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Cookbook review: Modern Art Desserts by Caitlin Freeman

Patricia Conte has a background in marketing communications and works as an independent writer. In 2010, she was given the opportunity to combine her love of writing and food when she started as a contributing writer for the Food channel...

Modern art desserts

This cookbook is filled with beautiful designs that take you from artists' creations to confectionery treats. Each recipe is its own work of art, and you can create a version to dig into and enjoy!
Masterpieces you can eat!
Modern art desserts

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A beautiful bite

If you love modern art, baking and desserts, this book will be right up your alley. Modern Art Desserts: Recipes for Cakes, Confections, and Frozen Treats Based on Iconic Works of Art, by Caitlin Freeman, is filled with beautiful creations that you can find on display as well as create yourself.

Caitlin Freeman is the pastry chef for Blue Bottle Coffee, which has a location in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). The recipes she includes in this cookbook are based on works of modern art from the SFMOMA by artists like Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse, Roy Lichtenstein, and others. Each recipe produces something colorful and artistic to admire, just like the original works she based them on but with one difference: Caitlin's creations are edible.

Inspired edibles

Who wouldn't love to devour a Diebenkorn (trifle), nibble on a Matisse (parfait), or dig into a Mondrian-inspired cake (which also graces the cover of this cookbook)? The desserts in Modern Art Desserts are special works of art themselves, and Caitlin provides step-by-step instructions for how you can replicate each.

Modern art desserts

There are 30 recipes in the book, including photos and detailed directions for how to create each masterpiece. You'll also find a curator's perspective alongside an image of the original artwork. You may need to bring your patience and steady hand to the kitchen when you're set to design one of these delectable desserts. Most are not assembled like your standard sweets, but with Caitlin's guidance and your love for creating confections, you'll find something that will take the cake.

Take a look at Caitlin's Diebenkorn Trifle from Modern Art Desserts, and the original artwork, Ocean Park #122 by Richard Diebenkorn.

Modern art desserts

About the Author

A self-taught baker, Caitlin Freeman is the pastry chef for Blue Bottle Coffee and a co-author of The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee. A longtime owner of the San Francisco cake and sweets shop Miette, Caitlin was inspired to bake by the confectionery paintings of Wayne Thiebaud. After selling Miette in 2008, she started the pastry program at Blue Bottle, creating small cookies and cakes to pair with coffee.

More cookbooks to try

Chloe's Vegan Desserts by Chloe Coscarelli
The Sprouted Kitchen by Sara Forte
In My Kitchen by Ted Allen

Reprinted with permission from Modern Art Desserts, by Caitlin Freeman, copyright © 2013
Photo credits: © 2013 Mondrian/Holtzman Trust (cover and Mondrian cake), Clay McLachlan © 2013 (trifle)
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