The Artful Baker: Extraordinary Desserts From an Obsessive Home Baker by Cenk Sonmezsoy

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Lime & ginger cookies

    • Jane on February 18, 2020

      A simple cookie with clean, fresh taste from the ginger and lime. It's not my favorite kind of cookie (no nuts or chocolate!) but of its type, it is a good cookie. Cenk claims the cookies retain their crispness and flavor for months but mine didn't last that long.

    • martinhenry on December 19, 2018

      These cookies have tremendous flavor, as do all of Cenk's recipes. I had hoped that they were more shortbread-like, but they turned out a bit greasy for my taste. However, my friends devoured them.

  • Chocolate cheesecake

    • Jane on November 13, 2017

      A lovely though very rich cheesecake, great for a dinner party if following a light main course. I did follow his instructions and make the cookie crumbs though I’m not sure how much different they were than bought cookies. It’s a dense cheesecake with a strong chocolate flavor - some people at the dinner didn’t realize it was a cheesecake. I used Valrhona 64% Manjari rather than his suggested 70% which would have been even more chocolatey.

  • Raspberry, white chocolate & yogurt tart

    • Jane on January 01, 2018

      Lovely dessert, both delicious and pretty. Creamy tangy sweet tart filling topped with raspberries. Pastry is also great. A repeater - and he suggests other fruits so it’s a good year-round recipe.

    • anya_sf on September 06, 2019

      I made half the recipe in 7" tart pan. It was fairly easy to make and turned out perfectly. The white chocolate and yogurt filling may be a new favorite - just delicious with the almond pastry and raspberries. 2% Greek yogurt worked fine in the filling.

  • Brownies my way

    • marymc on January 27, 2018

      Overall very rich chocolate flavor with a dense, moist and fudgy crumb. Actually a bit more fudgy than I care for.

  • Sour cherry & almond upside-down cake

    • TrishaCP on June 25, 2018

      This cake is delicious. I was worried about the amount of fat in the batter (10 tablespoons of butter plus almond flour), but it was moist and not at all greasy. I needed 10 minutes more of baking time so that the center of my cake was cooked through. Even so, my cherries weren't as dark as in the picture.

    • martinhenry on December 19, 2018

      I assume that Cenk was using darker sour cherries that he has available in Turkey. The montmorency (or balaton if you're lucky) that we get from Michigan are much lighter in color, but still amazingly flavorful. This cake is a bit of a revelation. I adore sour cherries, but don't always have time to make pie. This cake is so simple, and comes together in a (relative) flash. I added 1/4 tsp of almond extract the second time I made this cake, and I really liked the ever-so-slight flavor it added.

  • Deeply appley apple cake

    • chawkins on November 29, 2019

      Deeply disappointed with this cake. Mind you, it is an excellent cake, moist and nicely spiced but just not as appley as I expected it to be. It is just a glorified apple sauce cake. I probably did not reduce my apple mixture enough because I had quite a bit left over and I used honey crisp apples. None the less, I'm happy I tried this recipe, it allowed me to use my latest thrift store find, a Nordic Heritage bundt pan for $5. ETA: the leftover apple sauce was absolutely delicious, no need to add sweetener, just wonderful.

    • sberes on September 20, 2019

      A little bit of a project. I used a tart apple from New York. The batter before the addition of flour tastes amazing. It lost a bit of apple flavor during the bake. We had a piece still warm and the crumb is amazing. I baked it 45 minutes. My family gave it 5 stars but I give it 4. I will make again but I would definitely bake the purée longer this time. I baked 45 minutes and although it looked like stiff whipped cream I had about double the amount of purée left over. I wonder/ hope it would make a difference in the amount of apple flavor once baked

    • martinhenry on December 19, 2018

      To be completely honest, this cake takes a lot of work: primarily with cooking down the apples. However, if you use very flavorful (and tart) apples, the resulting cake is absolutely enchanting and appley. My friends were first wondering about the flavor of the cake, then they took a bite immediately hit with the intense apple notes. Next time I'd top this with an apple cider caramel sauce.

