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How Sweet it Is

Sep 20, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose


Sweet: Desserts from London's Ottolenghi

Yes, these are both the same book, but the first photo is the UK edition and it's the one that Yotam Ottolenghi sent me with the loveliest inscription from both him and co-author Helen Goh.

As a huge Ottolenghi fan (I sent both my brother and his wife, and my cousin Joan to his restaurant when they were visiting London--wishing it could have been me) it means so very much to me to be credited in this gorgeous book for my contribution on page 181, which is an adaptation of my "Perfect Pound Cake." Their version has both cardamom and coffee, and I'm really looking forward to trying it because cardamom is my favorite spice and coffee my favorite beverage!

I'm also delighted to see that the "Lemon Poppyseed Cake" is the one Helen would take to a desert island, because that happens to be my signature cake as well.

And I'm dying to try the "Take-home Chocolate Cake," on page 152, because the descriptor "the world's best chocolate cake" always calls to me.

Having cooked from Yotam's savory books, it is really exciting to be in possession of his first book devoted to sweets--after all, he started off as a pastry chef! I hope some day to meet him and Helen in person and in the meantime, I cherish their book.


Rose Levy Beranbaum
Rose Levy Beranbaum in reply to comment from Tonia
10/16/2017 09:58 AM

what i meant was he said there was no magic with her. ultimately she left him for the husband of their best friends. i found that out because i was telling the story in a class i taught and one of the students knew immediately whom i was talking about. a small world indeed.

great choice for your mom--that's such a fav of mine as well!


Dear Rose,

All I can say is his loss! From what I know of you through your books, writing and videos, you seem like a truly lovely woman,

I love your story about your mother as it reminds me of many occasions with my own. My mother is a Diabetes educator and very health conscious also, oftentimes I've thought, "there's no way she'll even try it" and I'm wrong! She's 60 next year and I'm making her favourite cake - your Moist Chocolate Raspberry Genoise!

Thank you again for your wonderful recipes and guidance in the kitchen.



Rose Levy Beranbaum
Rose Levy Beranbaum in reply to comment from CharlesT
10/10/2017 12:47 PM

thanks for the report CharlesT! and do go for it. can't wait to hear what you think of the Domingo.


So, I made the "Take-home Chocolate Cake". Overall, it was a good chocolate cake, somewhat like Rose's Chocolate Domingo Cake, although much simpler and without the sour cream. Denser than a typical layer cake, which I see as a positive. Maybe more tender than optimal.

I did a half recipe and used a 6 inch pan and it turned out just like their photos, even though I had to make some substitutions. If I make it again, I'll probably add some molasses to give it more of a devil's food taste.

However, this recipe has made me eager to try Rose's Chocolate Domingo cake, which I've never made before. I love sour cream in cakes.


Rose Levy Beranbaum
Rose Levy Beranbaum in reply to comment from Hanne
09/21/2017 11:06 PM

Hanne, thanks for your wonderful delightful comments. Helen Goh, the book's co-author, is also from Australia (Melbourne). i forwarded your comment to her because i didn't want her to miss it! i know that she and Yotam will appreciate it as much as i do.


Rose Levy Beranbaum
Rose Levy Beranbaum in reply to comment from Tonia
09/21/2017 10:47 PM

Tonia, it was very romantic. unfortunately he was living with a violist but he said there was no magic. and i, who had once been an amateur violist, finally got fed up and told him i was tired of playing second fiddle to a violist.

my mother was a dentist and very nutrition conscious and i also grew up with letter little sweets. when i was teaching baking classes, i once invited my mother to the gâteau st. honoré session and there wasn't quite enough to feed everyone so i said to the person handing out the servings "don't give any to my mother--she won't eat it." the person looked at me and said: "take a look at your mother!" there she was scarfing down the gâteau.

thanks you!


OMG, everyone who has a copy of this book raves about it. I'm a big Ottolenghi fan, too. I'm so happy that he's a fan of yours - that just adds to his credibility for me.

Got my first Cake Bible in the early 1990s so I could experiment chocolate cakes for my friend's wedding. It's my most-used cookbook and the pound cakes are my most-baked cakes. Might be weird to say this, but although I've made the lemon-poppyseed cake more than any other, I've never actually added the poppy seeds (being in Australia I'm always dubious about how fresh random packets of poppyseeds are and the cake turns out brilliantly without them).

Thanks for the incredible amount of work and detail you put into your recipes. Every recipe I've tried has been utterly trustworthy! I can't tell you how much knowledge I've obtained from them about baking and the chemistry and alchemy of food. It totally affects my reading of recipes. There's practically not a week I don't reach for one of your books - so much so I have some of them in both the hard copy and the Kindle (wouldn't dream of taking a trip without access to the pound cake recipes).


That’s wonderful encouragement, thank you! Although I don’t feel it’s possible to ever master every detail of law, I love it but it is very challenging! A Lebanese cellist? That sounds very romantic! Yes, I love Lebanese food also, having had it all around me growing up, both my parents were born there, and they came out quite young so did their high school and tertiary education here. Growing up though, like you, there were minimal sweets, as my mother is a diabetes educator and very health conscious, although she adores your raspberry chocolate genoise cake! Anyway all in all, you’re a wonderful teacher and mentor and I’m so grateful to be able to tell you on this forum :) thank you Rose xx


Rose Levy Beranbaum
Rose Levy Beranbaum in reply to comment from Nicola
09/21/2017 05:40 PM

that is so kind of you Nicola but i am on the east coast! so it would be more than a pop!


Hi Rose,

Yotam and Helen are doing a book tour of the US so you may be able to meet them in person...

I am going to see them talk on October 3rd at my local JCC if you fancy popping over to Palo Alto.



Rose Levy Beranbaum
Rose Levy Beranbaum in reply to comment from Tonia
09/21/2017 09:26 AM

thank you Tonia! all i can say is that anyone who can master all the details of law will certainly be able to make the leap to the details of baking!

i've long loved Lebanese cooking (ever since i dated a cellist from Lebanon).


Dear Rose,

If you like both cardamon and coffee you're in luck as the Lebanese do a version of Lebanese coffee with cardamon in it! Have you ever tried it?

Also, I can't thank you enough for Rose's Christmas book, it is the first cookbook I tried to bake from all by myself and years later, I am an avid baker and cook and dream of one day (while writing essays and papers for my Juris Doctor program) writing a cookbook or somehow being in the culinary world. You are a true inspiration Rose, and with your varying backgrounds in fashion, science and ballet makes me feel a leap from law to baking is not as big as it seems?

Thank you for all you do!




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