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,

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All Occasion Downy Yellow Layer Cake and Sheet Cake

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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

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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

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.

The Story of The Cake Bible--A Baking Classic


My wonderful editor Cassie Morgan Jones, at Harper-Collins, gave me a list of questions to answer about how The Cake Bible came to be a classic and my thoughts about the influence that it has had on my and other people's baking lives: Congratulations to one of our favorite authors, Rose Levy Beranbaum, whose book The Cake Bible was recently inducted into the International Association of Culinary Professionals Culinary Classics Hall of Fame. This bestselling, definitive cookbook makes cake baking a joy and brings professional-quality baking within reach of home bakers everywhere. Here is the introduction to the Q & A written by Cassie: And here is the Q & A for you to enjoy.

Believing in the Bible Part 2


Mark Levy sent me the rest of his fascinating, inspiring, and moving story of the evolution of his career. Here is the whole story as he wrote it: 27 years ago, one of your books played a pivotal role in my life. I was 25 years old, and had just been hired by a book distributor to sell books to stores over the phone. For me, at least, my role was fairly passive. A bookshop would phone in and read from their shortlist. If we were in-stock on a title they mentioned, I'd say "How many copies would you like?" If we were out of stock, I'd say, "Sorry, we're out." Then one day my passiveness changed. I'd been taking book orders from a bunch of different stores, and noticed that several prominent ones had ordered a book that had just shipped: "The Cake Bible." When I asked the other salespeople in my office if they had been getting "The Cake Bible," requests, they told me no. I knew I wasn't imaging things, though. Maybe I'd noticed a trend no one else had noticed yet? I decided to take a chance. I'd always been a relatively shy guy, but I telephoned the largest bookstore in my region, B. Dalton #169 in Garden City. Although that store rarely bought from us, I figured if they took copies of "The Cake Bible" and sold them, they'd begin to trust my opinion and become a regular customer. I spoke to one of the store's assistant managers, Marie. I said, "This book 'The Cake Bible' is starting to fly. I only have a few hundred copies left. You should stock up before I sell out." Marie laughed: "OK, give me 35 copies. But if we don't sell them, it'll be your ass." Bolstered by my success, I called dozens of other stores, and sold them "The Cake Bible," too. That day, I must have gone through 500 copies. The book of course became a monster success. We ended up selling thousands. But, importantly for me, selling it gave me confidence in my ability to see patterns, spot trends, and sell. A year later I was promoted to sales manager. Later, I helped another book distributor sell over a billion dollars worth of books. Since then, I've authored or coauthored five books, have written for the New York Times Book Review, co-created the longest one-person show in New York City (it's run for sixteen years), and became a consultant who has worked with a former department head in the White House, a speaker to the UN, the former head of the Strategy Unit of the Harvard Business School, the CEO of Popeye's, and the History Channel. What my job is, really, is helping people to find the big differentiating idea that sets their business, or show, or book, or speech apart from the others out there. So my entire career now is predicating on my ability to make important judgments on what can or cannot attract attention and sell. For many years then, when people asked me how I got into my profession, I'll often say, "It started with 'The Cake Bible.'" Anyway, meeting you was an enormous pleasure. And thank you so much for helping me get my start in the world.

Believing in the Bible


Yesterday we participated in the Morristown Festival of Books and we will be posting photos of the event in a few weeks. It was one of the best organized book events of my memory. We gave a talk in the Morristown Church of the Redemption to a group of enthusiastic book lovers who asked thought provoking questions which prompted fun stores and informative responses. The wind and rain did little if anything to dissuade people from coming (900 people bought tickets to the events). Afterwards we signed books in one of the nearby tents. One of the people in the line had a story he had been waiting for years to tell me and it was so moving if he puts it in writing I will post it. In 1988, at the start of his career, Mark Levy (not a relative but who knows!) was working at a bottom entry level position in the distribution center of book seller B. Dalton. When he saw the newly published Cake Bible and noticed that it was being overlooked by the powers that purchase, he suggested that this book would be a major seller. They ordered 35 saying that if they didn't sell his neck was on the block (ok they used the a word). The rest is history. And this coming November, The Cake Bible will be 27 years old and in its 52nd printing. Mark Levy said the book changed his life and gave him the courage and confidence to apply for major positions in places including the United Nations. I do hope he will send me the rest of his story as his career is an inspiration.

