Ready for Dessert Notes, Erratum & Tips

I’ve been in the midst of working with the publisher in the United Kingdom for the release of Ready for Dessert and The Perfect Scoop on this side of the Atlantic*. I’ll announce the dates as to when they’ll be available, but I’m thrilled to have them more readily available to European readers. And my shoulders will be happy as well because you have no idea how much work it is lugging boxes of 3-pound books through airports.

Books go through rigorous editing after they’re written, then they’re copyedited, then proofread by the author. Then the book gets punted back to the editor, and back to the author for a final look through. Then it gets forwarded the designer, then to the printer.

Whew! Believe me, it’s a wonder I can still see anything with all that reading. (And you think I spend all my time devouring croissants…) With most books clocking in at 80,000 – 100,000 words, a few are bound to get orphaned. Here are a couple of things that answer a few question I’ve received, plus a few words that mysteriously got omitted in the initial run but are being reinstated in subsequent printings.

1. The Chocolate Idiot Orbit Cake recipe (page 26) states “..wrap a large sheet of aluminum foil around the outside of the pan, making sure it’s absolutely watertight.” Still, a number of people are goin’ rogue and evidently aren’t making sure their pan is water-tight prior to baking in a bain marie (water bath). Most All springform pans leak which is why I instruct readers to wrap the pan securely with foil. If you’re not sure if your foil is strong enough, double or even triple wrap it.

One reader noted that his wife baked the cake successfully without the water bath. I haven’t tried it, but their chocolate idiot cake results look pretty good! Baking times and temperatures are here.

2. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m always happy to get another chance to talk about chocolate chip cookies, but to reiterate that in the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe (page 188), when you chop the chocolate, be sure to add in addition to the big chunks of chocolate, all the little bits and pieces as well. They contribute to the chewiness and chocolaty-ness of the cookies. I love these cookies, btw.

3. The Coconut Tapioca Pudding (page 139) works with the 3 eggs listed, but it should read 1 large egg. It’ll work fine with the three eggs, but I prefer it thicker, made with just one.

4. For some reason, the printer lopped off a line on the Banana Cake with Mocha Frosting with Candied Peanuts (page 64). When the recipe indicates to remove the frosting from the heat, you should let it cool down until it’s thick and spreadable, as shown in the lovely photographs. Luckily it’s common sense that if you let a warm chocolate mixture cool down, it’ll thicken. (Or is it?) And many folks have had great results.

5. When making the Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse (page 122), after you’ve melted the chocolate with the hot custard and stir in the Cognac or rum, there’s no need to chill the mixture; simply let it sit until it’s room temperature, then fold in the whipped cream.

6. For Robert’s Absolute Best Brownies (page 196), I use an 8-inch (20 cm) square pan rather than a 9-inch (23 cm) pan, although they’ll work in either. As mentioned in the recipe, it’s vital to really beat the batter for a full minute, however if using a heavy-duty pot (like enameled cast-iron), it may take longer for the batter to smooth out because those pans hold the heat much longer than traditional metal cookware.

7. In the Buckwheat Cake, (page 44), the conversion for the 6 ounces of butter should read 170 grams, rather than 85 grams.

8. The amount of milk in the Pastry Cream (page 236) is 2 cups; the metric conversion is 500ml.

Related Posts and Links

Ready for Dessert Video

My iPhone Application

Ready for Dessert Photos on Flickr

Baking with Ready for Dessert (eGullet)

*For those interested in editions printed in other languages, inquiries can be sent directly to the publishing house.

For folks who live elsewhere and wish to order books, the Book Depository offers free shipping internationally to many countries. If your country isn’t on their list, I share your pain because I’m out of spoon-sized Shredded Wheat and could use a few replacement boxes.

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  • January 30, 2011 3:29pm

    I concur on #2 – why do some cookbooks instruct you to sift away all those beautiful pieces?

  • Mikki
    January 30, 2011 4:08pm

    great news! will you post an amazon or link to the right edition (uk edition) of the book when it is available (or available to pre-order) please? I’d love to order this and would like the UK one. Or is it not actually any different inside to the american one?

    thanks, cant wait to finally buy it!

