CKBK The Best Online Cookbook Subscription Service

Screen Shot 2019-07-12 at 1.01.47 PM.jpg

A few years ago, I was approached by Matthew Cockerill of the UK who was planning what sounded like a very useful and unusual online subscription service for cookbooks.

 I was delighted to test the waters by offering one of my two savory cookbooks (that are no longer in print): Rose’s Celebrations.  Ckbk, offers an online subscription for unlimited access to many of the world’s best cookbooks.


 This week, my author interview went live.

Screen Shot 2019-07-12 at 1.01.47 PM (1).jpg

For anyone interested in subscribing, ckbk is offering a 30% discount off the monthly subscription price for the first year with the promo code below. The discount will go through automatically on applying during checkout, If you sign up, you will get a 14 day free trial which can be cancelled at any time.

A Side Dish that Steals the Show


 I discovered this recipe, by Jane Black, in the January 9, 2008 food section of the Washington Post which I read religiously every week and sometimes write for as well. One of my favorite columns is the occasional series “Staff Favorites” in which staff writers share favorite recipes. (As the Post says: “….that we turn to time and time again.” Though I’m a chronic clipper of appealing sounding recipes, they usually end up in the “to file” pile for someday. This one I made the week I clipped it and surely will be making it time and time again myself! If ever there were a vegetable accompaniment that upstages the main course this is it: Endive Gratin: creamy, nutty-sweet with a gilding of Gruyère cream sauce, the endive within slightly crunchy and slightly and deliciously bitter to offset the richness of the sauce.The French have a wonderful term for this quality aigre-doux which refers mostly to sour/sweet but it is this contrasting yin yang flavors that lifts up a dish and makes it compellingly pleasing. I served it with steak but I will also serve it with lamb and even with fish. Since there were just two of us I divided the recipe by 3 and, for a change, made no changes what-so-ever.

I’ve been given permission to reprint the recipe as it appeared in the Washington Post and on their website. Don’t wait--make it this week!

An Indulgence Worth the Weight This French side dish is typically rich but always a crowd pleaser: an elegant, less-starchy complement to roasted meat.
It can be made 1 day in advance; reheat, covered with aluminum foil, in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. 6 to 8 servings

1 teaspoon unsalted butter
6 medium endives, cut in half lengthwise, stem ends trimmed but left on
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
juice of 1 lemon (2 to 3 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (I used fine sea salt)
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyère cheese
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper

1) Preheat the oven to 375˚F/190˚C. Set an oven rack at the lower third of the oven.
2) Lightly grease a 12-inch oval gratin dish with the butter.
3) Place the endive halves cut side down in a large saute pan. Add the broth, lemon juice and salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 15 minutes, until the endives are fairly tender but not cooked through.
4) Use a slotted spatula to transfer the endive halves to drain in a colander.
5) Pat dry with paper towels, then nestle half of the endive halves in a "V" pattern in the gratin dish.
6) Sprinkle with half of the Gruyère cheese. Use the remaining drained endive halves to form a second layer atop the cheese.
7) Pour the cream over the top and sprinkle with the nutmeg and black pepper to taste. Distribute the remaining cheese evenly over the top.
8) Bake for about 25 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly and the cream has almost evaporated.

Serve hot.
Recipe Source: From Food staff writer Jane Black. Note: My friend Zach Townsend transforms this into a main course by wrapping each poached endive with a slice of jambon!

This recipe is a reposting from April 12, 2008 in Savory Cooking category on Our Blog page. We have 50 plus postings for you to explore.  

The Loss of My Baking Idol, Maida Heatter

Maida Heatter, My Baking Idol



Maida Heatter was my baking inspiration. I discovered her first book, Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts, in the early 1980’s and was spellbound by her writing. To this day, no one describes a dessert with greater appeal, that makes one want to stop everything and run right to the kitchen to bake it. What a happy day it was every time a new Maida book appeared, and I bought them all.

 I identified with Maida because we had so much in common in addition to loving baking. We both were born in Long Island and lived in New York City. We both were fashion designers who turned our love of craft to baking. But when my baking students encouraged me to write a cookbook I thought “why bother—Maida is all that is needed.” Then one day, in one of her books, I read something along the lines of “tempering chocolate belongs in a laboratory.” And a bell went off in my head chiming there’s room for me! My place would be to bring my passion for science and the way ingredients work to baking. And my goal became to build a bridge between the home and the professional baker.

 In 1988, when The Cake Bible was about to be published, my editor Maria Guarnaschelli asked me to choose someone to write the foreword. I called Maida and introduced myself. She politely declined, saying that she had just written a foreword for a baking book that failed and she didn’t want to associate herself with another possible failure. My response was: “You are the only person I am asking and if you don’t write it there won’t be a foreword so you can take as long as you need to look at the manuscript and decide.” Her response: “Hold on a moment and I will ask my husband Ralph.” Within seconds she came back with a “Yes!” She would look at the manuscript and let me know in a few days. I ran to Fed Ex and she received it the next day. And the very day after she called and said: “I see what you have done and I will do it.” (I get the chills of joy remembering and writing this.) I knew that Maida’s blessing would put my book on the culinary map. But more than that, I had the approval of the baker I admired most.

 As a new author, it was up to me whether or not to have a book launch (and to pay for it). The Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center had just reopened and Roseanne Gold, who worked with Joe Baum, generously arranged to make it affordable. I made four of my favorite large cakes from the book and 150 cupcake size Grand Marnier cakes to give as take away gifts. My family and just about everyone I knew and respected in our field was there. But September 7 was Maida’s birthday and she was unable to make the trip from Miami.

 I had never actually met Maida in person so I asked if we could come to Miami for a short visit. It wasn’t to get baking secrets though. The secret I was after was how despite her celebrity she was able to maintain a happy marriage.

 Maida arranged a book signing in a local bookstore. Someone asked if she was my mother (to whom she did indeed bear a resemblance) and she laughingly told them “more like grandmother”! After the book signing, Maida invited us to her home. I was so spellbound, that despite my rare ability to remember events as far back as my infancy, I don’t remember anything except her utter delight that my Canadian husband idolized not her but her adored father, the renowned Gabriel Heatter, radio commentator he listened to as a little boy during WWII.

 I was blessed by Maida’s support and belief in me. My upcoming cookie book (2021) will, of course, be dedicated to her,

Cake Bible Hi Res TIF.jpg



Rose is Inducted into Heritage Radio's "Hall of Fame"

Screen Shot 2019-05-25 at 12.23.38 PM.png

Last month, Heritage Radio located next door to Roberta’s Pizza in Brooklyn inducted me into their “Hall of Fame.” I love the interviewers and so enjoy the pizza afterwards not to mention the most amazing sticky bun ice cream sandwiches!

Click on “MY PODCAST INTERVIEWS” to take you tho Heritage Radio’s Hall of Fame.

