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135 of 138 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 25, 2009
Rosie, Rosie, Rosie!! You are a queen upon a very special pedestal which has very few equals! And anyone who possesses this tome of baking knowledge will absolutely agree! Rose Levy-Beranbaum has outdone herself in her latest offering of baking excellence! Where her "Cake Bible" was a standard for many years, this has outdone even that book!

The first time I met Rose was at a tiny little bookstore in Chicago many, many years ago. She was there for the signing of "Cake Bible" and she was the very first professional baker/chef that I had met on the beginning journey of my road to serious baking/cooking. She was most kind and gracious and I remember thinking of what a wonderful life would lie ahead for this sweet lady. Needless to say, her "Cake Bible" became a standard for many people but this latest offering from her talented mind is exquiste and is by far, one of the very best learning and reference books ever! Also, within the last couple of years, I have enjoyed her website/blog which makes her even more accessible for general or specific questions on baking. The journey she took us on while making this wonderful new book was a joy to follow.

It is a large, heavy, detailed book of cakes, cupcakes, bars, baby-size cakes with excellent photography, all printed on heavy, high-end paper to for which you would expect of books of this quality. Immediately at the introduction of each recipe, you have the serving size and baking time, followed by a brief synopsis of what she feels is the essence of that particular recipe. Then the "Batter" ingredients are laid out in a graphic form in which you are given the ingredients, with the Volume listed next to it, then the Weights of each ingredient, in both American and Metric form. Under this graph of information begins the steps to be taken beginning with any special equipment that would be needed, oven preparation, then the actual preparation of the batter. Any variations that could be taken, as well as "Highlights for Success" are listed and very much appreciated in that sometimes, there are little tricks, sidebars of information, and alternatives that you can incorporate into making the recipe a bit easier or more grand.

For example, I never realized that the leavening agents within cupcakes require that you bake them immediately or they will lose the power of that ingredient, so unless you have a large oven to bake all the batter at one shot, you're better off making the batter in batches.

Also, the presentation of these creations can be made so much more impressive with just a little creative help such as gingerbread boys and girls encircling a "Ginger Cheesecake" (who would have thunk it?) or using ladyfingers as an upright band of crust for the "Cranberry Crown Cheesecake" which also have a lovely wide ribbon around their base for an extraordinary presentation.

Being someone who appreciates photography in a cookbook, the photo's contained within are both superb and generous, with close-up shots that show detail. There is also single or sequential photography for certain cakes that require more intimate knowledge of preparation or assembly such as the "Holiday Pinecone Cake" (it acutal looks like a pinecone) or how to make "Spun Sugar" or how to pipe the "Ladyfingers", etc. Sometimes, just one little photo will clarify a question in your mind and Rose seems to know which step would benefit from a photo. Many of the cakes have their finished photo in this grand book but not all, though there are enough to satisfy everyone.

Her book is constructed as such:




Rose's Rules of Cake Baking (Though you may know these tips, this is an essential read)

Apple Upside-Down Cake, Plum and Blueberry Upside Down Torte, She Loves Me Cake (a standard batter using the Nordic Pan Daisy Cake pan), White Velvet Cake w/ Milk Chocolate Ganache, Heavenly Coconut Seduction Cake, Southern Manhatten Coconut Cake w/ Silk Meringue Buttercream, Whipped Cream Cake, Karmel Cake (that's spelled correctly per book), Spice Cake w/ Peanut Buttercream, Golden Lemon Almond Cake, Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Cake, Woody's Lemon Luxury Layer Cake, Apple-Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake, Marble Velvet Cake, Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cake, Swedish Pear and Almond Cream Cake, Cradle Cake (a buttermilk batter with dacquoise cake), Sicilian Pistachio Cake, Gateau Breton (as Rose states, the outside looks like pastry but the inside is moist and tender), Sticky Toffee Pudding, Enlish Gingerbread Cake, Fruitcake Wreath, Rose Red Velvet Cake, Chocolate Tomato Cake w/ Mystery Ganache (you actually use a can of tomato soup!), Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cake, Chocolate Banana Stud Cake, Devil's Food Cake w/ Midnght Ganache, Chocolate Layer Cake w/ Caramel Ganache, Bernachon Palet d'Or Gateau (the cover cake, "merci Rose!"), Double Choclate Valentine, Chocoalte Velvet Fudge Cake, Black Chocolate Party Cake, Classic Carrot Cake w/ Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Frosting, Pumpkin Cake w/ Burnt Orange Silk Meringue Buttercream, Many-Splendored Quick Bread, Banana Refrigerator Cake w/ Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Frosting, German Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Ice Cream Cake or Sandwich

