i would not recommend the first one -- never tried the second so i reserve judgement on that
the first one lists pertinent info for the recipe in three places so it is difficult to maneuver with -- the icing recipes and flourless choco cake are good -- the cake recipes receive mixed reviews -- the pastry chefs i know panned them --
she has a few far out theories about baking that are either obvious or not necessary --
on the other hand -- a good book would be one by colette peters or toba garret -- the recipes in those would be great -- there's 'perfect cakes' by nick maglieri -- but honestly perusing cake central and looking up recipes online is a great way to go -- oh yeah and dorie greens[pan has a great one also
Hi - I have both of these. I think you get more "bang for your buck" for the Cake Bible. There's a ton of information in there on everything from cakes, filling, buttercreams, wedding cakes, decorations, etc. The back part of the book has base recipes for yellow, white and chocolate cakes that can be scaled up for all sizes. I've used those for all sizes of tiered and sheet cakes. She is pretty technical and does explain the science of baking but you don't have to understand all that to follow the recipes, she has very good instructions.
I personally love her cakes - they're dense because they follow the reverse method, not the creaming method. Alot of people think her cakes are dry but I think it's personal preference.
Hope that helps!
but even better would be 'crafty cakes' online formerly know as 'baking 911' -- it's a paid subscription but she is fabulous --
for free you can check out 'joy of baking' online -- has videos -- excellent