Bake the Book: Sweet


[Photograph: Peden and Munk]

The introduction to Sweet explains the controlled chaos of Valerie Confections, the sweet and savory business author Valerie Gordon runs out of Los Angeles. The recipes within the book have been developed with that same frenetic energy, polished and focused over time to be truly stunning, both in looks and in flavor. As a cook book, Sweet sits at the intersection of art and education, with enough know-how to be a solid baking reference, but far too beautiful to be called a textbook.

Gordon's abiding love for confection is evident throughout the book, but nowhere more so than in Blum's Coffee Crunch Cake. Having grown up with the cake, she resurrected it from the flavor graveyard decades after its original purveyor, Blum's Bakery, closed in the late 70s. She received an astonishing response from fans with fond memories, and the cake has become a staple of the company. Sharing the story and the recipe in the book feels like a gift.

Speaking of gifts, the striking colors of Peach Melba Jam shine like so many jewels. Apple-and-Caramel Aged Gouda Crostata is a clever version of apple pie with a cheddar crust. And Blueberry-Meyer Lemon Muffins are chock full of the fruit. We've chosen recipes that simultaneously reflect the end of summer and show off the very best of the book.

Win A Copy!

Thanks to the generous folks over at Artisan Books, we are giving away five (5) copies of Sweet to give away this week. All you have to do is share your equivalent of Gordon's Blum's coffee crunch cake: Tell us about the bakery sweet you'd most like to have the recipe for in the comments below.

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