The Cake Bible?

Decorating By 2SimplySweet Updated 14 Jul 2009 , 12:57am by LaBellaFlor

2SimplySweet Posted 25 Jun 2009 , 4:47am
post #1 of 25

Hello Everyone, I keep hearing about the book called The Cake Bible. I bought one but I am not so sure I have the one that everyonre is raving about. The author is Rose Levy Beranbaum. Did I get the right one? And if so what has been some of your favorite recipes? What information do
you feel is the most valuable? I can't wait to hear your responses. thumbs_up.gif

24 replies
rharris524 Posted 25 Jun 2009 , 6:12am
post #2 of 25

Oh, i just requested this from the library! I'm interested to hear what everyone likes, too!

Loucinda Posted 25 Jun 2009 , 11:40am
post #3 of 25

That was one of the first books I bought for cake baking - good info in it. I don't care for many of the recipes though. (I am sure someone else will chime in with their favorites though!) She also has an electronic newsletter that she sends out that I get.

MaloSlatko Posted 25 Jun 2009 , 12:28pm
post #4 of 25

I adore that book.

Love how she gives everything in grams. I have an inexpensive electronic scale with a zero-out button so I just put one big bowl on it and keep adding the amounts of ingredients as specified, zeroing in between. Saves having to clean up measuring cups 5 times for a simple cake. Same for liquids and dry. I do realise that Americans traditionally prefer volume measurements but I am love the convenience and accuracy of my scale.

All-time favourite recipes:

Banana Cake
Carrot Cake - with honey & whole wheat flour
Flourless chocolate swiss-roll
All the chocolate genoise recipes

But I have had success with everything in that book and I have tried a lot of them. I am a huge fan.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 25 Jun 2009 , 12:34pm
post #5 of 25

Believe it or not, I thought it was a good read. And I made my first real buttercream with that. A good book (pardon the pun) with solid baking instruction and ideas.

Loucinda Posted 25 Jun 2009 , 12:37pm
post #6 of 25

I should say I use it as a reference book and she does give very precise instructions and explanations. I will always keep it for that reason.

chrissypie Posted 25 Jun 2009 , 1:26pm
post #7 of 25

I have had this book for over 10 years and have only tried using it a few times. Each time, the cakes came out tasteless and like sawdust. I am just not a good scratch baker. The measurements were too technical for someone like me!

CakesByLJ Posted 25 Jun 2009 , 1:41pm
post #8 of 25

You will get mixed opinions, but I love her book~! My favorite cakes are the White Velvet, as is, or with variations; White Chocolate Whisper is my absolute favorite. Her Curd recipes are wonderful too..

Loucinda Posted 25 Jun 2009 , 1:42pm
post #9 of 25

Chrissy - it isn't just you! thumbs_up.gif Like I said above, it is a great reference book that I will always keep. Some folks love it for the recipes, I am just one who doesn't.

leah_s Posted 25 Jun 2009 , 1:47pm
post #10 of 25

I like the technical explanations and the charts.

CrazyCakes13 Posted 25 Jun 2009 , 1:50pm
post #11 of 25

I ordered it online and just got it this morning. Good to hear the reviews. I'll have to give the recipes a try! It looks like even if the recipes aren't stellar, the information will be invaluable. Good to hear everyone's opinions!

-K8memphis Posted 25 Jun 2009 , 2:14pm
post #12 of 25

Her baking powder adjustments are not industry wide.

You just about have to re-write her recipes (transpose them) to be able to efficiently economically find everthing (the instructions) you need when it comes time to bake. There are important directions in the margins

I like her chocolate oblivion flourless cake but I do not like her book--far too much haughty attitude for a book called "the bible". It could very aptly be called "Rose's Bible". But it will never be "the cake bible" to moi.

Her cake formulas are not generally esteemed by all pastry chefs and cake makers far and wide--they are tempermental--often come out dry. Her icing formulas are generally regarded as excellent/brilliant.

Like I said recipes are difficult to follow with information located in three different formats, not logically laid out. Yes the different weights & measures are cool but not the instructions.

Her baking powder theory may be valid but just straight up multilpying each ingredient in a recipe also works without the mumbo jumbo. But it's a good thing to know if you have a problem with a particular recipe--although in over 50 years of baking I haven't encountered one yet.

Her theory about sifting was so obvious in the first place. I don't know anyone who thought sifting evenly distributes all the ingredients. She disproves this theory and to me it's like proving the world is round, du-uh.

