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The Cake Bible—in The Beginning

Mar 7, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose

In my introduction to The Cake Bible, I wrote about how my master’s thesis research paper, written 34 years ago, on the hypothetical premise: “Sifting Flour Affects the Quality of a Yellow Cake” led me to my future husband (now of 33 years!) and the writing of The Cake Bible.

Fellow blogger Hector Wong expressed a strong desire to see this thesis so I dug into my huge supply closet and found the original, copied it, sent it to Hawaii, and Hector kindly digitalized it to share it with all of you who might be interested.

If the scientific aspect holds no appeal, do jump to the final two paragraphs of the addendum on bottom of page 35 to see how this paper impacted my life. And I might add that my best advice to fellow writers is to begin a project by looking up the key word in the dictionary. It may well take you in an entirely different direction from what you might have thought.

You can download a copy of my master's thesis here as a PDF. The file is fairly large (5.96 MB) and may take awhile to dowload if your connect is slow.

Comments

thank you norma and missy for the sweet words!

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TCB taught me not just how to bake, but how to cook as well: the importance of mis en place, and the use of quality ingredient. My copy is nearly fifteen years old, and I frequently give a copy to other bakers as a gift. Great work!

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Norma Piermarini Marshall
Norma Piermarini Marshall in reply to comment from Baking Addict
05/10/2013 08:57 AM

If you bake from scratch, any cookbook by Rose is the best...The Cake Bible is still my fave

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I'll def. buy the kindle version of the Pie and Pastry Bible then! Bummer about the Cake Bible though... hopefully a kindle version of that will come out sometime too.

Thanks so much for the reply!

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there is a kindle edition of the pie and pastry bible but not the cake bible and i know it's a big book to have to schlep along!

the kindle edition of the pastry bible is on amazon.

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Baking Addict
Baking Addict
05/ 9/2013 10:24 AM

Hi Rose,

I'm a huge fan of yours - The Cake Bible and The Pie and Pastry Bible are staples in my kitchen. However, next year, we are moving overseas to travel for several years - we can't bring anything that won't fit in our carry-on luggage... but I want to bring your books very badly. By any chance are they available in PDF or Kindle format? (If I can get a copy of them on my laptop, I can bring them with me) Since we will be renting long-term furnished apartments for months at a time in each country, I'll have time to bake if I want to... help! I really want to bring your books, but can only do it if they are available in digital form - the real thing is too heavy and will have to stay home in storage.

:)

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Josette, check bookdepository.co.uk - they deliver free. Their full bibliographic date would have the answers you want.

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Josette Mamo
Josette Mamo
02/13/2013 06:08 PM

I come from Malta, Europe and we do not have cake flour, so I think it would be best if I buy a copy of the Uk version of The Cake Bible.
1. What is the latest edition of this UK Version?
2. In which year was the latest UK Version printed and published?
3. Where would I be able to order such a book? I need your advice as to an online bookseller which would be able to ship the latest UK Version to my country in Malta, Europe?
4. What are the differences between the US Version and the Uk Version please?
MANY THANKS
Josette Mamo

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Could you give me the EAN of THE CAKE BIBLE?
Thanks.

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the recipe on the cover of the cake bible is "la porcelaine" and it's in the book!

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Hi! I was wondering how do you make that cake on the cover of the cake bible? is there a recipe for it and instructions on how to do the decoration? thank you!

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Yes, Rose's recipe for Lemon Meringue cake is fantastic.. I made it recently and loved it.

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nancy, far easier to get my book "rose's heavenly cakes" in which their is a fabulous recipe for lemon meringue cake with very explicit directions!

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Hi Rose
I am enamored with a lemon meringe cake make by extraordinary desserts restaurant in San Diego. I think it is a butter cake probably soaked with thick layers of tart lemon curd and piled high (4") with a cooked, sticky marshmellow-meringe type frosting. If I send you a piece Fed-Ex on ice can you tell me how to make it? i tried this week and i can see it will be a long trek to get it right. p.s. I am a beginner but I have enthusiasm!! Nancy

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Do as you will Kslibra, but we won't be the one missing out on delicious-ness and learning. You will be! 'Nuf said.

http://adventuresingoodfood.wordpress.com/

kyle

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Excuse me but I felt justified in "lodging a complaint" regarding the recipe for the Neoclassic frosting. I think you'll find throughout the internet that a multitude of people vote on recipes everyday. A bad vote shouldn't get me such bad press! Since I am a pretty good cook and hadn't yet had an icing failure, I did not (do not) see any need for comments on how I can fix MY short-comings when I see nothing that can be changed. I've other recipes I can use next time and am extremely sorry I was excited about finally giving something a shot out of this book I'd never found a real use for. Making a test batch and using up tons of butter when I don't make such elaborate cakes often enough seems a ridiculous idea, even though I understand the sentiment. I've blocked comments as I'm ready to move on and have no wish to see any more such emails in my inbox. As for the book, I'm thinking Goodwill.

