I have always been intrigued by the Rose-method and so this new book proved irresistible. There are many recipes here to keep you busy for awhile. I especially like the way Rose explains the mechanics of her method and I don't find myself asking: "what's the point of doing that?". Some might find the explanations unnecessary / longwinded since we just want to eat cake, but knowing the whys and wherefores actually help in ensuring success and, more importantly, for trouble-shooting! I would recommend you read the wordy bits before pre-heating the oven.
Rose's recipes are so detailed and precise that even a novice baker will be inspired to keep on baking. If you religiously follow her recipes, be prepared for complete success...it's inevitable. I have happily baked my way through Rose's earlier books, The Cake Bible and The Pie & Pastry Bible, and, 6 heavenly cakes later, I expect no less joy from the rest of this book.
Cake Flour: In her review Annie MacDonald wrote about her difficulty in obtaining cake flour. If you live in mainland Europe, use the soft flour reserved for patisserie (cakes, fancy pastries) usually marked as "Extra Fina" or "Super Fina" or "Ultra Fina" or "T45" all of which are finer, whiter and lower in gluten than plain / AP flour. Most specialist/gourmet grocers in Portugal, France and Spain stock various types of flours from T150 - T45. Make sure you pick one without added raising agent.
on 30 September 2009
I've had this book for a week now and have already made four cakes from it - the English Gingerbread Cake, Plum and Blueberry Upside-down Torte, Banana Refrigerator Cake with Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Frosting and the Bernachon Palet d'Or Gâteau (which is the magnificent cake pictured on the cover). Today I'm making the Designer Chocolate Baby Grand cupcakes.
I really cannot think of apt superlatives to describe Rose's work, this book and the cakes. I have been a fan of Rose since the late nineties when I purchased The Pie and Pastry Bible and made her fabulous Cherry Lattice Pie. The instructions were extremely precise. I followed them to the letter and at the end of the day (literally) I had produced the most magnificent and delicious pie I had ever made. I was living in Chicago at the time and had access to delicious Michigan cherries from the Farmer's Markets. I realized that there was a (to me) new and different way of creating baking recipes for the home baker. Rose's training is in baking science AND in art & design. Her philosophy is that she wants to share her knowledge and skill so that the `person in the street' can create baked goods that many professionals strive for. Her recipes are precise, complete and detailed. The ingredients are listed using volume, ounces and grams; the equipment required is specified and Rose gives all the relevant information you need to bake a perfect and perfectly delicious product. I now own ALL Rose's books - The Cake Bible which is her seminal work, the above mentioned Pie & Pastry Bible, The Bread Bible, Rose's Christmas Cookies, Rose's Celebrations and Rose's Melting Pot. All are written with her trademark precision and humour.
Rose's Heavenly Cakes is the latest addition to her ouvre and I can guarantee it will take your baking to a new level. Firstly, it is a beautiful book with shiny, good quality paper. There are lots of pictures - most cakes are photographed, but not all. There are about 500 pages of which 70 are instruction on ingredients, equipment and sources and the indispensable section Rose's Rules of Cake Baking. But the stars of the book are the actual cakes themselves. The Sections are: Butter and Oil Cakes, Sponge Cakes, Moistly Flourless Cakes & Cheesecakes, Baby Cakes and Wedding Cakes. Altogether about 105 cake (and filling and topping) recipes but when you include variations the possibilities are endless.
Many of the recipes are very simple and suitable for beginner bakers. Some, like the wedding cakes, are projects which require skill, practice and planning. Most are somewhere in-between. They are all outstanding in flavour and appearance.
This is an American published book so there are some points of which the British baker should be aware. Most of the round cakes are baked in 9 inch tins and some are baked in specialized pans. If you purchase two 9" x 2" round cake tins and one bundt or kugelhopf pan along with a standard muffin tin, you can make 80% of the cakes in the book. Also, many of the larger cakes can be made in smaller pans, for example, one 9" recipe make 2 x 6" cakes or 18 cupcakes. A stand mixer is also useful but not essential as is a probe thermometer.
Another point that UK bakers should be aware of is that Rose uses mostly bleached/cake flour in her cakes. This is not available in the EU. There is a detailed work-around in the book but I just use regular plain flour (and you can substitute 12% with corn flour to lower the protein thus making the cakes more tender) and accept that my cakes do not quite replicate the super-tender cakes that can be made with bleached flour.
I have a huge collection of baking books and this is the most beautiful one I now own. It's also my new favourite cake book. I am full of gratitude to Rose for making a cake baker out of me.
on 26 July 2012
Sorry to sound a little sour note in the midst of all this enthusiastic praise, but I will.
The thing is, Rose has a method she's developed for mixing cakes which is different from the standard. Normally, you cream the butter and sugar, add eggs or egg yolks and flavoring, then add flour and liquid alternately, followed by the beaten egg whites if you've separated the eggs -- the latter step very important if you're mixing by hand. Now, while Rose's alternate method may work well with an electric mixer, it's not easy to get good results without one. I made one of the recipes in this book by hand, using her method the first time and the old method the second time, and the old method worked _far_ better. But the recipe was excellent, it must be said!
