am 29. April 2006
...which is where I live now. Unfortunately, almost ALL the cake recipes in the book call for cake flour (save for maybe 3 or 4 that use all-purpose or bread flour, and some that use none at all). Quite a disappoinment for those who have absolutely no access to this entire book's most vital ingredient. I think I would've given it at least one more star if it were not for this fact.
Most people will try to be helpful and tell you that cake flour can be substituted easily by sifting together a mixture of flour and cornstarch - this might be ok for creamed batter cakes like yellow or pound cake (personally, a slightly obsessive perfectionist like myself can still feel the difference. Cake flour makes for a finer, more tender, and lighter crumb. Cake made with the AP flour+cornstarch substitute TASTES the same, it's just not nearly as light or fluffy). For foam cakes like chiffon, sponge, or angel food cake, cake flour is simply IRREPLACEABLE. I really don't want to go into detail about soft winter wheat vs. hard spring wheat right now, and I'm not saying that you won't be able to turn out a cake in the end - you will, and it will taste good - but you will miss out on the lovely texture that Ms. Levy-Beranbaum is talking about in the description that comes before each recipe. I had the chance to try making the Orange Glow Chiffon during a vacation abroad (in a country where cake flour is readily available) and the difference was huge. The cake was amazing and I brought back as much cake flour as I could stuff into what was left of my meager economy-class baggage allowance during the latter part of my trip.
Another reason for my 3-star rating is the lack of pictures. It doesn't hurt to be able to see what your baked cake should look like when it comes out of the oven. The lack of pictures also slightly handicaps the decorating section which tries to demonstrate techniques with rather poorly drawn illustrations that fail to convey the visual representations of some of the more intricate instructions in the book.
As far as the ease of use, I would not recommend this book to beginners whose past experiences of cake making consist of a box of mix and a tub of frosting. Some know-how and a thorough attention to detail are required. If you think you've got that (and easy access to cake flour), this book is definitely worth your while.
am 2. Dezember 1999
i made hundreds of wedding cakes for a living. i slaved on thousands of cheesecakes, millions of layer cakes, and boatloads of brownies. If only i had been able to escape to the island of sanity and reason that is Rose Levy Berenbaum! I have had this book since the very day it was first published, and voraciously read every word, as if it were a novel, before baking a single cupcake. The extensive use of scientific knowledge and experimentation is a stroke of genius, since anyone who has done any baking to speak of knows quite well that it is science, not an art. Thank you to Rose for making the building of a wedding cake so darn simple. Thank you also for using weights AND measures in your recipes. Weight is so much more exact (don't forget, it's a SCIENCE!)Her innovative straw technique has saved my posterior many, many times. Her buttercream recipes are flawless. this is a real baker's book. This book may confuse the run of the mill idiot, but I just ordered my second copy. I need to have it everywhere I go!
am 18. Mai 2006
ich sollte kürzlich für eine feier kuchen und eine festtorte für 100 personen backen. ich verfüge zwar über einen recht guten rezeptfundus, aber auf der suche nach neuen ideen stieß ich auf die "cake bible". beim durchblättern war ich schon so angetan, dass ich alle kuchen (bis auf einen) aus diesem buch nahm.
und was soll ich sagen, es war ein durchschlagender erfolg. erstens sind die arbeitsanweisungen die ausführlichsten und präzisesten, die ich jemals in einem koch- respektive backbuch gesehen habe (allerdings sollte man sich auch genau daran halten, kein schritt ist überflüssig). zweitens ist das ergebnis einfach fantastisch, das haben mir die gäste auf der feier bestätigt. namen wie "chocolate oblivion truffle torte" lassen einem ja schon beim lesen das wasser im mund zusammenlaufen, und genau dieses rezept ist auch der oberbringer - ich habe daraus meine festtorte zusammengebaut, und alle sind in die knie gesunken... ;-)
auch wenn ich ziemlich viel backerfahrung habe, meine ich behaupten zu können, dass auch blutige anfänger mit dem buch klarkommen, eben weil die beschreibungen so detailliert sind. man muss ja vielleicht nicht gleich mit einer hochzeitstorte anfangen ;-)
das einzige problem für uns europäer ist, dass die maße der amerikanischen standardbackformen von den hiesigen erheblich abweichen. ich werde mir also einen satz aus den usa mitbringen lassen.
fazit: best backbuch ever!
am 3. Juli 1999
This is a superb book in all respects. For a long time I'd held off buying this book, thinking, how many cakes do I make in a year -- maybe two? But I am so glad I got this. You can read it and learn a lot about baking. Maida Heatter in the Intro says this is a book in which she wanted to make every recipe, and I have a feeling that is just what I will do myself. Hurrah, I'm a fan!
am 9. August 1999
This book was recommended by the instructor of a cake baking class I took at a local culinary academy. If the instructor, a professional baker for more than 35 years, could learn from this book, I figured I could too. And I have learned from the exacting directions, thorough explanations, and personal anecdotes provided with each recipe. She provides instructions to make basic cakes in any size from 6" layers to 18" layers by multiplying a base recipe to produce any size cake you need. I've never seen this in any other cookbook, and is by itself worth the price of the book. I have had perfect results from the butter cake recipes (even chocolate cakes which I had never had much success with before), and the method of mixing is so much easier than the standard way that most cookbooks describe. Weights are provided for all recipes, adding convenience and much easier clean-up. Since I bought this book, I haven't even looked at any of the other cake books I have. There just isn't any need for them.
am 13. Oktober 1999
This book is too sensitive and too cautious in everything. It's kind of a good book for a professional baker, but not for a home baker. I know baking is science and accuracy matters all the time. but NOT this much. Give me a break.
am 24. Juni 1997
I bought this book many years ago...and it's still my FAVORITE. No matter how many books I buy or read on the subject, there is nothing that can possibly be compared to this jewel. Really easy to follow instructions, STEP BY STEP, that will make you feel like you were born to be the best baker in the world.