Screen Shot 2019-05-25 at 12.57.52 PM.png

Ice Cream Bliss 2: Heritage Radio's "Life is a Banquet" Gets the Scoop



Although I usually have an idea of what my next book should be, it is generally after the previous book’s promotion that the publishing house commits to the project. This changed with Rose’s Ice Cream Bliss, for which we were already researching, testing, and writing recipes when we did our book tour for Rose’s Baking Basics. On tour. Our event audiences were pleased.

 We were delighted to return to Heritage Radio for another podcast interview. Zahra Tangorra and Bretton Scott are the wonderful dynamic hosts of  “Life is a Banquet,” who were all ears to hear about ice cream. Their inquisitive conversation, but casual style created the atmosphere that we were all friends chatting over cups of coffee.

 Bretton proclaimed his success in baking from being self taught by baking recipes from The Cake Bible and The Pie & Pastry Bible.  Both Zahra and Bretton have been chef/owners of restaurants. Since virtually all chefs make sauces that require reduction, we presented each of them with my latest kitchen tool design for my American Products Group signature line—Rose’s Reduction Spatula.

Our Interview on Heritage Radio’s “Life is a Banquet “ Podcast

We then talked about our upcoming ice cream book. One of the essentials for producing great home-made ice cream I elaborated on, was keeping your ice cream custard base cold and your ice cream containers chilled before transferring the churned ice cream from the ice cream maker. During the winter months, Woody and I would set up in my frigid garage to transfer our ice creams. Zahra one-upped us by sharing that her ice cream makers were in her restaurant’s walk-in freezer. The finale of our podcast was naming each of our 3 favorite flavors.

So to get you in the mode for ice cream next May, here are our favorites~~blackraspberry, dulce de leche, pomegranate, mint chocolate chip, and bust my bourbon balls (adults cookies and cream, named by, of course, Woody).

After the interview, we all walked just several steps out of the studio to enjoy slices of Roberta’s Pizza.

All Those Egg Whites from Making Ice Cream


What do do with them?! Friend and esteemed colleague Nick Malgieri told a class that he saved them in a huge container and when it was full...he threw them out! With testing for our ice cream book, I had containers filled with them too. In 2010, I decided to discard the 2007 and 2008 containers. Fortunately this year, Woody has used most of them for making angel food cake for his bridge club members.


Also, my husband Elliott reminded me he likes egg white omelets. I still had a batch so he was not deprived. I set out to perfect his omelet.

As Elliott was aspiring to eliminate as much cholesterol as possible, i heated a small non stick frying pan over medium heat. When it reached 350˚F (hot enough to make a drop of water sizzle) I sprayed the pan with baking spray (Pam) and poured in 2 lightly beaten egg whites. I sprinkled them with a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper.

The first time I rolled it up and served it plain but the second time Elliott organized 3 slices of cooked sausage and a few pieces of cheese. When I lifted an edge to assure that the bottom was nicely browned, I turned the heat off and set the cheese and sausages in the middle of the set egg white. Then I flipped over each side of the egg white to cover it and let it cook for about a minute to melt the cheese. (The plate was heated first in a low oven so it worked perfectly but it would also work to zap it in the microwave for 7 seconds on high.

Now I'm looking forward to collecting more egg white (no problem), and while waiting to be transformed into Elliott Omelets they serve to keep the freezer more filled. Freezers work most efficiently when filled even if it means filling milk cartons with water and freezing them so why not egg whites instead?!

If you intend to use them for meringue baking, we recommend to only store them frozen for 3 months. After thawing them, empty them into a bowl large enough that you can gently whisk them to a somewhat uniform consistency.

This is a reposting with additions from an earlier post on May 8, 2010. Rose has almost a hundred savory postings on our website along with hundreds of baking posts.

How I Got My Hirschfeld Caricature and How My Version Became Part of His Archives

Ma Vie En Rose Part 3

Hirschfeld highest res 1145 x 1965.jpg

Growing up as a New Yorker, I long admired Hirschfeld’s amazing caricatures in the NY Times and joined the ranks of people counting the Ninas hidden in the lines of his drawings. (Nina was the name of his daughter and each of his caricatures always had one or more Ninas in it.) I never would have dreamed of having a Hirschfeld of myself but when I became a cookbook author, my editor told me that fellow author Marion Burrows’s husband had purchased one for her to use on the book jacket. So I called my mother and asked her if she thought I should commission a Hirschfeld. Her response: “Why would you want a caricature which exaggerates one’s worst feature?” My answer: “I think of Hirschfeld as the poet of line drawing—that he sees into one’s soul, and I’d like to see how he would see mine.” My mother’s response: “If that’s how you feel about it, then you should do it.” No doubt that was in good part because I wasn’t asking her to pay. But when I found out the cost of such a work of art I was unsure.

 In 1988, when The Cake Bible had just come out to great acclaim, Elliott and I were invited to a New Year’s Eve party at the Eldorado—the most elegant apartment house on Central Park West, home of the fictional Marjorie Morningstar, and actual home of David and Leslie Newman, screen writers of Superman. I didn’t realize right away that the reason for the invitation was because Leslie was writing her first cookbook Feasts, and planned to change careers from screen writer to cookbook author. Her husband David seemed not altogether happy about her abandoning a lucrative profession for a questionable one but, since my book was such a success, he was encouraged to think that maybe he could divine my secret.

We rang the doorbell and Paula Wolfert appeared, whisking us into the kitchen saying: “This is where the food people are.” And there was Leslie, pulling out ingredients for the choucroute garnis midnight supper. I knew that Elliott was none too happy to be relegated to the food people so I nervously made a futile attempt at introducing him to Leslie. “Just a minute,” she cried out, “I’m just taking out the sausage.” I don’t know what desperation possessed me to offer up the following non sequitur, but here’s what it was: “Well, speaking of taking out the sausage, I’d like you to meet my husband Elliott.” I was afraid he would walk out and leave me on the upper West side, but he had to laugh because so were Paula and most of all Leslie, who rushed out into the living room to announce what had just been said. I heard a roar of amusement and realized it had become our calling card for meeting all the non-food intelligentsia, such as Gay Talese and others of the literary circle.

 On our way out, as David Newman ushered us to the door, I noticed that in the foyer there were myriad Hirschfelds and other artists’ caricatures of famous actors and celebrities lining the walls.  I realized that this had to be the perfect person to ask for advice about the Hirschfeld. I got no further than saying that I was considering having one of me when he cried out with eyes wide open in awe-filled admiration: “Hirschfeld wants to do you?” (I think at that moment he decided that his wife’s defection from screen writing just might be a good choice.) It was a hard split second decision: whether to let him think I was now that famous, or whether to tell him the truth and get his advice as to whether it was worth the price. I chose the former with an emphatic YES! It was one of the few lies I ever told and to this day I do not regret it. And when it turned out that many people when seeing the caricature had the same assumption as David Newman, my husband admitted that he had been wrong to discourage me from spending all my savings to commission it saying: “Had I known how you would use it I would not have objected.” And the truth of the matter is that I had no intention of ‘using’ it—I just wanted it for myself. I think….He probably knew me better than I knew myself.

