A glorious confection of ten airy layers, flavoured 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.”