07 October 2017

Review: The Artful Baker by Cenk Sonmezsoy

Review: The Artful Baker by Cenk SonmezsoyIt's the dream of many a food blogger to someday catch the attention of a publishing company and write a cookbook. That's the quick story of Cenk Sonmezsoy, who went from food blogger at Cafe Fernando to author of The Artful Baker (Abrams Books), which will be in stores on October 17.

Of course Sonmezsoy's story is more complicated and interesting than that. First, he was not a kid who grew up dreaming of becoming a baker, and second, he's worked long and hard to gain the recognition he clearly deserves.

Thanks to the good people at Abrams and my participation in the Abrams Dinner Party, I've had a chance to look through (and bake from) this amazingly gorgeous cookbook. The Artful Baker is perfectly titled: The book is printed on heavy, semi-gloss paper and is full of stunning photographs that show off the beauty of Sonmezsoy's baked goods and phenomenal photography skills (see the lacy brownies and picture-perfect tart--photos are from the book).

Review: The Artful Baker by Cenk SonmezsoyI freely admit that my first reaction was, I'm way too lazy to bake from this book. Good thing I decided to give The Artful Baker a chance because the recipes are absolutely doable in your home kitchen. If you're lacking confidence, then take a moment to read the introduction, in which Sonmezsoy will convince you that homemade croissants can indeed find their way to your breakfast table. Then turn to the final chapter to learn about ingredients and equipment.

Although I'm sure my chocolate cake wouldn't be as pretty as the one shown on the cover of The Artful Baker, I'm positive I could successfully bake that cake and that it would be delicious. I have a ton of recipes marked to try: hazelnut and caramel cookies, pistachio decked brownies, sour cherry and almond upside down cake, roasted strawberry ice cream, and triple raspberry and lemon cake.

Review: The Artful Baker by Cenk SonmezsoyI think I'm going to have to amp up my exercise routine because I truly could bake my way through this entire book.

The recipes themselves are easy to follow and include both standard measures and weights. So far, I haven't found any inaccessible ingredients, even in my small town. I love that each recipe in The Artful Baker includes storage advice, so you know whether you need to refrigerate leftovers and whether you can bake ahead. I also enjoyed reading the recipe introductions, learning about the origin of a dessert or discovering more about Sonmezsoy himself.

So far, I made the rosemary and sea salt focaccia and the orange and poppy seed olive oil cake (really a loaf). Both were excellent and I plan to make them again. (Photos are mine--clearly I need to add variety to my food photo setups!)

Review: The Artful Baker by Cenk SonmezsoyWhatever your skill level, I think you'll find something yummy to bake from Cenk Sonmezsoy's The Artful Baker. You might make the savory whole wheat Pullman bread or the tomato tart or you might turn right to the brownie and cookie chapter. In either case, don't forget to check out the back of the book, where you'll find family-friendly drinks, jams, and master recipes.

The Artful Baker would make a wonderful holiday gift for your favorite baker, but don't forget to buy a second book for yourself too. My own copy is going in my permanent collection . . . just as soon as I bake all those recipes I've flagged.

Review: The Artful Baker by Cenk SonmezsoyIf you're a fan of Sonmezsoy's Cafe Fernando blog, you may be wondering if the Artful Baker contains anything you haven't seen before. I can assure you almost all the recipes are new, with the exception of a few updated all-time favorites. If you're unfamiliar with Sonmezsoy's writing style and masterful photography, be sure to visit his blog, where you can also find some great recipes.

NOTE: Mr. Linky sometimes is mean and will give you an error message. He's usually wrong and your link went through just fine the first time. Grrrr.

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Mae Travels 10/7/17, 6:22 AM  

Somehow you manage not to be jaded, and to keep loving one new cookbook after another! Your list of recipes here is intriguing, with new flavor combinations and maybe new techniques or old techniques applied in new ways -- roasted strawberries? raspberries with lemon? pistachio with chocolate? I hope you follow up with the news of how these taste when you go through your "to try" list.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

rhapsodyinbooks 10/7/17, 6:59 AM  

My recipes never look as good as the pictures do, but if they taste good, I don't care. Too much...!!!

(Diane) bookchickdi 10/7/17, 7:44 AM  

I was thinking as I was reading your review, "this would make a great Christmas gift for a baker I know", and then you said the same thing. I'll be buying this one.

Jackie McGuinness 10/7/17, 7:55 AM  

HMMM I'm off to check out his blog!

bermudaonion 10/7/17, 8:23 AM  

I'm not familiar with his blog but am going to check it out. His food looks gorgeous and sounds delicious!

Louise 10/7/17, 8:52 AM  

It looks a lovely book, but I haven't baked anything much in years... One day again maybe. Baking books are depressing/useless when not written for the home baker- a sad state of being for most of us. I'm trying not to buy that many cookbooks at the moment (and indeed trying to downsize them), they're often so pretty but they do take up a lot of room, and there are more than enough recipes online these days.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 10/7/17, 9:00 AM  

My niece is an artful baker and I so admire her work. Perhaps this book would help me.

Linda 10/7/17, 1:13 PM  

My first time linking up and I made a mistake. I entered a link and it said, Internal error, so entered again with same message. Yikes my link is there 3 times and I can't find a way to delete a couple of them. Sorry about that. I'm glad to have found your site and will be following along.

Claudia 10/7/17, 1:31 PM  

Looks like a book I'll give a "hint..hint...hint" about, somehow without looking too desperate. I wonder if any of his ever landed on the floor? And BTW Louise, that's what I love about our corner bookshop. I can go in an get books "free" after I've turned in a bunch.:)

Deb in Hawaii 10/7/17, 1:50 PM  

Great review! I can think of several people that this would make a great gift for. I am especially loving those Lacy Brownies--such a cool way to decorate them. ;-)

Linda 10/7/17, 5:04 PM  

Thanks for deleting my duplicate links.

Molly 10/7/17, 9:32 PM  

I'm ready to get back into the kitchen and release some creative energy. Baking is my favorite - and both the recipes you tried sound WONDERFUL! I will add this book to my Christmas List (and if my husband knows he could benefit ... I'm more certain to receive it)

Laurie C 10/15/17, 1:13 PM  

Forgot to say, I chuckled at your photo set-up comment! It was funny how similar the photos were, even though taken at different times. They both look good, though!

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