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The Cake Bible Hardcover – September 20, 1988

4.5 out of 5 stars 444 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Rose Levy Beranbaum is a kitchen chemist extraordinaire--this, after all, is the woman who wrote her master's thesis on the effects of sifting on the quality of yellow cake. In The Cake Bible, she explains the science behind types of leavening, the merits (or not) of sifting, melting chocolate, preheating ovens, and more. There are precise and detailed instructions for intricate wedding cakes as well as cakes that can be mixed and in the oven in five minutes. In addition, nutrition information is included with every recipe. Cake scientist Beranbaum doesn't forget the art, either; pencil drawings teach novice bakers how to create a garden full of flowers from royal icing and mushrooms from piped meringue. It's no wonder that the International Association of Culinary Professionals picked The Cake Bible as their cookbook of the year for 1988--this book has something to teach bakers at every level.

From Library Journal

Beranbaum, a talented baker and former owner of a New York cooking school, has produced a definitive work that will excite accomplished cooks and beginners alike. She covers basic, "foolproof" cakes as well as showcase cakes, accompanying these with pages and pages of adornments of all types; her instructions are impressively precise but unintimidating. She also includes lengthy discussions on ingredients and equipment and concludes with a special section on the chemistry of cake baking and on making a professional wedding cakes. An essential purchase. JS
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 8th edition (September 20, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688044026
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688044022
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (444 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Important Information

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephen Sykes on April 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While it's difficult to add much to the other reviews of "The Cake Bible", I do have a couple of thoughts that might help resolve some of the conflicting reports. Like a few of the other reviewers, I have found this to be a frustrating book, even for someone with culinary training. Let me make one thing clear -- I really want to like it. The book is comprehensive and authoritative, and the author, Rose Levy Beranbaum, tries very hard to communicate. What isn't covered in the text is usually addressed in the extensive margin notes or footnotes. With strengths like that, it would seem impossible for any recipe to fail.

But, many recipes do fail, sometimes spectacularly. How is that possible? The reasons are many and varied. First, my sense is that the recipes themselves are fragile. While ingredient measures are expressed in precise units (you'd better own a scale), the instructions must be executed to the letter. No step can be compromised; no corner can be cut. Exact pan sizes and oven temperatures must be used. The ingredients are carefully balanced. If you're off by just a little, the cake will fail. Hence, I don't approach the recipes in this book with the sort of unhesitating confidence I would like. It often takes several tries to get a cake right.

Second, the recipes don't take kindly to substitutions. Once, I came up a little short on sour cream and tried to substitute some plain yogurt in the Sour Cream Coffee Cake. The recipe wasn't robust enough to accommodate the additional water provided by the yogurt, and the cake fell. To make these cakes, you need to triple-check the ingredients list before you start.

Third, only the highest quality ingredients can be used. The Mousseline Buttercream is a good example.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not an experienced baker and although I don't mind baking, I will admit that I like eating cake more than I do baking it. However the recipes from The Cake Bible have brought me so many rave reviews that I look forward to making them. For a special occasion several years ago I made a three-tiered Golden Genoise with a raspberry buttercream and marzipan roses, and there are people who still marvel about it. I've also made the Black Forest cake, the Triple Chocolate cake, and the Cordon Rose Cream cheesecake with great success. The coffeecake and the blueberry buttermilk pancakes are now family classics, and for my own birthday I always make the Perfect All-American Chocolate Butter cake with a Milk Chocolate buttercream. These are real cakes, similar to great ones I've had in Vienna, London, and New York, that rely on the flavor of the ingredients rather than the overwhelming sweetness prevalent in the typical American cakes. Most of them do use a lot of butter and eggs, and there's no margarine, powdered icing sugar, or artificial flavourings in these, so be forewarned. I find them no more difficult than recipes from any other book, but the end result is light-years ahead. The fancier versions of the decorated cakes can be intimidating since my manual dexterity is somewhere below that of a dyslexic orangutan's, but even if my decorations aren't picture perfect they have a kind of funky charm, and still taste good. In any case, unless it's for a special event, it's not necessary to make them fancy. The recipes have been constructed from scratch so that the ingredients and techniques make perfect sense chemically, rather than having been recopied from existing ones. It's difficult to look at other cake recipes now.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've own an original 1988 copy since 1988. This is the only cake recipe book I use. I am not a professional cook, but I am experienced. My Mom also baked. Everyone is correct on their reviews. Recipes are not for the inexperienced or the cook that wants to learn how to bake. Not all, but many recipes require precise ingredient selection and measurement; you can't substitute. Rose explains in detail why she choses an ingredient instead of another; she tells you what one does that the other does not; she tells you why use Dutch Processed Cocoa instead of Chocolate and viceversa; she tells you why use sour cream instead of butter and viceversa; she tells you why use unsalted butter instead of regular butter; she tells you about baking powder types and quantities depending on your pan size. After near 15 years reading this book, I am able to substitute. I succesfully used semisweet chocolate chips in place of Dutch Processed Cocoa for her marvelous chocalte butter cake recipe. My 200 guests were happy.

I've learned many good and impresive things the average cook admires when they come to my dining table. The best is the caramel cage; I make caramel cages for many uses; to hold fresh fruits, as a stand for a ball of cheese or freshly whipped flavored butter, as a garnish for a main entre, etc. I've made star shaped caramel cages, squares, buckets, cilinders, you name it. All it needs is sugar and water and aluminum foil, and those are present in any kitchen.

The triple chocolate cake is the best chocolate cake you can desire.
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