While I will never lay claim to the title of “world’s best cake decorator”, I must say I do enjoy playing with my cake!

To be sure, the very term “cake decorator” has come to take on a whole new meaning in the world of baking and cake-making. I would argue that in may ways, cake decorators today are akin to artists, pushing the envelope with breathtaking and amazing creations of butter, sugar and flour.

In Toronto, places like Bobbette & Belle and Cake Opera Co. make it heard to have your cake and eat your cake too when it’s so beautiful (trust me … I always manage to eat it …).

All of this is well and good but it can make it a bit intimidating for those of us that just want to make a pretty cupcake or a special occasion cake in the humble comfort and simplicity of our own home kitchens.

Enter Martha Stewart and the special edition publication The Best Of Martha Stewart Living – CAKES & CUPCAKES Magazine.

On newsstands until May 13, 2013, this special edition publication gathers together some of the best and most beloved cake and cupcake recipes, with instructions on how to decorate them in all sorts of pretty and fun ways.

Don’t worry. There are no recipes for building a castle entirely out of sugar or recreating the Statue of Liberty out of rice treats and fondant.

It’s more like a handful of building-block recipes for basic cakes and frostings that you can then use to make cupcakes, layer cakes and some other special desserts.

The edition provides ideas for desserts for pretty much every special occasion during the year from celebrating spring with cupcakes and buttercream flowers to desserts for the holidays.

Myself, I have been hankering after chocolate for quite awhile now and I’ve had chocolate cake on the brain so I settled for the chocolate cake and frosting featured in this recipe.

I got all fancy with my piping bag and star tip (not really) and then got really wild and crazy with some coloured sprinkles.

There was no stopping me.

I followed the recipe for a delicious One-Bowl Chocolate Cake and then made one of the many frosting recipes in the book.

Delicious.

But there were so many recipes I could have tried like this one (images below provided by MarthaStewart.com):

or this one:

I hope you pick up a copy of this fun compendium of recipes from Martha Stewart. There are a lot of really great ideas that are achievable at home and that will give you the satisfaction of having created something delicious and beautiful.

Plus you get to play with your cake!