For Those Of You Who Have Done A Debbie Brown Cake...

Decorating By Bellatheball Updated 10 Jun 2008 , 12:51am by andromedaslove

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Bellatheball Posted 31 May 2008 , 3:28am
post #1 of 16

How did you find her books? I bought two online after hearing rave reviews. While her ideas are great it seems like there are huge gaps in the instructions/photos. I'm a visual learner and while some of the photos are worth 1000 words, at other times she doesn't even show the work she's done. Did anyone else struggle with this?

15 replies
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Texas_Rose Posted 31 May 2008 , 3:48am
post #2 of 16

I bought Enchanted Cakes recently and from the instructions, I can understand how to make all of them. I haven't tried any yet, but it all makes sense to me. They're not very basic, though...I had checked one out from the library before I ever started working with fondant and it seemed just about impossible. I checked it out again recently and it all seemed possible to me now.

The one thing that gets me is that she doesn't seem to be using any supports in the cakes. I know when I try them I will go ahead and use dowels and plates wherever I think is necessary.

Which books did you get? I really love her cakes.

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just_desserts Posted 31 May 2008 , 5:36am
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I just recently bought two of her books, Enchanted & 50 Easy Party Cakes. I also noticed that she doesn't use any support. I haven't tried any of hers yet but when I do I will add support.

I think she figures anyone doing her cakes is a more advanced cake artist & that's why the directions & pictures are not real easy to understand. JMHO

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imartsy Posted 31 May 2008 , 5:59am
post #4 of 16

Usually the cakes are so small, and the "tiers" or pieces are so small, you don't really need supports. I prefer the buttercream dream icing vs. her all butter icing though.... the cakes are beautiful and amazing - but yes, I could use explicit step by step instructions - even if some of them were in black and white.... sometimes I just don't get how she did something....

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andromedaslove Posted 31 May 2008 , 12:37pm
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I haven't actually done one yet, but I have two scheduled for this week. I only have one of her books, the "hot cakes" naughty version. When reading it I didn't really have any questions about how to do anything. That might change come Friday and Saturday though!! I'll let you know then!!


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miss_sweetstory Posted 31 May 2008 , 12:50pm
post #6 of 16

I have done two of her cakes and am currently working on a Wallace and Gromit from one of her books. I generally feel that her instructions are good; however, I would always like more pictures!

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LisaR64 Posted 31 May 2008 , 1:08pm
post #7 of 16

I agree. I'm a fairly new decorator and found Enchanted Cakes to have a lot of gaps in the instructions. I found it difficult to just look at something and know how it was made. I'm constantly showing things to my husband and asking him how to re-create it. Unlike me, he's really good at that kind of thing!

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pechee Posted 31 May 2008 , 2:00pm
post #8 of 16

I agree with the fact that her cake are SMALL. I mean SMALL. I have two of her books and I have read them several times, so they make sense, but since I have not tried to MAKE one, I dont know if I would get stuck on something or not.

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feverfixer Posted 31 May 2008 , 4:24pm
post #9 of 16

I ave several of her books and just use them for inspiration. The instructions assume you are already confident in most of the techniques. I also agree most of her cakes are small, but if you look at the cake she uses, it is more of a pound cake, so supports are not so important as the cake is exptremely dense.
If you try and do a piece exactly as she does it would take you weeks. She states in her instructions that her pieces are very detailed, so you can pick the features you want for your design and not necessarily make it exactly the same. I think the light cakes we tend to use in the States would just not hold up well for the time it would take to make it soooo detailed.
Having said that, I love her books and have used her ideas in lots of cakes, such as the Knight cake, the Sleeping Beauty and I also made a great fancy Boob cake for a bachelor party! Love her designs!

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NrsL22 Posted 31 May 2008 , 8:44pm
post #10 of 16

I have several of her books and just love them! I use them more for inspiration, due to the fact that some of the tech are still a little difficult for me. I have found the books on Half . com and ebay.

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superstar Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 10:53pm
post #11 of 16

I have a few of her books & love then, I have made some of them, but I dont make them as a cake, I make them as toppers, I prefer to do toppers on any cake I make, I find her instructions easy to follow, better than Lindy Smith.

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judcreations Posted 9 Jun 2008 , 6:55am
post #12 of 16

I have a couple of her books, & yes I do think, that there are gaps in the instructions. I think a more detailed step by step instructions would be more helpful.

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MikeRowesHunny Posted 9 Jun 2008 , 7:16am
post #13 of 16

OK, standing up for Debbie Brown a bit. She's British, and we are used to working with fondant - it is the no.1 thing we cover cakes with and so, I think she sometimes expects everyone else to be the same!

She also uses Madeira cake or similar for a lot of her cakes and this is so firm in texture, it really doesn't need dowelling. She does put dowels in her tiered cakes though.

Yes, her cakes can be on the small side to some, but in the UK a piece of cake is miniscule compared to what is a 'serving' in the US! A wedding serving in the UK is usually only 1in square, a party serving is an American wedding serving size, plus our cakes are usually only about 3in tall! It's a cultural difference, I don't think she's trying to make her instructions hard, but I do agree that you really need to have decorating experience and fondant skills before attempting ANY of her cakes - many are hard for those of us who use these things all the time lol!

As for her buttercream, again, that's a cultural thing. I only ever use all butter buttercream, as would any self-respecting Brit - we wouldn't touch that Crisco stuff with a 10ft barge pole! icon_rolleyes.gif icon_lol.gif icon_wink.gif

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shisharka Posted 9 Jun 2008 , 7:47am
post #14 of 16
Originally Posted by bonjovibabe

As for her buttercream, again, that's a cultural thing. I only ever use all butter buttercream, as would any self-respecting Brit - we wouldn't touch that Crisco stuff with a 10ft barge pole! icon_rolleyes.gif icon_lol.gif icon_wink.gif

That made me literally burst out laughing and nodding in agreement. During my almost 10 years in the U.S., I have learned to NEVER put anything in my shopping cart without double-checking the ingredients â way too much preservatives, additives, ahm⦠hydrogenated fats, and who knows what FDA approved unpronounceable junk⦠Wouldnât touch Crisco with a 10ft poll myself either icon_biggrin.gif â¦

With that said, I have Debbie Brownâs Magical Cakes, and I while I havenât copied any of them (not a fan of copying) I find the instructions and pictures very clear. I think her books â for that matter ANY cake decorating book â is more for inspiration rather than duplication 1:1 with 100% full, exact and explicit directions⦠Her cakes are also very tiny and dense, thus easy to handle, and no supports are needed when stacking such pieces.

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titch Posted 9 Jun 2008 , 8:08am
post #15 of 16

I did a one day course with Debbie (the cake is the boot cake in my photos) and she is great whilst I do agree that her books do need more photo instructions, she did tell us that it wasnt her fault and it was actually the book people, I have 3 of her books and two of them I'm ok with doing, but her first book Im still trying to get my head around figuring out instructions from reading them rather than seeing it all in photo's.

I love her work and yes, I too am a brit and I only work with buttercream and fondant, I will say though that if I have to do the boot again I would definatley put a dowling through the middle as whilst I was driving home it fell and crashed, so I had to fix it before I took it to the daycare, where it then fed at least 50 kids and adults.


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andromedaslove Posted 10 Jun 2008 , 12:51am
post #16 of 16

Well... I finished my two Debbie Brown cakes this weekend, and I was really impressed with how well they came out. I did the Corsette cake, and the Bottom's Up cake! The bottom's up cake is in the naughty section, just seemed to risque for the clothing area!! They are both in my photos.


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