 And now for how I ended up in Hirschfeld’s archives:

 Cook’s Magazine had its first annual event honoring the Who’s Who of American Chefs. Craig Claiborne, formerly a long-time restaurant reviewer for the NY Times, who was still a frequent contributor, was in attendance. Alex Ward, head of the living section had told me that Craig was doing a duck story and that I should send the story I had proposed to him. Weeks had gone by and I had all but forgotten it, but when I saw Craig I seized the opportunity and politely asked him what ever happened to my submission. His response was to put his hands around my neck in a mock choking position, saying: “I wish you would all go away and leave me alone.” Edna Lewis, one of the most refined and polite of food writers, looked totally embarrassed and would have blushed if she could have. It was such a horrible feeling that when I turned around to leave and the next person I encountered asked me the usual, “how are you?” I burst into tears. (This led to another story that will be written at a later time, which includes how I stopped talking to Craig for many years until shortly before his death when he came to my book launch party at restaurant Daniel and we became ‘friends’ again. I promise it will be hilarious.)

 Some time passed and I was invited to participate in “the Book and the Cook” in Philadelphia along with other cookbook authors including Craig Claiborne. Shortly before the event I received an invitation to attend a dinner at Le Bec Fin honoring Craig. And the entire front page of the invitation was a Hirschfeld caricature of him. Yes! Hirschfeld fulfilled my prophesy of seeing into the soul of a person. He depicted Craig with his hands gleefully around the neck of a little chicken.


Here’s what I was inspired to do: I shrank my Hirschfeld to the size of the baby chicken and created my own version of Craig’s larger one. This was prior to the completion of The Pie and Pastry Bible,  and I promised myself that the moment I finished this enormous and demandingly detailed book I would send my amalgamation caricature to Hirschfeld along with the story.

IMG_7494 (2).jpg

Several years passed and Hirschfeld was well into his 90’s by the time I sent him the letter. And then, to my delight, I received this postcard from Hirschfeld’s wife, the archivist. I wish Craig could have known….. I wonder if I was the only person ever to be sort of choked by him. Do let me know if it happened to you and what you did about it!


It Has to Be Ice Cream! My 12th Book Coming in May 2020



I have said many times that because of The Cake Bible, I’m best known for cake, most proud of my flaky and tender cream cheese pie crust, love most to bake bread, but it is ice cream that is the sweet I love most to eat.

Why make your own ice cream? Because you can make the flavors, combinations, and creamy textures of your dreams, but most of all, you can use the finest ingredients, and there is no need for additives or preservatives used in most commercial ice creams to keep them very becoming icy.

 Exactly one year from now, May of 2020, you will have all of our favorite ice cream recipes—over 100. You’ll be able to preorder the book as usual several months ahead. And we will be on tour for the book—my first spring/summer book ever.

 My personal favorite ice cream is the Black Raspberry. We both love it so much we planted 40 bushes so we could stop raiding the back roads. But Woody’s top favorite is the Back Road Mint Chip. We tried planting mint but it does better near spring water.

 We will continue to be posting the production phases of this book to share the excitement and watch it come together. Our style/photography sessions are almost completed. Soon we will be posting our appearance on Heritage Radio’s “Life is a Banquet”, in which we talk about our upcoming book.



Happy Mother's and Grandmother's Day

Ma Vie En Rose Part 2

Big Granda.jpg

No! I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I inherited a very special one when I discovered it in a wooden box of silver plate flatware that had belonged to my aunt. When I saw what was engraved on the back, I knew that it had belonged to my father’s mother, my grandmother Etta, whom I called “big Grandma” because my mother’s mother was so much shorter.

IMG_7425 (1).jpg

 The reason I know with absolutely certainty that the silver demitasse spoon belonged to her was because the engraving read: R.Wallace A1 Mayfair House and that is where my grandmother worked as “finisher” in the sewing repair room of the hotel in the 1930’s. (The Mayfair House became a New York City Landmark in 1981.)

 The spoon is so small that occasionally I think I’ve lost it and go into deep panic because it is my connection to a past long gone; and also because I am familiar with exactly how much sugar it measures, and most of all because it feels so right in my mouth—so smooth and gently curved. It is my every night after dinner comfort—an espresso with a little heavy cream, sugar, and that spoon stirring it and getting licked for the last drop.

 Both of my grandmothers were in the garment industry. My mother’s mother took care of me up until I was 5, while my mother spent the day working as a dentist and orthodontist. When my grandfather died she came to live with us, and continued to care for me and my younger brother while my mother continued to work.

 Grandma gave me one of my first toys—a fat wooden crochet hook on which I would warp a long piece of yarn. ‘Cheynenu’ was one of my first words and it took a while of crying to get my dad to understand what it was that  I wanted. And I still remember my relief when she didn’t scold me for getting a loosely knitted garment caught up in her treadle sewing machine.

 My dad gave me three other treasures of my very young years: he built me a sandbox with the fine sand from the nearby beach in Far Rockaway; he made me a wooden jigsaw puzzle, and he let me play with the little brass extension on his carpenter’s ruler. He also bought me tinker toys which I found a lot less interesting.

 When I was about 11, grandma gave me my first cross stitch project. It was a towel with the design of a pear. It is now 64 years old and I keep meaning to frame it. Little did I know at the time that I would marry a man named Beranbaum which means pear tree in German. His father was also in the garment industry.

 It was only in recent years that I realized how very special and rare craftsmanship is. I once dated a French chef who told me he could not marry me because he was a “manual” and I an “intellectual.” I thought, at the time, that he was wrong, but now I realize how wise he was but also not entire right because I am both. But he was right not to marry me because my “intellect” could not have long supported his concept that chef’s got fat because by handling food all day long they absorb calories from the pores in fingertips directly into the blood stream. My sense of humor is another story—but he had not been joking. He did have a way with food though. The recipe he taught me, pork stuffed with prunes in a cassis cream sauce, which I wrote up for publication, was once listed as one of the best 50 recipes in the past 50 years of Ladies’ Home Journal.

Ariela's Churro Pie Shell Piping Method


We are presenting Ariela’s method for piping the churro pie shell for her marvelous churro pie with cajeta mousse and chocolate ganache fillings, incase you want to keep authentic to her recipe. This shell is also easier to pipe than my method.  The batter recipe, recipes for all of the other components, and instructions for assembling the churro pipe are on our current Recipe of the Month.

Pipe and Freeze the Churro Pie Shell
* You are going to pipe four sets of 5 inch long “ropes” stacked 6 to 7 “ropes“ high of churro batter to cover the sides of the pan. Then cover the bottom of the pan with concentric rings of batter. You need to make sure that the “ropes” touch each other to form a solid casing to avoid the chance that the crust will break apart during frying.


* Place the cutting board and pie shell on the large bowl.

