Rose Levy Beranbaum's book Rose's Heavenly Cakes (RHC) is my new favorite cake book! I've had it since late 2010 (really more an impulse purchase as I found the front cover so pretty) and only looked at it with serious intentions of baking some of the cakes during the recent Holiday season. I just got bored with the usual cakes that I bake that I finally decided that I needed to learn some new recipes and techniques through the books that I already have.
I was immediately captivated by the beautiful pictures and wealth of information contained in this book that I couldn't put it down! It has now become my goal to bake each and every one of her cakes in this book including the wedding cakes (but probably scaled down a little bit LOL). What better way to practice right? Her two-stage technique is so new to me though that when I made her Yellow Butter Cupcakes (sadly, no pics), I had to re-read the procedure a number of times just to make sure everything goes smoothly especially with the temperature and timing. It's a method that you will eventually get the hang of though after a few attempts. The results of the cupcakes were amazing! That was the only time I understood what a "velvet crumb" is and how a cake/cupcake should be like. I've baked a lot of cupcakes and even attended a few classes about them but never really achieved the kind of delicate crumb and moistness that I achieved with her recipes. I conclude that it must be because of her innovative two-stage method.
Well, I got so hooked on her book that I decided to bake a few more of her truly heavenly cakes. The photo of her Apple Upside Down Cake looked so delicious that I had to make it first. I had some Golden Delicious apples in the fridge and they were perfect for this cake! Just the right amount of sweetness and tartness. I was able to follow the recipe to the tee (including using a baking stone) but guess what? I forgot to peel the apples! LOL. Good thing it softened a bit so it was just an added texture to the cake and didn't affect the flavor at all. Here it is, topped with a generous amount of chopped pecans (instead of the suggested walnuts). I was supposed to make the Bourbon whipped cream as well only to discover, as I was about to whip the cream, that my Bourbon has gone missing....hmmmmmm. But this cake is SO DELICIOUS on its own. Really, the whipped cream is unnecessary but would still give it a try in the future. My mother and brother loved this cake so much that they're excited for me to try the peach version of this cake. My Hubby, who isn't really a fan of sweets finished a whole slice and asked for more!
Made more of RHC for our New Year's Eve party. This time though I thought of making 3 of the more challenging sponge cakes and 1 butter cake.
Torta de las Tres Leches -- A biscuit de Savoie soaked overnight (I did 2 days soaking) in 3 kinds of milk (well 4 if you consider the heavy cream). It really became a cinco leches cake because I swirled my homemade dulce de leche on the gelatin stabilized whipped cream which created a lovely marbled effect. Out of all the RHC cakes I made for the party, this was the one I couldn't wait to try! I must say that this was out-of-this-world good with the dulce de leche.
Here is the Almond Shamah Chiffon Cake -- had a lot of extra raspberries so I topped the whole cake with them (also so I could hide the unattractive brown raspberry specks from the jam). This was really good! So moist and I love the texture of the cake with the ground almonds. Will definitely make this again. I think it would work well with peaches and passionfruit as well.
Here is the Tiramisu. I only made half the recipe as I only had a small pan. This was everyone's favorite and we had no leftovers! good thing I got myself a slice before it disappeared. Once again, it's another delicious cake from RHC! Truly amazing....not too sweet and the coffee flavor is just right. I've made Tiramisu before but using Italian Meringue instead of beaten egg yolks and Strega and Sambucca instead of Sweet Marsala. This recipe is a winner and I will make this again and again because it's so easy to make too. I made it in the morning, kept in the fridge the whole day and then served in the evening! How easy is that?
I also found that brushing the savoiardi biscuits with the espresso syrup instead of dunking them ensured that the biscuits wouldn't get overly soggy.
It's another cake I failed to take a pic of unsliced sigh :(
And the last but certainly not the least, I made one butter cake -- the Devil's Food Cake with Midnight ganache. I honestly found it OK, nothing spectacular but once again, very moist with a velvet crumb. I'm going to use the Midnight Ganache on other recipes as well as it is very easy to make but takes long to reach spreadable consistency though. But once it got there it was so easy to work with! I was able to have fun with the decor and add simple shell borders at the bottom of the cake.
These are certainly not the last cakes I'll be baking from RHC! Next up would be the peach version of her Apple Upside Down cake and the Orange Glow Chiffon! Can't wait!!