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Kyle, Lynne, Ethel, thank you for your generous response the the buttercream. I love all of you so much I'm dedicating the next book to you!

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Kyle, I remember! I've been trying to remember where that signing was for years bc each author was given 50 books and Julia finished first. She came over to my and said " how are you doing dearie?" (I miss her so much) it wasn't until the next book signing event that I learned her secret of finishing first: energy conservation! When someone came up to me to praise my work, after thanking them I'd say " let me tell you the story of blah blah blah." when someone came up to Julia to praise her, she would look up and smile, and then say "thank you dearie!" end of story!

Yes I remember the doctor though not the haircut. Thanks for filling in the missing memory gaps!

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Yes, it was in Atlanta at a home near the governor's mansion just when the Christmas Cookie book was published. Several Atlanta chefs and cooks had made cookies for tasting while we were there getting your autograph. G*d I was young then! The man who you made the comment to was a Dr. and you knew it immediately when he made a comment about your ink needing to 'cure' before you closed the book you had just signed. You said 'You're a doctor aren't you? I can tell from the way you said 'cure.'' You were right of course. He was a surgeon.

Bruce calls for the soaked plywood on a baking sheet with a piece of newsprint on top of the ply next to the cookies. It's p. 202, The Art of the Cake. It is to keep the interiors and bottoms moist, then are sandwiched together using only the sticky bottom as 'glue.' I did not do the sandwiching part.

BTW, our first meeting was just as colorful. You found out r did hair and had him check your haircut(you thought the back was not even) bc you were getting ready for your picture that appeared in the RCC book. He pronounced it all OK and you begged us to stay at your table bc Julia was about to arrive(this was a signing of about 50 authors in Rich's department store) and you didn't want an empty table when she arrived. She was at the table directly in front of yours, so we were happy to hang out with you!


http://adventuresingoodfood.wordpress.com/

k

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kslibra, the first few times I made the neoclassic buttercream, it came out perfect and I made it my most elegant favorite. Now guess what? I can't make it anymore, it just doesn't work. Neither does any other frosting outside of the regular powdered sugar, fat and flavoring frosting. The reason being is that my kitchen is the most humid place on earth now. Even some of Rose's cakes like the white one do not work anymore because of it the humidity. So coming back to this board, a member posted how to keep baking ingredients dry by storing them in the fridge. I can't wait to try it all again. So, members here are so very willing to help and please give them a chance to. Hugs to you...

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Sorry that the Neoclassic Buttercream frosting didn't turn out for you. This is the one and only buttercream that I've used - with huge success. It would be nice if you could let us know what you didn't like about the frosting, and perhaps other factors that could have affected the outcome, such as temperature of your locale and kitchen equipment used. Did you follow the ingredients and amounts of the recipe exactly, or did you substitute anything?

Rose is very available and willing to help here on this forum, as are the rest of the community here. Once more, Rose is extremely dedicated in her work - she experiments with her recipes until it meets her satisfaction.

For me, this is perfect buttercream - easy to make, not overly sickly sweet, (which is typical of so many store-bought [so-called] buttercreams), and the appearance is beautiful, too.

The other thing I would like to share is my cardinal rule of any sort of special occasion baking: try all new recipes *before* the occasion, to iron out any kinks or problems that could occur. Murphy likes to throw in his stupid law so often in my life - and baking without stress can help me see if there was something I did wrong that could have changed the outcome.

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Kyle, was it in Atlanta where we met? I read your wonderful Christmas in may posting but though I remember my reported remark I don't remember where! You're right --so much has happened in the past 3 or so decades! The meringues pictured on your blog are gorgeous! But why did Bruce Healy call for soaked plywood for baking. I could see plywood absorbing moisture from the meringues --maybe soaked to prevent sticking? I hear from him with a great family photo card every Christmas but haven't seen him for several years--sadly. I love his family too!

