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Perfect Cakes

Perfect Cakes

3.0 1
by Nick Malgieri, Tom Eckerle, Tom Eckerle (Photographer)

When it's time to celebrate, it's time to bake a cake! When it's time to be creative, it's time to bake a cake! When it's time to find comfort in the kitchen, it's time to bake a cake. From weddings to birthdays to something nice for yourself and your family and guests, nothing marks a special occasion better than a freshly baked cake.

Now renowned baking teacher


When it's time to celebrate, it's time to bake a cake! When it's time to be creative, it's time to bake a cake! When it's time to find comfort in the kitchen, it's time to bake a cake. From weddings to birthdays to something nice for yourself and your family and guests, nothing marks a special occasion better than a freshly baked cake.

Now renowned baking teacher Nick Malgieri, author of Cookies Unlimited, Chocolate, and How to Bake, shares his flawless recipes and professional techniques for creating a perfect cake every time. From simple to extravagant, the recipes are presented with the same clear, uncomplicated instructions that have made Nick a favorite among firsttime bakers and experts alike. You'll find more than two hundred recipes for all types of cakes, from homey favorites such as Sour Cream Coffee Cake and Classic Angel Food Cake to luscious classics such as Dark and White Chocolate Cheesecake to international showstoppers such as Zuppa Inglese and Chocolate Raspberry Bûche de Noël. Nick shows how to get the best results every time you bake, ensuring that your cheesecake will never crack, your pound cake batter will never separate, and your génoise will always be tender and light.

When the time comes to decorate or fill your cake, there's a wealth of creative ideas, from working with marzipan to piping icing to flavoring ganache and buttercream. Also included are tips on selecting the most flavorful chocolates, fruits, liqueurs, and other ingredients. Tempting color photographs throughout the book will inspire anyone to head into the kitchen. Novice bakers will be reassured and experts challenged with Perfect Cakes, a comprehensive collection of perfect recipes and expert guidance.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
James Beard Award-winning Malgieri dishes up a thorough introduction to the art of cake baking with a good section dedicated to ingredients and techniques, as well as 200 recipes that run the gamut from simple cakes for the beginner to more challenging choices.
In Perfect Cakes, James Beard Award winner and Food Network regular Nick Malgieri doesn't just offer recipes; he offers expertise. This longtime teacher knows that just one moment of imprecision can ruin a perfect cake. Consequently, the 200-plus cakes he describes emerge step-by-step, with detailed yet easy-to-follow instructions. The recipes range from simple layer cakes to molded cakes and meringues.
Publishers Weekly
James Beard Award winner Malgieri (How to Bake; Cookies Unlimited) shares precise and temptingly unfussy recipes in this cake treasury. Recipes are meticulously tested and easy to follow; however, this is not the book for the Duncan Hines set. Each chapter presents both basic and complicated recipes: Coffee Cakes include Sour Cream Coffee Cake and a Brioche Bee Sting Cake with almond brittle topping and a pastry cream filling. While sinful ingredients abound, cheesecakes come both New York style and light unbaked, and there are plenty of butterless sponge cakes. Sprinkled lightly like confectioners' sugar are homey recipes from friends (Passover Sponge Cake from Kyra Effren). Malgieri's tone is one of sincerity, whether his subjects are pound cakes, pleasantly old-fashioned rolls (such as Buche de Noel and Strawberry Roulade), fruit and nut cakes, individual cakes, layer and molded cakes or meringues. There is some central European influence, with Viennese Linzertorte and Apricot Marzipan Cake, and Swiss Kirsch cake. France (Blanc-Manger Aux Framboises) and Italy (Torta Di Nocciole Alla Veronese) are also well represented. The book proffers a few surprises, like Green Tea Pound Cake and an Armenian cake with farina. Most recipes are unburdened by architectural flourishes. Some cakes have many steps: Passion-Fruit Bavarian Cream Cake has five parts, but none of these is difficult in itself the biggest challenge is assembly. Recipe notes, a chapter on decorating and some photos of the finished results all help. Where many compendiums tend to be overwhelming or scattershot, this book stylishly covers just what home cooks need. (Nov.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.31(w) x 9.45(h) x 0.97(d)

Read an Excerpt

Dark and White Chocolate Cheesecake

Makes one 9-inch cheesecake, about 16 servings

Two layers of chocolate cake layers make this cheesecake complex and elegant.


