Bake It Like You Mean It: Gorgeous Cakes from Inside Out

Bake It Like You Mean It: Gorgeous Cakes from Inside Out


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Gesine Bullock-Prado says it’s what’s inside that really counts, and in this visually sumptuous book, the author of Sugar Baby and Pie it Forward showcases cakes that are beautiful from the inside out. Each chapter is devoted to a technique of making different types of cake, beginning with the easiest recipe and moving to the more technically difficult as the chapter progresses. When the cakes are cut, they will reveal intricate layers of patterns and designs, such as hearts, checkerboards, helixes, and colorful stripes, that will bring a smile to everyone who enjoys them. This compendium of gorgeous cake recipes and techniques will yield glorious meringues, sponge cakes, pound cakes, cheesecakes, and tarts for all levels of bakers. With her trademark wit and enthusiasm for the world of confections and baking, Gesine’s latest book will delight her fans.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781617690136
Publisher: ABRAMS
Publication date: 03/05/2013
Pages: 252
Sales rank: 529,108
Product dimensions: 9.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Gesine Bullock-Prado is the creator of Gesine Confectionary, based in Vermont. She has been featured on the TODAY show, the Rachael Ray Show, and Food Network. Her new PBS cooking show, Life from Scratch, is set to air in spring 2013. She lives in Vermont.

Read an Excerpt

Bake It Like You Mean It

By Gesine Bullock-Prado, Tina Rupp, Natalie Kaire, Dervla Kelly


Copyright © 2013 Gesine Bullock-Prado
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4532-7691-4




FOR A CONFECTION THAT AT ITS SIMPLEST consists of just two ingredients, egg whites and sugar, meringues inspire some outsize devotion. In my family alone, the sight of a crunchy cloud the size of a melon elicits unladylike squawks of delight and has led to quite a few flesh wounds in our scramble to get our greedy paws on the stuff. Then there's that flavor, a sweetness that's front-loaded and hazardous to your well-being, but it's tempered by the mellowness of the egg white, giving you the sense that you're doing something more sophisticated than upending supersized Pixy Stix into your maw. And that texture—good golly, that texture. A simple meringue, baked slow and low, has a crunch and crumble paired with a sticky chew that leaves snack-tastic reminders lodged in your teeth. A pie meringue is at once elastic and crisp, an outer skin of campfire marshmallow happiness giving way to a heartbreaking, melting smoothness.

Amazingly, a meringue is so fine it can stand on its very own, like My Big Fat Creamsicle Meringue Moment (page 16), or can easily be combined with yummy extras, as in an Nussbuserln Torte (page 19). Or the meringue can act as a component of a larger dessert, giving a soufflé or a cake a lighter-than-air texture that plain baking powder or baking soda just can't deliver. Take the meringue process a few technical steps into the fancy and you can whip up a glorious layered creation like a dacquoise, or even a macaron tart beautiful and tasty enough to put Ladurée on notice. But even a simple mound of spiky white meringues stacked high to the heavens is a beauty to behold.


Makes 8 meringue tarts

MY FAVORITE SHOP WINDOW IS in a side alley in Venice. Walking around with friends one summer day, in search of lunch, I was stopped in my tracks by a sight of such unadulterated beauty that I began to tear up in wonder: meringues the size of a pug's head, from winter white to pastel pink and Easter yellow, piled into lovely pyramids. I had stumbled onto the Valley of the Pastry Kings, the Giza of sweets. Before our hungry group could move along, I insisted on purchasing one of each flavor, and all during lunch I stole bites from those cumulus clouds of sweetness, scattering crunchy white crumbs about me and finishing my sack of meringues before I'd touched my pasta. Mamma mia! What a meal.

Today, I make meringues with the same splendid taste and texture that I enjoyed as a kid, but I also take the time to make them beautiful. Here I combine two meringue flavors in one pastry bag and pipe them into rose shapes. (Other times I paint the sides of my pastry bag so a swirl of color descends as I pipe my little masterpieces.) Taking just a little extra time for details—like piping instead of plopping—goes a long way in creating a memorable cloud of deliciousness. Sandwich two crunchy beauties around a touch of fluffy meringue-based seven-minute frosting, and you've just made the Cadillac of meringue pastries.


4 egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon distilled white vinegar or cream of tartar
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 cup (200 g) superfine or baker's sugar
¼ teaspoon orange extract (not orange oil)
2 drops orange food coloring (optional)


5 egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
pinch salt
½ teaspoon orange extract

Make the meringue:

Preheat the oven to 225°F (107°C). Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper. Transfer the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

Whisk on high until just foamy and add the salt, vinegar, and vanilla bean paste. (The vinegar acts as a protein stabilizer, helping to maintain the integrity of the protein networks and prevent overmixing.)

