Aside from the informal cake balls and cupcakes, my ventures into the kitchen have been limited since the exciting and exhausting Hogwarts cake. In the meantime though, I have fallen in love..
...With science. I know. I know. Go ahead and say it: I am the world's biggest nerd. But I got a huge stack of books from the library (all baking or decorating related) and two of my favorites are Understanding Baking and BakeWise.
The way the respective authors explain the how's and why's of baking is simply amazing. I could go on and on about the eye-opening and mind-blowing things that I've learned, but I'm afraid I might bore you, despite my huge doses of enthusiasm. However, if you are as nerdy as I am, I highly recommend that you read these books. I never knew how much I wanted to know the information they contained until I started reading them (yes, I am reading them both at the same time) and I can't wait to tweak some of my favorite recipes and-- dare I say it?-- create some of my own.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. I should finish reading first, no matter how much I want to jump head first into a bag of flour (cake flour, of course) and become the Bill Nye of the kitchen.
Oh, and my secret to awesome buttercream? Beat it. A lot, and for a long time. The texture is amazing. And use real (unsalted, room temperature) butter. But you already knew that.