8) Fill the piping bag with a third of the batter.
9) Starting at the rim of the silicone pan, pipe a 5 inch long by 3/8 inch wide “rope” of batter. Repeat with piping another “rope” of dough directly on top of the first piped “rope”.
10) Repeat with subsequent piped “ropes” until the “ropes” cover a quarter of the side of the silicone pan and even or slightly higher than the bottom of the pan.
11) With an offset spatula, tamp the ends of the “ropes” to square them off for the next series of “ropes” to butt up against, and for the ends to form a straight vertical line of ends.

* If there is a slight gap after piping a “rope”, use an offset spatula to carefully press the “rope” to close the gap. If you make a mistake that cannot, use the offset spatula to remove the entire “rope” and re-pipe.

12) Place another third of the batter in the piping bag. Begin piping each new “rope” with it butting up to the corresponding “rope’s” end from the first stacked ropes. Tamp its ends and repeat with piping two more stacked “ropes” of batter “ropes” to cover the sides of the pan.
13) Starting even with the pan’s bottom, pipe vertical “ropes” down to the pan’s rim to cover the four junctures of the stacked “ropes” ends.
14) Move the cutting board on the countertop. Add more of the batter into the piping bag. Fill the bag with most of the remaining batter.
15) With an offset spatula, smooth any section of the “ropes” to be the same level as the pan’s bottom. Pipe a “rope” along the tops of the top “ropes” to make a continuous circle of dough on the edge of the pan’s bottom, letting it overlap its beginning. Smooth over the end to create a solid “rope”
16) Starting at a different point, pipe another “rope” ring alongside the first rope in the same manner. Pipe 7 to 9 more concentric circles until the bottom is completely covered.
17) With the offset spatula, spread more the bowl on top of the piped bottom rings and smooth the batter to form a fairly smooth bottom for the pie shell.

* Fill in any gaps in the piped “ropes” to encase the silicone pan completely.

18) Place the churro crust in the freezer to freeze for 8 hours up to 2 days. (Longer freezing can cause the crust to overbrown and/or leave doughy middles during deep-frying.)

Marble Cake with Chocolate Curls for the Joan Hamburg Show

22 full deck.jpg

We were honored to be invited to return to the wonderful Joan Hamburg Show to offer Joan Woody’s successful version of the Marble Cake with Chocolate Pieces which Joan’s mom used to make for the family. This is how we will always make our favorite Marble Cake. The chocolate curls melt in your mouth against the softness of the cake crumb.


Here’s the link to the Joan Hamburg Podcast Let Me Tell You

Woody tried chocolate chips, but was not satisfied with the outcome. Lacing in 1/2 inch wide thick curls of dark chocolate gave the cake added dimensions of texture and taste.



You can also listen to the show this Saturday, April 20th, on her weekly show on 77WABC 1-2 pm EST.

Woody’s Chocolate Curls Marble Butter Cake is our April recipe of the month. Click below to see the recipe.

Pastry Plus Conference


On Sunday, March 24, we had the pleasure of attending and participating in the Pastry Plus 2019 conference at the ICC (International Culinary Center) in New York. The mission of Pastry Plus is: “To establish a pastry community that promotes a constructive exchange of ideas and information to secure the future of the industry.”

Jansen Chan, director of pastry operations for ICC, is the founder of Pastry Plus. He gave the opening introduction to over 100 fellow pastry students, professionals, and food journalists. Emily Luchetti, an advisor to Pastry Plus, gave the keynote address.

Rose was joined by Ron Ben-Israel and Zoe Konan for a panel discussion on various pastry topics moderated by Mitchell Davis, chief strategy officer of the James Beard Foundation. Francisco Migoya of Modernist Cuisine gave a presentation on their book Modernist Bread.

A variety of classes was offered during the afternoon. We first attended Emily Luchetti, and Beth Nielsen from Nielsen-Massey for a class on vanilla, in which we sampled five vanilla extracts and learned several new facts and information on vanilla and its production. Vanilla beans are graded and Nielsen-Massey only purchases the top tier. 

Miro Uskokovic, Executive Pastry Chef at Gramercy Tavern, and also an advisor for Pastry Plus, gave a highly illuminating class on alternative sugars. We tasted a dozen cookies using different sugars. Granulated sugar was the control to compare with sugars like jaggery, maple sugar, palm sugar, and honey.

A networking session capped the day.


We applaud the efforts of Pastry Plus and Miro’s annual Sips and Sweets, both of which provide a means for up and coming bakers and established bakers to connect.

My Most Special Story of Love and Loss and Bridging Boundaries ( and how I went to study at LeNôtre 40 years ago)

My Most Special Story of Love and Loss and Bridging Boundaries ( and how I went to study at LeNôtre 40 years ago)

I was saving this story for my memoirs but decided that in honor of my 75th birthday today, and because my treasured friend Max Brossellet died last month, I would share it now.

It all began with Mimi Sheraton, restaurant reviewer of the New York Times, who came to interview me about my upcoming cooking school. She complimented me on the mini cheesecake which I made for her and the choice of coffee I served (I knew from reading her columns which bean she preferred and where she got it) but she told me that my cake decorating needed to be more elegant and suggested that I study at LeNôtre in France. My response was: “now I can tell my husband that Mimi Sheraton said I should study there.” And I lost no time in enrolling for a class. Part of my rush was that I was pregnant and knew that if I had a baby it would be a long time before I would be willing to leave it to go to go to France.


The class on entremets (cakes) happened to fall on the week before Christmas. French friends warned me that the French don’t invite people for dinner and that the most I could hope for is a cocktail hour invitation. They also advised me that at Christmas time there was no chance of invitation at all. Happily, I ignored the advice.


The day of departure, as I was rushing to leave, I got a call from my great uncle Nat, telling me I had to call his friend Nadège when in Paris and that we would cook together. I didn’t have time to ask if this was a man or woman or anything more about his recommendation but on arriving in Paris I followed his advice. It turned out that Nadège was a married woman with three children and that she loved to cook. I was promptly invited to cocktail hour at their home on the left bank, a few blocks from Les Invalides.


The drawing room, with handmade lace curtains gracing the long French windows, was a study in elegance. I sat perched at the edge of my chair, trying to mind my manners and speak in the best French I could manage. Max, the husband, asked me a few polite questions, but things fell apart when he asked the inevitable question “avez-vous des enfants?” I started to answer but, to my horror, tears started welling up and try as hard as I could they would not stop. So, I explained that I had recently had a miscarriage (I didn’t know the French expression at the time so in error I said abortion!). Max’s response was immediate and gently compassionate. He said “Je pense que vous avez des caffards…” which translates to “I think you have roaches” but actually means I think you are homesick. And, to my total shock, he added that I should move in with them during my stay in Paris!


My grandmother, in all her wisdom, had taught me always to look to the wife, which was my first response, and when I did her expression changed from concern to compassion equal to that of her husband’s.