  • January 30, 2011 4:13pm

    I didn’t know to let the frosting cool – I’m new at this. I poured the hot frosting over a hot one layer cake and it was the most delicious mess I have ever served. It has been dubbed my Hot Mess Cake. I will go back to the kitchen and keep at it until I get it right. I live in Norway and buy your books from Amazon.Co.UK – they offer free delivery to most of Europe if you spend £25. Your banana cake recipe alone is worth that.

  • January 30, 2011 4:13pm

    Ha! I could really go for a chocolate idiot cake right now! Editing can be a scary, scary process. Congrats on the UK edition!

  • January 30, 2011 4:22pm
    David Lebovitz

    Mikki: I don’t know but they’ll likely change things like ‘favorite’ to ‘favourite’ and change the names of the sugars and stuff like that for the British and European market.

    Lynnée: It was surprising that got lopped off. But on the other hand, I have friends who came out with cookbooks with goofs like “1/2 cup baking powder” instead of 1/2 teaspoon—which would have explosive results. And another had a recipe that said “20 cups of flour” for a cake instead of 2 cups. Glad you like the cake…so did the showgirls at the Lido that I wrote about in the intro.

    A Plum: Yes, it’s a lot of work but since a book isn’t like a blog (where you can just hit a button and make an adjustment or change something), you really need to spend the time going over it word-by-word.

    It was funny because right before the book went to the printer, after all the look-throughs for months (and months), at the last moment I spotted “tablespoon” spelled wrong, which must’ve happened during the final move between the proof reader and printer. Luckily I caught it…whew!

  • Susan
    January 30, 2011 4:23pm

    The last time I baked a cheesecake, instead of wrapping in 3 layers of foil as usual (I discovered I was out of my wide roll of heavy duty foil.) , I set my 9 1/2 inch springform pan inside a 10 inch cake pan and put those in my bain marie. It worked. Of course, I can’ t be certain if it was due to the recipe or the baking method that kept it from cracking, since some people didn’t use the ban marie at all, according to their comments online, and it worked out for them, too. Makes it so hard to know, you know?

  • January 30, 2011 4:28pm
    David Lebovitz

    Susan: It was interesting because when I wrote up the recipe for the caramelized white chocolate, people kept asking me, “Can I do this with it?” or “Will it work for this?” And for the life of me, I didn’t know because I hadn’t tried it or played around with it much.

    Someone took me to task for it (um…okay), wondering why I didn’t spend all the time to see what I could make with it. So it’s nice when readers on the site report back, as they later did on that post, as well as the folks who make the Chocolate Orbit Cake without the water bath.

  • January 30, 2011 4:31pm

    Chocolate Idiot Cake sounds like my kind of recipe! I can only imagine how hard it is to work on a cookbook, and definitely admire you for all of your hard work! At least there’s an end in sight somewhere, right?!

  • Annabel (Mrs Redboots)
    January 30, 2011 5:13pm

    I’m thrilled to hear you’re finally being published over here, and will look forward to getting my hands on a copy. One of the things that has put me off buying any of your books (although I do have “The sweet life in Paris” on my Amazon wishlist) is the difficulty of translating recipes from American quantities*. I know you put quantities in both metric and American in your blog, but I don’t know whether this is the case in your books. But I do know that a UK addition will have the measurements I am accustomed to.

    * Mostly relatively easy – I do own a set of US measuring cups – but I get confused with ounces of liquid, and also with tablespoonsful of butter. I am told US butter wrappers help you divide it up, but that doesn’t help when the butter wrappers I know divide your butter into 100 g chunks!

  • January 30, 2011 5:13pm

    Interested in your comments about the springform pan leaking. This happens enough that I always call for wrapping the pan bottom in foil, too. However, I’ve had to fiddle with writing the instructions because one person lined the INSIDE of the pan with foil, which, of course, was a disaster. So now, I always say “set the pan on the foil, then pull the foil up around the outside of the pan.” Makes the instructions look long but…..