Tortas en Latinoamérica

We have a new category to honor the many spanish speaking people on this blog!Queridos Blogeros: Hector recibio esta linda nota, y empezemos a bloguear en el lenguage Hispano. From Ceci in Colombia: "Hola hector, como estas???, te cuento que ya me animé a poner mis comentarios en el blog de Rose. Estoy preparando una version de Mousseline Buttercream con LULOS!!! (conoces esa fruta tropical?). Mañana la voy a hacer y espero que salga algo bueno para ponerlo en el blog. De todas formas aqui te dejo algunas fotos de mis trabajitos. La tortas son White Weeding Cake with lemon Mousseline buttercream, y los últimos pastelitos blancos son el Fruit Cake de Rose decorados con orquideas naturales. Recibe un saludo, Ceci

Julia Revisited


No one told me I was going to cry my way through the movie. I certainly wasn't expecting to. I cried because her experiences were so similar to so many of mine. I cried because it brought back so very many memories. I cried because I missed her so much. And I cried the most at the end DON'T READ THE REST OF THE SENTENCE IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE--SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH because when I saw her open the very same padded envelope containing the first copy of her book just the way I did mine a mere 17 days ago I knew exactly what it felt like.Since I am in such an emotional state, and am throwing all modesty and caution to the wind, I photographed a letter from her co-author Simca which is one of my most treasured possessions, to share with you.

Hector's Cake Bible Graduation

This is Hector Wong's interpretation of La Porcelaine on the cover of The Cake Bible. My marzipan roses were rose red but of course Hector's are yellow like his "Yellow Kitchen." I would say he graduates with honors don't you agree? Here's his note:Dear Rose, your La Porcelaine is a gem (short word for how beautiful I feel your cake deeply is). Your cake is BEAUTY-FULL. Working with your signature chocolate fondant was a pleasure, I loved it so much that I will consider this as the only fondant to work with! Deliciously chocolaty, naturally cocoa colored, tastes and perfumes of chocolate... we should rename this fondant: chocolate drapery! (Click on the photo for a much larger version and to see the bottom collage in more detail.) I made this cake for Luca’s birthday. When he saw the cake, he felt the truth: I made this cake for Rose, for the blog, and secondly for him! When I completed the cake, he joked in happiness: "so, am I suppose to act surprised when the restaurant brings the cake out to sing happy birthday?" This cake is yet my most intimate experience: a (literally) hard cover tribute to Rose, and a cake heart with Luca's wishes. The cake is La Porcelaine on the outside, but the inside is Luca's heart: white chocolate, biscuit a la cuilliere, and raspberry flavor... cake components most interesting for him.

This version of La Porcelaine was perhaps unnecessarily complex. Perhaps, the many components and flavors cancelled or masked each other. But, with all modesty... I ate 4 slices thought the day (6 by the time I finished typing this story) and claim with pride that this utterly complex multidimensional cake WAS THE ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE EXPERIENCE. It turned a jewel, a delicate piece of confectionery with several layers of textures and flavors enhancing and complimenting one other. This is my Cake Bible graduation. The cake was first sliced at the restaurant party. Then, the same evening the cake leftovers was taken to Emily's home while hosting a late night pizza party for 30 people. When Emily saw the cake, she immediately brought out her copy of Cake Bible. The next day, I finally confessed to Luca: yes, I made the cake for Rose, but you need to know that perhaps you are the only person in the universe to have this cake for a birthday or for life! HECTOR'S LA PORCELAINE: chocolate oblivion truffle torte baked in a spring form pan lined with cordon rose signature ladyfingers. top filled with a soft pool of white ganache. chocolate fondant case held thinly with raspberry ganache. the highest quality chocolate. 9-inches round, feeds 30, $2500. TASTING IMPRESSIONS: when slicing the cake, white ganache oozes down in visual contrast and in sweeter taste over the dark chocolate torte. ladyfingers' dry and plain texture was a great palate balancer for the many chocolate instances on this cake. the underlining raspberry ganache makes the chocolate fondant complimentary addictive and delicious to eat.

