Rose's Heavenly Cakes

It’s been 21 years since Rose Levy Beranbaum published The Cake Bible. With its meticulous instructions, measurements provided in both volume and weight, and detailed explanations of culinary chemistry, Beranbaum’s Bible ratcheted up home baking from cozy Fannie Farmer and the quick and easy mix mentality to near professional levels with such extravagant eye-poppers as The Enchanted Forest—a chocolate ganache-filled sponge roll studded with cocoa meringue sticks.

Why this sequel? One may think there are only so many iterations of flour, butter, sugar, and eggs, but there’ll never be a last word in baking. Bakers, like the rest of us, are always looking for the next new thing.

The recipes in Rose’s Heavenly Cakes are a bit less fancy and buttercream-dependant than those in The Cake Bible, but no less tempting. There are confections with longer shelf lives, including a delicious, delicate Orange-Glow Chiffon Cake, and the spectacular Deep Chocolate Passion Wedding Cake, a multi-day project that features her new ultra-shiny chocolate lacquer glaze (made with gelatin).

Several recipes are moistened with a syrup infusion after baking. These include English Gingerbread, rare for its inclusion of whole wheat flour, and an invitingly simple Lemon Poppy Seed-Sour Cream Bundt cake. Beranbaum has figured out how to keep the crumb topping crisp on her perfect Apple-Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake—by letting the cake set before sprinkling it with a topping made with melted butter.

Although Beranbaum has included more cakes made with oil (as opposed to just butter) and now specifies the percentage of cacao in each chocolate, she’s unswayed by recent dietary trends toward whole grains or sugar substitutes such as agave nectar. In fact, one of the few things she doesn’t explain in this irresistible collection is her adamant preference for bleached white flour—but no doubt it’s chemical.

July 24: On this day in 1725 John Newton, the slave trader-preacher who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace," was born.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

advertisement
Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.

Pastoral

When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).