With the mixer on high, add the superfine sugar a scant tablespoon at a time, letting it trickle in slowly (I count to ten). This is crucial; you must ensure that the superfine sugar completely melts into the meringue (the friction of the whisking causes the sugar to melt). If the sugar isn't properly integrated and melted into the egg white mixture, your meringue will break and begin to weep while baking.

Beat the egg whites and sugar until very stiff, white, and glossy.

Place half of the meringue in a clean bowl, leaving the remaining half in the mixing bowl. Place the orange extract and orange food coloring (if using) into the mixing bowl and whisk on high until fully incorporated.

Carefully transfer the plain meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, working the meringue into the bag so it fills up only one side (you don't have to be perfect). Spoon the orange meringue into the other side of the pastry bag. On the prepared pans, pipe the meringue into rosettes, starting in the center and carefully spiraling out until you've created a 3-inch (7.5-cm) rosette.

Bake for 2 hours, or until the exterior is crisp and sounds hollow when you tap the underside. You can store the meringues in an airtight, moisture-free container for up to 2 weeks.

Make the filling:

In the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites, granulated sugar, corn syrup, vanilla bean paste, salt, orange extract, and ¼ cup (60 ml) water. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly until the temperature of the mixture reaches 180°F (82°C).

Transfer the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk the mixture until you achieve very stiff, white, glossy peaks.

To assemble:

Pipe a silver dollar–size dollop of the filling onto the flat side of a meringue rosette and sandwich with a second meringue. Serve the assembled meringue tarts immediately.


FLAVOR! Meringue is beautifully adaptable to flavors. You can replace the vanilla bean paste with lemon extract or orange extract for a citrus spike; however, you cannot use oil-based flavors: The oil will deflate the meringue. You can also add a few tablespoons of fruit purée for both a flavor punch and a color splash. Or fold in 2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder once the meringue has reached the stiff-peak stage.

COLOR! For stripes of color on your meringues, dip a very small pastry brush in the food color of your choice and paint the inside of the pastry bag with stripes, starting as close to the tip as possible and continuing up the sides. Continue replenishing the color on your brush every few strokes. If you want uniform color, simply add 2 to 3 drops of color to the egg whites before you start whisking and adding the sugar.

A NOTE FROM THE SWEET TALKER: Is it meringue or the European Union? The European Union or meringue? You'd be hard pressed to guess which one when you read that there can be a French, a Swiss, or an Italian meringue. The country of origin refers not to an egg white's birthplace but to the manner in which the sugar is integrated into the fluffy stuff. A French, or dry, meringue is one made by simply adding sugar in a steady stream to egg whites as they are beaten. It's tasty, sweet, and billowy, but not the most stable of meringues. A Swiss meringue is made by combining the egg whites and sugar from the beginning and whisking the two in a bain marie (a metal bowl placed over a saucepan half filled with gently simmering water) until the sugar has completely melted and the temperature of the mixture reaches at least 160°F (72°C), the point at which any lingering bacteria will be exterminated. The mixture is then whisked until stiff and glossy. Italian meringue is made by combining the sugar with a small measure of water and warming the two in a saucepan until the sugar melts and the sugar reaches the soft-ball stage (234°F to 240°F / 112°C to 116°C) on a candy thermometer. The sugar syrup is then slowly poured into the beating egg whites and whisked on high until stiff, white, glossy peaks form. Italian is thought to be the most stable of all meringues; it is luscious and very smooth.


Makes 1 (10-inch / 25-cm) cake

LEAVE IT TO THE AUSTRIANS to invent a delectable dessert at a health resort. In the town of Bad Ischl, you could take in the healing baths and snack on crispy meringue kisses simultaneously. That's my kind of medicine. Traditionally, the meringue batter is dropped in little mounds and baked. But I make this into a splendid little mouthful that is more torte than cookie. It features a luscious dark-chocolate bottom layer studded with walnuts and a pointy Nussbuserln meringue for the top, sandwiching a slather of fudgy ganache— a mini cake that's visually delightful, sinfully decadent, and gluten-free.


1 cup (120 g) finely ground walnuts
¼ cup (30 g) cornstarch
4 egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
1? cups (265 g) superfine sugar


12 ounces (340 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I use Callebaut 60/40)
½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter
¾ cup (65 g) Dutch-process cocoa powder (I use Valrhona)
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
5 egg whites
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
1½ cups (150 g) confectioners' sugar
3 cups (345 g) chopped walnuts, divided
¼ cup (30 g) cornstarch


12 ounces (340 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I use Callebaut 60/40)
8 egg yolks
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
pinch salt
½ cup (120 ml) strong coffee, boiling
1 cup (230 g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature

Make the Nussbuserln:

Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C). Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper.

Spread the ground walnuts in an even layer on one of the prepared sheet pans and "toast" in the oven for 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely and transfer to a bowl. Stir in the cornstarch to coat completely. Flip the parchment over to use for baking the meringues.

Combine the egg whites, vanilla bean paste, salt, and instant espresso powder in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high until foamy.

