Cecilia came from a fine dining background, and Little Flower’s dishes are more homey, less refined. How do your baking styles complement each other?
CM: Cecilia definitely had a fancy aesthetic when she first came to Little Flower. She was used to doing plated desserts in high-end restaurants, and I am a rustic baker. Over the five years we’ve worked together, we’ve really met each other in the middle. I mess up her hair, and she straightens my jacket. It’s a kind of balance. We’ve found a great appreciation for each other’s training.
CL: Our Milk and Honey Cake and the Buckwheat Sablé exemplify the combination of our two styles the best. Both recipes merge what we love about pastries with our food knowledge. Even the process and synergy in developing these two recipes gave us the feeling “Yes, this is it! This is what I crave to eat.”
What prompted you to write a cookbook?
CM: In 2014, I opened up another restaurant, called Lincoln, that’s a lot bigger than Little Flower, and it’s been wildly popular and incredibly busy. I thought before we get on this wild ride and crazy train of opening a new restaurant, I really want to honor all the work that we’ve done in the last eight years at Little Flower. It’s like finishing a baby book before the next baby comes. You know you really need to put it all together to remember it as it is.
CL: We are the neighborhood gem. We have our regulars who come in every day. We know what they want the moment they walk through the door. From that process, we knew we wanted to do a baking book. As the café grew and as we expanded our repertoire in baking, we realized that we had over 150 recipes just for baking. The book grew by 50% during the planning stages because we love all our recipes so much.
How would you like Little Flower Baking to inspire those who bake from it?
CM: I hope that people cook their way through the book. As a professional baker, you want the person buying your book to feel like they can do exactly what you’re doing. With my first book, Little Flower: Recipes from the Café (Prospect Park Books, 2012), the most rewarding feedback was when a woman was crying in my arms saying she got her confidence back with cooking because the recipes were so accessible and so doable. All home bakers ever want is a good recipe.