Sensational Buttercream Decorating by Carey Madden: Review

I was provided a complimentary copy of the book, Sensational Buttercream Decorating by Carey Madden for my review, but I think I would have purchased this book anyway! As an avid cupcake and cake decorator, I am always interested in learning more and the detailed instructions in this book, with numerous photos to follow-along with the steps, anyone can learn decorating! With a book like this in your arsenal, you’ll be saving money from having to order fancy cakes for your parties!

sensational buttercream decorating

The book contains “50 projects for luscious cakes, mini-cakes & cupcakes” but while paging through it for things to try, I felt like it was a lot more. It’s 368 pages and lays flat on your counter while referencing it. Not only do you get the ‘how to’ for each project, in an easy-to-follow format, but you get a recipe. From start to finish, this book will get you from gathering the ingredients to presenting the cake at a party! With just a little patience and a few techniques, you can transform a basic cupcake or birthday cake into a work of art — and maybe even make some money doing it! Cake decorating is a very marketable skill. My clients range from birthday parties to work parties to weddings and I love how this book will help me with all of that.

sensational buttercream decoratingLook at the intricate flower-work — except it’s not nearly as hard as it looks! Carey explains how in a way that is do-able for all of us.

sensational buttercream decorating

To get started, you will need a few pieces of equipment. I have purchased most of mine online at Amazon or offline via Michael’s or Joann’s craft stores. Keep an eye out for 40% coupons and you can save money when you need to get the more expensive items, and there are frequent sales on the smaller items. (For a while there, I was purchasing one item per every visit, so at the rate of two visits a month, I was gathering my stock pretty quickly. Keep an eye out for online sales and it goes even faster!)

Buttercream is an amazingly delicious frosting that’s not overly sweet and lends itself to so many different projects, themes and flavors. With the addition of flavoring extracts, you can get far more creative than you’d ever think! (This coming weekend, I’m helping with a coconut-pineapple filled and infused cupcake and I made a chocolate-vanilla marble cupcake with coffee frosting a few weeks ago for a bridal shower.)

I have saved so much money throughout the years by baking our own cakes and cupcakes and I am so excited when I’m able to present a beautifully decorated dessert with the recipient and their theme totally in mind! It’s like a gift in itself and the fancier the buttercream decorating, the better, though it’s definitely something that gets better with practice.

Here are some pictures of the projects included. I don’t have a cake in the works right away, as I’ve focused mainly on cupcakes the last few years, but I am looking forward to the opportunity to put many of these techniques to use!  I am still working on one of the most relevant things for me, smoothing buttercream on a cupcake into a flat round top. So cute and mine still needs some work, but I did get some compliments on it and more than one person told me they were different from so many you see right now, with tall spires or stars…and I blushed a bit, as I frequently do those!

topping cupcakesLove the technique, just need to get better at it!

sensational buttercream decoratingIsn’t that pansy so pretty? I really want to try this one soon.

sensational buttercream decoratingAnd this! Isn’t it cool? Such a unique decoration, I can totally see people asking for something like this — I’m thinking shades of purple and black!

Pick up a copy of the book and page through with a cup of tea. Carey’s ideas will hook you. She’s had her work featured in a number of NYC bakery guides, Vogue and Mademoiselle magazines, on TV shows like the Chew, Good Day New York and the Real Housewives of New York City. She’s had quite the career in baking and you’ll love the chance to learn more about it like I did. I know I won’t ever get to culinary school and who knows how far my cupcake catering will go, but I love reading about how others got into the business and where they’ve taken their hobby-turned-business. So inspirational!

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3 Comments

    1. I wish I had the time to practice all the techniques she shares here. There are so many beautiful things I want to learn and offer clients! 🙂 Thank you!

  1. I am trying to decide which book to buy this one or 100 buttercream flowers. Does this one have the directions on how to do buttercream flowers or is mostly just showing you buttercream techniques & cake projects?

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