Talk Food Festival: Gesine Bullock-Prado

Posted on Feb 11, 2014 11:45am

Pastry chef and author, Gesine Bullock-Prado, returned to The Talk with some decadent Valentine’s Day treats. She showed the ladies how to make a “Love on the Inside” Cake, Key Lime Conversation Heart Cheesecakes, Heart-Shaped Fudge Brownies and Pie Pops. Here are her recipes so you can get started baking for your loved ones!


Recipes courtesy of Gesine Bullock-Prado

Love on the Inside Cake 


for the cake

1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature

4 cups granulated sugar

10 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 cups, all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons baking powder

2 1/2 cups nonfat buttermilk

3 - 5 drops red food coloring

for the buttercream

10 egg whites

2 cups granulated sugar

pinch salt

1 1/2 pounds unsalted butter


for the cake

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick baking spray.  Spray a large tube pan or angel food pan with non-stick baking spray.  Set both aside

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light fluffy, about 5 - 10 minutes.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds between each addition.  Add the vanilla.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt and baking powder.  With the mixer on low, alternate additions of the flour mixture and the buttermilk.  Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure the batter is well mixed.

Transfer a third of the batter to a large mixing bowl.  Add the food coloring and stir well to incorporate.

Spread the red batter in an even layer in the prepared quarter sheet pan and bake until the cake is just barely done and feels firm when touched but doesn't spring back, 10 - 15 minutes.  Allow to cool completely and then place in the freezer for at least 1/2 hour before assembling the cake.

Put half the remaining plain batter in the bottom of the tube pan.  Using a 2 - 3 inch heart shaped cookie cutter, stamp out 14 to 15 hearts from the red cake.  Place the hearts in the tube pan, rounded side down into the batter, pointed end sticking up.  Press down gently to secure the heart.   Continue placing hearts in the batter, putting them as close together as you can.

Fill a large pastry bag with the remaining plain batter and pipe it into the tube pan, making sure to fill any hard to reach areas and covering the hearts completely.  Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and springs back when gently touched.  Allow to cool completely before turning out of the pan.

for the buttercream

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites, sugar and salt.  Constantly whisk the mixture over a bain marie until the sugar has completely dissolved and feels warm to the touch (it should reach 160º on a candy thermometer). 

Transfer the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high until the mixture quadruples in volume and the bowl is cool to the touch.

Add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, until the buttercream thickens and smooths out.  The icing may look as if it's starting to separate and appear chunky; this is perfectly normal.  Just walk away for a few minutes while the mixer does its work, and you'll come back to beautiful buttercream.

to assemble

Run a long, thin knife along the edge of the baking pan to release the cake.  Place a cake platter on top of the tube pan, face down, and filp the pan over.  Gently lift the pan off so the cake remains on the platter.

Coat the cake with a smooth layer of buttercream.  Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Heart-Shaped Fudge Brownies 

Makes 16 small heart brownies


1/2 cup organic, unrefined virgin coconut oil

1/2 cup natural shortening

1 cup vegan sugar

½ cup vegan light brown sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons Egg Replacer, mixed together with 2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoons flax meal, mixed together with 3 tablespoons water.  (Allow to sit until the mixture gels)

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, make sure it's vegan

¼ cup coffee

1 tablespoons vanilla bean paste (can substitute REAL vanilla extract)

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder


Preheat the oven to 325ºF.  Spray a 9 cavity heart mold with non-stick cooking spray and place on a sheet pan.  Set aside.

Whisk together the cocoa, all-purpose flour, salt and baking powder for 30 seconds to evenly distribute the leavening.  Sift the ingredients to insure there are no cocoa lumps remaining.  Set aside.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the coconut oil, shortening, vegan sugar, vegan brown sugar, coffee, vegan bittersweet chocolate and vanilla.  Stir continuously over low heat until the shortening, chocolate and sugars have completely melted.  Take from the heat, continue stirring for 30 seconds to dissipate some of the heat.

Add both the egg replacer mixture and the flax meal mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk on high until the two  are completely combined.  Lower the speed to medium and carefully pour the warm chocolate mixture into the beating egg replacements.  Continue beating on high for 30 seconds.

Turn the mixer off and add the flour mixture all at once.  Mix on medium-low until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated and the batter is shiny and smooth.

Fill the heart cavities 1/2 way up (you'll have batter left and will have to bake this in batches).

Bake on the top rack for 15-20 minutes or until the tops of the brownie have a fine sheen and a toothpick comes out of the brownie with moist crumbs and NOT slick batter.  Allow to cool completely.

Key Lime Conversation Heart Cheesecake  


For the crust:

4 graham crackers, crushed

1 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons melted butter

For the cheesecake batter:

One 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature

4 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup key lime juice

2 tablespoons flour

pinch salt

To finish

Red gel food dye


Preheat oven to 325ºF

Pulse together the graham crackers and sugar in a food processor until a fine powder forms.  Transfer to a small bowl and pour in the melted butter.  Stir until the mixture starts to clump.

Spray a non-stick, 8 heart cavity silicone mold with non-stick baker's spray.  Divide the crust ingredients among the cavities and press down to create an even layer.  Bake for 10 minutes and take from the oven and allow to cool.

Place a 9" x 13" baking pan filled with 1 inch of water in the preheated oven.

For the batter

Combine the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Mix on high until smooth.

Add eggs, one at a time, mixing in between additions, until smooth.  Add the key lime juice and stir.

Using a large rubber spatula fold in the flour and salt.  Tap the mixing bowl on your work surface a few times to release any large bubbles.

Divide the batter among the heart cavities.  

Carefully transfer the silicone mold to the baking pan with the water, being careful not to spill any batter or get any water into the cavities (the water should just reach half way up the sides of the sides of the mold.  (Alternatively, place the unfilled heart mold in the water bath and fill the cavities while the heart mold is in the oven, this keeps you from having to move it filled).

Bake for 20- 25 minutes at 325ºF, or until the hearts of just puffed.  Turn the oven off and open the doors slightly, leave the hearts inside the oven in the water bath and allow to cool, slowly, until completely set (about 2 hours).

Gently turn out the cheesecakes onto a piece of parchment.  Using a tiny paint brush, dip the brush into the dye and paint loving messages on the cakes.



Pie Pops 

for the dough

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small, 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 cup ice cold water

1 teaspoon lemon juice

for the filling

1/2 cup smooth jam

for the egg wash

1 egg whisked together with 2 tablespoons water

to finish

Sugar in the Raw


Preheat oven to 350ºF.

In a food processor combine the flour and salt.  Pulse until combined.

Sprinkle the butter over the flour and pulse until the mixture looks like lumpy cornmeal.

Still pulsing, add the water and continue pulsing until the mixture looks uniformly wet but doesn't form into a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Knead the dough a few times, gently, so that the dough comes together.  You should see a few larger butter clumps.  That's great.

Divide the dough into two and press each round into a disk.  Cover both in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 20 minutes.

Roll one half out, about 1/4 inch thick and cut out heart shapes.  Place on a parchment lined sheet pan.  Brush with egg wash and place a lollipop stick into each half.

Roll out the second half of dough and stamp out hearts or using a lattice roller, create the lattice and then stamp out the hearts.  Set aside.

Put about a teaspoon of jam on each heart with the lollipop stick and spread almost to the edge, leaving a 1/8" gap.  Cover with the second heart and gently press along the edges.  Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with Sugar in the Raw.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to cool completely.

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