When it comes to cakes, author Rose Levy Beranbaum knows what she’s talking about. She came out with The Cake Bible in 1988 and that book has been the go-to of lots of professional bakers and serious home bakers ever since thanks to its comprehensive collection of precisely-written recipes. Rose’s Heavenly Cakes is Beranbaum’s newest venture and it is packed with many new cake recipes. One of the biggest drawbacks to the The Cake Bible is that many people find it to be intimidating because of the ultra-detailed ingredients lists, instructions and techniques used. This newer book doesn’t lose any of the precision of the previous volume, but is a lot more user-friendly right off the bat.
The first thing you’ll notice is the photography. The book has more than 100 beautiful full-color photos illustrating just about every recipe, showing not just the appearance of the finished cake, but often the texture of the crumb so you have an idea of what you’re getting as you bake. The recipes are carefully laid out, with measurements for ingredients given by volume and by weight, and clear instructions that are easy to follow along with. While some of the cakes in the book are more difficult than others, all seem approachable. Beranbaum includes notes about variations, as well as relevant baking/ingredient tips, alongside the recipes.
The introduction, Rose’s Rules of Cake Baking, is brief and to the point and features a list of ten important tips about ingredients and techniques. All the rest of the “technical information” is found at the back of the book where it can be used as a reference, along with references for ingredient and equipment sources.The chapters include Butter and Oil Cakes, Sponge Cakes, Mostly Flourless Cakes and Cheesecakes, Baby Cakes and Wedding Cakes. The recipes range from simple to quite complex and the selection should definitely appeal to experienced and/or adventurous bakers who get tired of seeing books intended only for novices. That said, with the excellent recipe writing, every recipe should be do-able for a baker of any skill level – although I would still suggest starting with the easier recipes and working your way up if you are just starting out on your cake baking endeavors. Otherwise, the book offers a huge variety of recipes in a wide range of flavors and with it you should have no problem turning out cakes that are indeed heavenly.