2 pounds cream cheese
1 cup sugar
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large eggs
5 ounces white chocolate, melted

One 9-inch layer 1942 Devil's Food Cake,page 212, sliced into two layers

One 3-inch-deep 9-inch springform pan, bottom buttered and lined with parchment or wax paper; one 10 x 15-inch jelly-roll pan


1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

2. in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat half the cream cheese on the lowest speed until smooth, no more than 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and beater. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar in a stream, beating for no more than 30 seconds. Stop and scrape again. Add the melted dark chocolate, beating only until it is absorbed, no more than 30 seconds. Beat in 1 teaspoon of the vanilla. Add 3 of the eggs, one at a time, mixing only until each is absorbed. Stop and scrape after each addition and transfer to another bowl if you only have one mixer bowl.

3. Make the white chocolate batter following the same procedure as for the dark chocolate batter, using the remaining ingredients.

4. Wrap heavy-duty aluminum foil around the bottom of the springform pan to come at least 1 inch up the sides. Place one of the cake layers in the bottom of the pan. Pour the darkchocolate batter into the pan. Place the other cake layer on the batter and pour in the white chocolate batter.

5. Place the pan in the jelly-roll pan and pour warm water into the pan to a depth of 1/2 inch. Bake the cheesecake for about 75 minutes, or until it is lightly colored and firm except for the very center. Remove from oven and take the cheesecake pan out of the hot water. Remove the foil and cool completely on a rack.

6. Wrap the cheesecake and chill overnight. Unmold according to the directions on page 97.

Strawberry Meringue Cake

Makes one 9-inch cake, about 12 servings

This is an ideal cake for June and July, when strawberries are at their peak. The fruit filling and the meringue are light, and because the recipe calls for neither whipped cream nor buttercream, there is nothing to melt in hot weather.


2 pints strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon kirsch
2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons kirsch

3/4 cup egg whites (from 6 or 7 large eggs)
1 cup sugar

Two 10-inch layers Classic Génoise, page 116


1. To make the filling, rinse, hull, and slice the berries. Place one-quarter of the berries in a saucepan with the sugar and bring to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, combine the lemon juice, kirsch, and cornstarch. Off the heat, stir the cornstarch mixture into the strawberry mixture. Return to a boil, stirring, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool, then stir in the remaining sliced berries.

3. To make the syrup, combine the water and sugar in a small pan and bring to a boil, cool. Stir in the lemon juice and kirsch.

4. Use a sharp serrated knife to slice each of the génoise layers into 2 layers. Only 3 layers will be used to assemble the cake. Place one layer on a cardboard round or platter and brush with one-third of the syrup. Spread with half the filling. Top with the second layer and, brush with syrup, and spread with the remaining filling. Place the last layer on top and moisten with the remaining syrup.

5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F.

6. To make the meringue, combine the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk over simmering water until the egg whites are hot and the sugar is dissolved. Attach the bowl to the mixer and beat with the whisk at medium speed until the meringue has increased in volume and is cool.

7. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the meringue.

8. Place the cake on a cookie sheet and put in the oven for just 3 to 4 minutes to color the meringue. Remove the cake from the oven and cool, then decorate with the reserved strawberries and the sliced almonds.

SERVING: Serve the cake as soon as it has cooled.

STORAGE: Refrigerate leftovers.

Perfect Cakes. Copyright © by Nick Malgieri. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Nick Malgieri is the author of seven books, including A Baker's Tour, Perfect Cakes, Chocolate, and the James Beard Award–winning How to Bake. He is director of the baking program at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. His website, www.nickmalgieri .com, includes a schedule of his guest teacher appearances across the country.

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Perfect Cakes 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago