Pure Artistry Cook­book: Gluten-free and Ve­gan Cakes


De­light in­ter­views Emily Lael Au­miller of Lael Cakes based in Brook­lyn, NY about her new cook­book, Pure Artistry, and mak­ing beau­ti­ful gluten- and ve­gan-free cakes at home.

PURE ARTISTRY: Ex­tra­or­di­nary Ve­gan and Gluten-free Cakes is the lat­est cre­ation from Emily Lael Au­miller, of Lael Cakes based in Brook­lyn, NY. It is part in­tro­duc­tion to gluten-free and ve­gan bak­ing, part cook­book, and part jaw-drop­ping cof­fee ta­ble book fea­tur­ing swoon-wor­thy cakes. The fin­ished cakes are or­ga­nized by mood­clas­si­cal, clas­si­cal whimsy, modern and modern whimsy. There are step-by-step in­struc­tions for cre­at­ing these beau­ti­ful and awe-in­spir­ing desserts.

DGF: Con­grat­u­la­tions on the new book. It’s beau­ti­ful. The photos look like some­thing you might see on a cook­ing show or in a mag­a­zine. Are they re­ally pos­si­ble to cre­ate at home?

Emily: Thank you! It was im­por­tant for me to share ev­ery­thing from bak­ing tech­niques, as­sem­bling a tiered cake, as well as many dif­fer­ent dec­o­rat­ing as­pects from sim­ple to more de­tailed de­signs. This way any­one can cre­ate a beau­ti­ful cake no mat­ter where your bak­ing skill set may be. DGF: What is your back­ground? Did you study art? How did you get started?

Emily: Be­fore my jour­ney in pas­try, I stud­ied fine arts, mainly sculp­ture. When I went to pas­try school I thought I was mak­ing a dras­tic ca­reer change, un­til I dis­cov­ered sugar and cho­co­late

sculp­ture! All of what I gained in sculp­ture I use to­day. Only now I use sugar in­stead of clay and dust in­stead of glaze.

DGF: How is gluten-free and ve­gan bak­ing dif­fer­ent than us­ing stan­dard flour and other in­gre­di­ents like milk and eggs? Does the bat­ter be­have dif­fer­ently? Is dec­o­rat­ing them any dif­fer­ent?

Emily: Bak­ing with al­ter­na­tive in­gre­di­ents can be in­tim­i­dat­ing at first, but in many ways the mix­ing process is less com­pli­cated. For in­stance, you don’t have to worry about over cream­ing your sugar, but­ter and eggs or mix­ing your bat­ter too long so the gluten doesn’t get tough. The cakes and ic­ings will be more frag­ile—by tak­ing ex­tra steps like let­ting your freshly baked cakes rest over night be­fore as­sem­bling them or toss­ing them in the fridge af­ter you pipe your lay­ers of ic­ing can make the world of dif­fer­ence.

DGF: You have sev­eral recipes for cake in the book. Which do you think would be best for a be­gin­ner?

Emily: I would rec­om­mend start­ing with the vanilla bean cake and ic­ing. It’s like the mother recipes. Once you get them down, you’ll be able to play around with dif­fer­ent twists of in­gre­di­ents and fla­vors. DGF: What are some com­mon pit­falls that gluten-free bak­ers should avoid?

Emily: One of the largest mis­takes I see bak­ers make is only use one type of gluten-free flour, such as al­mond, co­conut or gar­banzo bean, which will make your cakes dry with a grainy tex­ture. I like to mix a mul­ti­tude of gluten-free flours to mir­ror, as close as pos­si­ble, a reg­u­lar bak­ing flour. I in­clude my fa­vorite recipe in the book! Some of my other tips in­clude: the im­por­tance of not over bak­ing your desserts and al­low­ing them to rest over night to set. This will give you a ten­der, moist crumb that is ideal for cake!

DGF: You use lots of dif­fer­ent dec­o­rat­ing tech­niques us­ing royal ic­ing, fon­dant, sugar paste, marzi­pan and ganache. How do you de­ter­mine which ic­ings to use in which sit­u­a­tions?

Emily: Each of these ic­ings has a very spe­cific pur­pose. I in­clude in de­tail in the book not only how to make and use them but also the im­por­tance of keep­ing them over time. For in­stance, royal ic­ing is a great ma­te­rial for pip­ing de­tails or us­ing it as a glue to at­tach sugar paste dec­o­ra­tions on a fon­dant cake be­cause it dries out quickly with a hard shell. For this same rea­son, it’s not best used as a fill­ing or to cover an en­tire cake with. DGF: Any other tips for cre­at­ing pro­fes­sional-look­ing cakes at home?

Emily: It’s key to fol­low the guide­lines for bak­ing and dec­o­rat­ing tech­niques but don’t take it too se­ri­ously—af­ter all it is cake! This book is meant to give in­struc­tion as well as in­spi­ra­tion to en­cour­age a bal­ance of pre­ci­sion and ease. Not one recipe or de­sign is go­ing to look iden­ti­cal to one an­other. Don’t worry about mak­ing ev­ery­thing per­fect. Im­per­fec­tion and in­di­vid­u­al­ity will make your cakes stand out, and you’ll have more fun in the process! A great dessert should tell a story and that’s al­ways what I try and do.<

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