A man in Texas wrote to Maida Heatter looking for her Bullseye Cheesecake recipe; he and his wife had divorced, she had taken the recipe with her, and he was desperate for it! No wonder--it's a stunning work of art with its impossible-looking concentric circles of rich chocolate and vanilla-almond-flavored cheesecake. That recipe can be found here, along with other treats such as Chocolate Soufflé Cake, Boston Cream Pie, Florida Rum Cake, Kugelhopf, Swedish Leaf Cakes, Portuguese Sweet Walnut Bread, and West Indies Ginger Cake. Heatter, deemed "the legendary baking maven" by Food & Wine
magazine, is a member of two cooking halls of fame: James Beard's and Chocolatier
's. She has been cooking for decades and clearly indicates how to make classics perfect; she shares her tricks and tips freely like a good friend. (She swears by Philadelphia Brand cream cheese, for example.) She also steers clear of unusual or hard-to-find ingredients, even for the more exotic-sounding cakes. The book includes plain, chocolate, layer, and fancy cakes; cheese and nut cakes; yeast cakes and sweet breads; muffins, cupcakes, and gingerbreads; and ice cream and sauces. Simply divine.