cover image CAKEWALK: Adventures in Sugar with Margaret Braun

CAKEWALK: Adventures in Sugar with Margaret Braun

Margaret Braun, Magaret Braun, . . Rizzoli, $50 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-2334-5

Margaret Braun is a sugar craft master, for whom a cake is a work of fine art. In this exquisitely photographed and beautifully presented book, she explains how to re-create 15 of her amazing, labor-intensive signature designs, like the three-tier Saint Ursula cake with blue and green icing and a sugar chalice resting on top. This is more than a simple instruction book, though: Braun explains the historic inspiration behind each cake. For example, she invented the Afternoon with Frederick after a visit to Sans Souci Palace in Potsdam, Germany, and a four-tiered cake covered in tiny tiles mimics a mosaic in Ravenna, Italy. Not all of Braun's designs are so highbrow, however. The loopy Decal Recall is decorated with flowers inspired by bathtub no-slip decals. In any case, these cakes are ambitious projects, and Braun goes over ingredients and basic recipes, as well as tools and techniques for creating motifs such as scallop shells and polka dots. Braun (whose work has been displayed on numerous TV shows and movies, including Meet Joe Black) is charming, conveying her love for her work in an introduction in which she compares a finished cake to a musical score. Still, only the most experienced cooks won't be daunted by the recipes. Beautifully photographed by Quentin Bacon. (Sept.)