Renato Poliafito and Matt Lewis
Photo: Anna Williams
O grabbed a cab to Brooklyn to sample the goodies at Baked, where owners Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito are giving classic American desserts a delicious twist. The duo, who contributed seven recipes for the February 2009 issue, just opened their second shop, in Charleston, South Carolina, and released their first book of recipes, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking (Stewart, Tabori & Chang). We caught up with Lewis to get the skinny on their sweet success:

O: Obvious first question: favorite dessert?

ML: Renato likes the sweet and salty torte cake, and I'm a brownie freak.

O: You insist on hand-stirring brownies. Any other meticulous mixing rules?

ML: Hand-folding all the cake batter. We've tried it other ways, and it gets too airy.

O: What's up with the malt obsession?

ML: Malt adds a nutty aftertaste to chocolate that I love. I swap it out with some of the cocoa powder.

O: How do you stay so thin?

ML: Honestly, I don't eat anything besides desserts at this point. I've never had a cavity in my entire life—I guess I've built up a tolerance to sugar.

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