Serious Eats: Recipes

Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cradle Cake

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

While paging through Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum I was struck by this Cradle Cake, not for its beauty (like the other cakes in the book) but for its plainness. In the photo accompanying the recipe, the cake appeared to be nothing more than an upside-down loaf cake with a very dark crust. From my experience baking from Beranbaum's latest cake book, her cakes are first and foremost visually arresting and this cake, well, wasn't.

It was only when I looked over the recipe that I realized this cake possessed more of an inner beauty. The name comes from the layer of crisp nutty dacquoise, a mixture of ground pecans, chocolate and whipped egg whites, that encases or cradles the moist inner white cake.

What this cake lacks in appearance, it makes up for in flavor and texture. The layer of dacquoise is wonderfully toasty and crunchy with hints of bitter chocolate and roasted nuts, and a macaron-like texture. The white cake in the center is perfectly moist with just the slightest tang from the buttermilk in the batter. The bitter chocolate crust offsets the mellow white cake and together the textures make for a sweet harmony.

Win Rose's Heavenly Cakes

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Rose's Heavenly Cakes to give away this week.

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