Angel Food Cake, Chocolate Tweed Angel Food Cake, Chocolate Apricot Roll w/ Laquer Cake, Genoise Rose, White Gold Passion Genoise, True Orange Genoise, Genoise Tres Cafe, Chocolate Genoise w/Peanut Butter Whipped Ganache, Moist Chocolate Raspberry Genoise, Red Fruit Shortcake, Catalan Salt Pinch Cake (a great story with this cake), Almond Shamah Chiffon, Orange Glow Chiffon Layer Cake, Lemon Meringue Cake, Torta de las Tres Leches, Apple Caramel Charlotte, Chocolate Raspberry Trifle, Saint Honore Trifle (beautiful presentation with spun sugar!), Holiday Pinecone Cake

MOSTLY FLOURLESS CAKES and CHEESECAKES: (for those with celiac or gluten allergies, this is great!)
Cranberry Crown Cheesecake, Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake, Coconut Cheesecake w/ Coconut Cookie Crust, Ginger Cheesecake w/ Gingerbread Crust, No-Bake Whipped Cream Cheesecake, Lemon Canadian Crown, Ladyfingers, Tiramisu, Sybil's Pecan Torte w/ Coffee Cream, Chocolate Feather Bed (a mousse-like cake), Hungarian Jancsi Torta (moist chocolate cake w/ nuts), Le Succes (almond cake w/ tea ganache), Zach's La Bomba

Yellow Butter Cupcakes, Chocolate Butter Cupcakes, White Velvet Butter Cupcakes, Golden Neo-Classic Buttercream, Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Frosting, Chocolate-Egg White Buttercream, Designer Chocolate Baby Grands, Gold Ingots, Chocolate Ingots, Peanut Butter Ingots, Plum Round Ingots, Financier-Style Vanilla Bean Pound Cakes, Mini Vanilla Bean Pound Cakes, Baby Lemon Cheesecakes, Quail Egg Indulgence Cake, Marionberry Shortcake, Coffee Chiffonlets w/ Dulce de Leche Whipped Cream, Individual Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes, Caramelized Pineapple Pudding Cakes, Classic Brioche, The Bostini, Deep Choclate Rosebuds, Molten Chocolate Souffle and Lava Cakes, Chocolate Bull's-Eye Cakes, Barcelona Brownie Bars, Baby Chocolate Oblivions, Two Fat Cats Whoopie Pie (remember those as kids?), Mud Turtle Cupcakes

WEDDING CAKES: (oooh-la-la!!! While these are not elaborate cakes that you would get in the single-subject wedding cake books, they are delicious batter recipes for which you can then build on your own from that solid foundation. There are definite written and photographed instructions for building and decorating the basic wedding cake and that's the strength of wedding cake knowledge which she provides most adequately.)
Tropical Wedding Cake, Golden Dream Wedding Cake, Grand Marnier Wedding Cake, Deep Chocolate Passion Wedding Cake, Double-Chocolate Whammy Groom's Cake, Wedding Cupcakes

Special Effects and Techniques: This is pretty much your decorating section with the basics of cake preparation and such; working with chocolate, making flowers from fruit peels, etc

Ingredients and Basic Recipes: Discussion of what the ingredients do and how to work with them, as well as cream recipes, how to use fruits, spices, nuts, and substitutions

Ingredient Sources: A wonderful directory of resources!