One of the best things about this book is that RLB gives you the grams as well as American-standard cup measurements. Hurray! And I hope more American cooks will follow suit. I speak as an American who switched years ago to grams in baking because the amounts are so much easier to get right, because you learn much more about what you're doing when you use weight measurements and can therefore branch out with more success, because flour doesn't translate from one country to another unless you know its weight, and because I _hate_ scraping butter out of cup measures!
Speaking of flour, you can get American cake flour in the UK, these days, from a web site called American Sweets. I highly recommend its use whenever cake flour is called for. Otherwise, as someone else pointed out, use French T45 (from Frenchclick) or Italian 00 (in Sainsbury's)-- but substituting potato flour (or, if you must, cornstarch/cornflour) for 20% of the flour, as is commonly done in Germany, because the non-wheat flours don't contain gluten and therefore result in a more delicate crumb.
on 13 May 2011
Yes, she's done it again. If, like me, you thought most cookbook sequels were nothing more than a "one for the price of two" type swindle, here is Rose Beranbaum to prove me wrong. Her famous Cake Bible was a milestone in reliable, high quality, baking, even though there was much that never interested me. I am not into wedding cakes, chocolaty party offerings and so on, but I do go for really great home style baking. Here for the second time, is a splendid offering of just that kind of thing, and I can attest to the reliability and outstanding quality of the recipes I have tried. This is not in any way a duplication of the first book, and much to my satisfaction, there are a number of recipes which use oil instead of butter, for a change. Not that I have anything against butter, quite to the contrary, but oil can often provide a lighter, less saturated sensation on the digestive system.
So, if you liked vol.1, vol.2 is a no-brainer. If you haven't tried vol.1, but like great baking, get it anyhow!
on 15 June 2011
This book is just busting at the seams with great cake recipes! I bought this book as gift for my wife and it has got to be her all time favourite cake book! This thing sees less shelf time than it does time in the kitchen! We have yet to be disappointed with the results from any recipe in this book... albeit we have not tried every single recipe in the book, but we have tried the majority.
To prove my point, I used to hate carrot cake... never touch the stuff, my wife had tried several recipes and variations on carrot cake, but I never liked it. She tried the recipe out of this book and it has instantly become one of my top ten favourites.
I find that one of the main reasons my wife enjoys this book is because of the already converted measures for each recipes. Whether you are used to cups or weights, not a problem! You will find both for each recipe! Instantly eliminating the guess work and conversions!
Some recipes are quite simple and straight forward with a reasonable amount of steps involved, however there are some recipes that do require more time and more attention to details to prepare... in either case, the results are well worth it. Trust me!
You will also notice that with some recipes, you will have to deal with a relatively stiff batter and when you mix it with a wooden spoon it can become a somewhat tedious job. However, my wife has been cooking up a storm ever since we got a professional stand mixer (worth investing in if you really enjoy baking)!
I love the fact that this book is a hardcover book, with medium gloss paper with almost a picture for every cake in this book (a crucial point for a lot of people)! All these make this book both durable and a joy to read and just flip through.
Overall a great book with plenty of classic recipes and creative ones as well. This book is a must for anyone who enjoys home bakery! If you don't have it then you are seriously missing out!
on 6 March 2016
I didn't know anything about this author really and just bought the book based on a bit of information I had read online and the previous reviews on here. I can honestly say I love this book and it is one of the best purchases I have made. There is so much variety contained within and each cake I've tried has come out brilliantly. I would be lost without it now.
To be honest though, these are not 5 minute recipes. They can be pretty heavy duty and to some that may be off putting. However, if you persevere, then the extra effort is definitely worth it. The author has a different way of mixing ingredients and after trying her method, I would not look back. The results are so much better. The only thing I would say is that you may have to adapt volumes/double up on the recipe etc, as the standard tin size used is a 9x2 which I for one, don't commonly have a need for. Also tube pans feature quite heavily, which again isn't something I typically bake in.
This book is so comprehensive with very detailed commentary on ingredients, products and methods. I would recommend it to absolutely anyone who is a keen baker.
on 12 October 2010
The impression I get from this magnificent book is that Rose is a very meticulous and methodical lady baker who put a lot of thought and time into her book in order to provide her readers with all the tools and info to ensure they succeed.
I love the recipes, the presentation, the order & organisation, even the quality of the paper...I love everything about this book; there has been no doubt in my mind from the moment I received it that this is a special one, well worth keeping/buying.
Easy to decide whether to order or not - the contents is so clear and available for peek viewing.
A huge amount of beautiful recipes, what a treasure!
on 4 December 2011
Once again Rose has produced an authoritative yet fun book that is beautiful in every sense and that is just as suited to the novice as to the expert.
To compare this book to the author's authoritative tome, The Cake Bible, I would say it is more approachable, more user-friendly, and much more beautiful. All the components for each cake are listed under one entry, so there is no need to flip around to different sections for a frosting or filling. Instructions are broken down step-by-step, making it easy to find your place midway through a recipe. And in addition to her elegant creations, casual recipes are also included this time around, from cupcakes to whoopie pies.
on 12 August 2010
This book is amazing!! It is very well explained and each recipe has a step by step process. in my opinion is one of the best cake books I've seen.
on 15 June 2014
this book covers everything that one needs to know about baking cakes. It is a relevant to the enthusiastic amateur as to the professional. I have two other baking books by Levy Beranbaum, and each is indispensable to a baker. I would warmly recommend this as much as the others.