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Baking with the Cake Boss: 100 of Buddy’s Best Recipes and Decorating Secrets

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Buddy Valastro, the star of TLC’s smash hit Cake Boss shares everything a home cook needs to know about baking as he takes readers through the same progressive training he had in his own apprenticeship.

Call it the Buddy system, because Baking with the Cake Boss is an education in the art of baking and decorating, from kneading to rolling, fondant to flowers, taught by Buddy Valastro himself, the star of TLC’s smash hit Cake Boss. With more than 100 of his most sought-after recipes, including birthday and holiday cakes and other special theme designs, this book is a master course that culminates in the showstopping cakes for which Carlo’s Bake Shop is famous.

Following the arc of Buddy’s career from apprentice to master baker, Baking with the Cake Boss offers readers the same on-the-job education earned by everyone who comes to work at Carlo’s Bake Shop, with some of Buddy’s and the family’s memories shared along the way. It builds organically from simple cookies and pastries to pies, flower-adorned cupcakes, and basic fondant cakes, to breathtaking cakes for every holiday and special occasion. And, as you progress from basics to bedazzlements—like the safari cake complete with chocolate animals and a waterfall—Buddy shares his inspiring enthusiasm and stories from the shop in his inimitable voice. He also provides the tools for creating your own personal trademark cakes, with a chart that lets you mix and match cake, frosting, and liqueur syrup for cakes the way you like them. And there are plenty of photos that illustrate artistic flourishes and decorations you can use to adorn your individual creations. With 650 gorgeous, step-by-step instructional photos that let you follow Buddy as if you were next to him in the bakery, Baking with the Cake Boss is an incomparable dessert education that will become an essential reference for aspiring and skilled bakers alike.

Bursting with delicious, tried-and-true recipes, how-to boxes and sidebars, and numerous tricks of the trade, Baking with the Cake Boss is a rare treat—a fun, accessible guide to baking, all in a gloriously designed, fully illustrated package worthy of the Cake Boss’s artistic vision.

Recipe from Baking with the Cake Boss: Chocolate Brownie Clusters

In a bakery like Carlo’s, everybody contributes some recipes at some time or another. These cookies—-which replicate the flavors and textures of a brownie in a meringue–like cookie that’s miraculously crisp on the outside and gooey in the middle—-were the invention of the late, great baker Sal Picinich (who passed away while I was writing this book) and they-re pretty ingenious.

What impresses me about these cookies is the complex, deeply satisfying result achieved with just a handful of ingredients: egg whites, sugar, cocoa, and nuts. The batter looks like an unholy, goopy-gooey mess. When you make these, you might even think you did something wrong—-how could it transform into something appetizing? Your doubt might even be increased by the fact that these can only be spooned onto your baking sheet; the dough is too sticky for a pastry bag and too messy to work with by hand.

But trust me: Once these get into the oven, something magical happens and these ugly ducklings turn into perfect little swans—-and everybody will love the way they mimic the flavor and texture of brownies. It’s a cookie to die for.

Ingredients

  • 3 extra-large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered (10X) sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted raw walnut halves

Instructions

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.

2. Put the egg whites and lemon juice in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. (Be sure the bowl is immaculately clean; see “Egg Whites,” page 56.) Whip on low speed for 2 minutes, then on maximum speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.

3. Sift the sugar and cocoa powder into the bowl together, then fold into the batter with a rubber spatula until the batter is smooth and shiny. Fold in the walnuts, until they are well coated with the batter.

4. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper, using nonstick spray or a dab of butter in each corner to glue the paper in place. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 1/2 inch apart, being sure to include about the same number of walnuts (3 or 4) in each one.

5. Bake until the outside has crisped and the bottom starts to pull away from the parchment paper, 15 to 20 minutes.

6. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven. As soon as the clusters can be moved, use a spatula to transfer them to a rack and let them cool.

Enjoy the cookies right away, or store when completely cool in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Sifting

I sift ingredients for two reasons: (1) To be sure dry ingredients aren’t too compacted; sifting helps ensure a lighter result in the baked good being made. (2) To better combine two or more dry ingredients that will be added to a recipe at the same time. This is especially important when you are using leavening agents such as baking powder and baking soda—-you want those strong-acting ingredients to be as evenly distributed as possible to ensure an even result across the entire baked good. (All of that said, in some cookie recipes I don’t call for sifting because the dough gets mixed enough that the ingredients can’t help being evenly distributed.)

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