So I said: “Oui!” The next step was to write down the exact address to get there by taxi. I got out my prized Mount Blanc fountain pen, the size of a small cigar, and Max’s eyes light up with appreciation. “Ah a Mount Blanc!” he exclaimed and asked me if he could use it to write the address. Now I had been told never to let anyone write with my pen because the gold nib, which had softened to my handwriting, would be altered. So I explained this to Max and instead of his being intimidated he exclaimed with delight “un vierge!” (a virgin). I weakly countered by telling him it was a bit scratchy to which he smiled and said: “I’ll smooth it out.” Realizing that I had just achieved the near impossible of being invited not only to dinner but to live with this French family at Christmas time, it seemed utterly ridiculous to withhold my pen so I handed it over to him. And thus began a friendship that lasted for well over 30 years.


But here comes my favorite part of the story: I went back that very night to pack my things and took a cab from the humble hotel where I had been staying. The ride started out badly when I showed the driver the address and he told me that he couldn’t drive into that street which meant I would have to carry my heavy bags for several blocks. By then, the cab had filled up with thick smoke from a gitane cigarette the burley cab driver was enjoying. Timidly I asked him if he would mind putting it out. The response was a wordless grumble of discontent so I followed it up with: “Well anyway, it’s not good for the healthy.” Pas bonne pour la sainté? Not good for the health? He spat out. You can’t eat, you can’t smoke, you can’t drink anymore, what is left? And as always, my sense of humor got the better of me and I replied softly and with a smile in my voice: “En peut toujours faire l’amour.”* The driver stopped the car to turn around and scrutinize what manner of woman, with good French but American accent, would have the nerve to utter those words. And then he smiled and said in a resigned but amused tone: “Oui! En peut tourjours faire ça. Madam! I will take you wherever you want to go.” This was a moment I will never forget. And with that he drove me right up to the door of my new friends’ apartment house--la famille Brossollet.


The plan of my visit was that I would return for a few days after attending the baking classes and stay for Christmas, in fact, Nadège asked if I would make a bûche de Noël based on what I was to learn chez LeNôtre. But though Nadège was a first rate cook, she was not a baker and her oven door did not close securely which would not be suitable for baking. By the time I returned, however, just one week later, Max had bought her a new oven for my bûche to be! Nadège got out her collection of tiny toy buglers to decorate it and we all thought it was a great success. But I think what meant the most to her was that as her teenage children were mocking the holiday, saying how bored they were and that it was toujours la même chose (always the same thing), I succeeded in giving them a different perspective by telling them how I had been warned not to expect hospitality of the sort I was enjoying and that I felt it to be a great honor to be included as part of the family at such a sacred time.


Nadège, Max, and I were close friends for many years and many visits. Yes, Nadège and I cooked together and shared many intimacies and experiences, and Max, owner of the esteemed Belin publishing company, and also publisher of the French edition of Scientific American Magazine, was a fascinating conversationalist. During my last visit to their weekend Moulin in Normandy, Max drove me over to the ancient nearby church and told me that someday I would be able to visit them there because that is where they would be interned. The thought of losing this incredibly dear man made me very sad.

But also, it was during that visit that I realized it would probably be my last one and for a different reason. When I tried to share with Nadège my recipe for roast duck on the grill, she stopped me short by saying that all I ever wanted to talk about was food. I will always miss both Brossollets and sometimes dream about Nadège. I’m left with the feeling that I must have done something wrong but can’t imagine what. I guess people change. But I prefer the French expression “plus ça change plus c’est la même chose.” I still stay in touch with their son Martin who was always very special to me as a young boy. I will admit that food is my window on the world but it is not all that I am. You will see some of the rest if I ever get to write the rest of my memoirs.


* Tragically, this theoretical compensation I had suggested also became bad for the health with the advent of aids.

Read More

All Occasion Downy Yellow Layer Cake and Sheet Cake

0 cover.jpg

Makes: One 9 inch layer
Oven Temperature: 350˚F/175˚C
Baking Time: 30 to 40 minutes (35 to 45 minutes for a sheet cake)

 This versatile layer cake is one of the lightest and fluffiest of yellow cakes. We used it for all of our Power of Flour postings’ tests, adjusting the baking powder depending on type of flour or flour combination used. The cake also serves as an excellent test for confirming your oven’s temperature. It has been featured in various forms in The Cake Bible, Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, The Baking Bible, and Rose’s Baking Basics. It is also the Base Formula Yellow Base Cake in The Cake Bible’s Wedding and Special Occasion Cakes chapter.

Special Equipment One 9 by 2 inch round (or 8 by 2 inch square) pan, encircled with cake strip, bottom coated with shortening, topped with parchment round, then coated with baking spray with flour

1 layer yellow cake 3 16 19.png

Preheat the Oven

* Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Set the oven at 350˚F/175˚C.

 Set Up for Ingredients (Mise en Place)
* About 1 hour ahead, set the butter and eggs on the counter at room temperature (65˚ to 75˚F/19˚ to 23˚C).
* In a 2 cup or larger measure with a spout, weigh or measure the egg yolks.

IT TOOK 5 YOLKS instead of 4, as most large eggs today have smaller yolks.

IT TOOK 5 YOLKS instead of 4, as most large eggs today have smaller yolks.

Make the Batter
1) Into measure with a spout, add 59 grams/1/4 cup/79 ml of the milk and vanilla and whisk just until lightly combined.

2) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds.

3) Add the butter and the remaining buttermilk and holding the beater with your hand, mash the butter and buttermilk into the flour mixture so that it doesn’t jump out of the mixer when beating. Then mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1-1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4) Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the egg mixture to the batter in two parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5) Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.

WEIGHING YOUR BATTER will flag you if you forgot or mis-measured an ingredient.  CAKE STRIPS insure uniform texture throughout the cake and minimizes over browning the sides.

WEIGHING YOUR BATTER will flag you if you forgot or mis-measured an ingredient.

CAKE STRIPS insure uniform texture throughout the cake and minimizes over browning the sides.

 Bake the Cake
6) Bake for 30 to 40 minutes (35 to 45 for a sheet cake), or until a wire cake tester inserted into the centers comes out clean.

Cool the Cake
7) Let the cake cool in the pan on wire rack for 10 minutes (15 minutes for a sheet cake). Run a metal spatula between the sides of the pan and the cake, pressing firmly against the pan, and invert the cake onto a wire rack that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Peel off the parchment and reinvert onto the wire rack. Cool completely.

BAKED CAKE uniform in texture from the cake strip

BAKED CAKE uniform in texture from the cake strip

 Store Airtight: room temperature, 3 days; refrigerated, 1 week; frozen, 3 months.

Baking Pearl
* It is essential to measure your egg yolks, as egg yolks are frequently smaller by up to 25% from the standard size. Therefore our stating up to 6 yolks on the chart.

 Make This Recipe Your Own
* For a two-layer simply double the recipe in half (including the leavening).
* When unmolding the two layers, leave them upside down to help flatten the slightly rounded top. When composing the cake, set one layer, rounded side down on the cardboard round or plate. Frost the top and slide the second layer, rounded side up, on top.