Happy 20th Birthday Dear Cake Bible!

This month of October is the official pub date. And the coming out party was fortuitously on the very day of Maida Heatter's birthday. (It was my dessert goddess Maida who wrote the amazingly wonderful intro for the book.) Our wonderful Hector offered to digitalize the original New York TImes photos that appeared shortly after the party on October 19, 1988. I sent it to him in Hawaii and he returned the original and e-mailed the electronic file so that you can all enjoy it. The only thing missing is the bottom of the page, just below the recipe for the Chocolate Domingo, the cake dedicated to Placido Domingo. Could it have been pure coincidence that just exactly below it was a photo of Pavarotti raising a toast--not to the cake as the caption read "Pavarotti ends diet"!

From: The New York Times

October 19, 1988

A Cake Wizard Brings Out a Book of Magic


LEAD: RARELY does a book on baking attract widespread attention in the food world. Rose Levy Beranbaum's ''Cake Bible'' is different. Even before its official publication date, Sept. 20, bakers and nonbakers alike were telling each other that it was one of the very few books that, like Paula Peck's ''Art of Fine Baking'' and Flo Braker's ''Simple Art of Perfect Baking,'' would serve as textbook and inspiration for a generation of dessert makers. Nearly 100,000 copies of ''The Cake Bible'' have already been printed, and the publisher is shipping 2,000 copies a week to bookstores.

Mrs. Beranbaum has long been known for the flavor and decoration of her cakes - pictures of them have often appeared on the covers of food magazines - and for her Cordon Rose cooking school in the kitchen of her Greenwich Village apartment. Two years ago she gave up both the cooking school and professional baking to devote herself to writing. (A video she made on baking is available by mail or telephone from Videocraft Classics, 1790 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10019; telephone 212-246-9849.) In her new book she gives meticulously detailed instructions for making and decorating the cakes that built her reputation. She also tells serious bakers how to adapt home recipes to produce very large cakes and explains the scientific principles underlying her techniques.

Recently the food professionals who often commissioned Mrs. Beranbaum to make cakes for special occasions were given a chance to taste their favorites at the Rainbow Room, where she presented 17 examples from her book, among them a chocolate cake the book describes as ''the creamiest truffle wedded to the purest chocolate mousse''; another that is named for Placido Domingo because it is ''the tenor of chocolate butter cakes'' with ''the most intense, round, full chocolate flavor notes of any I have experienced''; a cheesecake that ''converts people who think they don't like cheesecake'' and ''spoils those who are already devotees,'' and a streusel brioche for which she feels such ''unbridled enthusiasm'' that ''it is guaranteed to become part of your heirloom repertoire.''

The delirious language sounds like a result of eating a surfeit of the cakes she describes. She believes so strongly in the book, for example, that she gave herself the party.

''I never had a big wedding,'' she said in a recent interview (she is 44 years old and has been married for 13 years).

''And I wanted to thank the friends who have given me so much help.''

One friend is Maida Heatter, to whom she attributes her gift for ebullient recipe introductions (''she gives me the most appetite to taste what she's writing about'') and who has written the foreword.

