cover image Love Is a Pink Cake: Irresistible Bakes for Morning, Noon and Night

Love Is a Pink Cake: Irresistible Bakes for Morning, Noon and Night

Claire Ptak. Norton, $35 (288p) ISBN 978-0-393-54111-3

Ptak (The Violet Bakery Cookbook), the baker behind Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s wedding cake, shares drool-worthy sweet and savory baked goods from her upbringing in California as well as her adopted, and adapted, favorites from England. The bakes are stunning yet achievable; the secret to getting a tender crumb for the four-layer blackberry jam cake is to blend fat with flour rather than first creaming it with sugar, while helpful process photos make the involved chocolate and violet babka buns approachable. Throughout, Ptak shares wisdom that will be treasured by home bakers: the addition of Anejo tequila complements the caramel notes in a pumpkin pie, muffin batter should always be under-mixed, and soaking poppy seeds in black tea releases their floral flavor. She also pays respect to the efforts of American and British growers, highlighting seasonal bounty in recipes for a galette flavored with lime, bee pollen, and pink-fleshed apples from a garden in her home state’s Marin County, as well as a matcha cake made with jostaberries—a cross between gooseberries and black currants—produced by a biodynamic farmer in Herefordshire. Ptak asserts that “baking is, in its own way, a love story,” and her own love shines through. This is a treasure trove. (May)