Equipment: A must read section to ensure perfect recipes! Plus a very appreciated cake pan sizes and volume chart

Equipment Sources

Appendix: Recipes using only egg yolks, recipes using only egg whites, quick-and-easy recipes


I have since made the Lemon Poppy Seed-Sour Cream Cake as well as the Individual Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes and they were excellent! Do I believe in the delicious outcome of the rest of the recipes? Absolutely...............many years of referring to Rose's "Cake Bible", "Bread Bible", and "Christmas Cookies" have made me a ardent follower and trusting devotee of Rose.

This is without a doubt one of the best books that I've seen and I would absolutely rank this as an instant classic. I would describe this not only as a wonderful book of recipes but an excellent teaching tool and reference guide to place on a more prominent part of your book shelve.

A deep bow of gratitude to our Rosie!!
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155 of 162 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2009
Buy this book now.

I cannot believe how good this book is. I wish there were more than 5 stars.

Once again Rose has produced an authoritative yet fun book that is beautiful in every sense and that is just as suited to the novice as to the expert.

Last night I made two batches of two different cupcakes and they are the finest I have ever tasted. I am planning on making every recipe.

Almost every cake is photographed, which I know many people find important in choosing a cook book.

Check out Rose's videos on youtube, which show her preparing these and earlier recipes. The fact that she posts her work for others to learn from for free is all you need to know about Rose. She is passionate about baking and sharing her knowledge and love of cakes, not about becoming a rich "celebrity" cook.

If Rose is reading this, I'd like her to know how inspirational she has been to me, both in my baking, which has improved dramatically since I nervously picked up her cake bible, and in a general sense of striving for excellence in what I do. And that her Mahogany Buttercrunch Toffee has earned me several marriage proposals.
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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2009
I must first agree with the other reviewers that this book is yet another amazing book by Rose, but I believe there are probably many of you who, like me, own and love The Cake Bible (CB), but aren't sure if we *need* Rose's Heavenly Cakes (HC). My answer: while you probably don't need it, you will surely love it if get it.

Some comparisons:

* HC has color throughout, color pictures for most of the cakes, and good quality paper.
* HC keeps the ingredient measurements in three columns (volume, ounces, and grams), but the formatting makes it easier to read than CB.
* Most HC recipes are for 9" x 2" round cake pans instead of 9" x 1 1/2" pans (Huzzah! No more sticky notes all over the book with conversions for 2/3 or 1 1/3 of the batter!). Other recipes are for equally easy to find pans (such as 10-cup tube pans).
* She has omitted the pictures of the pans that go with the recipe (which for some reason I liked), and the picture of cake equipment (CB 446-447).
* The organization is different. Cakes and adornments are listed together. It's nice because you don't have to have three different bookmarks when making a simple cake as in the CB. The organization can make it a little bit harder to find recipes, especially for adornments, though. The index is good, but instead of going to the frostings or fillings section of the CB, you would need to look up Buttercream, Cream cheese-frosting, Curd, Fillings, Frostings, Ganache, Glaze, Whipped Cream, etc... It's not hard, but not as easy to flip through and compare recipes.

* From reading the intros, many of the cakes have been updated, and there are new ones such as gingerbread, German chocolate, and molten chocolate cakes. Of course, as with all Rose's recipes, she makes them her own, and avoids getting things too cloyingly sweet.
* Rose admits that she now "embraces less buttercream and less fancy décor." You can see that not only in the pictures, but also in the content. The piped decorations section is one page and includes only the star, shell, and bead, and Rose says, "the only time I pipe decorations on a cake these days is when I use a whipped cream topping." To surprise me even more, the Miette Rose cake even calls for a purchased royal icing rose!! I'm ambivalent about this change. On one hand, I love the simpler décor and I think it will be more accessible to others; I know I avoided buying CB for a long time because I thought it was just pretty, not yummy (which it's not, of course). With HC, however, no one will feel bad for making the Blueberry Swan Lake cake without the swans again! On the other hand, CB's 25 pages of piping decorations were clear and fun to play around with. HC does have some new decorations such as orange peel roses and the new lacquer technique used on the cake features on the cover.
* The shift away from buttercreams also means that there isn't the endless supply of buttercream variations that are in CB.