''Persistence is my favorite quality,'' Mrs. Beranbaum said. That explains not only her dogged efforts at promotion but also the discipline behind her unusual techniques. For seven years she attended New York University at night while working days, and earned a B.S. and a master's degree in food science. Torn between medicine and either fashion or some other craft, she hit on food as a vocation only when she decided to write her dissertation on whether sifting dry ingredients affects the quality of yellow cake. The paper earned her the skepticism of the doctor she was dating at the time, but drew her closer to another doctor she soon started dating. This doctor, Elliott Beranbaum, a radiologist whose specialty was the gastrointestinal tract, told her he had found similar results (that sifting does not uniformly mix dry ingredients) in his research on digestion. A year later, they were married.

Embarked on her career in food, Mrs. Beranbaum discovered that ''I loved the texture of cake-mix cakes, but I didn't like their flavor.'' She set herself a mission: ''I wanted that soft, downy, fine-grained, tender cake but to have it buttery with no funny flavors.''

This quest led to years of experimentation, culminating in the decision to adapt the blending method used by producers of cake mixes. Instead of creaming butter and sugar and then alternately adding flour and liquid, Mrs. Beranbaum's recipes call for first blending all the dry ingredients with the butter and a small amount of liquid, and then beating in the remaining liquid.

The decision not to cream the butter and sugar, which contradicts the instructions of nearly every other serious book on baking, was momentous to her. ''I never had any idea it would take so long to learn so much, or how much easier it would be once I knew it,'' she said. ''Now, I can throw a cake together in 10 minutes. It's virtually as easy as a cake mix.''

The method requires little expertise, and the texture suffers less from overbeating - always a danger, after the flour is added, in cakes that call for the creaming method. ''I get just as much volume, in fact a higher cake, without creaming,'' she said, adding that there is one requirement for success with this method. ''If you don't soften the butter you've had it.''

This is easily done, she said, in a microwave oven. Her white spice poundcake recipe, which includes cinnamon, cloves and cocoa, is an example of her blending method.

Another long-term goal of Mrs. Beranbaum's was to make cakes and desserts less sweet, trying to lower the amount of sugar without ruining the recipe. Mrs. Beranbaum has also developed several low-cholesterol cakes by using fats other than butter.

She is particularly proud of a chocolate chiffon cake made with walnut oil. ''I didn't know that chocolate and walnut oil had a synergistic effect until I tried them together,'' she said. ''It's so rare to have something that really tastes like chocolate and doesn't have saturated fat in it.''

The cake does include eggs. She has devised a chocolate angel food cake, however, that is virtually cholesterol-free and, in her opinion, the only low-cholesterol cake ''worth eating.''

Including as many recipes as she does that call for quantities of egg yolks and sticks of butter, Mrs. Beranbaum is hardly a health fanatic. ''It's so controversial, what's good for you and all that stuff,'' she said. ''But you'd be a fool to think that eating cakes is like taking vitamins. You don't have a dessert to improve your blood chemistry.''

She went on to say that everyone's health was helped by being in a good frame of mind. It's hard to finish a piece of Beranbaum cake in any other kind.

These recipes are from ''The Cake Bible'' by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

White Spice Poundcake

Preparation time: 20 minutes Baking time: 40 to 55 minutes Oil for greasing the pan Flour for dusting the pan 1/4 cup milk 4 large egg whites, about 1/2 cup 2 teaspoons brandy 2 cups sifted cake flour 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon cloves 1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one 6-cup fluted tube pan or loaf pan; if using a loaf pan, grease, line the bottom with parchment or wax paper, and then grease again and flour.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, lightly combine the milk, egg whites and brandy.
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and half of the egg mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 minute to aerate. Scrape down the sides. Add the remaining egg mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients. Scrape down the sides.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. The batter will almost fill the pan. Bake 40 to 50 minutes in a fluted tube pan (45 to 55 minutes in a loaf pan) or until a wire cake tester inserted in 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.)
  5. For an attractive split down the middle of the crust when using a loaf pan, wait until the natural split is about to develop (about 20 minutes) and then with a lightly greased sharp knife or single-edged razor blade make a shallow mark 6 inches long down the middle of the cake. This must be done quickly so the oven door does not remain open very long or the cake will fall. When the cake splits, it will open along the mark.
  6. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes and invert onto a greased wire rack. If baked in a loaf pan, to keep the bottom from splitting reinvert so the top is up. Cool completely before wrapping airtight.
  7. Yield: 10 servings.

