The cakes you see on my site are original designs gleaned from an invitation, a piece of lace, a baby blanket, a fashion blog, a movie, even a chair. But like most of us starting out, I bought a few books and several DVD's to see if I could copy what I saw, develop the necessary skill sets and bring any talent I might have to the surface. Then I would know if the passion and the inspiration and the joy that I felt about cake design and decorating was worthy of a business.
I purchased 3 books immediately. Debbie Brown's 50 Easy Party Cakes and then copied her kitty cake on a ball of yarn exactly. I love that little cake. And I love all of her books! Little kitty was inspirational, adorable and I couldn't believe I did it!
Then I tried my hand at the butterfly cake found in Lindy Smith's Celebrate with a Cake. I was freer this time and put a few original touches to it, but could not have done it without Lindy Smith, I promise you.
My third book was by Chef Toba Garrett The well-Decorated Cake, hence the mouse bride & groom cake. This is an amazing book that every aspiring cake artist should have in his or her library.
Her ability to teach Austrailian string work exquisitely, through words, speaks volumes about Chef Garrett.
The little girl baking brownies was inspired by the wonderful sugar artist, Rebecca Sutterby and her website, Sugar Creations. You can find her work on Facebook and Flickr or you can Google her where a plethora of information will appear.
Ideas were beginning to formulate but I needed to learn how to translate those ideas from mind to paper to cake.
And now, for the woman whom I've never met, but feel as though I've known for years, Sharon Zambito. I can fondant a cake because of her and her DVD's. I can level a cake, fill a cake, crumb coat a cake, dowel and stack a cake, buttercream and decorate a cake because of this beautiful little gal from Louisiana. Her site is called . I have all her DVD's and tools and cutters and two clay guns!
I thank all these ladies for taking the time to teach, write books, produce DVD's and bring their enormous talents to the public so the rest of us could prosper.
I now have more than 90 books in my collection and have learned something wonderful from each and every one of them. I have every book written by Toba Garrett, Lindy Smith, Debbie Brown, Zoe Clark, Eliza Strauss, Mich Turner, Peggy Porschen and Colette Peters.
I have the gorgeous book, Cake Walk, by Margaret Braun, which I take with me on trips because it's an autobiography as well, and so beautifully written that I can transport myself into her stories and feel as though I'm walking along side her. It's a very special book and one that I tried to purchase for more than 2 years! It's out of print and hard to find. I finally got word from Amazon that a used book was available. I paid well over $100.00 for it; worth every penny and then some.
I have books by Alan Dunn, Squires Kitchen, The Whimsical Bakehouse, Paddi Clark, Jan Clement-May, Frances McNaughton and Carlos Lischetti, Linda Pawsey, Nichlas Lodge, Fiona Cairns and Sylvia Weinstock.
Don't get me started on Cookies, Cupcakes and Cake Pops. I will say that Julia Usher's Ultimate Cookies and Cookie Swap are incredible books. And I'm looking forward to owning the cookie decorating book (not yet published) by Amber Spiegel. She owns SweetAmbs and is the greatest cookie designer on earth!
I also have party planning books. My all time favorite event planning book is by Tori Spelling called CelebraTori. This is one of the books that I buy in abundance to give to friends.
I love all my books. I don't buy jewelry, furs, outrageously expensive clothes (except for Theory) or cars, but you can't keep me off Amazon.com. Once a month I look for new books, and many are pre-ordered before their release dates. The wait is excruciating.
My books currently sit on two benches in my bedroom. One bench sits under a sideboard and the other is an English antique church bench from the 1700's that sits at the foot of my bed. Whenever I have time, I pull these books into bed with me at night, and sometimes in the morning before I've read the news or email. I want them at my finger tips always. Even if I some day open a shop, I don't believe I will move a single book from my bedroom. Some day, when I'm not up to my eyebrows in work, I'll photograph my little library of books and post it. They're works of art!