More Than Cake: 100 Baking Recipes Built for Pleasure and Community (Hardcover)
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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. Brown butter is the secret to irresistible buckwheat chocolate chunk cookies.
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.
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.
—Claire Saffitz, author of What’s for Dessert
“It’s almost impossible to capture the reciprocal joy that comes from making and sharing beautiful baked goods with friends—oh wait, Natasha Pickowicz has done it perfectly, right here.”
—Carla Lalli Music, author of That Sounds So Good and Where Cooking Begins
“One of the most inspiring baking books and a stunning piece of work that every home baker needs on their bookshelf.”
—Kristina Cho, author of Mooncakes and Milk Bread
“Natasha’s dedication to bringing people together through food to benefit community is widely known and admired, and this book showcases her love for the art and craft of simple, beautiful pastry, with a particular talent for combining the traditional with surprise elements to create something wholly new.”
—Liz Prueitt, chef/owner, Tartine Bakery
“Natasha’s respect for ingredients (the fruit section reads as a love letter), genius ingredient pairings (see Olive Oil Cake with Crispy Capers), and ability to balance aspirational with accessible make this book a must-have and prove that—not to be redundant—it is so much more than cake.”
—Antoni Porowski, author of Antoni: Let’s Do Dinner
“In the Natasha Pickowicz weltanschauung, mottled radicchio is a layer cake garnish, the bake sale is a middle finger of defiance, you make your own condensed milk (say what?), Parker House rolls are fig leafed, and Mom does all the illustrations.”
—Brooks Headley, chef/operator,Superiority Burger
“In More Than Cake, Natasha has collected delicious recipes that perfectly reflect her originality and sense of whimsy. Inspired!”
—Claudia Fleming, author of Delectable
“Think of More Than Cake as your guide to capturing the happiness of baking, the pleasure of making something fabulously delicious with your hands and your heart, and the satisfaction of sharing what you’ve made with others.”
—Dorie Greenspan, author of Baking with Dorie