68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
Superb and beautiful cake book,
This review is from: Rose's Heavenly Cakes (Hardcover)
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 Gāteau (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.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Feb 2011 02:12:14 GMT
Nice review, Annie! -Julie
In reply to an earlier post on 24 Feb 2011 18:53:14 GMT
Annie MacDonald says:
Thanks, Julie! I wrote it a long time ago and should update it as I've made more than half the recipes now. My opinion hasn't changed though.
Posted on 25 Oct 2011 21:49:08 BDT
Katy Thompson says:
First class review, you've sold me into buying a copy to go with all her others which I already own.
In reply to an earlier post on 25 Oct 2011 21:53:41 BDT
Annie MacDonald says:
Great, Katy. If you are used to Rose's methods, you won't be disappointed.
Posted on 17 Dec 2013 08:55:48 GMT
Long time after the review, but just to add that cake and pastry flour is available from Shipton Mill. I don't think it will be bleached as it is organic, but it is made from English wheat, which is lower in protein. I use it for all my cakes, biscuits and pastry and find it beautiful.
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