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Roland Mesnier's Basic to Beautiful Cakes [Hardcover]

Roland Mesnier , Lauren Chattman

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Book Description

Oct. 16 2007
In his twenty-five years as Executive White House Pastry Chef, Roland Mesnier prided himself on creating a unique dessert for every special occasion, from elaborate State Dinners and formal receptions to smaller family gatherings and birthday celebrations. In Roland Mesnier's Basic to Beautiful Cakes, the author of the classic and comprehensive Dessert University shows home cooks how to create desserts that can be beautifully embellished to serve any occasion by using a small set of foolproof cake recipes.

Hazelnut Ring Cake, for example, can be served on its own at teatime, as it was in the Reagan White House; or, with the addition of espresso-flavored whipped cream and a crown of caramelized phyllo, can become the memorable culmination of an elegant dinner party. Chocolate Dome Cake (one of the Carters' favorites) can be topped with raspberry glaze, served with Grand Marnier mousse, or spangled with berries. Blueberry Upside-Down Cake with yogurt sauce is a light treat for a long weekend morning; the cherry version, with its lattice of whipped cream, will delight children and adults alike, and the truly grand Peach and Spice Upside-Down Cake with Brioche "Peaches" is a show-stopping confection, elegant enough for the Clintons to serve to the chancellor of Germany and the prime minister of England.

Even on the most important ocassions, Chef Mesnier believes that desserts don't have to be filled with butter and cream. Recipes like the wheat-free Carrot Cake, the dairy-free Orange Sherbert Cake with Glazed Oranges, and the low-fat Apricot Soufflé Cake with Apricot Grand Marnier Sauce satisfy guests with special dietary concerns but still meet Roland's exacting standards for taste and presentation.

The easy-to-follow instructions for these time-tested recipes anticipate pitfalls and offer sensible suggestions for when it is worth to invest in high-end ingredients and equipment and when you can get by without them, and how to peel and slice fruit for the most attractive results. With Chef Mesnier taking you through every step of each carefully constructed recipe, you can be sure that your cakes will be delicious and spectacular every time.

Soon you will have mastered the basic recipes and a few of the more advanced techniques, and you will be able to develop a repertoire of your own. like Chef Mesnier, you'll be able to tailor your desserts to the tastes of your guests or the spirit of a celebration. Whether the table is lit by tapers and laid with your best silver or you are serving a few friends Sunday supper in the kitchen, you will be able to create sophisticated mouthwatering desserts that your guests will remember for weeks to come.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (Oct. 16 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743287894
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743287890
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 19.3 x 2.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 816 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #798,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Roland Mesnier is the former Executive Pastry Chef of the White House. He developed the first professional pastry program in the Washington, D.C., area, at L'Académie de Cuisine, in Bethesda, Maryland. He is also the honorary president of the World Cup of Pastry, and every year L'Académie de Cuisine awards a scholarship in his name. He lives in Virginia.

Lauren Chattman, a former pastry chef, is the author of Instant Gratification, Cool Kitchen, and Mom's Big Book of Baking, among other cookbooks. She lives in Sag Harbor, New York.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book. Easy to follow. Aug. 29 2008
By C. Smith - Published on
I purchased this book after attending a cooking class that Mesnier had at a local cooking school I like to occasionaly visit. He was great. This book is just as a great. I'm not the best cook or anywhere near the best cook but the Cherry Trifle cake helped me when a cook-off at work for best Dessert. The American crust-less cheesecake is to die for; it even list sauces to top with -- fresh chunky strawberry sauce is my favorite. All I can say about this book is buy it, buy it, buy it.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Fabulous and Surprisingly Versatile Dec 9 2009
By jehren - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
So far I've tried the Hazelnut Dacquoise Cake, Coffee Genoise, and the Summertime Strawberry Cake. Mr. Mesnier layers recipe over recipe, which has actually enabled me to be more versatile. The hazelnut meringue cake layers can be made in smaller sizes for the best tasting cookies you've ever eaten, and you can stuff them with the sinfully delicious freezable chocolate mousse (the best I've ever had) and serve as "ice cream" sandwiches. The pastry cream for the Strawberry cake (without Grand Marnier)is perfect for eclair filling. Great instruction on how to make ganache and how to temper chocolate. I do have two suggestions for any who attempt many of the cakes in this book- there is A LOT of folding of ingredients. Do yourself a favor and buy a large folding spatula, and! try freezing your egg whites the day before and defrosting them to room temperature when ready to make your cake. A proper spatula and this nifty freezing trick will keep your batters or meringues from deflating. And I'm pretty sure that you'll want to have use of a stand mixer, bc some of these (cake) recipes will not be easy w/o it. Mr. Mesnier gives you a list of supplies at the beginning of the book, too. Everything I've made from this book has been exceptional.
Update: I thought I'd note for the vanilla custard sauce that goes into the hazelnut dacquoise cake- Messnier says that egg must be cooked up to 160 degrees to reach the safe zone, but I have found that in order for this sauce to thicken, it must reach about 180 degrees. Also, for the Summertime Strawberry Cake- do not try and fold the flour mix into the egg mixture while it's in the stand mixer bowl AND the flour should be added slowly (I sift small amounts at a time) and fold. Kind of tricky :)
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wanted more pictures Jan. 7 2008
By Lorraine Hooper - Published on
I have such respect for Mesnier as a pastry chef and am fascinated by the idea of his creating special desserts for all the special occasions at the white house. I was only disappointed that there were not more photos of his fabulous creations. This book has only 16 pictures. I craved much more visually.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly July 22 2008
By J. Strauss - Published on
In Roland Mesnier's Basic to Beautiful Cakes, Chef Mesnier offers a stunning selection of delicious and dependable cake recipes. From the basic but "Perfect Yellow Cake," to the more time intensive and skill demanding (but oh so worth it) "Mouse-filled Chocolate Soufflé Cake," each recipe guides you to a spectacular and delicious result. The "Peach and Spice Upside-Down Cake" is a truly a summertime gem. Alas, if only there were more color photos showcasing Chef Mesnier's breathtaking artistry...
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of pictures and clear explanations Sept. 18 2009
By Kerryann Kenney - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am a good cook but I am not a good baker. I learned about baking technique in this book and I appreciated how Mr. Mesnier took the time to explain why he chose which cake for a particular occasion. He also describes a cake and progresses through three versions of a similar recipe from simple to spectacular so you can vary it as your expertise grows. Lovely addition to my baking library. I have not used any recipes in this book but I plan too as he did not list too many recipes with obscure ingredients or complicated recipes. Many of these cakes seem possible for the novice baker. Also, as a White House Buff I appreciated the narrative of Roland Mesnier.

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