More Than Cake
100 Baking Recipes Built for Pleasure and Community
The sumptuous debut cookbook from celebrated baker, activist, and pastry "it girl" Natasha Pickowicz
Natasha Pickowicz is a creative force in the world of baking. Her pastries are uniquely delicious and surprising. She's picked up three James Beard Award nominations for her time as a professional pastry chef. Her buzzy bake sales for Planned Parenthood and other nonprofits have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now she shares her recipes and baking know-how in a debut cookbook brimming with the energy, passion, joy, knowledge, and spirit of generosity that define her work.
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.
About this Author
Much of her pastry work explores the relationship between baking and social justice, including ongoing collaborations with seminal New York City institutions like Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, God's Love We Deliver, the Brigid Alliance, and Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, for whom she produced a massive city-wide bake sale, raising more than $150,000 between 2017 and 2019.
Currently, Pickowicz runs the pastry pop-up called Never Ending Taste, which has been held at NYC's Superiority Burger, Brooklyn's the Four Horsemen, the American-Vietnamese bakery Ba. n B., the Taiwanese tearoom T. Company, Los Angeles's Kismet, and the legendary Chino Farm in Rancho Santa Fe, California.
Pickowicz's recipes and writing have been published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Bon App.tit, Saveur, Food & Wine, New York magazine, Cherry Bombe, and many other publications. Follow her on Instagram at @natashapickowicz.
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