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Rose, Thanks for sharing such a personal part of your past with us. ralston & I celebrated 32 years just this past Wed., so you too were a newlywed when we met you. I immediately printed the thesis out and said I would spend my Saturday evening reading it, r rolled his eyes and with only slight sarcasm commented 'enjoy.' i replied 'I will!'
BTW, one of my fave Rose personal memories of when I met you the second time is recounted in my blog entry 'Christmas in May.' I would love to know if you remembered this particular encounter- I know you have hundreds every year.
All the best from Hotlanta.

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KSlibra, You might reconsider.
Several years ago, a friend arrived for a visit with her 2 NEW children(she had 1 already, 3 total). She had experienced MUCH trouble with her first girl and the 2 news ones seemed so well adjusted. When I commented on how well the 2 youngest were doing compared to the first, she simply said, "I think there was a lot os user error" with the first child.
Rose's formulas have given us MANY successes. Too many to simply dismiss an entire book bc of one experience.

http://adventuresingoodfood.wordpress.com/

kyle

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Kslibra, I've made the neoclassic buttercream many tiimes and it has always worked beautifully for me. There are also many other bakers who have posted pictures of cakes with neoclassic buttercream over on the forum section of this site. If you'd like a little help troubleshooting your baking, we'd be happy to help.

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KsLibra, I understand how you feel. When something fails it is very disappointing. But might I suggest a better approach might be to say precisely what went wrong so that perhaps you can learn something and fix the problem? Unless, of course, you feel better lodging a complaint and going on to the next recipe that may also not be to your liking.

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I've had the Cake Bible for quite some time and never got around to using it until the other day for my sister's 50th BD. I used the recipe for NeoClassic Buttercream frosting and it was TERRIBLE! My sister is really sensitive to these sorts of problems and it was quite the disaster. The only sugar used for the frosting is a quarter cup of corn syrup and 3/4 c sugar. I added about 3 cups of confectioners to try and fix it but it was a bust. None of us ate the frosting nor did we do justice to the leftover cake. I WON'T be using it again!

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Norma Piermarini Marshall
Norma Piermarini Marshall
02/12/2011 11:10 AM

This is interesting...I'm making one of Rose's sponge cakes as the basis for the chocolate ganache heart shaped tart I'm going to do for Valentine's Day. The sponge cake recipe is from Rose's Heavenly Cakes. The ganache is from The Cake Bible. The one thing I couldn't find was fresh strawberries (for garnishing) but I persisted and finally found them at Bolton Orchards in Bolton, MA. I'll spend tomorrow doing the cake because I also have a birthday cake to make. I'll let you all know how I make out. Thanks, Rose, as always.

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my favorite way of experiencing fruit puree on a cake is on a dry sponge cake that requires syruping, such as biscuit de savoie. use creamy or thinned out fruit puree in lieu of plain syrup when soaking the cake after baking, and it turns into heaven. the flavor of the fruit is also much more closer to nature, than when baked in.

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I am trying to find a good cake batter recipe that will accept or easily incorporate a fruit Puree such as strawberry.I am having difficulty with the batter not rising while its in the oven and staying extremely dense in the middle. Any Suggestions or recipes??

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Rita, thx! this is Rose's World Cake http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2008/03/roses_world_cake.html

my ultimate ode de beauty for our miss Rose.

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Jeannette
Jeannette in reply to comment from Rita
05/ 5/2010 04:06 PM

I agree with Hector, the Golden Almond cake is a keeper! I made it from the version in RHC as a celebration cake for our Golden Anniversary to use over the week of that occasion for friends and family calling in to see us. It lasted well, staying moist till the last crumb! I would definitely recommend it.

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Thanks for your answer Hector. I just looked this up. Does it really have a long shelf life? Is it the syrup that 'preserves' it?

On a side note... I love that cake that's on the splash screen of your web site. Absolutely beautiful. What is that? It almost looks like mini cupcakes grouped together?

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Rita, the absolute best is the golden almond lemon cake from the new cake book rose's heavenly cakes. It easilly stays moist for 5 days.

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Ok, I love love love the cake bible. It's my go to book for special occasion cakes. Unfortunately I don't have any of my cookbooks with me at the moment, and I need to make a cake that can tolerate 4 days of travel without refrigeration - my mom's going to be away for mother's day and my dad will sneak the cake in his suitcase. Any ideas what type of cake I can make? Thanks for your help!

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when cakes are too dry they're usually overbaked or too much flour was added. as for grittiness in the frosting, it has to be that the chocolate was overheated.

