Sylvia Weinstock: New York's cake diva shares her secrets
| INTERACTIVE RESOURCES|
| DECORATING TIPS|
- Don't make colors too strong
- Blend colors for sophisticated look
- Keep sugar dough wrapped to prevent drying
- Work with a small piece
- A corrugated cardboard box protects decorations
from moisture in refrigerator
'Sweet Celebrations: The Art of Decorating Beautiful Cakes'
By Sylvia Weinstock with Kate Manchester
(Simon & Schuster)
(CNN) -- Sylvia Weinstock won't say how much hunky actor Liam Neesom paid for his country-garden style wedding cake, covered with perfect sugar reproductions of the English roses his bonny bride loved -- but New York's cake diva does share recipes in her sumptuous book, "Sweet Celebrations."
After more than 20 years creating exquisite cakes for the likes of Donald Trump, Whitney Houston and the Saudi royal family, Weinstock has carefully pulled together cake recipes and decorating techniques for the home baker.
And just one Weinstock tip may be worth the book's cover price: She says skip the standard cake icing when decorating, and opt instead for sugar dough, also called sugar paste or gum paste. It can be bought through the mail, stored indefinitely, and shaped into flowers, ruffles, ribbons, fairy princesses and more.
"There are some very simple flowers you can make, four or five-petal flowers. (Then) learn how to pipe lily of the valley and a border, and then you can have a pretty cake just on that alone," Weinstock said.
The book provides instructions for a fairy tree cake, gift box cake, marzipan fruit cake, shaggy dog cake, a round basketball cake, and many more. Decorations begin with roses, calla lilies, irises and proceed to bows and intricate piping.
For inspiration, glossy pictures show many of Weinstock's exquisite creations including a cake version of the Duomo in Florence, Italy, and a Victorian-style shoe topped with sugary characters from a familiar nursery rhyme.
'Send me a picture ... of your own look'
Weinstock insists the home cook can make beautifully decorated and original cakes. "Don't send me a picture of how good you are at creating my cake, send me a picture of how good you are at creating your own look."
Her book doesn't contain much celebrity gossip, despite the famous clientele who patronize her 15-person shop in Manhattan. And on cost she says, "It's sort of tacky to talk about money."
But for Donald Trump's wedding cake, Weinstock told CNN, "He wanted it bigger, bigger, big. And he wanted it to be the most extravagant, because the space demanded it. It was held in the ballroom of the New York Plaza hotel which he owned at the time."
Her biggest order? Wedding cake to serve 3,000 flown non-stop from New York to Saudi Arabia. "Don't forget, the King owned the airline, so they took very good care of it."
Recipe count: 24 featured cakes, 19 basic decorating techniques
Art: Color photos of featured cakes, diagrams for decorations
Nutrition info: No
Extras: Sumptuous photos of Sylvia's masterpieces
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Simon and Schuster
Decorating Cakes With Frosting
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