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Category ... Special Stories 2014

Hector's Pumpkin Chiffon Bundt Cheesecake

Dec 03, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories 2014

For the holidays, Hector is offering this special new "Take" on my cake. He says that it's like eating pumpkin chiffon pie.


My cheesecake ebook has recipes for 3 types of cheesecakes, techniques I learned from Rose! These are: sour cream batters, heavy cream batters, and no-bake batters. I like to use a bundt pan for the no-bake cheesecakes. Un mold it like a jello mold, after dipping the pan in hot water for 2 minutes. The cake serving plate should be chilled in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, so the melting cheesecake runs off "just enough" and sets into irresistible lickable drips.

The recipe is on my ebook. Basically is part pumpkin or other flavor custard cream, part cream cheese, part cream, and part italian meringue. If you don't have my ebook, you can use the instructions on RHC's no-bake cheesecake. The crust for no-bake cheesecakes on a bundt pan is pressed on top of the batter, which when inverted becomes the bottom crust. For my pumpkin take, instead of a cookie crumb crust, I used whole pecans... perfect ocassion to use lots of pecans prior all get exported to China!


canned pure pumpkin: 240 g (about 1 cup)
sugar: 25 g (about 2 tablespoons)
gelatin: 10 g (about 1 tablespoon)
ground ginger: 1/2 teaspoon
ground cinnamon: 1/2 teaspoon
ground nutmeg: 1/2 teaspoon
salt: 1/2 teaspoon

Stir together all the ingredients. Rest, covered, until the gelatin is hydrated, about 10 minutes. On medium heat, stirring continuously, cook until it starts to darken and thicken, about 10 minutes. Puree with a food processor or immersion blender, until very smooth. Keep lukewarm, covered.


egg whites: 90 g (about 3)
cream of tartar: 3/8 teaspoon
sugar: 175 g (about 14 tablespoons)
water: 45 g (about 3 tablespoons)


cream cheese: 450 g (about 1 lb)
heavy cream: 465 g (about 2 cups

Judging Gramercy Tavern Pie Contest--The Details

Dec 02, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories 2014


Last week I posted a brief entry about tasting 17 pies at Gramercy Tavern, New York City, for an in-house staff pie contest, promising more details. Pictured above are the judges, the two winners, Gramercy pastry chef Miro Uskokovic and executive chef Michael Anthony. It was very touching how enthusiastic the staff was, especially to have us all as judges, while we, the judges, felt honored and privileged to be there. Three of us judges were pastry chefs: Johnnie Iuzinni, Michael Laiskonis, and me. Also judging was Niko Triantafillou of DessertBuzz, a staff member from Danny Myer's Hospitality Group, Chief Restaurant Officer Sabato Sagaria, and Woody.

A long table in one of the private dining rooms held all of 17 stunningly different pies, from sweet to savory. Each place setting held a score card with categories to judge the pies for best overall pie and most creative.


The most amazing looking pie was presented atop a magical pastry tree. It was delicious as were all the pies. Some, however, were more daringly experimental in concept than delicious.


Choosing the winners was not easy but was accomplished by a tally of all the judges. My personal favorite pie was made by a pastry chef from Scotland. Though I'm not a big fan of mincemeat, this version was nothing short of fantastic because, not only did she make her own mincemeat, using an impressive amount of brandy, she also topped it with a layer of brandy imbued cream filling which put the sweetness of the mincemeat in perfect balance.


Continue reading "Judging Gramercy Tavern Pie Contest--The Details" »

A Special Story from a Fellow Blogger

Nov 30, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories 2014


My Pony Icing (and a thrill from Rose and Woody) by Michele Simons of Artful Oven

2006: You probably remember the highlights: Pluto was demoted to a "dwarf planet." Twitter was launched. Italy won the World Cup.

Our two teenagers were in high school and I was moonlighting as a baker at our favorite fancy Italian restaurant. I was strictly a home cook, but that was why I had been hired--to bring a homemade touch to the dessert menu.

Tosca Ristorante served fine cuisine at one of the most coveted locations in town. The large, historic tobacco warehouses had been converted into a complex of upscale apartments, retail and office spaces. Tosca boasted fantastic ambience, a gorgeous courtyard, authentic Italian specialties....and terrible desserts. They served awful, overbeaten yellow and chocolate cakes made from mixes frosted with super sweet powdered sugar icings. I promptly pulled out my flour encrusted, butter stained copy of the Cake Bible and started cranking our fresh butter cakes iced with Rose's rich and luscious buttercreams. Dessert sales soared!

Imagine this baker's dream--a huge kitchen always stocked with fresh ingredients, freedom to create weekly specials, and best of all--someone else to do the dishes!

Mascarpone cheese was always plentiful in the refrigerator. One afternoon on a whim, I made one of the Cake Bible buttercreams with mascarpone instead of butter. It was divine! My "pony ('pone) icing was born! The chocolate version with a chocolate butter cake became Tosca's signature Torta alla Nonna--Grandmother's Cake. I posted the results of this revelation on Rose's forum. The only comments were congratulations with rueful observations about the prohibitive cost of mascarpone cheese.

Fast forward to spring 2014. I pre-ordered the Baking Bible and wrote a little fan letter on Rose's blog telling her how much I was looking forward to the new book. I mentioned that I had adapted her icing recipe with mascarpone. To my delight--she replied! Wow! Rose Levy Beranbaum answered me herself, asking about my icing!

What followed was a baker's joy. Woody Wolston sent me a couple of emails asking questions and then--they actually tested my adaptation of Rose's recipe! I gave Rose and Woody an idea?! Me?! And they really tested it?! Isn't that the coolest thing?! For a little home baker in Durham, North Carolina, that was a wonderful gift!

My admiration of Rose's work borders on hero worship since I purchased the Cake Bible in 1990. I have been chasing excellence in the oven ever since with Rose leading the way.

Note from Rose: Woody and I loved the chocolate version of the mascarpone buttercream and will be offering it with credit to Michele in a future book.

Monkey Dunkey Bread Lesson

Nov 15, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories 2014


I consider baking to be one of the best lessons to teach children because it includes science, art, match, logic, and patience. I have been visiting the Wachter boys once a year for the past 12 years teaching them how to bake. And this year, by special invitation of Max, Elliott joined me.

It all began when the eldest, August, was only 3 years old and my dear friend and colleague, Elizabeth Karmel, bought him my cookie book and invited me to give him a cookie lesson. As the years went by two more brothers arrived and started to participate. For this most recent class in August, to my delight, their mother Mary Pat chose the Monkey Dunkey Bread from the new book The Baking BIble. Not only is it absolutely delicious, I knew that the boys would have great fun adding the chocolate pearls to the dough and rolling them into balls.

This is the first time that August, my right hand man is towering above me!


This year Max, the youngest, was old enough to become a full participant.


The chocolate filled dough balls, coated with the caramel drizzle glaze.

I wrote down a few comments from the boys which I most treasure. One was when August said about the chocolate bug cakes: "I knew they would look good but I never had any idea that they would taste so good, this chocolate cake is stupendous!" He also said he was going to make the cakes again by himself. Nothing could have done more to make me feel the class had been a success!

The other comment was from middle son Zander: "I want the stadium cake to be my birthday cake this year." By the way, the only other time he said this was for this year's Monkey Dunkey Bread!

Here are some photos of lessons from years past to show how the boys and the baking lessons evolved:

Continue reading "Monkey Dunkey Bread Lesson" »

My Dream Baking Kitchen

Nov 08, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories 2014


It has been my long-time dream to have a kitchen designed exclusively for baking. Having spent several decades working in my New York City living room turned kitchen, the moment arrived when we made the move full time to our weekend house in the Kittattiny Mountains of Hope, in northwestern NJ. And finally the time had come to start the rennovation of our unfinished basement into a kitchen that would house all my massive amount of baking equipment.



We made the move a year ago June, and stored all the equipment in the garage during the three-month construction. Unfortunately the summer of 2013 was exceptionally humid which meant that by the time I could unpack all the boxes there was much de-rusting to do.

Woody took one part of his summer vacation in June to help with the massive move, and the rest in September when he did wonders to unpack and organize all the equipment. Our goal was to have the kitchen in working order in time for the photo shoot for The Baking Bible in November. Woody made the move from Minnesota in October and in November we were able to complete 99% of the cookies, some of the cakes, and also some of the breads to bring to upstate NY where we were to spend three solid weeks with an amazingly wonderful production team taking the photographs.

As many of my friends have expressed an interest in seeing the results of the baking kitchen, we've put together some photos and a brief description of the choices that were made. Much of the equipment is treasured items I've collected and used for years but the cabinets, countertops, flooring, and most of the major appliances are new. I'm glad I had to wait all these years to have my dream kitchen as it gave me experience and time to evaluate how I work and what I need to do my best work. And now that I have been living and working in it for an entire year I have to say I haven't a single regret. It works! Many kudos to our contractor Chris Smigel and his terrific team.

Continue reading "My Dream Baking Kitchen" »

The Silver Spoon Award

Nov 02, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories 2014


Food Arts was planning to present the December 2014 Silver Spoon Award for sterling performance to me, as the high priestess, dessert diva, and baking pioneer, whose intense mastery of the science and art of baking has changed the way we bake cakes today. She is known for elevating the level of pastry through her meticulous and inspiring recipes, reliable instructions, and scientific precision.

Sadly, on Thursday September 11, publisher Marken Shanken announced that after over 25 years in print Food Arts was closing its doors. Eat Your Books has just posted the article along with a contest for a give away of The Baking Bible.

A Miro(cle) New Pastry Chef at Gramercy Tavern in NYC

Oct 22, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories 2014


Actually his name is Miroslav Uskokovic but everyone calls him Miro. I met him for the first time a few months ago when having lunch with my friend Marko, who introduced us, and was charmed both by him and by his exquisite desserts. So when my editor Stephanie, and marketing manager for the new book Allison, invited Woody and me to lunch before signing advance copies of the book at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's nearby offices, Gramercy Tavern was my first choice. I've long been a fan of chef Michael Anthony so I knew that we would be in for a special treat. And we were far from disappointed.

Chef Anthony prepared many delicious courses which were not on the actual lunch menu and amazingly he presented a different dish for each of the four of us. Most memorable was the salmon, so lightly smoked the only way I found out it had been smoked at all was by asking the secret for its extraordinary moistness. We were too busy sampling everyone's food to stop and take more than a few photos but we made up for it when it came to dessert. After all, we were celebrating the birth of baking book and a new pastry chef at the restaurant. Kudos to Chef Anthony for making so many fabulous courses but somehow managing to keep them light enough to make room for a vast array of desserts!

Continue reading "A Miro(cle) New Pastry Chef at Gramercy Tavern in NYC" »

Speaking of Apples.....

Oct 05, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories 2014

Here is a link to a delightful piece about apples on Food 52 in which I am happily included.

My Favorite Lamp

May 10, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories 2014


Nineteen years ago, when I was writing a monthly column on food and wine for the Los Angeles Times, I had the good fortune to be invited to the Four Season's Restaurant in New York City for a very special dinner event. It was to honor the formation of the Nickel & Nickel Winery in Oakville (Napa Valley), an extension of the Far Niente winery, and to launch their amazing dessert wine: named Dolce--a clever riff on the Italian phrase "dolce far niente" which literally translates as "sweet for nothing" but actually means "pleasant relaxation in carefree idleness."

Each person who attended the event was given a bottle of this golden blissful liquid to take home. We were also encouraged to take an empty magnum of the Far Niente chardonnay that was served at dinner to keep as a souvenir. My companion thought he would give his to his daughter to use as a "piggy bank," but after several months had passed I was inspired to fill mine with corks. My husband Elliott and I went to Home Depot to pick out an appropriate shade and wiring device and Elliott transformed the bottle into a lamp. The crowning grace was when he topped it with a champagne cork. It's a great reading lamp and is now my favorite place to sit in the living room.

Rose's Chocolate Baking Essentials on Craftsy


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