  • Roasted strawberry ice cream

    • sberes on September 22, 2019

      Roasted strawberry ice cream - The Artful Baker ebook. So amazing. 10 stars - is there such a thing. The ice cream was smooth, creamy, and the caramelized pieces were the perfect slightly tart complement. It was the best strawberry ice cream I’ve ever tasted. P.S. not real sweet.

    • anya_sf on October 13, 2019

      This was the best strawberry ice cream I have ever made - so creamy despite having only one cup of cream, and excellent strawberry flavor. Note that this recipe makes 1.25 quarts, which slightly exceeded the capacity of my ice cream maker.

    • Twysbeek on June 12, 2021

      The roasted strawberry chunks are so good. It is a very strawberry intense ice cream. Good, I would definitely do the roasted berries again. Not honestly a big fan of strawberry ice cream in general, and this was a whole lot of steps. I would likely utilize the roasted strawberries in an another recipe next time. I made this in April, not peak strawberry season.

  • Cocoa short tart dough

    • Zosia on February 15, 2020

      Great recipe. Good chocolate flavour, not too sweet and baked without cracking. I appreciate that the author tells you how much dough is required for different tart pans; I made .75 of the recipe for a rectangular tart pan.

  • Dulce de leche brownies

    • Zosia on June 14, 2018

      This is a variation of the book's classic brownies, an extra chocolatey, fudgy brownie with pockets of gooey dulce de leche. Fabulous (even though I cheated and used store bought dulce de leche).

  • Hazelnut & caramel cookies

    • Zosia on January 04, 2018

      I love hazelnuts so it's no surprise that I loved these cookies that comprised toasted hazelnuts in caramel supported by a tender shortbread base. I did have an issue with some of the cream mixture running off and baking onto the cookie sheet. The author addresses this and mentions cookie spread preventing this; mine didn't spread so I wonder if allowing the cookies to warm a little from the freezer before baking may help.

  • Banana walnut muffins

    • Zosia on April 28, 2020

      These had great banana flavour, the crumb was tender even made with whole wheat all purpose and pastry flours (half each) and we loved the crunch of the toasted walnuts on top. Bake time was 23 minutes in my oven. I omitted the coconut.

    • anya_sf on September 14, 2019

      White whole wheat flour worked well instead of all-purpose. I just greased the muffin tins with cooking spray (didn't flour them) and the muffins didn't stick at all. After 27 minutes in the oven, they were already a little overdone, so check early. The muffins tasted delicious, although sweeter I'd usually make. I loved the coconut.

  • Chocolate & salted caramel tart

    • Zosia on February 15, 2020

      Very rich and decadent. The filling was equal parts caramel and chocolate ganache, a ratio I haven't seen in my other recipes of this type. That ended up being a little problematic as the caramel oozed out and made the tart difficult/messy to eat. Flavour was excellent though.

  • Green apple pectin stock

    • mamacrumbcake on August 14, 2020

      This worked out really well in the Raspberry Jewel Pluot Jam. However, unless you have a ready supply of green apples (like your own tree) I don’t think it makes sense to make your own pectin. Apples are expensive.

  • Raspberry jewel pluot jam

    • mamacrumbcake on August 14, 2020

      Delicious jam with gorgeous color and bright, fruity flavor.

  • Double chocolate bundt cake

    • stpbcyld50 on July 31, 2020

      Good flavor, crusty on the outside and dense. Very brownie like

    • bwhip on November 21, 2017

      Oh my goodness, this cake is exceptional! Deep, dark, rich, VERY chocolate. Wonderful crumb, and a nice crispy edge. Perfection.

    • anya_sf on September 21, 2019

      My bundt pan is dark-colored, so I should have reduced the oven temperature by 25 degrees, but didn't. The edges of the cake overbaked before the center was done, so the cake ended up a bit dry. Nevertheless, the flavor was very good. The glaze is applied when warm and very runny, so I scraped up the excess and poured over a second coat. Coverage was still fairly thin, but adequate. There was a lot of extra glaze. We enjoyed the deep chocolate flavor of this cake.

