Yes, this is the same Clair Ptak who created the beautiful and had-to-be-delicious Lemon and Elderflower Royal Wedding Cake for the wedding of Meghan Markle to Prince Harry. And, yes, this is the wonderful cookbook for her popular East London destination, the Violet Bakery.
The video below is of the Claire Ptak meeting with the media on the Friday before the Royal Wedding as she is making THE cake, made with 200 Amalfi lemons, 500 organic eggs from Suffolk, 44 pounds of butter, 44 pounds of flour, 44 pounds of sugar, and 10 bottles of elderflower cordial, made from the elderflower that grows at The Queen's residence in Sandringham. The cake was decorated with fresh flowers, including three kinds of peonies, a favorite of the bride. Below the video is a photo of Claire's finished work of art for the bride and groom.
And, here is what Meghan Markle wrote about The Violet Bakery Cookbook when it was first published and she was writing her lifestyle blog, before she met Prince Harry on a blind date:
“Pastry Chef Claire Ptak has hit the nail on the head with her London bakery serving up delightful treats that have garnered a cult following (in that ever so civilized British way) in the UK and beyond.”
— Meghan Markle, The Tig
This is design-forward cookbook for sweet and savory baked goods from The Violet Bakery that focuses on quality ingredients, seasonality, and taste — you can hear Claire in the above video say that Meghan and Harry share those same interests — (as opposed to just science) as the keys to creating satisfying, delightful homemade pastries, tarts, sweets, and more.
The Violet is a jewel box of a cake shop and café in Hackney, east London. The baking is done with simple ingredients including whole grain flours, less refined sugars, and the natural sweetness and nuanced hues of seasonal fruits.
Everything is made in an open kitchen for people to see. Famed for its exquisite baked goods, Violet has become a destination.
Owner Claire Ptak uses her Californian sensibility to create recipes that are both nourishing and indulgent. With a careful eye to taste and using the purest ingredients, she has created the most flavorful iterations of classic cakes, as well as new treats for modern palates.
The Violet Bakery Cookbook features more than 100 recipes for nourishing breakfasts, midday snacks, desserts to share, fruit preserves, and stylish celebration cakes. And it also features recipes that are gluten-free, vegan, and made with foraged ingredients,
This must-have addition to your cookbook collection is divided into sweet and savory sections, and fans of the Violet Bakery will find their favorites between the two covers: recipes for biscuits, cinnamon rolls, deep dark chocolate butterscotch brownies, and several showstoppers, including a chocolate soufflé cake.
The Violet Bakery Cookbook is about making baking worth it: simple to cook and satisfying to eat. Heaven on Earth!
WHAT FOLKS ARE SAYING:
“Unlike so many baking and pastry books, which are merely eye candy, this one includes nourishing and intriguing recipes like Loganberry and Geranium Jam; Sweet Potato, Coconut, Date and Rye Muffins; and Roasted Quince. Its homespun aesthetic will make this a fixture on your kitchen counter.”
— Georgia Pellegrini, The Wall Street Journal
“Ms. Ptak, a pastry chef who once worked at Chez Panisse, applies a modern, seasonal and decidedly Californian sensibility to the proper British baked goods in her London bakery. […] They are just the kind of intriguing yet unfussy sweets I can see making all year long as the different ingredients come in and out of season.”
— Melissa Clark, New York Times
Claire is one of my all-time favorite cake-makers, and all her baking is seasonal, beautiful, achievable, real, and of course, totally delicious.”
— Jamie Oliver
“…I found Claire Ptak’s new book, The Violet Bakery Cookbook, to be a breath of fresh air. Claire’s philosophy? Flavor first, without exception. Yes, she offers recipes that are gluten-free, vegan, and made with foraged ingredients, but her book doesn’t fit any one of these schools of thought. Claire bakes for flavor.”
-Meredith Swinehart, Gardenista
MEET CLAIRE PTAK:
Claire Ptak, a California native, worked as a pastry chef for Alice Waters at Chez Panisse before moving to London. She staged in restaurants including Moro and St. John before starting Violet, her cake stall on Broadway Market. Claire opened the Violet bakery in 2010. Claire is also a food writer and stylist whose work includes Ottolenghi’s Guardian column, as well as writing for Observer Food Monthly, Jamie Magazine, Kinfolk, and Vogue. She has written three cookbooks.