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Hi Rose,
I baked the checkerboard cake from the cake bible for my daughters b-day. The cake was very very dry!! What happened??? I followed the recipe to a T!! I also frosted and filled it with the milk chocolate buttercream, which tasted great but the consistency was gritty, i.e., looked like sand paper. I don't know what I did wrong other than possibly heating the chocolate maybe too much?? I did micowave for 15 sec then mix then mic 15 sec, etc. and in the end it was not hot so I was able to put it into the mixer right away.

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Hello again, Annemarie, If you go to the 'search' box and type in 'Crossing the Atlantic by Cookbook' you will find lots of comments on the differences between the books and the ingredients of the US and the UK. If you go a long way down, you will come to my first query regarding the book and Rose's answers, it makes interesting reading if you are interested and patient enough! There are also some interesting facts about Kate's experiments with our flours which I am sure you will find worth reading, and if you want to find out more go to her website/blog which you will find in Rose's list called 'A Merrier World'. Since all of those messages, way back in 2007, I have met Kate AND Rose, yes ROSE,(!) along with another member of Rose's forum, Melinda, last year when Rose visited Devon. How lucky am I!!!!
As I said in my first answer, I don't think you need to have the UK edition of the CB as I and others I know of, regularly use the US edition, just changing the flour from Cake flour to either using Kate's method or a combination of our plain flour and a percentage of cornflour. I hope all of this helps to make up your mind to purchase the book.

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Hi Jeannette and thank you for your response. I will go ahead and buy it then, would you please be so kind as to share the advice Rose gave you - I tried a recipe today which called for cake flour and the result was a complete disaster but I'd like to try the recipe again as it has excellent reviews. I am looking for a White cake recipe to use for a wedding cake next year, the recipe I usually make cakes with is a yellow cake which I use for birthday cakes but I was hoping to find something a bit more special but since I am a hobby baker I don't have the know-how to tinker with recipes hence me wanting Rose's book. Any help would be greatly appreciated .

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AnneMarie, I am in the UK and I had the same problem as you when trying to find a UK version of The Cake Bible. That was about 3-4 years ago. I contacted Rose on here and she answered immediately which I found very surprising as she is such a busy lady, and she told me the differences between the two editions. I decided to go with the US version and I have not regretted it, as all the recipes can be followed using our flours with some minor alterations, ie. we can't get cake flour but there are ways around this. I know of other very bakers over here who also use the US version and manage very well. Don't be put off buying the book because of this reason, it is one of the best baking books to be had!

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Hi
Apologies if this has been covered somewhere before - I am desperate to get a copy of your UK version of The Cake Bible and wondered if you could advise me where I can get this or indeed how to distinguish between the American and UK versions. Anytime I see a copy to buy online it never specifies which it is. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks

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Zach Townsend
Zach Townsend
11/17/2009 02:07 PM

Exaclty, since I always weigh as well the most I usually do whisk it briskly to lighten it (plus it helps me make sure no foreign bodies are present) and/or via Rose's mixing method allow that to properly mix and aerate.

Zach

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absolutely, since i always weight my flour, i never sift, except while adding flour on sponge cakes.

but of course, if your flour is all clumped up, which happens for many people that buy flour in bulk, sifting is a good way to unclump it. otherwise, whisking the dry ingredients on Rose's 2-step mixing method gets rid of most smaller clumps.

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thanks zach and i will add that the reason i say sifted is because so many ppl don't weigh in which case sifting is not necessary except for sponge-type cakes.

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Zach Townsend
Zach Townsend
11/17/2009 12:06 PM

Yes, I would sift it anyway just to be sure no lumps. Pre-sifted flour could still have been exposed to an environment that might make it clump. Never trust a third-party sifter! :)

I would not substitute the self-rising flour as there is no way to tell the amount of baking soda/powder it contains compared to what the recipe calls for - you can experiment, but not something I would do unless you have that kind of time.

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gaviota4fly
gaviota4fly
11/17/2009 12:01 PM

SHOULD I SIFT THE FLOUR EVEN WHEN THE BOX STATES THAT IT HAS BEEN SIFTED?

ALSO CAN I USE SELFRISIN FLOUR WHEN THE RECIPE CALLS FOR FLOUR AND BAKING POWDER AND OR BAKING SODA?

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE LAST 2?