* For a 13 by 9 inch sheet cake, double all of the ingredients except to use only 4-3/4 teaspoons/21.4 grams of baking powder.

White Velvet Layer Cake
What to do with those egg whites? Bake an egg white cake. Make the same recipe using.
3 egg whites 90 grams / 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (89 ml)
baking powder 3-1/4 teaspoons

WHITE VELVET CAKE with egg whites

WHITE VELVET CAKE with egg whites

The Power of Flour, Part Two: Replacing Yolks with Whole Eggs or Egg Whites

E10 F SLICE SHOT cake flour 2.5 tsp powder 2 21 10-thumb-480x360-282.jpg

The purpose of all these tests for Part 1 and Part 2 of "The Power of Flour" was to determine the optimum level of baking powder when using my two-stage method of mixing cakes to be baked in 9 by 2 inch high pans. The 'control' cake for Part 1 was the All-Occasion Downy Yellow Cake from The Cake Bible, which uses cake flour and all egg yolks, adapted from two 1-1/2 inch high pans to a 2 inch high pan.

The goal in Part 1 was to achieve the best texture and flavor if using bleached or unbleached all-purpose flour instead of cake flour. In order to adjust for a higher 2-inch pan, we used 2/3 the batter that would be used for (2) 1-1/2 inch high pans and we decreased the baking powder from what would have been 2-5/8 teaspoons for 2/3 the batter to 2-1/2 teaspoons as higher pans need a stronger structure. (All-Occasion Downy Yellow Cake recipe will be posting March 6.)

The goal in this Part 2 was to achieve a level cake layer for use as a two-layer cake, if replacing the egg yolks with either all egg whites or whole eggs. In order to accomplish this goal we needed to see what adjustments of baking powder--if any--are necessary when replacing the egg yolks with either egg whites or whole eggs. Note: All Ingredients except for the baking powder and salt were weighed. (Eggs, and the yolks in proportion to the whites, vary widely from egg to egg so weighing is necessary for trust-worthy, consistent results.) 

Type of Flour: Cake Replacing the 4 egg yolks:
> with 3 egg whites: baking powder increased from 2-1/2 teaspoons to 3-1/4 teaspoons.
> with 2 whole eggs: baking powder increased from 2-1/2 teaspoons to 3-1/2 teaspoons. 

Type of Flour: Bleached All-purpose Replacing the 4 egg yolks:
 > with 3 egg whites: baking powder increased from 2-1/2 teaspoons to 3 teaspoons.
 > with 2 whole eggs: baking powder increased from 2-1/2 teaspoons to 3-1/4 teaspoons. 

Type of Flour: Unbleached All-purpose Replacing the 4 egg yolks:
> with 3 egg whites: baking powder increased from 2-1/2 teaspoons to 2-5/8 teaspoons.
> with 2 whole eggs: baking powder increased from 2-1/2 teaspoons to 3-1/2 teaspoons.

 Notes: We were surprised to find that though using all egg whites makes the structure stronger, using whole eggs makes it stronger still. These results are predicated on weight of the major ingredients. If using volume for the eggs, be sure to measure them as the proportion of yolk to white varies from egg to egg. If using egg whites that have been frozen, be sure to stir the thawed whites well with a fork to combine evenly. 

A 2-inch high pan makes a very nice single layer cake. If making just one layer you may want to decrease the baking powder by 1/4 teaspoon to give it a slight dome. If making a two layer cake everything should just be doubled.

Final Conclusions for Part 1 and Part 2: Egg yolks give cake a fuller flavor, egg whites give cake a softer texture. Egg whites will need more leavening than yolks (exact amount depending on the cake). Whole eggs will need more leavening than whites (exact amount depending on the cake) Cake flour and bleached all-purpose flour result in the best flavor and texture in cake.

If using unbleached all-purpose flour, the best flavor comes from replacing 15% of the flour with potato starch. The most level cake comes from using egg yolks or whole eggs.

comes from using egg yolks or whole eggs.


CAKE FLOUR WITH EGG YOLKS & 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder Test# E11M


CAKE FLOUR WITH WHOLE EGGS & 3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder Test# E12H


E10 E SLICE SHOT bleached 2.5 tsp 2 21 10-thumb-480x360-284.jpg

BLEACHED ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR WITH EGG YOLKS & 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder Test# E10E



BLEACHED ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR WITH EGG WHITES & 3 teaspoons baking powder Test#E11J



BLEACHED ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR WITH WHOLE EGGS & 3-1/4 teaspoons baking powder  Test# E11F


E10 D SLICE SHOT UNbleached 2.5 powder 2 21 10-thumb-480x360-288.jpg

UNBLEACHED ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR WITH EGG YOLKS & 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder Test# E10D



 UNBLEACHED ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR WITH EGG WHITES & 2-5/8 teaspoons baking powder   Test# E11D


 UNBLEACHED ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR WITH WHOLE EGGS & 3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder Test# E12G

E12-SLICE-UNbleached-w-Potato-Starch 3-thumb-480x270-1021.jpg



The Power of Flour: It Does Matter

We frequently receive comments and queries about what type of flour to use for butter and oil based cake baking with baking powder/baking soda as the leavening agent. This is a reposting of our March 6, 2010, as our findings then still apply. Even more so with some current brands of cake flours now being unbleached.



For years I have been saying how important it is to use bleached flour whether all-purpose or cake flour in cake baking and I still prefer it, but after making the fortuitous mistake of using unbleached flour in a cake baked in a tube pan, and discovering that the pan's center tube kept it from falling, I have revisited the subject and made some very interesting and ground breaking discoveries.

Woody and I have conducted numerous tests using bleached cake flour, bleached all-purpose flour, and unbleached all-purpose flour in a solid (unmelted) butter layer cake using my one bowl mixing method and the All-Occasion Downy Yellow Cake from The Cake Bible. (We used two-thirds the recipe, first using two-thirds the baking powder (2-5/8 teaspoons). Then we decreased the baking powder to 2-1/2 teaspoons because we were using a 2 inch high pan instead of the 1-1/2 inch high pans in the Cake Bible (and higher pans need proportionately less baking powder). We found that when using bleached or unbleached all-purpose flour instead of cake flour, we got more tenderness (and in the case of unbleached flour improved flavor) by replacing 15% of the flour with potato starch which comes closer to cake flour than cornstarch.The overall appearance, however, with the bleached all-purpose flour is slightly lower either in height or in the center.

Our Conclusions
1. bleached cake flour
 is suitable for cakes where a very tender texture is desired. 
2. bleached all-purpose flour and 15% potato starch to simulate cake flour results in a more even cake with smoother crust and better taste than cornstarch, but is not quite as tender. 
3. bleached all-purpose flour is preferable for cakes that benefit from more structure. 
4. bleached flourresults in the best flavor.
5. bleached flour results in the best volume. 
6. bleached flour results in the most tender and velvety texture. 
7. unbleached flour results in less volume. 
8. unbleached flour results in a coarser, chewier texture. 
9. unbleached flour results in a cornbread-like flavor.  
10. cornstarch substitution for part of the flour for bleached or unbleached all-purpose flour is less effective to improve structure than decreasing leavening, and alters the flavor. 
11. potato starch substitution for part of the flour for bleached or unbleached all-purpose flour is even more effective than cornstarch as it softens the crumb. For the unbleached flour it also improves the flavor by lessening the cornbread-like quality.

