am 22. Januar 2000
Great book. Covers: pound cakes, butter cakes, fruitcakes, cheesecakes, genoise+buscuit, sponge, and chiffon cakes, plus some breakfast stuff like waffles and zucchini muffins. Overview of the ingredients and how they are used, overview of scaling up the cakes to wedding or party proportions, and overview of how to decorate the cakes. I haven't actually tried any recipes out yet, but the Genoise recipe is very similar to the one used for the chocolate ruffle cake in "baking with Julia" (I've tried that recipe, it's good) and the Cheesecake recipe is similar to another one (I forget the source) that I've made before, except that Rose uses sour cream. The format of the cake section is Rose basically goes through and starts with a basic cake (say the Genoise) and modifies the recipe, telling you why. For instance, to make it chocolate, add cocoa powder, and remove butter (because of the cocoa butter) and remove some flour. I think it's an excellent book, a good resource for beginners and intermediates alike. As a beginner you learn all about terminology and whys and hows. As an intermediate, you learn some neat tricks with how to decorate a cake, and learn some of the reasons behind the actions that you probably knew. It's also good to get different ideas on cake assembly. I think once you learn the things in this book you are fully armed to go and create your own cake - after all cake is just a cake, frosting/custard, maybe fruit or nuts or something, plus some optional decoration. This book gives you the foundation to do all of these things.
am 25. Juli 2000
I received this book as a gift and was so excited - because I'm what Beranbaum calls a 'passionate amateur.' As I read through different recipes, I was sure they would all be excellent because of the painstaking way she describes how to bake them. The section on showcase cakes is especially good; it's so impressive when you see what's possible through the illustrations. I made the Christmas Log and it looked perfect because she gives such thorough instructions.
BUT... As many of these reviews have said, quite a few of the recipes seem to be too "gourmet" for most people - including myself. Many seem to be acquired tastes - even that Christmas Log I was so proud of tasted rather bitter to me and most of my guests. I do think, however, if you're confident in your baking skills, you can mix and match different recipes or substitute some ingredients for others in order to get the same aesthetic effect, but with a more "generally appealing" taste.
The book has great instructions for decorating and is really easy (though time-consuming) to follow. Also, I've heard famous things about THE CHEESECAKE and look forward to trying that. On the whole, it really just depends on what you like. I have made these cakes for different events and while they look great, they just don't always deliver.
am 6. Oktober 1999
This is the best cake book in the world. There are an abundance of recipes which taste fancy but are easy to make in addition to the super-fancy cakes you could make for somebody's wedding.
This is not a book of your average, run-of-the mill cakes for somebody who actually *likes* to eat boxed mixes. I personally think boxed mixes are *disgusting* and I would rather eat mud than one of those. These cakes are *meant* to be MANY steps above that. If you want cakes like the usual box-type or supermarket quality cakes, this is not the book.
I have made the Chocolate Domingo Cake, which is amazing because when you make it, it looks a little dry and uninteresting, but when you serve it warm with a dusting of powdered sugar, it melts in your mouth like fudge and leaves you begging for more. I have received so many compliments on it! I have also received many compliments on the Cordon Rose Cheesecake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream frosting, which, especially if left in the fridge for a few days, is the best cheesecake in the world... but again, not for somebody who thinks that Jell-o cheesecakes are the greatest. On the spur of the moment I made the Buttermilk Country Cake last weekend for some guests and they were begging me for seconds and the recipe.
am 4. Dezember 1998
I was making a cake for a friend's wedding (only my second attempt at a wedding cake) and the bride's mother had requested that the raspberry buttercream have no seeds in it. As I was using Rose's recipe for the buttercream I tried in vain to find the suggested Cuisinart attachment for removing the seeds from the berries. After contacting the people at Cuisinart (the item is not longer made), I searched around until I was able to find a means to contact Ms. Beranbaum herself. She was gracious enough to call me at home with some other suggestions for seed removal. I ended up sieving the seeds out, which took quite a long time, but was worth the effort! The frosting was excellent and I have made the raspberry puree' again for personal use. Try it drizzled over brownies and ice cream or use it to make a wonderful vinaigrette. If you want to try an easy, yet spectacularly delicious chocolate cake, try the Chocolate Domingo cake. We love to eat it practically straight out of the oven. My husband, while not the family baker, can make this just as well as I can. As a previous reviewer noted, this book is good just as reading material. Ms. Beranbaum has included some very entertaining anecdotes, like the story of her brother's wedding cake and the big storm. I highly recommend this book.
am 13. Dezember 1997
Rose Levy Beranbaum raises the fun of browsing and researching recipes to nearly a fantasy level by writing a work that is as much a delight to read as it is to follow for cake baking. (I am not ashamed to confess that I have read this book late into the night and in bed!) Ms. Beranbaum has effectively interwoven aspects of cake baking that are important to me: taste, chemistry and presentation. Each and every recipe that I have made has been scrumptious. (Nor am I ashamed to admit that I have had to use cake pans smaller than recommended because the batter was too delicious to stop tasting!) The explanations as to the how's and why's of each recipe is fascinating, and the book's photos are nothing less than spectacular. (Finally, I refuse to be shamed by the fact that my final products have often had to be remade because they looked so good and somehow "disappeared" before the guests arrived!)