Overall, I am very pleased with this book and look to try more new recipes and techniques. I will probably start with HC instead of the CB when I want to make a new cake, but I'm still glad to have the CB around.
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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2009
Whether you're a novice, an old hand, or somewhere in between, this book will make you a better scratch baker. Recipes run the gamut from fast-and-easy to more complex special occasion and wedding cakes, with photos for almost every cake in the book. These cakes are modern, with an emphasis on streamlined presentation and fresh, quality ingredients. Beranbaum tests and fine-tunes everything in her books meticulously- I have never encountered a failed recipe from her (wish I could say this about more baking books). She also maintains a website where she keeps track of any errors and will, schedule permitting, help out with baking questions.

To compare this book to the author's authoritative tome, The Cake Bible, I would say it is more approachable, more user-friendly, and much more beautiful. All the components for each cake are listed under one entry, so there is no need to flip around to different sections for a frosting or filling. Instructions are broken down step-by-step, making it easy to find your place midway through a recipe. And in addition to her elegant creations, casual recipes are also included this time around, from cupcakes to whoopie pies. Most of this book is new and does not overlap with The Cake Bible, although there are a few new incarnations of some of her more famous cakes, like the Orange Chiffon, which has been transformed into a layer cake, and the Baby Chocolate Oblivions, which are a cupcake-sized version of her three-ingredient flourless chocolate cake.

So far, I have made two recipes from Heavenly Cakes, the Whoopie Pies and the Swedish Pear and Almond Cream Cake. Both turned out incredibly well- I can't wait to try more from this book.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2009
Rose's books, including Heavenly Cakes, will make the home baker swear off boxed cake mixes. Her instructions are foolproof, including weights for ingredients (which is much easier than measuring). Follow her explicit directions and your cakes will turn out perfectly - even genoise! I don't think I'll ever attempt the wedding cakes section, but the yellow, chocolate and white cupcake recipes, the red velvet and the german chocolate cake recipes make this book a must have. There are also many frosting recipes that I am anxious to try, such as caramel ganache, peanut butter whipped ganache, and two white chocolate frostings. Too many recipes, too little time. You will not be disappointed in this book!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2009
Rose Levy Berenbaum's book is one of the best books that have been written when it comes to baking and cake decorating. I have stacks and stacks of cake decorating books on the side of my bed to help me prepare for my new venture in cake decorating and none compare to this one. She has a skill and craft that not even the best pastry chefs can compare to. She writes for you to learn. She writes for you to explore the world of baking in a way that no other person can explore it the way that you do. She write so that you can go on a special culinary journey one page at time. From chocolate, to lemon, to cheesecake, Rose Levy Berenbaum's book is a craft written like no other. She is a teacher, an author, and above all a culinary master there for all who need her to teach us all the tricks of the trade and master it as well as she does. Her book is beautifully written and and displayed and each recipe tests just as it says.

Kudos to you Ms. Berenbaum for I am now one of your biggest fans, for your techniques and style have changed the way I cook and I am forever grateful!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2009
I went out with my son the first day the book came out and bought it for him for his birthday. We sat down in the bookstore and read through most of the single layer cakes, oohing and ahhing at the beautiful pictures of these glorious cakes. We picked out a cake we decided to bake that afternoon - the English Gingerbread Cake - went out and bought the ingredients, returned home and baked it. Soooooo delicious! It would be perfect in the afternoon with a cup of tea, but we thoroughly enjoyed it in the evening with a lovely dessert wine. Thanks Rose!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2009
Most previous reviewers nailed it - this book is a must for any baker. The book has very easy, very quick cakes in them that are perfect not only for the beginning baker but also for every day baking. It also breaks down very flashy, complicated cakes in manageable steps, and turns newbies into experts in no time. As a European, what I like best is that the cakes aren't overly sweet, as many American cakes tend to be.

So far I've tried the Whipped Cream Cake, the Karmel Cake, the Gateau Breton, the Double Chocolate Valentine, the Genoise Rose, and the Genoise Tres Cafe, and got rave reviews for each one of them.

