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.

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

advertisement
Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.