At first I thought it was an inherent contradiction that unbleached flour, which is higher in protein, would result in less volume, which usually is an indicator of structural weakness, and yet be chewier, which usually is an indicator of greater structural strength. As I was going to sleep one night I was so disturbed by this thought that I pretended I was inside the structure of a cake and started picturing a mesh of wires like a metal fence. Then the thought hit me like lightening: If one were to snip those wires, the fence would collapse but if one tried to chew on those wires they would still be wires--hard and unyielding even though not strong enough to hold up as a fence structure!

And then it seemed obvious that a cake made with the higher protein of unbleached flour would have a tougher but not necessarily stronger structure! (A good metaphor for defining how strength comes in different forms!) I then remembered what I had learned about the different types of gluten-forming protein contained in flour when I was working on recipes for The Bread Bible. One type of gluten is elastic and results in a more chewy texture. The other type of gluten is extensible (stretchy) and enables a bread or cake to rise higher without collapsing. Bleached flour also has a lower PH, which means it will gelatinize (set) more quickly and thus maintain its structure.

For bakers who either have no access to the bleached flour or prefer to use unbleached flour, Kate Coldrick's method of heat-treating flour in a microwave enables the flour to gelatinize more effectively and the addition of xanthan gum also strengthens the structure. Our website has a posting: Kate of Kate’s Flour with instructions on how to make it.

But we wanted to see if there was a way to improve the performance of unbleached flour without heat-treating it. Our goal was to achieve the best volume, texture, and flavor, with no dipping in the center. [Note: the cake structure on the sides is slightly lower because the batter closer to the metal pan sets sooner than does the center. For a two-layer cake it is best to have level layers but for a single layer a slight dome is more attractive.] 

Solutions & Options if Replacing Bleached Flour with Unbleached Flour The customary technique to approximate cake flour when using bleached all-purpose flour is to replace 15% of the flour with cornstarch or potato starch. These starches gelatinize at lower temperatures (potato starch much lower than corn starch) than does the starch in flour, thereby improving the structure of the cake. We found that the cornstarch mixed with the bleached all-purpose flour resulted in a cake that was almost as tender as cake flour, and eliminated the slight dipping in the center.

In the cake using UNbleached all-purpose flour the cornstarch decreased the over-all dipping by 1/8 inch but did not eliminate it. On the negative side however, in both cases the cornstarch resulted in a denser crumb, bubbly top crust and an off-flavorThe potato starch totally eliminated the dipping! The crumb is slighty coarser than the bleached all-purpose flour, but the flavor is not compromised! Photos of Cakes Using 2-5/8 Teaspoons Baking Powder

Cake Flour Versus Unbleached All Purpose Flour

In our next series of tests, instead of cutting the bleached and unbleached all-purpose flour with cornstarch or potato starch, we lowered the baking power by 1/8 teaspoon (to 2-1/2 teaspoons per 200 grams/7ounces flour). Baking powder reacts with the liquid in the batter and the heat of the oven to produce bubbles that enlarge and ultimately disrupt the network structure of the batter. Flour that has greater elasticity allows the network to expand more before breaking, giving more time for the heat penetration to set the structure, preventing collapsing or dipping.

Decreasing the baking powder is less disruptive to the structure and thus completely prevented the cakes made with the all-purpose bleached and unbleached flour from dipping. It also resulted in better flavor than the cakes made with the addition of cornstarch. The texture of the cakes was slightly less tender but also less dense. To see if we could achieve the same tenderness of cake flour using all-purpose bleached flour with the correct lower amount of baking powder we tried one with the added cornstarch (see the third photo down) but it caused it to dip 1/4 inch. 

Photos of Cakes Using 2-1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

When the baking powder is correct the cornstarch causes rather than prevents dipping.

Cake Flour, Bleached All-purpose Flour, Unbleached All-purpose Flour

E10 D E and F 2.50 tsp powder 2 21 10_2-thumb-480x573-290.jpg

Note how the unbleached has the darkest crumb. 

Coming up Soon, Part Two: The Power of Leavening (Eggs versus Baking Powder)

Classic Egg Whites Chocolate Buttercream

My recipes tend to favor egg yolks for their wonderful flavor and emulsifying ability to make mixtures smooth and even. But I do have some really special recipes requiring egg white. I almost forgot this favorite one as when I think of chocolate buttercream my mind leaps immediately to dark intense ganache. Classic Egg White Chocolate Buttercream is a recipe I created for the Cake Bible twenty-five years ago. It is smooth and creamy, with a milk chocolate color, but packs a strong chocolate flavor. This is because uncooked egg whites produce a softer buttercream so more chocolate can be added without it becoming too stiff! This is one of the easiest buttercreams to make, but as the egg whites are not cooked it is best to use pasteurized egg whites such as Safest Choice.

Classic Egg White Chocolate Buttercream 

Makes: 3-3/4 cups/35 ounces/1 kilogram (enough to fill and frost two 9 by 1-inch layers)
* your favorite bittersweet chocolate (56 to 63 percent cacao solids):
284 grams/10 ounces , melted and cooled til no longer warm to the touch but still fluid

* unsalted butter, (65˚ to 75˚F/19˚ to 23˚C):
4 sticks/ 454 grams

* 4 large egg whites (room temperature):
120 grams/1/2 cup (118 ml)

*  sugar, preferably superfine
200 grams/1 cup

1) In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form when the beater is raised.

2) Gradually beat int he sugar until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised slowly.

3) Beat in the butter by the tablespoon. If the mixture looks slightly curdled, increase the speed a little and beat until smooth before continuing to add more butter.

4) Add the melted and cooled chocolate all at once and beat until smooth and uniform in color.

Store: 6 hours room temperature, 1 week refrigerated, 8 months frozen.
If refrigerated, allow it to come to room temperature before rebeating to prevent curdling.

Rose's Baking Basics: OUTBakes Perfect Pie Crust Border

I created Rose’s Perfect Pie Plate to make shaping a border truly as easy as pie. The deeply fluted rim keeps the lovely design from flattening when baked and the level impression keeps the dough from sliding down the sides.

We made this video to show you how easy it is to tuck the overhanging border underneath and then to press it down.

If you want to have the baked border flush with the edge of the pie plate you’ll need to press it a little past the edge but i like to press it just to the edge so that when it shrinks a tiny bit you see the edge of the plate.

The pie crust is my favorite: Rose’s Flaky and Tender Pie Crust—the December 2018 recipe of the month on this blog. It is made with butter and cream cheese which gives it a most delicious flavor as well as lovely texture.