Chocolate Lover's Angel Food Cake

Preparation time: 30 minutes Baking time: 40 minutes 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa (Dutch-processed) 2 teaspoons instant coffee 1/4 cup boiling water 2 teaspoons vanilla 1 3/4 cups sugar 1 cup sifted cake flour 1/4 teaspoon salt Whites of 16 large eggs, 2 cups 2 teaspoons cream of tartar.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl combine cocoa, coffee and boiling water and whisk until smooth. Whisk in vanilla.
  3. In another medium-size bowl combine 3/4 cup sugar, the flour and salt, and whisk to blend.
  4. In a large bowl beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form when beater is raised. Gradually beat in the remaining 1 cup sugar, beating until very stiff peaks form when beater is raised slowly. Remove 1 heaping cup of egg whites and place it on top of the cocoa mixture.
  5. Dust flour mixture over remaining whites, 1/4 cup at a time, and fold in quickly but gently, using a large balloon wire whisk or slotted skimmer. It is not necessary to incorporate every speck until last addition.
  6. Whisk together the egg white and cocoa mixture, and fold into the batter until uniform. Pour into an ungreased, 10-inch, two-piece tube pan (the batter will come to within 3/4 inch of the top), run a small metal spatula or knife through the batter to prevent air pockets, and bake for 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed. (The center will rise above the pan while baking and sink slightly when done. The surface will have deep cracks like a souffle.)
  7. Invert the pan, placing the tube opening over the neck of a soda or wine bottle to suspend it well above the counter, and cool the cake completely in the pan, about 1 1/2 hours.
  8. Loosen the sides with a long metal spatula and remove the center core of the pan. Dislodge bottom and center core with a metal spatula or thin, sharp knife. (A wire cake tester works well around the core. To keep the sides attractive, press spatula against sides of the pan and avoid up-and-down motion.) Invert onto a serving plate. Wrap airtight.
  9. Yield: 14 servings.

Another Cake Bible Success

I am SO proud of Patricia's stunning work I want to share it with all of you!Dearest Rose, I just wanted to send a quick photo of the wedding cake I made yesterday (this was my 3rd wedding cake). Of course it was made completely from your recipes - your white butter cake, filled with strawberry mousseline, and covered with vanilla mousseline. Everyone absolutely loved the way it tasted - I got so many compliments on how moist and tender the cake was, and how absolutely delicious it tasted - many guests had more than one piece. Thank you again for your amazing Cake Bible - I can't wait to try the new recipes in your upcoming book. Sincerely, Patricia

Crossing the Atlantic by Cookbook

Cookbooks, particularly baking books, that cross the Atlantic have the well-earned reputation of being troublemakers.  Differences in flour have long been suspected of being the culprit.  When MacMillan of London bought the rights to publish my book The Cake Bible in the U.K., I was determined to get to the bottom of this culinary Tower of Babel.  A British friend began sending me kilograms of the two basic flours available to British consumers:  self-raising and plain, and I started baking.  Much to my alarm, the cakes produced with the British flour were unrecognizable from their original models.  It was hard to believe that innocent seeming flour could be responsible for such a dramatic difference.  The logical way to conquer the problem seemed clear:  to retest and redevelop the recipes to work as well as the originals, but with British ingredients. The only place to do this was in the UK with native equipment and native ingredients.