    BTW, after we ate all the rosemary cookies that I made from your book, I had some of the tomato jam left over, so served it with some cranberry shortbreads. It was really good with them, too. And it’s good on cheese crackers–in fact they needed it because I’d made gluten-free for my daughter-in-law & despite all the cheese they still tasted a little funny.

  • January 30, 2011 5:18pm
    David Lebovitz

    Nancy: When I wrote my first book, one of the cake recipes said—”Butter a 9-inch cake pan” and someone asked, “The inside or outside?”

    So now I know to take nothing for granted : )

  • Anna
    January 30, 2011 5:33pm

    I live in Austria and got Ready for Dessert (the US version, obviously) for Christmas – I was so happy to see that you indicated the weight in grams too, like you do on your blog! :)
    However, I was a bit surprised to read about the leaking springform problem in the orbit cake recipe – I don’t own round cake pans, just springforms which I use for almost every kind of cake, and ever since I started baking (which was at the age of 10 or so), it has never occurred to me that a springform leaked!

  • jo
    January 30, 2011 5:37pm

    Excellent news! Is it too much to hope that this might mean, when the time comes, you will do some book signings in the UK?

  • mothersweden
    January 30, 2011 6:32pm

    I have lived in Europe for 15 years. I have ALL conversions listed on the inside of my spice cupboard, ( and metric measuring cups, scales, etc.) I’m happy if this will bring you a wider audience in Europe. We could all use a little bit more Lebovitz!

  • January 30, 2011 6:36pm

    congrats on the cookbook

  • January 30, 2011 6:45pm

    A tricky conversion would be biscuit and cookie. British (and British colony) biscuit is cookie in US and elsewhere, and American biscuit is very different from British cookie. If you have no American biscuit recipes in your book, lucky!

  • naomi
    January 30, 2011 6:46pm

    Such great cookbooks. I had a recipe for a pear tart with a gluten free crust, and as I don’t have those alternative flours available, I used your pie crust recipes. All the neighbors loved the crust, as they do the ice creams in the summer. (Here in NOLA we tend to share food a lot. My beau was eating a variation of Eggs Benedict made with crab cakes instead of ham with a bunch of neighbors across the street and the topic was where to go for supper that night.)

  • January 30, 2011 8:29pm

    and when they will publish your books in Spanish ???????? I’m from Argentina and I’m a big fan of yours

  • January 30, 2011 9:43pm

    I actually just bought the US version two weeks ago and had it shipped to Ireland. I made the peanut butter cookies this week and they were divine. The first recipe I tried was the bittersweet chocolate mousse, and I found that after chilling the chocolate and custard mixture in the fridge, it was too hard and I wasn’t able to add in the whipped cream and had to melt it down slightly again over a double boiler to be able to stir it. It turned out fine in the end – everyone all but licked their bowls clean! – but I wondered at the time if the instruction to chill it was accurate, or if it just should have been left at “let cool completely” and then add in the whipped cream.

    I don’t suppose your book tour will include a date in Dublin? Here’s hoping anyway!

  • January 30, 2011 10:07pm
    David Lebovitz

    PIlar: If you have any contacts at Spanish-speaking publishing houses, they can get in touch with publisher at the link at the end of the post, since my Spanish is a bit rusty : )

    Kristin: I’ve not had that happen but if you used a high percentage chocolate, perhaps that’s why it got so hard. Can you let me know which chocolate you used? I’d be interested in knowing. Glad you liked the mousse!

    Also I tried to organize a culinary tour of Ireland since I love it so much and I tried contacting the Ireland Tourism Board three times for some assistance and unfortunately got no response, so decided to put those plans on hold.

  • Allison
    January 30, 2011 10:44pm

    I made the chocolate almond biscotti. They were quite tasty, but mine were nowhere near as pretty as yours! I baked them on the short end of the suggested time, but it wasn’t long enough to have set up enough to withstand the cutting, so they got smooshed. And even though I cooled them for longer, the chocolate was still melty, so cutting just smeared the chocolate. But I know for next time!

