Irvin Lin’s first book has just been published and it’s definitely a keeper. I write “first book” because if this title is any indication of his abilities, there will be others in the works. Irvin writes the popular blog, Eat the Love and his debut cookbook, Marbled, Swirled, and Layered, is in a word – gorgeous. And the flavors in his Chocolate and Brown Sugar Buttercream Rolled Cake with Crushed Pistachios are divine.
In his book, Irvin shares 150 recipes and variations for artful bars, cookies, pies, cakes and more. I have made several recipes from Irvin’s blog which were totally delicious and I highly recommend his Turkey and Noodles recipe – so easy and so good and could be made for a weeknight supper given a little prep work in advance. Those noodles are everything – and are my go-to-homemade noodle recipe.
Smoky Butterscotch and Vanilla Cake, Rhubarb-White Chocolate Tart with Candied Kumquats, Rosemary Caramel and Dark Chocolate-Potato Chip Tart and Grapefruit and Earl Grey Bread are just a few examples of the unique recipes you will find in Irvin’s cookbook. Stunning photographs accompany the recipes and his directions are detailed and well thought-out.
Every turn of the page reveals yet another tempting treat that has me wishing for more hours in the day: Jumbo Arnold Palmer Cookies, Cinnamon Honey Bun Cookies and Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Butterscotch Layered Cookies are going on my holiday cookie list. And a perfect treat for fall are his Pumpkin S’mores with Maple-Brown Sugar Marshmallows and Dark Chocolate. Irvin offers multiple variations for recipes as well as valuable information such as the “importance of color,” ways to add color to our baked goods, including natural alternatives, details on starches, flours and more. Marbled, Swirled, and Layered is truly a comprehensive guide to help us deliver the wow factor with our baking.
I made the Chocolate and Brown Sugar Buttercream Rolled Cake with Crushed Pistachios because it looked like a showstopper and I wanted to challenge myself. There are multiple steps to this cake but it was relatively easy to create. I did make an error – I was rushing – I didn’t have the book in front of me – and I rolled the cake incorrectly. However, I did manage to pull it together and make it a fairly pretty dessert. Clearly, it was not as stunning as the version in Irvin’s book, but the flavors were delicious. I hoped to make it again but time ran out for me.
When I cut the four rectangles out, I somehow thought they were to be set up as four separate rolls. What I did to fix my mistake is used the cake that I cut off to even out the rectangle to decorate the top to disguise my mistake. What I was instructed to do was continue rolling the separate rectangles around each other in layers to end up showing that beautiful inner cross-section of a tree top.
There is a lesson in this as well – cooking and baking, while being necessities for our existence, are creative outlets. If something goes wrong, improvise – most everything is salvageable. I will definitely be making this dessert again very soon for the holidays. I did have one issue with the buttercream. Though I have made this style of buttercream several times without a problem, I believe my butter was too warm so it really never came together. This was easily remedied by adding some powdered sugar and it turned out fine.
I have the ingredients set out to make his Double-Chocolate Chunk Blondie Bars with Bourbon Ganache and will be making those in the next few days. While the book is full of interesting baked treats, there are some classic recipes such as Kouign Amann and Babka which are included with variations to change them up. Irvin has a gift with flavor combinations and for making the ordinary extraordinary.
If you love to bake or know someone who does, this is the book you will want to gift this season. Marbled, Swirled and Layered hits all my marks for a baking cookbook – unique, creative and beautiful and not a box mix recipe in the bunch!
- 1 cup (16 ounces or 170 g) chopped bittersweet chocolate
- 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- ¼ cup hot fresh brewed coffee
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- ½ cup (70 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 large eggs, separated
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 6 large egg whites
- 1 ½ cup (330 g) packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 ¼ cups (510 g or 4 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cool but not cold
- 1 ½ cups (210 g) chopped unsalted pistachios, divided (if you can only find salted nuts, omit the salt in the buttercream)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and coat a 12 x 17-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper and spray the parchment with cooking spray too.
- Place the chopped chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave again for 30 seconds. Stir until the chocolate is melted, heating the chocolate in additional 15-second intervals in the microwave if necessary.
- Add the shortening, coffee, vanilla, and almond extract (if using) to the warm chocolate. Stir until the shortening has melted and incorporated.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until the dry ingredients are absorbed.
- Let the batter cool until it is barely warm and then add the egg yolks. Mix with a whisk until blended and smooth.
- Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until soft peaks form.
- With the mixer still on, slowly sprinkle in the sugar and continue to whip until the whites become glossy.
- Add about a quarter of the egg whites to the cake batter and fold gently to lighten the batter.
- Add the rest of the egg whites in three batches, folding to incorporate completely before adding the next batch.
- Scrape the batter onto the prepared baking sheet and spread evenly.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake feels firm to the touch, 14 to 16 minutes. Let cool in the baking sheet for 30 minutes.
- Place the egg whites, brown sugar, and salt in the bowl of the stand mixer. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk by hand until the sugar and salt have dissolved and the temperature reaches 140°F (warm to the touch).
- Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.
- Reduce the speed to medium and beat for an additional 5 to 6 minutes, until the egg whites have cooled and are fluffy.
- Switch out the whisk attachment for the paddle attachment and turn the speed to medium-low. Add the butter 2 tablespoons at a time, waiting for it to incorporate before each addition.
- Once the butter has all been added, reduce the speed to low and beat for an additional 2 to 3 minutes to smooth the buttercream and get rid of any air bubbles.
- If the buttercream looks like it is broken (curdled or separated), raise the speed to medium-high and beat for a minute or two to bring it back together.
- Unroll the cake and place it with the long side facing you. Trim ½ inch off the edges on the left and right to make a proper rectangle.
- Cut the cake vertically in the center with a serrated knife, making two 8 x 12-inch rectangles.
- Cut each rectangle vertically in half again, to make four 4 x 12-inch rectangles.
- Spread about half the buttercream over the cake, making sure to evenly spread it across the cake to the edges.
- Sprinkle ½ cup of the pistachios over the frosting.
- Roll the first strip of cake by tucking the cake into the roll and continuing to roll tightly. Don’t be concerned if the cake cracks a bit in the beginning.
- Place the rolled cake upright in the middle of the serving platter so that the flat edge is facing up and you can see the spiral on top.
- Then take the second strip of cake and wrap it around the first rolled piece of cake.
- Continue with the third and fourth piece, wrapping the cake around in a spiral pattern. Once you’ve rolled all the cake, frost the outside of the cake with the remaining frosting, making sure to leave the top of the cake exposed for everyone to see.
- Sprinkle some of the remaining pistachios on top of the cake, to help cover up any big holes or gaps in the cake roll, and then gently press the remaining pistachios around the outside of the cake, over the frosting.
- Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 days, bringing to room temperature before serving.
Editor’s note: This recipe is printed courtesy of the publisher. The author of this review received a copy of the cookbook, Marbled, Swirled and Layered. No other compensation was received from the publisher. Links to the cookbook are affiliate links.
Many thanks to the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt who is sponsoring one copy of this wonderful cookbook for a giveaway, open to US residents only. Please check out the book on Amazon and leave a comment on the post – What dessert from Marbled, Swirled and Layered would you try first? – to enter. The rafflecopter has several options for earning more chances to win! The more you do, the better your chances. No purchase necessary. The winner will be notified by email. If the winner does not respond in 48 hours, an alternate winner will be selected.
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