The Cake Bible

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Joined Jun 28, 2001
I have been reluctant to buy this book, but I've seen so many swear by some of the recipes, that I've decided to get it. On the other hand, I've also seen a lot of posts (here and elsewhere) claiming that certain recipes don't work. From your personal experiences, which ones have and haven't worked for you? (I wish I could have asked this question when I bought Kurma's Cookbook. Would have saved me at least $100 in wasted ingredients trying to follow his "recipes").
 
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Joined Oct 28, 1999
I'm certainly not the baker's baker, so I can't answer conclusively, but I have had some good luck with the Cake Bible. Birenbaum generally speaks with some good authority and know-how. I have had the Cake Bible for several years and turn to it for technical support rather then inspiration; like I said, I'm not the baker's baker... just a hack.
Momoreg & MBrown any thoughts?
 

loh

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Joined Apr 14, 2002
If you are a vegan, then don't bother with The Cake Bible. Most of the recipes call for eggs or butter, or both. Otherwise, I recommend it wholeheartedly. Every recipe I've tried has been a winner. Pound cake, chocolate bread, genoise, chiffon cake, checkerboard cake--all great. Raised waffles got rave reviews. The cheesecake is fantastic (I made the white chocolate version). The frostings and glazes work perfectly. I have three other books by Rose Levy Berenbaum. Her recipes are carefully tested and directions are meticulous.
 
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Joined Mar 3, 2002
Have you made Beranbaum's brioche? Is there any reason not to use her master recipe in a loaf pan instead of the 2 3/4" pans? Have you frozen it?

As I live alone, I plan to make a batch, then freeze up part of it. Any tips? Thanks.
 
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Joined Jun 28, 2001
Thanks for the input. :) LoH, with most recipes, I have no problem replacing the eggs, or for my customers, eggs and usually dairy too.

If anyone has specific recipes that totally bombed, that would be good to know too.

-Vedika
 
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Joined May 11, 2001
This was one of the first cookbooks I ever bought for myself and it's the book I credit for teaching me how to bake good cakes. I have never had any failures with any of the recipes (amazing but true). However, I do have a science background, so her books suit me perfectly. Like Jim, I use the book more for technical support these days. I'll see a recipe elsewhere and I'll tweak that recipe using tips or base recipes from Cake Bible.
 
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Joined Mar 4, 2000
I have the book, but haven't used it much. A coupple of comments, though:

The nice thing I recall about the format is that she provides weights as measurements, in addition to volume. I would always prefer to work in weights.

I believe I was very impressed with her upside-down cake recipe. It was perfectly proportioned and very buttery.

Otherwise, anything that I tried from the book was not particularly memorable. But again, I didn't really look through it thoroughly.
 
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Joined Jan 15, 2001
As a pro baker, I have adapted her pound cake recipe and twitched it a bit to suit my needs. Her butter cakes, sour cream cakes and breakfast cakes are great. I didn't care for her chocolate butter cakes.

You'll learn a lot from the techniques and explanations. I did love the fact that she does include weights in her recipe. The chapter for pros at the end of the book is very informative if you care about the science of baking.
 
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Joined Jun 28, 2001
When I skimmed through the book at the local cake supply store, I did notice and appreciate that the measurements were in weight. I also appreciated that it was also in grams, since I will eventually be converting all my recipes over.

Before I went to pastry school, I took a bobo pastry class at a CC. The teacher was not very talented, but he did get into the whole scientific aspect of baking and considered it a true science (granted we don't built rockets, but there is no denying the fun mini explosions and morphing of ingredients). We did some cool experiments in class and it really helped me understand what I was doing and it helped build a foundation. Anyhow, I think I will definitely enjoy reading that part of the Cake Bible, since my hunger for the dorky science aspect of baking was never quite satisfied and especially since my chef from pastry school hardly touched on it.

Thanks to everyone for their input. I'm still trying to get this book for cheap on eBay. I snoozed on one auction and lost by 50 cents. Grrrr! It ended at $12.50- brand new too! If/when this thread dies and someone comes across it 6 months from now, please feel free to add your input. I know I won't get around to testing out 1/8 of the recipes I'm bound to want to try by then so your 2 cents could save me wasted time and money. I've noticed that in every cookbook, no matter how expert the author is, there is bound to be some recipes that don't work no matter what. And they always end up being the ones I try first, then I just want to burn the book and scream.
 
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Joined Nov 29, 2001
I can wholeheartedly recommend this book. Every recipe I have ever tried has worked beautifully. Add to that, I'm at high altitude and they still work, they are so chemically sound.

As a matter of fact, RLB can get downright anal retentive about her instructions. This is good for novice bakers but seasoned bakers might find it tiresome to read through all her detail by detail directions. She's also a bit full of her pixie-like self, naming things "Cordon Rose", etc. In any case, the book is excellent and I have made many cakes out of it. The Oblivion Truffle Torte is a family favorite - don't let the molten appearance throw you, it's supposed to look almost liquid when it comes out of the oven - there is NO better way to enjoy chocolate in a cake!

My husband who purports not to be a baker made me the Strawberry Maria (color photo in the colorplate section) for one of my birthdays - it came out perfect, lattice and all.
 
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Joined Jun 1, 2001
Hi, Lotus --

I just checked MXBookfinder (www.mxbf.com - it's a network search of used bookstores) and up popped a flotilla of choices for The Cake Bible, some as low as $12 US.

I love used bookstores. I don't like online auctions; I'm too lazy. :p

I've always had really good luck with finding used books on the net. You usually can deal directly with the individual store once you find the book -- so I've also had some very odd and interesting e-conversations!
 
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Joined Apr 26, 2002
this might sound silly, but why not get the book from the library, and see if it's really what you want?! I've done that many times to see if it was worth buying a book, especially since some of them are so darn pricey...and you wouldn't believe how many cookbooks I have!! (tho thankfully, my friends know this & ask me what I like so birthdays & such are taken care of, hint hint!!)
 

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