The Art of Fine Baking

 

has been my favorite fine baking book for ages. The best thing about it, in my opinion, is that it provides instructions for a number of basic "cake parts" and then detailed instructions for constructing any number of fabulous tortes from those parts. It makes it easy to be creative or traditional.

The Vacherin Shell is a spectacular summer dessert. I used the Frozen Strawberry Cream Torte as the dessert for Richmond's 70th Birthday Dinner. 

Note that Mrs. Peck also produced The Art of Fine Cooking. I have seen it, but I don't have it. It seems to be mostly of historical interest, as the recipes seemed to use quite a lot of a then-new ingredient: monosodium glutamate!