If there’s a single cookbook that’s perfect for Mother’s Day—or for COVID-19 era baking, for that matter—it’s Amy Ho’s new Blooms and Baking: Add Aromatic, Floral Flavors to Cakes, Cookies, Candies and More (Page Street Publishing Co.).
Every single recipe features a floral element, from elderflower and orange blossom to lavender and lilac.
Ho, who's based in Vancouver and who's the founder of Constellation Inspiration, makes syrups out of wildflowers and brushes them on cakes or adds them to buttercream. She infuses ganache with finely ground dried flowers. And she lifts cakes to elegant new heights by steeping flowers in milk for batter. Baking with blooms is a way for Ho to make beautiful flowers last a little longer.
Even if you don’t pull off recipes like Whipped Cherry Blossom Ganache and Matcha Cream Puffs or Cherry Blossom Almond Layer Cake, you’ll want to have this gorgeous book to just pore over.
You’ll find recipes like Jasmine and Honey Éclairs, Chocolate Bundt Cake with Orange Blossom Ganache, Peach Galette with Lavender Whipped Cream, Rose Blossom Mochi, and Cherry Blossom Sablés. Every recipe is accompanied by at least one photo, if not many, all taken by Ho.
There’s a section dedicated to decoration tutorials and techniques, including how to adorn desserts with fresh flowers and how to make buttercream blossoms. Each tutorial features step-by-step photos and detailed explanations.
“I think once someone masters how to pipe the basic rose, those skills can be expanded to pipe other types of flowers like the ruffled peony or the ranunculus from silky buttercream,” Ho tells the Straight. “Each recipe and tutorial make my heart feel like it’s in full bloom, and I hope it makes every reader fall more in love with flowers as well.”
And while every recipe features a floral element, many can be made without. The Lavender Hot Chocolate Cupcakes recipe, for instance, makes a luscious treat even if you don’t have lavender handy. Same with the White and Dark Chocolate Cookies: the dough is a blank canvas for whatever other types of chocolate and ingredients people have on hand or want to experiment with.
“Many of the recipes can be easily turned into small-batch, freezer-friendly recipes,” Ho says. “Those chocolate-cookie dough balls can be easily frozen and baked off at a later time when a cookie craving hits. Any baked, unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen and thawed and decorated at a later date as well. Most of the cookie recipes have a very freezer-friendly dough.”
See here for Ho's recipe for Jasmine and Vanilla Bundt Cake.