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Baking at the 20th Century Cafe

Iconic European Desserts from Linzer Torte to Honey Cake

By Michelle Polzine

“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


Transporting readers straight to the grand cafés of Europe, Baking at the 20th Century Cafe brings renewed attention to the legendary sweet and savory baking recipes of Central and Eastern Europe. Polzine, one of San Francisco’s best pastry chefs, pays homage to the foundational desserts of so many cultures, while lightening and modernizing the recipes through her California lens. Her fruit desserts, nut-based desserts, and chocolate treats—many of them gluten-free—are smart, interesting, and foolproof, and deliver big flavor. Polzine’s coveted honey cake recipe is included, too, along with recipes for plum kuchen, walnut hamantaschen, Sacher torte, linzer torte, poppy-filled rugelach, vanilla cheesecake—even pierogi and potato knishes, all full of twists and innovations. All the recipes are written with Polzine’s quirky, relatable “you can do this” enthusiasm to assure readers that they can achieve excellent results. Following in the footsteps of such esteemed bakers as Nancy Silverton and Dorie Greenspan, with Baking at the 20th Century Cafe, Polzine offers a new entry into the essential baking cookbook canon.
 

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Michelle Polzine headshot

Michelle Polzine

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Review quotes
“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
Product Details
Categories
Number of pages
352
Publication date
October 13, 2020
ISBN
9781648290053