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—Emily Weinstein, New York Times, The 14 Best Cookbooks of Fall 2020
“This book . . . just keeps on giving. An absolute joy for bakers.”
—Diana Henry, The Telegraph (U.K.), The 20 Best Cookbooks to Buy This Autumn
Admit it. You're here for the famous honey cake. A glorious confection of ten airy layers, flavored with burnt honey and topped with a light dulce de leche cream frosting. It's an impressive cake, but there's so much more. Wait until you try the Dobos Torta or Plum Kuchen or Vanilla Cheesecake.
Throughout her baking career, Michelle Polzine of San Francisco's celebrated 20th Century Cafe has been obsessed with the tortes, strudels, Kipferl, rugelach, pierogi, blini, and other famous delicacies you might find in a grand cafe of Vienna or Prague. Now she shares her passion in a book that doubles as a master class, with over 75 no-fail recipes, dozens of innovative techniques that bakers of every skill level will find indispensable (no more cold butter for a perfect tart shell), and a revelation of ingredients, from lemon verbena to peach leaves.
Many recipes are lightened for contemporary tastes, and are presented through a California lens—think Nectarine Strudel or Date-Pistachio Torte. A surprising number are gluten-free. And all are written with the author's enthusiastic and singular voice, describing a cake as so good it "will knock your socks off, and wash and fold them too."
Who wouldn't want a slice of that? With Schlag, of course.
“To taste Michelle Polzine’s desserts is to travel deliciously, stylishly, back in time. I count my lucky stars that through learning and cooking from this book, we can all access the wonder of her uncompromising vision.”
—Samin Nosrat, New York Times bestselling author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
“Michelle Polzine is a master of dessert flavor and technique. Her recipes are the real deal. As a historian, she respectfully pays homage to a period of sweet cuisine mostly overshadowed by other parts of the world. Her deep creativity adds her own twists and adaptations.”
—Emily Luchetti, pastry chef
“One might say that Michelle’s gorgeous book is worth having simply for the honey cake recipe, or just to see her outfits and aprons, or for the quietly spectacular photos. But passionate pastry people will want it for the flavors, details, and ideas—beloved pastries from the Austro-Hungarian Empire are honored and perfected, to be sure, but they are also made new and fresh by a gifted chef with an inspired palate. Recipes are carefully crafted with enough detail (and humor) to make it happen in your kitchen.”
—Alice Medrich, pastry chef and author of Flavor Flours
“Every recipe in Baking at the 20th Century Cafe is a treasure to be uncovered. Michelle’s lifelong practice and discovery of pastry technique is demystified here for everyone. She gifts us with in-depth process photography, taking the guesswork out of how she creates her beautiful desserts.”
—Nicole Krasinski, pastry chef and co-owner, State Bird Provisions and The Progress
“The luscious desserts in this book are very much like their fashionable creator—beautifully styled, with attention to detail and an innate sense of the final impression on the beholder. Michelle is inspired by Middle European sweets and gives each one her unique touch. In this, her first book, you get sure-to-impress recipes from not just San Francisco’s beloved 20th Century Cafe but also some of the best bakeries in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, as seen through Michelle’s informed lens.”
—Rick Rodgers, author of Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague