LIBBY QUESTIONDear Rose, I am an avid fan of yours and have been dedicated to the Cake Bible for as long as I have been baking. I've always wished you had a recipe for Red Velvet Cake in your book. I have tried to use your method of incorporating ingredients, but still have not found the success I experience with your recipes in baking. Do you have a recipe and if so would you share it? Thank you for making me a better baker. Your book is amazing (as is your pie cookbook which I also love). Most sincerely and with much admiration ROSE REPLY thank you dear libby. a red velvet cake is simply a layer cake that uses one bottle of liquid red food color for some of the liquid, so all you have to do is chose any of my cakes (yellow or white) and replace an equal volume of the liquid with the red food color. RETRACTION i was so wrong and those of you who have my newest book Rose's Heavenly Cakes will see that I have created my version of the classic red velvet cake which I now love so much I even made a wedding cake which is also posted on the blog!
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SHARON QUESTIONHello, I am thinking about purchasing The Cake Bible. When is the new book coming out and what will be different? Should I wait for the new one or should I purchase both of them? I'm a novice to pastry making. Will there be a new pastry book also or am I safe to purchase The Pastry Bible? Thank you for a very informative site. ROSE REPLY i would highly recommend getting the cake bible and here's why: last year i did a revision but the only things i felt needed changing were the chocolate recommendations and the equipment and ingredient distributors. chocolate is now expressed in % of cocoa mass rather than manufacturer and some of the chocolates i recommended no longer exist! the recipes, however, have become classics as the book has survived for close to 18 years now and still going strong. i found there was nothing i wanted to change with the exception of the burnt almond milk chocolate ganache as the chocolate bar used to make it is no longer being manufactured so i replaced it with another delicious milk chocolate ganache (lesson learned not to have a product-dependent recipe!) the cake bible is filled with explanations about how cake baking works which is ideal for beginning and advanced bakers who want to know more and have more control over what they are doing. the new cake book will be entirely different with emphasis on the visual (some aspect of every cake will be pictured) and contain all the new ideas that have come about over the past two decades since the cake bible. re the pie pastry bible, if i ever do another on the subject it will be many years from now! but do check out the new pie crust that's on the blog. it's a variation of the cream cheese pie crust but uses heavy cream instead of water and is more tender and more delicious.
HEIDI COMMENTI'd like to thank you for publishing The Cake Bible. As someone who always loved baking but never went to culinary school, I read many highly rated cookbooks but grew increasingly frustrated when recipes were excellent (or not) but failed to explain what was going on. Your book answered so many questions! You should have seen me devour it from beginning to end so many years ago. Here is what I've done since then:http://www.mirabellecatering.com/ That is your lemon curd in those pictures, your genoise, your mousseline, your ladyfingers, your meringue swans, your pistachio marzipan (heavenly!), your raspberry sauce (ditto), your chocolate leaves, etc etc etc. Though I certainly reference other books now as well (I'm sure you recognize some of Alice Medrich's creations, and Martha's) and sometimes use their recipes, the vast bulk of what I do is still from your book (second volume - the spines break in no time!) And I would not approach those other sources with the same confidence, had I not absorbed such a basic understanding from you. I'll have plenty of questions to send in the future, since discovering this blog, but for now just wanted to say thank-you with all my heart. ROSE REPLY this has to be among the most validating letters i've ever received. and encourages me all the more as i submerge deeper and deeper into my first new cake book since the cake bible so many years ago. your work is exquisite and i've put in a link so everyone can see it. if i can take any credit for making your imaginative artistry more delicious i'm very proud indeed. and icing on the cake is that you acknowledged the empowerment of information and how it makes it possible to absorb so much more when you have a base of understanding. it is a life-long process and an undying thrill. thank you heidi!
RUBYMARTHA QUESTION: I would like to bake a cake with fresh purees. Such as peaches, strawberries, etc. I cannot seen to find a recipe with puree, I did find a couple using cake mixes but I want a scratch cake. I absolutely am an avid reader/owner of your books. I attended SCSCA in Pasadena in patisserie but have learned more from your books that I am sorry I made the expense for the school. If you can help me I would so appreciate it. Thank you,
ROSE REPLY: thank you--i'm very moved by your compliment. i must share another moving experience i had in pasadena when i was on tour for "the bread bible" 2-1/2 years ago. a woman named rose came to my book signing bringing her grown daughter as well. she reminded me that she had brought her daughter as a little girl to my signing for ""the cake bible. now she was returning to buy "the bread bible" for herself and another "cake bible" for her daughter to have now that she was living on her own. it was a very beautiful way for me to mark the passage of time! now for the fruit purees. i'm sorry to disappoint you but i found even when adding fruit juices to cake it seemed to disturb the ph balance of the batter and give it an off texture. cake mixes have emulsfiers and other things that give it what is known in the industry as "tolerance." this means that all manner of additions can be made and the cake will still work. as you've probably seen in "the cake bible," i do add purees to buttercreams with great results. perhaps another person on this blog has had a more positive experience adding it to cakes?
KIMBERLY QUESTIONI have a question regarding cake strips. I have several sets that I've been using for many years, but they don't seem to be working anymore. I saturate them in icy water, squeeze them firmly and wrap them around the base of the pan, but the cake layers heave and crack and don't stay level. (The oven temp. isn't too hot) Any ideas why my cake strips aren't doing the trick anymore? PS: I have all of your books and love them all. ROSE REPLY thank you! I've used cake strips until they were falling apart and they never stopped working. Recently I learned from my friend and colleague, Dede Wilson, how to make my own cake strips simply by enclosing folded, wet paper towels in a long strip of heavy-duty aluminum foil, overlapped to be the same height as the cake pan. are you using the same cake recipes that worked well before? are you using all-purpose instead of cake flour? Are you sure the oven isn't hotter? Is the leavening old? That's all I can think of.
SALLY QUESTIONFeedback: I have owned the Cake Bible for years, but the pages keep falling out. I would like to buy a used copy on the Internet, but fear getting the same edition. Can you tell me what to look for to make sure I get a later publication (and, thus, a better bound editon)? ROSE REPLY sadly the publisher doesn't stitch the bindings in their books so if they get a great deal of use they come unglued. once i discovered this i vowed never to sign another book contract without a guarantee that my book would be stitched. so the bread bible is stitched and my next cake book will be stitched but the only way to get a stitched binding cake bible is to bring it to a book binder. there is, however, a newly revised edition in which i have updated all the ingredients such as chocolate, and equipment. there is a small, quarter size, label on the upper right side of the front cover that says "revised ingredients and equipment sections.
Dana Question:I prepared your Chocolate Spike Cake from the Cake Bible. I could not get the icing to stand in spikes like yours did. It was either too cold and unspreadable or to warm and wouldn't stand in spikes. I am sure that my problems were entirely related to temperature of the icing, esp given the nature of cocca butter. What temperature should the icing be to form those lovely spikes? Rose Reply: i find that when i leave ganache or buttercream in the kitchen, which is about 80 to 85 degrees, it's just right for spreading on the cake and forming spikes. of course for piping it needs to be cooler. play with those spikes. if they're too droopy put the cake in a cooler spot and check every few minutes until it's just right! once you get the right consistency it will stay that way for long enough to decorate the whole cake with perfect spikes!
Update Nov 2007: Have a new question? You should visit the new Cake Questions section of the forum, or the more recent blog entry, Cake Questions Too.Jessica Question: Hi! I live in Australia and decorate cakes for friends and family. I just discovered an old copy of your book the cake bible in my local library. I think its great so I have looked up your site. I was just wondering if the book has been revised and updated since first being published? I notice that mud cakes are not covered at all in the book I borrowed and there are some other modern things missing too. Anyway I know you're busy so thanks for your time. Keep up the good work. Rose Reply: thank you for asking. in fact, the first revision of the cake bible has just come out but i haven't added any new cakes. what i revised was the equipment and ingredient sources, how to adjust batter for the more current pan sizes that are 2 inches high instead of 1-1/2 inches, and the chocolate sections because people don't talk chocolate brand anymore, they talk percentage of chocolate mass! i am, at the present time, working on a comprehensive four color cake book for wiley which will be out in the next two or three years and it will include some of the newer cakes. Cheryl Question: Is it possible to attach ribbons made from fondant around the bottom edges of the tiers of a buttercream frosted wedding cake? How and at what point in assembly would you attach them? Thanks. Rose Reply: the answer is yes! i would apply them after the cake is assembled. they will stick to the buttercream so you should have no problem holding them in place. Stacey Question: What is the difference between your "favorite yellow cake" in this blog and the yellow cake in the Cake Bible in terms of taste and texture? Also, I recently made a French buttercream that tasted like a bowl of butter and a powdered sugar and butter frosting that tasted like pure sugar. What is the best vanilla frosting to use for cupcakes? Rose Reply: my favorite yellow cake on the blog is the same as the one in the cake bible. i put it in because i wanted everyone to have it even if they didn't have the book. not everyone likes french buttercream. some people prefer the sugary, slightly gritty texture of powdered sugar buttercream to the satiny texture of the french variety. in any case, it's going to taste like butter and sugar because that's what it is. but it should also be flavored with pure vanilla extract. and of course there are many possible additions to buttercream such as coffee, orange, praline.... Melvin Question: thanks for writing. i made the cheese cake but i was a little lose the next day i used low fat cream cheese was that a mistake? or should i have cook longer? thanks Rose Reply: i strongly advise against using low fat products in baking. they will adversely affect both taste and texture. better to cut smaller servings! Rene Question: Dear Rose, I love baking and always have. And now I have the priviledge of helping a young woman, who is like a sister to me, with her wedding cakes. Unfortunately what she wants is a fair distance out of my league. I am hoping very much that you might be able to answer a couple of questions for me. A single cake, I could do. What she wants to have one cake on each table, which turns out to be about 40 individual creations. (Ouch.) She is hoping for 2 tier cakes (around 8 and 6 inches.) We are tentatively planning 7 different designs with fillings including everything from dacquois to conserves. It is the sheer volume that puts me out of my depth. It means that everything must be done as far ahead as possiblem, which I have very little experience with. I usually serve my cakes as soon after I make them as possible. Your Cake Bible is helping me a lot because it has so much information about storing each of the components. I am just trying to work out some logistics. Is it better to prepare the components, store them individually and then put them together as close to the wedding date as possible OR is it better to put the cakes together and store them (for as long as 4, even 5 months?) ready to be decorated? Or could we even decorate them so they are ready to be tiered and finished? I really don't know. I could just not begin to thank you enough for any guidance you could give me. I love this girl and want to do everything possible to help her wedding day be just the way she dreams of it. I just don't know how the best way to organize this size of a baking project. Since I am here writing, I have a side question: what is your experience with using flower petals IN your cakes and buttercreams. I have seen these recipes, but have not tried them. Are they a pleasant suprise? Or more novelty, less than delicious? Thank you, by the way, for all of the help your books have given me in pursuing my favorite hobby. :) Now that I know you have a blog, I look forward to enjoying that too. :) Sincerely, Rose Reply: you are a saint!!! most professional bakeries when they make cakes ahead store the layers unfrosted in the freezer (well-wrapped). but this may be bc this gives them the option to use them with different buttercreams as the orders come in. but it is also easier to wrap an unfrosted cake. to freeze a frosted layer you would have to freeze it first and wrap it after the buttercream has set. so probably the best approach is to freeze the layers. when you make cakes ahead, it is helpful to use a little simply syrup sprinkled on the layers to keep them from drying. we all hope you will send a photo of this massive undertaking so we can post it to the blog! re the flower petals, i don't imagine they would offer much in terms of flavor or in texture. there are wonderful extracts such as the rose syrup carried by la cuisine in alexandria.