PLEASE HELP,
THANK YOU

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Norma Marshall
Norma Marshall
07/21/2009 09:42 AM

The Sand Castle Cake Technique...irritatingly long but the results are incredible...first you need gel food coloring and an unfrosted cake (I made the Cake Bible Spice cake with raisins). Allow the cake to cool completely. Buy colored brushes that match the colors of the gels. Mix the gel colors with home made sugar syrup that is flavored. (First I brushed the cake with raspberry coulis --- thanks Rose) and allowed that to cool since there is no frosting for this cake. Then I painstakingly painted the cake which took about five freaking hours. I used candy pieces to highlight the cake. At Christmastime, this is a sensational cake to make with all the great little candy pieces available. My guests were too intimidated to eat the cake until my nephews destroyed it. Next time I make this cake, I'll take a picture but sadly, I forgot to do that.

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hello, i m doing the wedding cake for friend and i will use black color for scoll decorations so how are ahead to decorate the color black bec the color will fade . the wedding cake is for this thurs . they come to pick it up on wed afternoon so what can i do .

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This book taught me so much about baking. One of the most important things I learned was how much ingredients weigh and to use scales for measuring. I use the weigh method with all recipes now.

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Make it triplets... can we find a quad?

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Sue, we must be twins as i have all of Rose's books, too, and soon we will all have all of her videos on youtube!

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I post papers like this in my work at a university, AND I am a HUGE fan of yours! So I loved reading your thesis!! You can absolutely see from the thesis how you ended up organizing your books (I have all of your books, by the way, including the one on chocolate!). The thesis is a treat of another (non-food) sort!

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Rose, what a priviledge to be able to read this. Thank you for sharing it.

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i think the only results worth sharing, that has taken rose thru her work, is that sifting DOES affect the quality of cake.

moreover, sifting DOES NOT work well as a method of mixing ingredients, contrary to most believe, so it is important to whisk in the ingredients prior sifting

sifting helps aerate and loosen the dry ingredients, thus becoming more ready to absorb liquids.

regarding butter cakes, my personal opinion is that sifting isn't mandatory nor really necessary because the batter doesn't require that much aeration of thin mixing with liquids, but you must sift flour on butter cakes if you are measuring flour by volume.

for sponge cakes, sifting flour make a bigger difference.

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Like Kate, I was also wondering if the results were obtainable without too much trouble?

Loved the addendum, I shall be thinking carefully before speaking today!

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Hector and Rose, thanks again for getting these posts to us! I just had a hectic weekend, and now that everyone is out of the house and I have a few minutes to myself, I'm going to read this! I couldn't be more excited!!

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as usual, it has been an honor more than a generosity. knowing of this research explains why and how cake bible is the way it is. so scientific. cake bible came out right on the middle of my engineering years in college, so while I understood the writing style at the moment, it really was a book ahead of its time!

i think i have earned many brownie points (should I say cake points), so asking rose to dig her closet was quite easy. wait till you see the many more youtube videos, we have just finished editing and uploading what I call phase one of videos, which perhaps contains sufficient footage to keep us happy till new book arrives in fall 2009.

i have just spent my entire weekend studying the many cake components for one more cake bible cake, I will attempt for april 9th. and just when I thought i was done with cake bible! don't worry guys, this cake is for a party of 8 pax, so don't expect another rose world cake!

happy baking and bake your life away.

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Rose:
Thanks for your generosity...always a joy to read what you have written. I'm actually in Florida visiting family at "Del Boca Vista" eating in chain restaurants and doing my best to have a good time. Tomorrow I'm going to visit a very dear friend who teaches down here at the Boca Ballet. She has arranged for a Guest Teacher (MOI!) to give class down there...haven't taught dance for 15 years...AHHHHHHHHHH!
I look forward to reading the thesis when I return to NYC on Friday.

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Talking about questioning definitions - when I wrote 'as well', I meant 'also' or 'too'. I wasn't asking for your grade!

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How wonderful to have an opportunity to read this, Rose! Did you write up the results as well?

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Zach Townsend
Zach Townsend
03/ 7/2009 10:45 PM

This is great...thanks for sharing it. I got a kick out of seeing the "A" on the front page - what else?? :)

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Lynne Biziewski
Lynne Biziewski
03/ 7/2009 04:24 PM

Wow - what a gift! Thank you, Rose, for your generosity in sharing your thesis - and to Hector for his work.

Your book, "The Cake Bible" is a favorite for me. While I have always loved both cooking and baking, and have been working on perfecting my own bread techniques for more years than I want to admit, my scratch cakes were disasters until I discovered your book.

I can't wait until this next one comes out - and I'm going to enjoy reading your thesis tonight!

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