Book Review: “Layered” by Tessa Huff

Even though my husband and I have reached the empty nest stage I still love to bake. And Tessa Huff’s book “Layered” is the perfect cookbook for baking for two. My daughter was sweet enough to buy it for me. A number of recipes are for 6” pans which will produce cakes that we can consume in a shorter amount of time. The biggest problem I think I’m going to have with this book is deciding which recipe to try first.

Strawberries are my favorite food and the Strawberry Shortcake recipe is different from most I’ve seen because it’s made with chiffon cake and basil whipped cream. The Red Velvet Cake is also one of a kind, made with heritage frosting, which is not as sweet as the typical cream cheese frosting that’s so ubiquitous. Tessa also has a unique take on the French Opera Cake recipe, making it more user-friendly.


Tessa Huff encourages readers to be adventurous with flavor and texture. One of the flavors she loves to incorporate is that of tea, having three recipes using tea: Chocolate Matcha Cake, Sweet Tea Cake, and a most intriguing London Fog Cake. London Fog is an Earl Grey tea latte made with steamed milk and vanilla syrup and originated in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Other cakes I’m eager to try is the Gâteau aux Framboises, made with almond sponge cake, fresh raspberries and pistachio buttercream – yum! When I was growing up, my favorite cake was a mocha chiffon cake with mocha buttercream so the Espresso Walnut Cake is one that I will definitely make. Tessa uses espresso powder, which is also useful in enhancing the flavor of chocolate cakes.  And who says boozy doesn’t work with sweet in the Butterscotch Bourbon Cake recipe.

Her fruit-flavored cakes also sound so delicious: Mango Coconut Cream, Banana Cream, Lemony Carrot, Pecan Pear Crunch, and Bittersweet Chocolate Orange Spice. Tessa also introduces us to new flavors like Pink Peppercorn Cherry Cake and Yuzu Citrus Cake. Yuzu is an East Asian citrus which a cross-breed of lemon and mandarin orange.

Tessa Huff is a pastry chef raised in Hawaii. She opened a bake shop, Frosted Cake Shop, in Sacramento, California in 2008. She now lives in Vancouver with her husband and son. She was named one of the Better Homes and Gardens’ 2014 Best Baking Bloggers. She writes for her blog Style Sweet CA and she is a contributor to the Kitchn, the Cake Blog, Brit+Co., and Domino. She hopes that this book encourages readers to make their own cake creations.


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