Suzi's Blog

Lemon Butter Syrup from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes


heavenly cakes

Suzen and I listen to satellite radio in our car. Channels 4 through 9 are for songs from the 1940′s through the 1990′s. We are considering canceling our subscription because of the sloppy work on the service. They keep playing songs that are almost brand new, and then they have the gall to claim the song is from the 60′s or 70′s. It’s so frustrating. And I must say that when it comes to those songs from the 90s, well, I never heard any of them. It’s a totally made up channel.

This Rip Van Winkle thing is getting out of hand. It is now 25 years since Rose Levy Beranbaum published The Cake Bible. And Suzen and I have not yet worked our way through every recipe. The Cake Bible deservingly won awards and fame for Rose.

Now, it’s already four more years since Rose published Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, which won the IACP dessert cookbook award when first published. What’s the difference between the two books? Well, what is the difference between a house, a very good house, and a mansion?

Each of the recipes in Heavenly Cakes is a dessert mansion, a masterpiece. There are some recipes here you can easily knock off in a fairly short time but there are many recipes that go on for five pages or more. Those longer recipes often require you work in stages, with separate recipes for a cake, a filling, a frosting, a syrup. So, in fact, some of the “mini-recipes” there are wonderful to be used on their own.

For example, Rose has an English Gingerbread Cake, made in part with orange marmalade, which she describes as being truly authentically British and hence different from the many American versions. That cake is to be served with a lemon butter syrup which is quite lovely and quite versatile.

This syrup can be used with that gingerbread cake — yes, that recipe will appear here soon — but it can be used in many other circumstances: dribbled over pound or white cake, served atop ice cream, or — I suspect — thickened with some confectioners’ sugar and used to garnish cookies or cakes.

In short, this is a multi-use recipe.

I’ve gone through Heavenly Cakes page by page, amazed and the wonderful detail and careful articulation of each recipe. A Rose recipe is done in what is described as signature style with tables and heading aplenty to guide you on journey to dessert perfection

To do some of these cakes will take time. But a Rose recipe is one you can always trust. Many of the cakes in the book are accompanied by photographs by Ben Fink, an artist with light. Suzen and I met Ben at a signing for this book, and I asked him what it was like to photo shoot this book.

“Well, we did it all in one go,” he said. “Four or five days. One cake at a time.”

“Must have been hard,” I said.

“Oh, yes,” he said. His voice was stern but the seriousness was totally belied by the grin on his face. He did photograph, but he had a camera in one hand and a fork in the other.

Try Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, which will also be around for 25 years, and you’ll smile too.


Lemon Butter Syrup

Yield: ½ cup


  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter at low room temperature [65° to 75°F]


In a small pan, stir together the sugar, lemon juice and butter. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring, until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved.

Source: Rose’s Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum


Greek Lemon Potatoes


Last weekend Suzen and I had an official “urban weekend.” Rather than go upstate, we decided to enjoy the city.

Saturday was a bike ride up the West Side from Tribeca to the George Washington Bridge. Well, we did stop at 97th Street with a flat. You should know that on 96th Street, just uphill east of Broadway by two doors, there is a lovely bike shop, who will patch or replace, install, lube and get you on your way again.

Sunday, we saw the Monet’s Garden exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. There are few months left to see this homage to water lilies.

And we finished the weekend with our first visit to Astoria, Queens, famous for its United Nations array of restaurants from around the world. Astoria is famous for Greek food and we had a lovely meal [restaurant to be blogged soon!]. Being Irish, my favorite dish was potatoes, but not Irish style. We had Greek lemony potatoes, rich in lemon and oregano flavor. [I’m told oregano is Greek for “joy of the mountain.”].

I searched the web and found this version of a recipe for this fine side fare for your table. Here we have the potatoes, lemon juice, oregano, and a healthy amount of lamb stock.

This recipe scales easily. If you are having a holiday weekend feast this Labor Day, then the perfect accompaniment for that roasted chicken or sausage is this zesty potato dish.

Greek Lemon Potatoes

Yield: serves 6


  • 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes or 3 pounds other waxy potatoes, peeled
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 (14 ½ ounce) can chicken broth or 2 cups lamb stock


Peel potatoes and cut them in half (from medium size potatoes, quarter if large). Let them stand in water while preparing sauce.

Combine all other ingredients in a gallon size “zipper” bag, and shake to combine.

Dry off the potatoes, and put all of them in the bag and let marinate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Put the potatoes and marinade in a large casserole, preferably a white Pyrex, approximately 13 x 9 x 3 inches oval.

Roast for 1hr 10min, turning occasionally. You’ll want to check for doneness starting at about 50 minutes.

There should be plenty of sauce left over after roasting.

Optionally, you can put these under the broiler for 5 minutes to crisp them up just before serving.

Garnish with sauce and parsley.

Source: Anthony Gougoutris at; photo by Lorac