James Beard Award-winning writer Aleksandra Crapanzano shares the secrets of the cakes Parisians bake at home in her new book Gateau: The Surprising Simplicity of French Cakes (Scribner, 2022). Crapanzano celebrates the gateau in its many forms, from the simplest yogurt cake to bûches de Noël, from nut tortes to flourless chocolate cakes, and from yuzu madeleines to rum-soaked babas. When we think of French desserts, we tend to imagine ornate creations and confections. But the gateaux that Parisians eat are simple, delicious cakes, both sweet and savory, served to family and friends. They are less sweet than their American counterparts and are rarely heavily iced or frosted.  A splash of brandy, a squeeze of lemon or a thin blanket of ganache elevates even the easiest of cakes in mere minutes. And then there are savory cakes made with cheese, herbs, ham, baked into a delicious loaf. Gâteau includes cakes for birthdays, summer feasts and winter holidays, last-minute dinner parties and school lunches, as well-beloved regional recipes and guest contributions from superstar Parisian bakers. Practical, simple, and filled with over 100 rigorously tested recipes and charming illustrations, Gâteau celebrates every day and sometimes fanciful French cakes in all their glory and is destined to become a classic.

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