Talk Food Festival: Gesine Bullock-Prado

Posted on Feb 27, 2014 10:45am

Pastry chef and author, Gesine Bullock-Prado, returned to The Talk with some creative and fun ideas for your Oscar party. She showed the ladies how to make movie- inspired desserts including a Hollywood Cookie Village, Golden Stars and a cake that looks like a tub of popcorn!  Here are all her gorgeous and delicious recipes.


Recipes courtesy of Gesine Bullock-Prado

Hollywood Cookie Village 

4 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg, room temperature

1 egg yolk, room temperature

2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoons vanilla bean paste

To finish:

2 cups sanding sugar or Sugar in the Raw

1 cup pop corn

1 cup confectioner's sugar

Edible gold dust

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.

Add the egg and egg yolk, one at a time, until combined.  add the vanilla bean paste and mix.

Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl again and then add the sweetened condensed milk.  Mix well.

Add the flour and salt all at once and mix until the dough comes together.

Transfer the dough to plastic wrap, knead a little to make sure that there are no pockets of flour left, divide the dough in two and wrap each half well in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Roll each dough half on parchment paper into a rough 15"x10" rectangle.  Using a sharp knife, score free form buildings, hills, cars, oscar statues, palm trees.  Take away any excess dough to roll out again for more shapes. Using the dull side of a knife, imprint shapes onto the cookies, i.e. windows on buildings, "Hollywood" on the hills, wheels on cars etc.

Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown and allow to cool completely.

Add the sanding sugar to the bottom of a glass cookie jar and scatter popcorn along the surface.  Set aside.

Dust the cookies with confectioner's sugar or gold dust and gently brush away, leaving the imprinted shapes highlighted by the sugar/ gold dust.

Arrange the cookies in the jar.

POP! cake 

For the pattern:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar

1/4 cup egg whites

5 tablespoons bread flour

red food coloring


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and confectioner's sugar together until well combined but not fluffy.  Slowly add the egg whites, scraping the bowl occasionally.  The paste will break apart.  That's normal.  add the flour.  Don't over mix.  Add a few drops food coloring.  Blend until smooth.


Draw red stripes, 1/4 of an inch apart, length wise along the prepared sheet pan.


2 inches from the outside edge (the right edge) mark a 2-3 inch circle about every 4 inches.  Pipe small dots along the edge to define the circle and clean up any piped stripes that run through the interior of the circle.  Pipe the word POP backwards into the middle of the circle.  Freeze the pattern until frozen solid, at least an hour.



For the cake:

5 large eggs, separated

2 ounces canola oil

2 ounces milk

3 ounces cake flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3 ounces sugar, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon lemon extract

1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

3 cups kettle popcorn

 Preheat oven to 325ºF.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, oil, milk, cake flour, 1 ounce sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon extract until smooth.  Set aside.


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites.  Whisk on high until foamy.  Slowly add the remaining 2 ounces sugar until all added and continue whisking until medium stiff peaks form (make sure that they egg whites don't dry out and get chunky.


Transfer 1/3 of the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture and stir to combine.  With a large rubber spatula, fold the remaining egg whites into the batter until no white streaks remain.


Transfer the batter to the sheet pan with the piped pattern.  Gently smooth the batter with a large offset spatula.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden brown and springs back when gently poked.


With a paring knife, run the knife along the edges of the cake to release it from the sides.  Sift half the confectioner's sugar on top of the cake.  Place a clean kitchen towel over the cake and then place a sheet pan, upside down, over the towel.  Flip the cake over onto the towel and upside down sheet pan.  Lift the first sheet pan off the cake and carefully remove the parchment to reveal the pattern.  Roll the cake up, length wise, into the towel while still warm and allow to cool, rolled up.  About half an hour.


For the lemon buttercream:

5 egg whites

1 cup granulated sugar

pinch salt

1 teaspoon lemon extract

1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites, sugar and salt.  Place the bowl over a large saucepan of simmering water and whisk the egg white mixture constantly until the sugar is completely melted and the egg white mixture is hot to the touch.


Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer and whisk on high until stiff peaks form and the bowl is cool to the touch.


Add the butter, a little at a time, while you continue whisking on medium high.  Continue whisking and adding until the mixture thickens and has smoothed out.  If, as you’re adding butter, the mixture looks like it's curdling, this is just fine.  Just add another small nob of butter and walk away and let the mixer do its work.  Add the lemon extract and whisk to combine.


For the assembly:

Slather cake with the lemon buttercream.  Roll up the cake, leaving the "POPs" pattern centered on the cake.  Refrigerate to set at least 45 minutes.  Cut the cake evenly into 4 pieces, so that each piece has the "pop" centered.  Turn each piece upright.   Place a mound of kettle popcorn at the top of each cake. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days.



Golden Stars 

For the cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

3/4 cup non-fat buttermilk

For dipping

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325ºF.  Spray star silicone molds with non-stick baker's spray.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition.  Add the vanilla bean paste.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg.

Add half the flour to the mixture and mix on low to just combine.  Add the buttermilk and mix and then the remaining flour mixture.  Mix until a smooth batter forms.

Fill the silicone molds half way up (refrigerate remaining batter between bakes) and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cake just springs back when gently poked.

Release the cakes from the molds while still warm and, using a pastry brush, brush each cake with melted butter and then sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.



Starry Starry Nights 

1 recipe vegan egg replacer, like Ener-G egg replacer

1 tablespoon golden flax meal mixed together with 3 tablespoons warm water

1/2 cup vegan sugar

1 tablespoon organic agave syrup

10 ounces vegan bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped  I use Lindt 70% (which is also vegan)

2 tablespoons vegan shortening

6 ounces almond flour (about 2 cups) or very finely ground blanched, slivered almonds

2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder (such as Cacao Barry Extra Brute)

½ teaspoon salt



Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg replacer, golden flax meal mixture, ¼ cup sugar and agave.  Mix on high until the mixture reaches a thick ribbon stage.

Melt the chocolate and shortening together in a heatproof bowl over simmering water.  Cool slightly.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, cocoa and salt.  Add the melted chocolate and stir together.

Add a ¼ of the whipped egg mixture to the chocolate to lighten it, stirring with a wooden spoon until no egg streaks are visible.  Add the remaining egg mixture and fold with a large rubber spatula, gently, until completely incorporated.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill until firm, 2 hours to overnight.  It is imperative that the mixture is incredibly firm.

Place the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar in a small bowl. Fill a heatproof mug with incredibly hot water.

Using a small cookie scoop (teaspoon-sized, or a melon baller), first dip the scoop in the scalding hot water and then scoop out a round of batter.  Roll the cookie in the sugar and then place on a parchment lined sheet pan.  Continue to scoop and dip the dough, spacing the balls ½ inch apart. Cover the sheet pan with plastic wrap and freeze for another 1 to 2 hours.

Just prior to placing the cookies in the oven, remove the sheet pan from the freezer, re-dip each cookie in granulated sugar, and immediately bake for 10 minutes, turning the sheet pan after 5 minutes.  The cookies will look slightly cracked but sugar will not be browned when they are done baking.

Connect with the Talk