Reviewing cookbooks is actually not as easy as you might think. Why? Hungry or not, the Pavlov response kicks in when I read luscious recipes and look at knock-out, full-color photos. Even worse, it often leads to compulsive baking. Fortunately, I baked the day before reviewing Rose’s Heavenly Cakes so that I could enjoy looking at all the recipes again, a forkful of cake in hand.
Pick up any of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s books and you’ll understand the dilemma. Rose wrote her renowned The Cake Bible in 1988 to accolades from reviewers and readers alike, and established herself as a go-to baking specialist in the eyes of both home and professional bakers. Over the ensuing years she has created several additional masterpieces, including, The Pie and Pastry Bible, The Bread Bible and A Passion for Chocolate.
Her most recent book, Rose’s Heavenly Cakes (Wiley, September, 2009) is in no way a repeat performance of her earlier cake tome. This sensational new book is fully illustrated, with each cake claiming a starring role and, its own photos. She features
many new cakes and the few that she has included from before have been refined to the point of, well, “heavenly.” Just how heavenly? Heavenly enough to win the 2010Book of the Year from The International Association of Culinary Professionals.
Rose, known as the “Diva of Desserts,” lives up to her title. Each of her books has been meticulously written, with clear, precise instructions; each recipe has been tested and retested. Rose is even specific about what type of flour to use, what substitutions can – or cannot – be made, and where to purchase specialty ingredients and baking equipment.
Please Note: Recipe layout in Rose’s books is very precise and offers grams, ounces and standard American measures. Unfortunately, the grid layout broke up when I put it into text to post the recipes, so I have only listed the American measurements. Trust me, when you purchase Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, you will see how carefully everything is accounted for.
Now for a listing of a few of the more than 100 amazing cakes that grace the book: Plum and blueberry Upside-Down Torte, Swedish Pear and Almond Cream Cake, Chocolate Layer Cake with Caramel Ganache, Orange-Glow Chiffon Layer Cake, Sybil’s Pecan Torte with Coffee Cream, Designer Chocolate Baby Grands, and Two Fat Cats Whoopie
Pie. She also features five wedding cakes.
I requested three cake recipes for you to enjoy. Normally her publicists only release one as they want to make sure people buy the book, but they were generous enough to do it. Trust me, whether you love to bake or you bake for a living, you need this book as a reference, for ideas and to expand your repertoire. Rose’s Heavenly Cakes is amazing. Just like the Dessert Diva herself!