Round, rectangular, loaf-shaped or layered, cakes are wonderful concoctions that play a deliciously important part in our lives. They're comforting, festive and celebratory just imagine a birthday or a wedding without one. Whatever the occasion, whatever the form, making cakes should be fun and foolproof, and every cake you bake should be perfect. To do that, all you need is a good oven and Nick Malgieri, James Beard Award-winning cookbook author. I don't know about your oven, but I do know that you'll find Nick's clear, methodical guidance and hand-holding reassurance in his latest book, Perfect Cakes. There are fabulous full-color photographs and more than 200 recipes for all kinds of cakes no-fuss coffee cakes; moist, buttery pound cakes; light, delicate angel food cakes; fruit cakes that folks will actually eat; chocolate cakes to die for; cheesecakes to diet for; elaborate layer cakes filled and frosted with the fluffy white icing of childhood dreams or gilded with a rich ganache. More, yes indeed, a Buche De Noel, the ultimate Christmas cake, a tantalizing Tiramisu, and elegant, individual cakes that give finger food new meaning. Nick explains all the steps and all the techniques; he's at your side whenever you crave a cake or need to bake. Practice makes perfect, as we all know, so why not get a head start with the aid of a preeminent practitioner.