Wednesday, June 3, 2009

a review of Hello, Cupcake!

Hello, Cupcake!: Irresistibly Playful Creations Anyone Can Make by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson (Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 978-0618-82925-5)

If you would like to be the hero of the next children's birthday party, or your next seasonal family gathering, do I have a book for you! Yes, Hello, Cupcake -Irresistibly playful creations anyone can make, is that book. You show up with a plate full of these cupcakes, these fantastically decorated cupcakes in an amazing and fun filled variety of themes for very occasion, and without question, jaws will drop and your kids will have a new hero.

In my day, when my niece was a kid, I was quite the cake decorator if I do say so myself. No bragging, just a simple
But cake decorating can be a lot of work and rather nerve racking, to say the least. One good idea about these cupcakes is their smaller, more manageable size. And the fact that the authors break down each creation into clear and rather easy steps, spelling out exactly what materials you will need.

Surprisingly, the steps and the materials are not as complicated as you might think, looking at some of the final products. Not a problem. Feel free to use a box mix, although the authors will give you a few tips and adjustments to make the most of that box. Making frosting a hassle? Well, although they give several homemade recipes, all the projects seem to assume you will use canned frosting and some insist on it for certain properties it has that will work better for a particular use. All the tools you will need are clearly spelled out and I think most are things that you will have on hand. All the supplies they use are explained and again, most are readily available and they also give a list of online suppliers.

Where this book really excels is in the very, very clever use of variety of everyday, edible materials. Candies and cookies, with a little cutting here and there with a knife, become nose and wings and scales of an alligator. Mini doughnuts, fruit crew strips, caramels and jellybean and colored sugars all become recognizable, once they point them out. Once they break down each creation, it seems clear and pretty easy. Some simple...once they show us...and clever techniques to use that frosting.

You really have to look at the excellent photographs in the book to see some of their great ideas. And there are so many great ideas, page after page of them, that there is something for everyone, young and old. And it is impossible to pick a favorite...the corn on the cob cupcakes, with kernels of little jellybeans, all in neat rows and topped with a squished fruit chew candy pats of butter and black and white sugar salt and pepper...oh, I love that one. The panda bears..the sharks...the penguins, the bowling pins, the wedding cake of cupcakes...the elegant black and white ones, the Christmas wreath, cover in lovely mint leaves dipped in melted white chocolate....oh, the spaghetti and meatball cupcakes with Ferrero Rocher chocolate meatballs and grated white chocolate 'cheese' cute. Some are very simple, some a bit more complicated, but very one is really great! Did I mention clever? Yes, I think that I the photographs are excellent.

If you want to be the center of attention at the next party, this is a book you just have to pick up.
And you might also want to check out their website at to get an idea of what this book holds in store for you.

Available From Amazon


  1. I love to bake and try to create things like that, but no one around here eats them, so I just end up throwing them away.

  2. If only my cupcakes looked like those on the cover of this book. My are usually lopsided.

  3. I have this book, and it is absolutely precious. Surprisingly, the things you need to make these cupcakes are easy to find at your grocery store, and even non-decorator people like me can make them! This book was one of the top sellers at our last two Book Fairs!

  4. bermudaonion, you can always send then to me!

    patricia, really, a lot of these look pretty easy, and if they are a little crooked, no one will notice.

    sandy, yep, I love that went they break them down, it is a just simple techniques, with a lot of easily obtained stuff.

  5. How cute! And it sounds like I could acually make them.

  6. I'm all over this book!

    Decorating full-size cakes intimidates me, but I'm sure I could handle cupcakes.

  7. Oh my goodness! My son (2 1/2) would LOVE those cupcakes on the cover of that book!! He was looking over my laptop as I was reading your review, and he kept pointing to them and said "itty itty" which to him is "kitty-kitty". . . lol - too fun!

    I'm going to have to look for this one.

    Thanks for stopping by and participating in Thingers last week! I've got the post up for this week. ~ Wendi


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