  • Three-bean vanilla bundt cake

    • bwhip on January 23, 2018

      For some reason this recipe appealed to me, despite the fact that I really don't like white chocolate, which is one of the ingredients. I do, however, like strong, pure vanilla flavor, and because we always seem to eat chocolate-centric cakes, the simplicity of a vanilla cake appealed to me as a nice alternative. This turned out great, with really wonderful flavor for days.

  • Classic brownies

    • bwhip on October 26, 2017

      First recipe I've tried from this book, which looks absolutely fantastic. The brownies were wonderful! Some of the best we've ever tried (and we eat a lot of brownies :) ). Nice crispy edges, flaky top, and a dense and fudgy interior with deep, dark chocolate flavor. Excellent! Looking forward to trying many more recipes from this wonderful book.

  • Orange & poppy seed olive oil cake

    • anya_sf on September 07, 2019

      A lovely, moist, tender cake. I loved the combination of orange, almond, and poppy seed. The olive oil flavor wasn't particularly noticeable. My orange only yielded 1/4 c. juice, so I made less glaze, but it seemed like enough. Unlike some other loaf cakes, this glaze merely coats the outside of the cake, rather than seeping into it.

  • Tomato confit & pesto quiche

    • anya_sf on September 08, 2019

      My tomatoes were smaller and falling apart, so I used more of them. In the pesto, I substituted almonds for pine nuts. The pesto was fairly dry, which was good with all the oil/cream/butter in the other components. I needed to prebake the crust an extra 10 minutes covered and an extra 5 minutes uncovered, but that could be because my quiche pan was ceramic. With a rather thin amount of filling and not much egg, I'd call this more of a tart than a quiche, but regardless, we absolutely loved it. The crust was tender and flaky and the flavor of the filling was divine.

  • Rosemary & sea salt focaccia

    • anya_sf on July 23, 2020

      I've tried several focaccia recipes recently and this one strikes a good balance of being relatively quick to make (i.e., done in half a workday) and having great texture and flavor. After folding the dough after the first rise, I had to wait nearly 40 minutes before I could stretch the dough completely, but otherwise the recipe worked perfectly.

  • Whole-wheat & kefir Pullman loaf

    • anya_sf on September 15, 2019

      This bread was easy to make by hand, but does require the special Pullman loaf pan. In my 70-degree kitchen, the second rise took closer to 2 hours. My loaf baked in 50 minutes. It had a close texture, making it easy to slice, and tasted hearty but not heavy (reminiscent of Eli's Health bread). We used it for smoked salmon and avocado tartines, and also enjoyed it simply toasted with butter and/or jam.

  • Eton mess

    • anya_sf on September 22, 2019

      I'm not sure if I did something wrong - I'm not an expert with meringue or jam. I thought the meringue was done after the stated baking time, but discovered when I started assembling the dessert that it was not dry in the center. I used the dry edge pieces, but couldn't make the dessert look very nice. The strawberry syrup cooked very quickly, so the temperature got too high and it hardened. I ended up just mixing the meringue shards, berries, cream, and almonds together, so this dessert was truly a mess. It did taste good though.

  • Flaky pie dough

    • anya_sf on September 08, 2019

      I needed the full amount of water for the dough to come together. Rolling the crust between parchment sheets was a bit awkward, partly because my parchment sheets are precut for a half sheet pan and the crust needs to be rolled wider than the narrow edge. The dough started to stick to the parchment, but I managed. My quiche pan was ceramic so I didn't do the freezing and trimming the edges step (and the edges were thick enough already), just trimmed them slightly above the pan rim, then froze for 20 min before baking. I had to bake the crust an extra 10 minutes covered and an extra 5 minutes uncovered, but it turned out great for the quiche: tender and flaky, no soggy bottom.

  • Tomato confit

    • anya_sf on September 08, 2019

      I skipped the thyme. My tomatoes were very ripe, and after 2 hours in the oven, they were totally falling apart and didn't really hold their shape at all. I was too lazy to baste with olive oil, which I think was fine since I used them in the quiche, but I'd do it if I were serving them differently. The tomato oil made a delicious vinaigrette.

  • Pesto

    • anya_sf on September 08, 2019

      This is a fairly standard pesto recipe, albeit on the dry side, which I prefer as one can always add more oil to taste. I didn't have pine nuts, so I substituted almonds. The food processor method worked well.