    I do have one question: Which cake is on the cover?!

  • January 30, 2011 10:54pm
    David Lebovitz

    Allison: That’s the Banana Cake with Mocha Frosting and Candied Peanuts. I use a very sharp serrated bread knife to cut biscotti. I have to admit that I’ve cut a few thousand biscotti in my I have plenty of practice : )

  • David T
    January 31, 2011 12:02am


    I asked for the book for Christmas, thinking that I’d be able to use it for great ice creams and sorbets (my wife and kids have Celiac Disease so our house is gluten free). I was reading the book in bed next to my wife and commenting after each of the first 3-4 recipes “I appear to have accidentally bought a gluten-free baking book”. It was a very pleasant surprise that there were so many flourless recipes in the baking portion of the book.

  • January 31, 2011 12:05am

    David, you’re not kidding anybody. We KNOW you spend most of your time eating croissants!

  • Amanda Bankert
    January 31, 2011 12:10am

    Hi David,

    My friend Linda recently gave me “Ready for Dessert” as a belated Christmas gift and I’ve been flipping through it for the past few days – it is AMAZING, congratulations!! (In case you’re wondering, Linda is friends with Heather Stimmler-Hall – and took a photo for me when she was getting the book at the signing – she was the one holding a sign saying “Hi Amanda”) Oh lordy. haha
    Anyway, if you’d like to get in touch regarding a book tour in Ireland I might be able to help you out…feel free to drop me an email if it’s something you’re interested in and maybe we can figure something out!
    Hope all is well, congrats again on the beautiful book. :)

  • January 31, 2011 12:14am

    what great timing, i just got a copy of your gorgeous book this weekend and am planning to try the banana cake w/ mocha frosting (i just happened to have a bunch of bananas that need to be used up!) – i’m pretty sure i would’ve figured out to let the frosting cool and thicken but good to know for sure! ;)

  • Renee
    January 31, 2011 5:40am

    This book is beautiful! Can’t wait to try the Chocolate Orbit Cake and the Nonfat Gingersnaps and the Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons and… well, really, everything! Thank you for the notes above. I’ve added them with post-its to their respective pages!

  • January 31, 2011 6:29am

    Hi David,
    Need some advice. I’m currently contemplating which book to buy first.

    The Perfect Scoop (can’t wait to try it on my ice cream maker)
    Ready for Dessert (I’m currently waiting for my Bon Appetite book to arrive, as you’ve mentioned in this blog that you’ve been profiled in that book too)
    The Great book of Chocolate (OMG CHOCOLATE!)

    Of course someday I would want to get all 3..but which would you reckon would be the best I should start with?


  • Judith
    January 31, 2011 8:22am

    I keep giving “Ready for Dessert” to people as a gift in the hope that they will bake me something from your beautiful book. It’s a pretty effective ploy. I cook but don’t bake much.

  • January 31, 2011 7:37pm

    Hi David, I left you a comment yesterday about having trouble with the bittersweet chocolate mousse. You asked what kind of chocolate I’d used – it was an artisan brand made in Ireland called Danucci and it was their 70% dark chocolate bar. Perhaps I would have been better off using their 40% milk chocolate instead? Next up will be the banana cake with mocha frosting, my husband has requested it as his birthday cake next week!

    In my book, Ripe for Dessert, where that recipe first appears, it’s correct and says to just let the chocolate mixture rest until it’s room temperature. But those gremlins that didn’t say to let the chocolate frosting for the cake come to room temperature (perhaps there’s a “room temperature” conspiracy?) also didn’t say just to let the mousse base sit until room temperature, and it doesn’t need to be chilled. I added that to the tips and notes, and it’ll make it into the second (and subsequent) printings. Thanks! -dl

  • February 1, 2011 6:38pm

    Yay I am so happy there is going to be a UK version. I’ve been tempted to buy the book before but the measurments put me off a bit – now there is no excuse!