Ask me what I really think. icon_wink.gif

momg9 Posted 25 Jun 2009 , 2:56pm
post #13 of 25

I like the lemon chiffon cake.

tracycakes Posted 25 Jun 2009 , 4:27pm
post #14 of 25

I've tried a couple of different recipes and thought they tasted horrible. Once I used all-purpose flour and the next time, I used cake flour. Both cakes tasted the same, dry and tasteless. I like her explanations but that's about it.

costumeczar Posted 25 Jun 2009 , 4:46pm
post #15 of 25

I love the book, I use it every week for one thing or another. Today I was looking at it to find out how long sugared flowers last icon_smile.gif

tyty Posted 25 Jun 2009 , 4:54pm
post #16 of 25

Could the carrot cake recipe also be baked in an 8 or 9 inch pan?

lngo Posted 25 Jun 2009 , 6:49pm
post #17 of 25

You should try checking it out from your library. I found it to be a book full of great tips especially for a beginner like me. You have to flip through the book to get more details on certain topics (like fondant), but it's pretty straightforward navigation otherwise. I didn't care too much for the recipes though.

artscallion Posted 25 Jun 2009 , 7:11pm
post #18 of 25

I can take a collection of my posts here on CC, bind them into a book and call them, "The Cake Disigners' Opinion Bible." And it would mean just about as much as the title of this book means. Granted, naming it so was a brilliant selling strategy. Her recipes...FAR from brilliant. As you may have guessed, not a fan of this book AT ALL! There are MANY better books out there far more worthy of the title.

Luvsthedogs Posted 25 Jun 2009 , 7:20pm
post #19 of 25

An interesting read - sort of like a text book. But the cake recipes haven't worked for me. Haven't tried any of the icings or fillings.

melissad Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 1:39am
post #20 of 25

This is one of my favorite cake baking books. I love the variety of recipes, and every one I have tried came out great. (Even my husband who normally doesn't like cake likes several of these.)

To second one of the earlier posts, I agree that her curd recipes are great and make excellent fillings.

PinkZiab Posted 26 Jun 2009 , 8:26am
post #21 of 25

I don't find the book to b the be all, end all, as some people do. It does have some good technical info, but I wasn't fond of many of the recipes... I wound up donating the book to a charity book sale years ago lol.

On a personal note, the author, Rose Levy Berenbaum, was on the judging panel for our final exam in culinary school. She was assigned to just the final submissions and showpieces of three of my friends. She was to evaluate the submission grade each one based on certain criteria, then give each student constructive criticism and feedback about their pieces. Well, rather than give feedback, she spent about 30 minutes plugging her books and website to her group of students, talking about herself and her career (which in a different setting would have been interesting, I'm sure), and gave the student NO feedback to whatsoever (even when they asked questions she turned the topic back to herself). My friend Jessica was in tears because she had no idea whether she had done well or not! Ever since then just the mention of her name makes my skin crawl (and I hate having to see her face in my class photo!)

PianoDiva Posted 27 Jun 2009 , 4:33am
post #22 of 25

I bought this book when it first came out ('93 or '94) and used one of the chocolate cake recipes to make my engagement party cake. The cake recipes are pretty good, though the chocolate one I've used has gotten complaints about being TOO chocolaty (never knew there was such a thing!). I don't have the book in front of me right now, but I think that recipe was the Chocolate Domingo Cake.

The only frosting recipe I've made from the book is her Mousseline Buttercream. It was a pain in the patootie from start to finish, and--to me, anyway--tasted like sugar-flavored butter.

I really enjoyed reading all the technical stuff, the why's and wherefores. I use the book as a reference more than a cookbook.

--PianoDiva, who had since found a much better chocolate cake recipe out of an issue of "Taste of Home," believe it or not!

jolmk Posted 27 Jun 2009 , 5:07am
post #23 of 25

Definitely a good read, but I never got a really good cake out of it. The sour cream coffee cake is good, and I made an apricot cheesecake that was good.

The mousseline buttercream recipe is just IMBC with a diferent name, some of her flavor variations are good.

My favorite part is in the back where she has ingredients listed by how much 1 cup weighs. If you have scales this part is great as I hate to measure brown sugar, peanut butter, etc. with cups.


ilsescully Posted 13 Jul 2009 , 11:54pm
post #24 of 25

I think its an excellent reference tool and I tried my first chiffon cake from scratch this weekend (the orange chiffon cake) and people at work scarffed it up faster than any decadent thing I've made with frosting. No one, including me, had a chiffon cake before. I think the recipes and photos are kind of dated, late 80s looking, but I think she has a new book coming out.

LaBellaFlor Posted 14 Jul 2009 , 12:57am
post #25 of 25

The book came out in the late '80's. I made my first cake out of there in 1990, the year my daughter was born, thats why I remember. I have bought this book 4 times (and now another 5th since I lost it AGAIN...don't ask). So obvious;y I'm a fan. What I will say about some of her cake recipes is that they need syrup and she does give you a recipe for that. I have come across many other books, but none that I quite like the recipes the same or the recipes are pretty similiar to whats all ready in The Cake Bible. I also have her Christmas Cookie Book & Pies & Pastry Bible, no complaints at all. Once again, like many other things, its a taste preference.

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