Our Weekly Baking Tips for Sunday will have 3 videos with tips for Blind Baking this pie crust for making Rose’s Open Faced Apple Pie. Blind baking gives the pie a very crisp crust but it is also excellent adding the apple slices to the unbaked pie crust, in which case I would choose to brush the dough with a thin layer of apricot glaze instead of egg white.

Blind bake 2 16 19.jpg

Double Chocolate Sweetheart Cake  (Really the Final Word in Chocolate Cake)


Serves: 8 to 10
Oven Temperature: 350°F/175˚C
Bake: 30 to 40 minutes

When I served as a chocolate cake consultant for Procter and Gamble, I was asked the intriguing question: How would I make a cake taste the most chocolaty possible if I had no limitations. This question, delightful to contemplate, was particularly interesting because cocoa makes the most chocolaty tasting layer cake but chocolate, melted and mixed with cream, offers the fullest chocolate hit. So my answer was that I would make a cocoa layer cake, using the best cocoa, with all yolks (which gives the fullest flavor) and after baking, inject it with my favorite eating chocolate melted with cream (ganache). I would store it in a room filled with chocolate because chocolate absorbs all aromas to which it is exposed and to enhance the experience further, I would have people eat it in a room filled with chocolate, because what you smell while you're eating has a powerful effect on what you taste. 

The cake based on my chocolate fantasy turned out to be so delicious and chocolaty it needed no further help of storage or eating environment. It is astonishingly easy to make and is at once fudgy-moist and soft within, encased by a thin glaze of chocolate that forms by itself after brushing in the ganache. This recipe is also in Rose’s Heavenly Cakes and Rose’s Celebrations.

For Valentine's Day I like to bake the cake in a heart-shaped pan and top it with fresh red raspberries, brightened with a gilding of current jelly.

 Special Equipment: A 9 by 2-inch heart-shaped or round cake pan (8 to 8-2/3 cup capacity), bottom coated with shortening, topped with a parchment heart or round, then coated with baking spray with flour. Encircle the pan with a cake strip (see Baking Pearls).


sweetheart 1 .png

Preheat the Oven
* 20 minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven.
* Set the oven to 350°F./175˚C.

 Mise en Place
* About 1 hour ahead, set the butter and eggs on the counter at room temperature (65˚ to 75˚F/19˚ to 23˚C).

Dissolve the Cocoa
* In a medium bowl whisk together the cocoa and boiling water until smooth.
* Cover with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation and cool to room temperature (about 30 minutes). To speed cooling, place it in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before proceeding.

* In another bowl lightly combine the yolks, the 3 tablespoons water, and vanilla.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap.

 Make the Batter
1) In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, on low speed for 30 seconds.

2) Add the butter and remaining cocoa mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1  1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake's structure. Scrape down the sides.

3) Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in two batches, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides.

4) Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. 

Bake the Cake
5) Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven.

6) While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze.

Chocolate Glaze
Makes:  244 grams/1 cup (237 ml)

sweetheart 2.png

 7) Break the chocolate into pieces and process in a food processor until very fine.

 8) Scald the cream (heat to the boiling point. Small bubbles will appear around the edges).

 9) With the motor running, pour it through the feed tube in a steady stream. Process a few seconds until smooth.  (Alternatively, grate the chocolate, place it in a small bowl and stir in the scalded cream until the mixture is uniform in color.  Transfer the chocolate glaze to a small bowl and keep it warm.

Apply the Glaze and Cool and Unmold the Cake
10) As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, place the pan on a rack, poke holes all over the top of the cake with a wooden skewer. 

11) Use a brush to dabble half of the chocolate glaze onto the cake.  It will take about 10 minutes.

12) Run a small metal spatula around the sides of the pan and the cake, pressing firmly against the pan. Invert the cake onto a flat surface, such as a card board round or plate, which has been covered with plastic wrap or waxed paper.  Peel off and discard the parchment and poke holes all over. 

 13) Dabble with the remaining glaze, brushing a little onto the sides of the cake as well.  Cool completely, for 1 or more hours, until the chocolate is firm to the touch. 

 14) Invert the cake onto a 10-inch cardboard round or 10 inch perfectly flat plate, covered with plastic wrap.  Peel off the plastic wrap, then reinvert onto a serving plate.

 Raspberry Topping

sweetheart 3.png

15) Place the raspberries closely together to cover the surface of the cake, starting at the outside border and working in towards the center.

16) In a microwave oven or small heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the current jelly.  Use a small brush to paint the current glaze onto the raspberries.

 Store Airtight, without raspberries: room temperature, 3 days; refrigerated, 1 week; frozen, 3 months.
with raspberries: room temperature, 1 day; refrigerated, 3 days. Do not freeze.

 Baking Pearls
* If making the cake without the raspberry topping, use a pastry brush to stipple the chocolate glaze after is almost set for a more attractive appearance. You may also dust it lightly with cocoa or powdered sugar by placing it in a strainer held over the cake and tapping the edge of the strainer with a spoon.

* If making the cake in a heart shaped pan, we have a posting on our Weekly Baking Tips page: Make Your Own Cake Strips for making the cake strip with aluminum foil and paper towels.

* You may want to check Marie Wolf's “Heavenly Cake Bake Along” and read fellow bloggers' comments on their baking through most of the recipes in Rose’s Heavenly Cakes. Lots of step-by-step photos, variations at times, and great stories as well. The portal to her blog site is on our Rose’s Heavenly Cakes page.
To get to her blog:
1. Click on Rose’s Books, then scroll down to Rose’s Heavenly Cakes book cover and description.
2. Click on Discover More Rose’s Heavenly Cakes Page.
3. Scroll down on the right column to Marie Wolf's Heavenly Cake Baker Bake Along 
4. Click on the book’s endpapers image to link you to Marie’s blog.
5. You can then do a SEARCH on her blog for the Chocolate Chocolate Valentine to see how the Heavenly Bakers made theirs.

Optional Whipped Cream Décor
Makes: 244 grams/2 cups

sweetheart 4 .png

1) In the bowl of a stand mixer, place all the ingredients and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.  (Chill the whisk beater alongside the bowl.)

2) Beat the mixture on medium speed just until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised.

3) Use a number 5 large star tube and pastry bag to pipe a shell border around the base of the cake.



Rose's Baking Basics: OUTBakes



For our Apple Cider Cake Doughnuts recipe in Rose’s Baking Basics, we state to coat the doughnut pan’s cavities with baking spray with flour. This week we were experimenting with substituting commercial apple cider reduced by 6 times for our apple cider reduced by 3 times. The baked and cooled doughnuts had somewhat flattened tops. When we did a second test, I suggested that we grease two of the cavities with shortening and flour. Voila! The two doughnuts prepped this way had rounded tops and did not rise above the sides of the pan the way the ones coated with Baker’s Joy did.
For our Book Corrections postings for Rose’s Baking Basics we have added LIGHTLY COATED WITH SHORTENING AND FLOUR as an option for this recipe.