this Cross Cake? I may have to try this one! Rettke recommends "starting out simple" and says newbies shouldn't begin with the more elaborate creations like her Cowboy Boot Cake but instead start with one of the simple multi-colored layer cakes. For those who wish to try the more advanced designs, the book includes step-by-step instructions and plentiful photos of the cutting, carving and filling. I'm amazed at Rettke's creativity with such treats as the Butterfly Cake, Ring Cake (the interior features a giant "diamond" ring) and even a Rudolph Cake. If you'd like to see more of her treats, visit her blog I Am Baker to see her latest creations, including a tutorial on the pretty Rose Cake that's so popular in magazines these days. (It's on the book's cover as well, but I was so awed by the rainbow heart I at first failed to note the icing roses on the cake!) And if you do decide to make one of these cakes, save me a slice, OK?


  1. Those cakes are amazing! I would probably never make one but it surely is fun to read about them.

  2. What a fun book! I don't have the patience anymore for fancy cakes, but I sure do love them!

  3. Very creative cake baking and decorating. I enjoyed visiting her website.

  4. I've seen pictures of cakes like this and wondered how to make them. I'll see if my library has this book.

  5. What a hit a cake like that would be for company. The cross cake would be nice for bible study.

  6. I love surprises in cakes. I once did one with a heart inside for Valentines. It was so much fun to cut into the cake.

  7. How very charming! Caro's going to love this book.

    I, on the other hand, am so spatially and shape-ally challenged I'm hopeless. You know, on intelligence tests when they show you a spread-out shape and ask "which one of these will make THIS when it's folded?"---it's a wonder they let me in the door, let alone pass the test.

    I can take a piece of paper, fold it, and make a lot of things, like chains and snowflakes and cowboys, but this---that's a deep form of concentration and math that is sheer genius.

    I CAN still make the checkerboard Paminna Cheese sandwiches, though. Nice for tea.



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