Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Joe Pastry and Rose

For those who don't follow Joe Pastry, he was critical of the cookbook Rose's Heavenly Cakes (he thought the recipes were too elaborate), author Rose Levy Beranbaum saw his comments and responded, and now he's posting some dialog between the two of them about his comments, the cookbook, and specifics on the Golden Lemon Almond Cake recipe which Rose suggested that he bake when he wanted to try out one of the recipes. There are more posts to come, but here's what's up so far [edited 25 Jan 2010 to complete the list of posts]:

Rose's Golden Lemon Almond Cake

"New Journalist" or just incompetent?

Rose on the Question of Excess [the main interview post]

"Guest Host" Rose

Why does this recipe call specifically for bleached flour?

Why do you use all turbinado sugar in this cake instead of regular granulated?

and a side post in response to a reader's question: Turbinado Sugar vs. Granulated

(edited to add the rest of the posts on this topic below)

The High Cost of Photography

Why lemon oil?

Is Wondra flour really necessary?

So where's the history?

You talkin' to me?

How to Make Rose's Golden Lemon Almond Cake (recipe)

It's a guy thing

A little last wave of the flag


  1. Very interesting how Rose articulatly handles herself no matter who she is being interviewed by. I always learn something as well. Thank you for posting this info.

  2. Very interesting read - thanks for the link. I don't agree with Mr. Pastry's criticisms, especially since it is clear he hadn't made any of cake from RHC. Yes, some of Rose's instructions are fussy and needlessly involved, but the flavor of the finished product almost always makes up for that.


  3. Thanks for the link. It makes interesting reading. I have always subscribed to the "take what you need, leave what you don't" philosophy.

    If you are a beginner baker, then the detailed instructions are a godsend and great for developing core skills. If you have experience, then you can puff out your chest and do it your way. Your choice really!

    Thanks for posting. I loved how Rose reeled off loads of cakes that are really quite simple! Ha-so there Joe Pastry! Showed him. Yes, there are difficult, complicated cakes. Aspirational baking!

  4. Thanks for posting, Nancy. Very interesting. Rose was very gracious and educating.

  5. I have some sympathy for the guy (not just because I like his blog on baking and science), and also feel part of this is just perception caused by the cookbook style. If some of the elaborate buttercream recipes were written conventionally with one set of ingredients and a (very long) set of instructions, I think it wouldn't look so much like overkill. Too, a number of recipes rely on curds and the white chocolate buttercreams and such for the real character of the cake. But not all, for sure!