More Than Cake
By Natasha Pickowicz
2023 • Artisan Publishers
The recipes are fresh and uncomplicated, drawing on the author’s Chinese and Californian heritage. She pairs nectarine and miso in a tarte tatin and makes a layer cake with olive oil, mascarpone, and fennel. Black cardamom gets tucked into pecan sticky buns, and galettes go savory with kabocha squash.
And she’s a born teacher. Of course pastry requires a real focus on detail and technique, but the author is here at every step with invaluable tips: underbeat meringue; boil your plum stones to extract even more plum flavor; look for “first-press” yuzu juice; for the flakiest pie dough, first freeze your butter, then use a grater to get perfect shreds.
More Than Cake means baking to bring people together. It calls on you to prioritize pleasure. As the author writes, “Dessert is beyond simple calories and nutrition. . . . It spreads delight in a way that no other kind of dish can. This is something I think people really need—it’s not optional.” It’s a philosophy to live by.
Tags: AAPI & diaspora authors, baking, cake, california, dessert, desserts, Signed, was-preorder, west coast