I think that Ms. Berambaum background in science gave her an extraordinary perspective: she understands how things must be explained so they can be REPRODUCED. Ms. Berambaum will not only tell you how to but WHY! If your goal is to become a baker that not only produces beautiful cakes but also the most incredible tasting cakes ever baked...this one is for you.(Yes, I am devoted fan!
am 30. Juni 2000
... it isn't for everyone.
The recipes are excellent and she's tested every variable known to (wo)man (down to different brands of chocolate). However, if you're just a casual home baker who doesn't appreciate or isn't interested in this kind of perfectionism, you'll hate the book and Ms Berenbaum's approach. This is a book for the serious baker.
It's for this reason that I'm leaving off a star. For me, it's perfect. However, the title might lead people to think it's suitable for anyone, and it isn't. While you don't have to be a professional, you do need a basic understanding of baking techniques and a desire to make perfect cakes.
am 2. Mai 2015
Man merkt, dass es ein altes Buch ist, insbesondere am Mangel an Bildern. Aber immerhin gibt es gleich zu Anfang einige Fotografien, die zumindest die Endprodukte der meisten Torten darstellen. Wirklich VERALTET hingegen sind lediglich einige Angaben zu Equipment-Herstellern, ansonsten ist das Buch auch heute noch eine große Bereicherung! Denn was an dem Buch viel wichtiger ist und auch tatsächlich kaum Bebilderung braucht, sind die vielfältigen Beschreibungen für Grundteige, Cremes, usw. Die Vielzahl ist bemerkenswert: verschiedenste Buttercremes, Ganaches, zahlreiche Sahnecremes, Eiweißcremes....hier scheint einfach mal ALLES drin zu sein. Frau Beranbaum gibt dazu detaillierte Beschreibungen, wann welche Creme besonders geeignet ist (z.B. zu welchem Teig, zu welchem Geschmack, zu welcher Wetterlage, in Abhängigkeit von der Zeit, die man für die Vorbereitung hat, ...).
Was ich mit am spannendsten finde, sind die Abschnitte und das große Kapitel zu "Understanding", in denen es um die Chemie/Physik beim Backen geht und die den Übergang schaffen vom engagierten Hobbybäcker zum Experten.
Sehr hilfreich sind ebenfalls die Angaben dazu, wie lange ein Teig oder eine Creme haltbar ist (in Abhängigkeit von Raumtemparatur/Kühlschrank/Gefrierschrank) und welche Teige man wie kühlen sollte/kann.
Aufgelockert wird das Buch an einigen Stellen durch kurzweilige Anekdoten der Autorin.
Alles in allem sehr empfehlenswert. Ob es auch Profis anspricht weiß ich nicht (kann es mir aber gut vorstellen), für den engagierten Hobbybäcker ist es eine Wucht! (Für den einfachen Hobbybäcker ist das Buch eher ungeeignet. Nicht, weil die Rezepte unbedingt zu schwer sind, aber weil es umständlich ist, da, wie gesagt, Bilder fehlen und die meisten Torten selbst zusammengestellt werden müssen aus den Kapiteln Teige und Cremes/Verzierungen.)
am 7. Mai 2000
This review is for the amateur cook. This book is a treasure! Every single recipe I have tried came out exquisite, and people remember, years later, the cakes I have served them. I am not a professional chef, nor am I a housewife with lots of time to spend in the kitchen. However, I love cooking, and books like the Cake Bible are partly responsible.
The first cake I ever baked came from this book, and it earned me a huge grin with laughing eyes from my dad. It was his 70th birthday.
I can name lots of recipes which are not difficult to follow: Chocolate Bread, Perfect Pound Cake (no, it's not like Sara Lee!), Checkerboard Cake, All-American Chocolate Butter Cake, Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte (I make this with creme anglaise on top, which is a little difficult to make, but the cake itself is really easy, and it has spoiled me for all other versions I have tried, even in one of the meccas of American cuisines: the San Francisco Bay area.) The neoclassic buttercream, with all its variants, is wonderful, and it allows me to make old fashioned delicious cakes for my daughter's birthday parties.
Nor do all the cakes require ingredients which are difficult to find. I spent several years living in a part of the US where the concept of culinary accomplishment was synonymous to grilling a slab of beef and (over)boiling a few ears of corn; still I was able to find the correct ingredients for many of these recipes. However, if you do skimp on the ingredients, or do not take the trouble to follow the recipes with care, then it is true: you might as well go with Betty Crocker, or Sara Lee, or whoever else is out there.
The only explanation I can find for some of the criticism I have read in these reviews is this: unless you decide to read the entire book, which I have not, you will have trouble locating the cakes which match your ability, the occasion, your mood etc... I worked hard making the Classic Buttercream, and did not notice the much easier and equally delicious Neoclassic version until later. The problem, I think, is that this book has value for a wide range of cooks, from the amateur who simply wants to see that big grin on the faces of family and friends, to the professional chef. I know that attempting to reach such a wide audience in my own professional field would be heresy. That Ms. Beranbaum succeeds at all is wonderful, and in the final analysis, I do like understanding the reason for substituting corn syrup for some of the sugar in buttercream.
My only complaint is that Ms Beranbaum has not yet written a book about muffins. She's done the cookies, the cakes and the pies. I hope that some day she will teach me about muffins.