If you have any doubts try the Whipped Cream Cake that's on the Amazon website, it's a perfect example of a quick, very yummy cake with a perfect texture. I promise you'll want to have the book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2009
Recipes on this book are HEAVENLY as the book title says. They are great even for children as we tried to make cupcakes with our kids. It was precious seeing them follow the recipe and participate on each step of the process. Even our 3 year old was paying attention to his 8 year old sister reading Rose's recipe for cupcakes: Designer Chocolate Baby Grands. They were all oohh's and aah's as their uncle, who is an avid baker, explained everything to them: from craking eggs, to using the electronic scale. Big sister had her hands on most of it, and little brother could not stop saying "me too, me too!"
Cupcakes turned out delicious... if you could only see their chocolaty-faces!!!!
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2009
Rose Levy Beranbaum has again exerted herself in creating a trustworthy book on cakes. It is no wonder that her first cake book 'The Cake Bible' is still in print.
This second book is alltogether a more luxurious effort having gloss pages, photos for most of the products (many of them full-page) and an all around beauty that makes it more than just a cookbook.
This time around Mrs Beranbaum has compiled a very versatile collection of recipes ranging from plain oil cakes to wedding cakes and even cakes from different countries. Some old favorites that were in the Cake Bible are here albeit somewhat changed.
The book has quite a lot of cake science in it but it is never boring but rather one finds themselves eager to know more about the whys and the hows of cakemaking. As with the Cake Bible Rose's cakes are not your normal 1-2-3 basic mixtures and careful weighing and measuring is essential for success. All recipes are given in Volume, Imperial and Metric measures. I would suggest that you use weighing rather than measuring as it gives better and consistent results.

The chapters are:

Rules of baking
Butter and oil cakes
Sponge cakes
Flourless cakes and cheesecakes
Baby cakes
Wedding cakes

From the Butter and oil section I like the Apple upside-down cake, the Coconut cake with silk meringue buttercream, Woody's lemon luxury cake, the cradle cake,the sicilian pistachio cake, the English gingerbread cake and I love the Golden lemon cake (with crystallised lemon syrup). All the above cakes are made with butter. I have not included any of the oil cakes because in Europe oil cakes are only made by housewifes because they do not want to bother melting butter, or don't know any better and cheap, low quality bakeries. The oil taste simply is no much for butter and the only advantage oil has is that the cake stays softer when refrigerated (all cakes are eaten within 2-3 days so why refrigerate it?). If you want to make a butter cake softer just replace some of the sugar (about 1/10 to 1/5) with invert sugar eg honey or trimoline. The term 'cake' is actually somewhat misleading as some of the creations in this and other chapters are layered with creams or glazed or both.

In the sponge section aia like the Moist chocolate raspberry genoise layered with Raspberry Ganache, the Chocolate apricot roll with lacquer glaze and the apple caramel charlotte (elaborate but it is worth it).

The cranberry crown cheesecake is one of the whitest baked cheesecakes and a great centerpiece for a dinner party. I also like the Lemon Canadian Crown and the Tiramisu. The chocolate feather bed is one of the most chocolatey light and moist gateaux around. A very satisfying cake is the Hungarian Jancsi Torta which uses grated chocolate in the batter. It tends to fall a bit after baking so you might want to add a little flour (1/20 of the batter weight) if you want your cakes to stand up.

The Baby cakes are not cakes for babies but small individual cakes. I love her four recipes for ingots (financiers), Almond, Chocolate, plum and Peanut butter. The Baby lemon cakes pack a punch and the deep chocolate rosebuds are small melt in the mouth treats and I like the taste of beurre noisette in the Chocolate bull's-eye cakes.

The Wedding Cake section deals with constructing a wedding cake and the creations range from buteercream filled to chocolate filled and glazed. They are mostly homey DIY affairs so don't expect elaborate professional sugarpaste products.

After the recipe chapters come the techniques section, the basic recipes, the ingredient description section, pan sizes section, equipment and finally a chart on which recipes use only yolks or only whites both in the cake and fillings.

The price for all this effort is not prohibiting and everyone will find something they like in it.
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