Very slowly add the superfine sugar, so that the granules are poured into the beating egg whites in a very slow trickle. This should take a few minutes. Beat until you achieve very stiff peaks.

Gently fold the cornstarch-coated walnuts into the mixture.

Transfer the meringue to a large pastry bag fitted with a large open tip.

On the first piece of parchment, trace two 10-inch (25-cm) circles on one side and flip the parchment over, so the squares are visible but will not transfer onto the meringue. Starting at the center and spiraling outward, pipe meringue layers to fill the circles.

On the second piece of parchment, pipe the remaining meringue into "nut kisses" 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. For each kiss, gently press to create a quarter-size round base, then pull up as you stop pressing on the bag to create a point. You should have a few dozen kisses.

Bake the meringue kisses for 30 minutes and the 10-inch (25-cm) discs for 1 hour. Turn off the oven, open the oven door and allow the meringues to sit in the cooling oven until they are completely cool.

Make the chocolate-walnut layers:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Prepare two 10-inch (25-cm) round cake pans by lining the bottom of each with a round of parchment paper. (Do not use nonstick cooking spray.)

In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine the chocolate and butter (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Stir until melted.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder and vanilla bean paste until completely combined.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and salt and whisk on high speed. Slowly add the granulated sugar until the mixture becomes light and doubles in volume, about 5 minutes. Slowly fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites with a large rubber spatula and continue folding until completely combined.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the confectioners' sugar, 2 cups (230 g) of the walnuts, and the cornstarch and pulse until fine.

Fold the walnut mixture into the egg mixture until evenly distributed, then fold in the remaining walnuts.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cake springs back when gently touched. Allow to cool completely. Run a sharp paring knife along the side of the cake pan to release the cake.

Make the filling:

Place the chocolate, egg yolks, vanilla, and salt in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse to just combine.

Pulsing continuously, add the boiling coffee in a slow stream.

Add the butter, a bit at a time, and continue pulsing until all the butter is added and the mixture is completely smooth.

To assemble:

Place a chocolate-walnut layer on a cake board or platter. Spread one-quarter of the filling in an even layer over the cake. Place the 10-inch (25-cm) meringue layer on top of the filling. Place one-quarter of the remaining filling on top of the meringue, then top with the remaining cake layer. Spread one-quarter of the remaining filling in an even layer over the top, set the last meringue layer on top of the filling, then spread the remaining filling over the meringue.

Arrange the nut kisses on top of the cake. Serve immediately, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days before serving.


NUTS! You can mix it up and use pecans or pistachios instead of walnuts. Steer toward nuts that bring flavor and texture to the mix. If you're feeling adventurous, invite dried fruit or chocolate chips to the party. A pistachio, cranberry, and white chocolate meringue sounds like a fabulous mouthful to me!

CRUSH IT! If you find yourself with leftover meringues, whether plain or with nuts, you can break them into pieces and fold them into lightly sweetened whipped cream as a lovely filling with a bit of texture. Don't let the meringues sit around for long, though; they will get soggy.

A NOTE FROM THE SWEET TALKER: A plain meringue—one made with egg whites and sugar—is naturally fat free! YAY! But it's not calorie free. Not by a long shot. As you may have noticed, meringue requires an insane amount of sugar to come together properly. So you might say to yourself, "Why don't I just swap in a sugar substitute? Now it'll be fat free and sugar free!" Not so fast. Not all substitutes are legit when it comes to baking. In addition to its particular flavor and cooking properties, sugar also imparts bulk and flavor to a baked product, something that baked goods made with artificial sweeteners will lack.

Aspartame is heat sensitive and a disaster when it comes to baking. Stevia is a natural sweetener, but in large quantities it imparts a taste that can only be described as "shrubbery-esque." Splenda is a suitable substitute in many baking applications; it works best for sweetening dense and naturally sweet products like fruit fillings and sauces in muffins and pies. However, where a high volume of sugar provides bulk to the pastry, such as in sponge or butter cakes, cutting in a small percentage of Splenda with the granulated sugar is best. In recipes where the amount of sugar is very high, as in soufflés or angel food cakes, only a small amount of Splenda should be substituted, with the bulk remaining granulated sugar. For meringue, sticking to granulated sugar alone is your best bet. With other baked goods, if you feel the need to substitute, use Splenda, and don't do it full-scale: Cut the sugar back just a little, to a proportion of two-thirds sugar and one-third artificial sweetener.


Excerpted from Bake It Like You Mean It by Gesine Bullock-Prado, Tina Rupp, Natalie Kaire, Dervla Kelly. Copyright © 2013 Gesine Bullock-Prado. Excerpted by permission of ABRAMS.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Introduction Bake It Like You Mean It What You'll Need,
Airy & Marvelous MERINGUES,
Light & Scrumptious SPONGE CAKES,
Rich & Decadent BUTTER and POUND CAKES,
Springy & Yummy YEASTIES,
Conversion charts,

Customer Reviews