• Most inexperienced cooks believe, mistakenly, that a fine cake is less challenging to produce than a fine souffle or mousse. I know, however, that a good cake is like a good marriage: from the outside, it looks ordinary, sometimes unremarkable, yet cut into it, taste it, and you know that it is nothing of the sort. It is the sublime result oflong and patient experience, a confection whose success relies on a profound understanding of compatibilities and tastes; on a respect for measurement, balance, chemistry and heat; on a history of countless errors overcome.