Kyle Cathie, my brilliant British editor with pioneering spirit, made it possible for me to spend two weeks in a charming airy flat retesting recipes.  She purchased a heavy duty mixer, food processor, 12 dozen eggs and arranged a shopping tour to Sainsbury, a large British supermarket.  I was delighted to discover that England is a baker's paradise:  double cream with pure uncooked flavor, wondrous clotted cream which is divine simply spread on cake in place of buttercream, glorious golden refiners syrup, flavorful marzipan and nuts of every type and gradation imaginable.
The problem was indeed the flour.  Bleached cake flour is indispensable for butter cakes.  But the only bleached flour available was the "self-raising" variety which contained leavening.  When a cake uses an acid ingredient such as sour cream, it needs to be tempered with baking soda.  But when the flour already contains the maximum amount of baking powder, adding baking soda would make the combined leavening too high, causing the cake to collapse.  Fortunately, the plain unbleached flour is just fine for all the sponge type of cakes.
The solution was first to assess how much baking powder was contained in the cake flour and then to create a blend of self-raising and plain flour in order to lower the overall leavening but still have the benefit of the cake flour.  This necessitated other changes as well, such as replacing all yolk cakes with whole eggs and decreasing butter to strengthen the cakes' structure.  With sour cream cakes, extra sugar was needed for aeration.   Each and every cake had to be adjusted separately, sometimes as many as three times before it was exactly right.  It was a night and day job, without much sleep, but well worth the effort because I can now be confident that when a British person is baking one of my cakes, it will have essentially the same flavor and texture as mine.  
While in England, Kyle told me that the book could not be called The Cake Bible if it did not contain the beloved British gingerbread, a moist, spicy cake with an intriguing blend of  buttery, lemony, wheaty treacley flavors.
I developed the recipe while still on British soil but am happy to report that it works equally well in America, especially if you use the golden refiners syrup.  It is easy to make, not even requiring a mixer, and is a wonderful addition to the book.  Regrettably, I didn't know to include it in the American version, so here it is now!

Beloved English Gingerbread Cake
                                Serves:  10 to 12

8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1¼ liquid cups golden refiner's syrup or corn syrup* 
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 heaping tablespoon marmalade
2 large eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 cup (4 ozs.) sifted cake flour (lightly spooned into cup and leveled off)
1 cup -1 tablespoon (4 ozs.) whole wheat flour     (lightly spooned into cup and         leveled off)
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch salt        
lemon syrup:
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed    
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar

One 8-inch square cake pan, preferably metal*, greased, bottom lined with parchment or waxed paper, then greased and floured.  
Note:  some metal pans slope inward and are less than 8-inches at the bottom.  In this case it is better to use a 9-inch square pan or fill the pan ½ full and bake the excess batter as cup cakes.
In a small, heavy saucepan, on medium-low heat, stir together the butter, golden syrup, sugar and marmalade until melted and uniform.  Set aside until just barely warm, then whisk in the eggs and milk.  
In a large bowl, whisk together all the remaining dry ingredients.  Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring with a large spoon or rubber spatula just until the batter is smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin, no more than ½ full.  Bake for 50-60 minute 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.
To make syrup:  In a small pan, stir together the 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons softened butter and the 3 tablespoons sugar.  Heat stirring, until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved.  Brush half the syrup on to the top of the cake.  Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes.
Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and invert onto a greased wire rack.  Brush the bottom with the remaining syrup.  To prevent splitting, reinvert so that the top is up.
For extra moistness, cover the cake with plastic wrap while still hot and allow it to cool.  Wrap airtight for 24 hours before eating.

FINISHED HEIGHT:  about 2 inches
STORE:  2 days room temperature, 5 days refrigerated, 2 months frozen.


A Lovely Love Note

KATHY COMMENTFeedback: This seems like a reasonable time to drop a love-note to Rose. Years ago I used to pick up the Cake Bible in bookstores to read and re-read the story of your brother's wedding cake and the snowstorm of 1983. Eventually my husband gave me the book as a gift. The story about your discussion of "sifting" with your (eventual) husband was a gem. It is the stories, I guess, that make me love the book and so, you. The recipes, resource information and photos are the frosting on the cake, as it were. Thanks for all of it. Kathy Mc (devoted fan!) ROSE REPLY I'm going to put this up near my computer monitor for inspiration as I work on my new cake book. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.