The Cake Bible has a generous variety of recipes which are both broad and interesting. And, the icing on the cake, so to speak, is Ms. Beranbaum's inclusion of adornments, techniques and instructions for the home baker to use to individualize each cake and claims as her or his own. I have given this book as a gift more times than I can remember...it is that good.
am 14. Januar 2000
While she writes painfully detailed and scientific descriptions, and her cakes are actually quite good, she makes a comment about using a convection oven that's not correct in my experience. She states that there's no need to adjust the tempurature or baking times for her cakes when using a convection oven--countertop model or not. (Conventional theory states that convection ovens require 25-50 degrees less heat than regular ovens.) Per her book, I tried using the same tempurature and baking times on a few different recipes from the book using my convection oven, and the cakes were as dry as sawdust. My oven tempurature is calibrated correctly, and I use the exact pans and equipment she suggests using (right down to the brand of cake flour, professional Kitchen-Aid stand mixer and magic cake strips), so those are not the issues. Baking cakes in less time but at the same tempurature resulted in cakes that were dry on the outside, but a gooey mess on the inside! I've been experimenting with different baking tempuratures and times but have yet to make a "perfect" cake. One convection oven cookbook suggested that for butter cakes, the tempurature should be lowered by 75 degrees (so instead of 350, try 275)! I'll have to try that next.
am 15. April 2000
I bought this book hoping it would give me definitive recipes on cakes. Unfortunately, while my tastes do run to homemade cakes, the recipes in this book were simply way too buttery for me. The All-American Yellow cake tasted like a very light version of Sara Lee frozen pound cake (it even had the same color and crust texture). I guess I prefer my layer cake to not taste so overly vanilla-ish and buttery. Also, I'm not a fan of buttercream, which is not the same thing as regular American frosting made with butter, powdered sugar, and cream. I made the Strawberry Buttercream for my cake, but it tasted just like flavored butter to me (might be good on toast). If your tastes run to this sort of thing, the Cake Bible might be a good investment. There are a lot of cakes, including several chocolate and a country buttermilk cake and a lot of recipes for fillings, meringues, and whipped cream. Also, she has a different recipe for genoise that supposedly works well, even for those who have never had success with genoise. This book is also helpful if you want to learn to make European cakes--i.e., those with dacquoise, genoise, syrups, meringues, and other sponge-type batters. Otherwise, I'd stick to a traditional American cake book!
am 3. Januar 1999
This book completely changed the way I think about cakes. Beranbaum explains the theory behind all of her recipes, producing an understanding that ordinary recipe books never seek, much less attain. And its entertaining too.
am 1. August 1997
As an avid baker, especially cake making, this book is truely the "Bible for Cakes." I have numerous baking and cake books, but this is the one I always use.
What makes this book so useful, is the way the directions are set up, the concise writing, the helpful hints, and the teaching. The author's ability to teach through her writing style is invaluable.
For beginners and professionals, this book has it all. I especially like and use the chapter on baking the extra large layers. For wedding cakes this is IT !! I have had the pleasure of hearing someone eating a wedding cake I made, say "...My God, this is a real cake." What a complement !!!
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this book is the author's sense of humor. I enjoy reading this book for the shear fun of it; no other cookbook that I've ever read, have I had the pleasure of laughing aloud.
What a GREAT book this is !!! Anyone who enjoy's baking will reach again and again for the "Cake Bible."
Christine A. Storey
am 23. April 2000
While it is true that the information in this book is quite dense, and can be a little overwhelming, it truly contains everything you could possibly need to know about making the absolute best cakes. I have found that by following her recipes carefully, and paying attention to the details, every single one of the recipes comes out exactly as expected. I have not been dissapointed by a single recipe.
The Cordon Rose Cheesecake is outstanding, and the White Chocolate variation on that cake is about the best cake I've ever tasted. I am no longer allowed to attend a family function without a white chocolate cheesecake in my hand! Everyone loves this cake!
Try the Fruit Cloud Cream icings. The Raspberry Fruit Cloud Cream is especially great, particularly on the All-Occassion Downy Yellow Butter Cake.
The very fancy specialty cakes are beautiful as well as delicious, and quite simple to do when following the instructions given.