  • Almond short tart dough

    • anya_sf on September 08, 2019

      Easy to make, although I had to add a bit of water for the dough to come together.

  • Blackberry swirl frozen yogurt

    • anya_sf on February 22, 2020

      Fage 5% Greek yogurt worked well. Watch the sugar carefully, as it melts very quickly; the first time I made caramel and had to start again. To me, there didn't seem like there'd be enough blackberry swirl (the best part, right?), so I doubled it, but actually that was a mistake since the yogurt flavor was lovely, the tartness needed to balance the intense sweetness of the blackberry jam. The texture was quite smooth and creamy.

  • Isabella grape & kefir ice cream

    • anya_sf on January 22, 2020

      This is more like sherbet, or almost sorbet, than ice cream, as there is much more grape juice+sugar than kefir. I used Concord grapes since we don't get Isabella grapes here. The ice cream was fairly smooth in texture and tasted a lot like your standard purple grape juice (not too surprising, since that's typically made from Concord grapes). The kefir added a hint of creaminess and balanced the sweetness a little.

  • Crispy-chewy oatmeal walnut cookies

    • BasicStock on February 11, 2018

      One could do a Phd on the variations possible to an oatmeal cookie recipe with varying the ratios of butter, sugar, flour and oats. These are mostly oats and not too sweet, with a nice crispness and yet some chewiness. I reduced the walnuts to 2 cups and added 1 cup of raisins. Think I will try the recipe with a larger addition of raisins, their sweetness works well with the less sweet dough and they would add a interesting dimension of chewiness. A stellar cookie recipe.

    • JulieCruz on September 06, 2019

      The texture is great, just the right amount of chew. Definitely not a sweet cookie which allows the toasted walnut flavor to shine. I didn’t go as dark as Cenk suggested on the walnuts but I did push my normal toasting level a bit. Not a disappointment but I probably won’t make again.

  • Salted caramel ice cream

    • pattyatbryce on May 12, 2021

      Excellent ice cream. The custard didn't taste salty, but the overnight rest and addition of the caramels made the whole thing come out perfect. Don't skip the step of adding the caramels. They take this from good to great.

  • Salted butter caramels

    • pattyatbryce on May 12, 2021

      These came out great. They were wonderful in the salted caramel ice cream from this book or just on their own.

  • Cenk's house cookies

    • Mtetpon on November 13, 2019

      I really loved these cookies. A nice crunch.

  • Passion fruit caramels

    • Xyz123 on March 08, 2021

      I grow my own lilikoi and so I know how tart they can be, but this recipe was incredibly tart. Worse than a lemon drop. I didn’t care for it.

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Reviews about this book

  • Eat Your Books by Jenny Hartin

    Stunning isn't an adequate descriptor of this book - it is beyond extraordinary.

    Full review
  • Eat the Love

    The cookbook itself is stunning, with recipes that are as vibrant as his photography. The Triple Raspberry & Lemon Birthday Cake is a delightfully vivid while the cover cake

    Full review
  • Food52

    Over the past 12 years, Sönmezsoy has gone from learning cake baking basics to crafting extraordinary macarons, simits, and tarts, sharing his creations online, and, now, in his latest cookbook...

    Full review
  • Real Baking with Rose Levy Beranbaum

    Cenk is one of the most original authors whose work I have ever encountered. Even the way he places raspberries on a tart is unique...

    Full review
  • ISBN 10 1419726498
  • ISBN 13 9781419726491
  • Published Oct 17 2017
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 412
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Abrams

Publishers Text

A collection of more than 100 extraordinary desserts—all with photos and meticulous instructions—by Cenk Sönmezsoy, creator of the internationally acclaimed blog Cafe Fernando. Written, styled, photographed, and designed by Cenk Sönmezsoy, The Artful Baker shares the inspiring story of a passionate home baker, beginning with his years after graduate school in San Francisco and showcasing the fruits of a baking obsession he cultivated after returning home to Istanbul. Sönmezsoy’s stories and uniquely styled images, together with his original creations and fresh take on traditional recipes, offer a thoughtful and emotional window into the life of this luminary artist.