  • Ozlem
    February 1, 2011 6:40pm

    Congratulations on your book coming to this side of the world! I would also LOVE to see it available on ibooks (preferred) or kindle as well so that I can take it with me when I’m traveling, which is most of the time. Is that in the plans at all? Thanks!

    • February 2, 2011 10:29pm
      David Lebovitz

      Since the Kindle is in black & white, am not sure if the books will be available in that format. However electronic editions of this, and some of my other books, are in the works for a release in the near future. I’ll announce that on my site when they’re available.

  • Margareta
    February 1, 2011 9:50pm

    I just baked the Almond and Chocolate Chunk Biscotti. It was really yummy and my daughter loved it! But one question, why didn’t you use salt in your recipe? Thanks! :)

  • February 2, 2011 7:21pm

    I got Ready for Dessert as a christmas present – love it! i’ve read through it, but have only been able to make a couple of things so far: the peanut butter cookies, the chocolate chip cookies (with the tiny bits n pieces!), and the guiness cupcakes. all are amazing – can’t wait to make more recipes !

  • jsp
    February 3, 2011 8:41am

    I have RFD and have enjoyed what I’ve made from it. That includes the pumpkin cheesecake, which I made twice (as the first time water leaked through the foil into my springform) and in so doing noticed the flour mentioned in the ingredients list never appears in the body of the recipe. I just threw it in with the remaining filling ingredients and it turned out fine, but I did re-read several times trying to spot it. :)

  • Dru
    February 4, 2011 10:55pm

    I’ve done a slightly different version of the chocolate idiot cake (it uses only eggs, chocolate chips and butter). Since I didn’t have a springform pan at the time, I used a silicone (floppy) round cake pan set into the waterbath. If you’re very careful with pouring the boiling water into the waterbath and careful removing the finished product, it’s even easier than messing with waterproofing a springform.

  • February 5, 2011 12:22pm

    I live in the UK and after receiving an ice-cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid for Christmas (2009), bought The Perfect Scoop on import. You’re too late!

  • Nicky
    February 5, 2011 1:28pm

    Hi David, I work as a proofreader – it’s amazing how many whoppers either slip through or get picked up right at the last minute. It’s inevitable, but so frustrating. I can’t wait for The Perfect Scoop to come out over here, Yey!

  • Nicky
    February 5, 2011 1:32pm

    Is ‘salt and freshly ground black people’ the worst typo ever in a cookbook?

  • janice
    February 6, 2011 7:23am

    David, I JUST took a pan of your choc chip cookies out of the oven and I gotta tell you: DIVINE. I made the dough last weekend, wrapped the logs, and tonight my cookie craving was quickly quelled by something soooo much better than anything from a store. And I did include every last bit of dust and bits from the chopped chocolate.

  • Karen
    February 9, 2011 10:11pm

    Hi David–

    I just got this cookbook, it’s been on my wish list for a while now, and I can’t wait to start at page 1 and make all the wonderful desserts!!! I have to say, I did skip ahead to the Black & White Cookies (being from NYC, I love them) and they are the best I’ve ever had and everyone who ate them agreed!!

    Love your blog, love your recipes, love everything!

  • Gavrielle
    February 17, 2011 8:09am

    Thank you for the banana cake correction! A friend just picked it yesterday for her birthday cake and I’m looking forward to making it (and eating it!). I hope I would have figured out the cooling down thing anyway, but you never know:).

  • Steph
    February 23, 2011 10:51am

    Hi David

    I will attempt to make your Fresh Ginger Cake from RFD and was wondering if I could use carob molasses for the mild, unsulphured molasses you used in your recipe? I don’t think I can find the latter in NZ. If not, can I substitute golden syrup instead? Do you think that will alter the flavour profile of the cake? A lot has sang high praises on this recipe so I don’t want to muck it up! :)

    Thanks for your help!

    • February 23, 2011 10:54am
      David Lebovitz

      I’ve not worked with carob molasses but if it’s similar in texture & flavor to regular molasses, it should work fine.