While speaking with nate last night via IM, he told me about the latest set of changes for CakePHP 1.2. There is simply just too much to mention, so I suggest heading on over to the brand-spanking-new CakePHP home page and checking out the changelog. There's a lot in there, but take the time to go through it. Besides, you might find that a particular bug that had been bothering you has been fixed.
My own modest contribution to the latest release was contributing some work in the 'bake' utility to allow you to select what database configuration you wanted to use (it was hard-coded before), and allowing you to bake a plugin (which is sort of like a stand-alone module within an application. Yes, there were a few tweaks afterwards by gwoo but he told me (or maybe lied to me to soothe my ego) that a lot of my code was still in there.
So, CakePHP 1.2 stable looks like it's getting closer and closer, so don't be afraid to move from 1.1 to 1.2. The improvements are worth it as 1.2.x is probably the most stable piece of "alpha" or "beta" software I've come across.