Marbled, Swirled, and Layered (Hardcover)

150 Recipes and Variations for Artful Bars, Cookies, Pies, Cakes, and More

By Irvin Lin

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780544453739, 352pp.

Publication Date: November 1, 2016

List Price: 30.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Incredible desserts with layers and swirls of flavor that are beautiful and delicious--inside and out

When you marble, layer, and swirl doughs, batters, toppings, or frostings, good looks and good taste come together in one total package. Irvin Lin, creator of the popular blog Eat the Love, shows how these techniques open the door to inventive flavor combinations that look as fantastic as they taste. Bakers of all levels will enjoy recipes ranging from easy brownies and bars to brunch‑worthy muffins and morning buns to show-stopping cakes and tarts: cinnamon spiral icebox cookies, pistachio‑swirl brownies, triple‑chocolate pie, multicolored “Neapolitan” layer cake, and more. Lin offers variations to suit any taste (more than 150 recipes total) plus baking and decorating tips throughout on topics like making your own all‑natural food coloring, rolling up jelly roll–style cakes, and discovering the magic of browned butter. Readers (and eaters) are sure to ooh and ahh over every dazzling dessert at first glance—and then again at first bite.

About the Author

IRVIN LIN is an IACP Award−winning photographer and nationally recognized blogger ( who has made the transition from graphic designer and art director to baker, food writer, recipe developer, and professional photographer.

Praise For Marbled, Swirled, and Layered: 150 Recipes and Variations for Artful Bars, Cookies, Pies, Cakes, and More

“My goodness, this cookbook! It’s filled to the brim with recipes for the most splendidly beautiful cakes, cookies, breads, and tarts I think I’ve ever seen. My eyes kept getting wider and wider as I turned every page—both the flavor combinations and the photos are out of this world. Irvin Lin has most definitely outdone himself. This book is a triumph!”
—REE DRUMMOND, New York Times best-selling author of The Pioneer Woman Cooks

“Irvin Lin gives home-baked treats a twist, ramping them up with a range of contemporary flavors that are sure to surprise and delight. From beer-battered brownies to smoky butterscotch taking a classic cake to the next level, I can’t wait to mix, stir, and bake my way through Marbled, Swirled, and Layered!”
—DAVID LEBOVITZ, author of My Paris Kitchen
“Leave it to Irvin to hit it out of the park with Marbled, Swirled, and Layered. Every recipe is an inspiration! I want to make, and eat, every. single. one.”
—ELISE BAUER, founder of Simply Recipes
“Irvin is not only an accomplished and creative baker, he is a generous teacher. Home cooks will find all of the tips and techniques necessary to feel supported and comfortable—as well as inspired—in the kitchen. No one should miss the recipe variations! I love the modern versions of traditional recipes, great new flavor combinations, and—of course—the invitation to use flavorful flours other than wheat!”
—ALICE MEDRICH, author of Flavor Flours and Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies
“Irvin Lin is a master at creative baking. I’ve admired his Eat the Love blog for the delicious goodies and lovely storytelling. I’m excited to see desserts with such interesting flavor combinations in his first cookbook. They are truly works of art!”
—LORI LANGE, author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook and founder of
“If the old aphorism ‘Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first’ is true—and I believe it is—then Marbled, Swirled, and Layered should be the cookbook every sweet-loving baker reaches for first. Between its sinfully delicious covers are recipes for some of the most luscious, tempting desserts ever. I dare you not to lick the pages.”
—DAVID LEITE, publisher of the James Beard Award–winning website
“Love this book. It’s packed with all the style and brilliance that made Irvin Lin such a must-read food writer online. This book is all about incorporating big flavors into your baking with style: swirling, studding, and supercharging recipes to a magical effect. Cakes are cut to reveal extraordinary fillings or sliced to show beautiful marbling. Cookies and bars offer striking geometric effects. Recipes are easy enough to encourage, but with enough intricacy to keep you interested and, yes, impress friends and family. Five-star baking at its best.”
—DAN LEPARD, food writer and baker
“This book is captivating. The recipes are unique, but more so, they are carefully crafted. The ingredients were chosen to complement each other to create the most magical experience. I found myself smiling as I read this book. The combination of amazing recipes and entertaining words makes it one of my favorites!”
—AMANDA RETTKE, best-selling author
“I couldn’t be more excited for Marbled, Swirled, and Layered. Irvin’s recipes are so unique and his flavor combinations inspire me to be more creative in my own kitchen. This book belongs on the bookshelf of every baker, no matter their level of expertise.”
—TORI AVEY, PBS food columnist and creator of

"This debut cookbook's no-frills title belies a wealth of thoughtfully composed and marvelously complex desserts, such as jumbo Arnold Palmer cookies, Seville orange bars with salted shortbread and gin meringue, and pumpkin and ginger swirl ice cream pie with pecan-maple crust. In chapters for cookies, brownies and bars, cakes, breakfast goods, and more, food writer Lin competently explains baking basics and shares supplementary information on ingredients, techniques, and food science. Most recipes include two to three flavor variations, and many can be made gluten-free using flour blends and conversion tips appearing in an introductory section. VERDICT Lin's outstanding first book can help all home bakers to expand their repertoire and think more creatively about flavor combinations."Library Journal (starred review)

"The pastry chef’s skills range wide, calling upon training in physics, chemistry, and culinary technique to produce artful and tasty desserts appealing to the widest possible audience. San Franciscan Lin has mastered his craft, and he shares his deep knowledge to educate others. The cookies and cakes Lin has imagined here go far beyond the commonplace. Some of the recipes will challenge even the chef’s professional peers, but a few will prove attractive and intriguing to the everyday home baker. The sharply defined pinwheel effect of his cinnamon honey bun cookies can be duplicated with some practice and patience. Lin’s sense of humor extends to a cake that duplicates commercial cream-filled chocolate cupcakes. Every recipe has one or two variations that transform flavors from the basic version. For those who need to avoid gluten, Lin has developed wheat flour substitutions that perform perfectly. Culinary students can glean much from Lin."

Lin…takes risks in nearly every one of the 150 elaborate recipes in his book. He doesn’t just paint the lily; he bejewels and shellacs it, too. You can almost see his mind buzzing as he adds mesquite powder and teff flour to malt chocolate-chip cookies, and roasts white chocolate until it caramelizes to make extra-gooey blondies with strawberry-balsamic jam. At times the recipes sound over the top (Rosemary Caramel and Dark Chocolate-Potato Chip Tart, for one), but in the end they were artfully balanced.” 
The New York Times
"Before you devour Lin’s bars and pies, be sure to pause and admire his artful frosting and beautifully scattered crumbles.” 
Entertainment Weekly