- 21 Baking Books Our Staff & Community Swear By
- 1. BakeWise by Shirley O. Corriher
- 2. BraveTart by Stella Parks
- 3. Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman
- 6. The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser
- 7. Genius Desserts by Kristen Miglore
- 8. Fancy Desserts by Brooks Headley
- 9. The Fearless Baker by Erin McDowell
- 10. Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich
- 11. Happiness Is Baking by Maida Heatter
- 12. Hot Bread Kitchen by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez
- 13. How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking by Nigella Lawson
- 14. In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley
- 15. The Joys of Baking by Samantha Seneviratne
- 16. The Last Course by Claudia Fleming
- 17. Pastry Love by Joanne Chang
- 18. Rose’s Baking Basics by Rose Levy Beranbaum
- 19. Simple Cake by Odette Williams
- 20. The Sweet Life by Kate Zuckerman
- 21. Tartine: a Classic Revisited by Elisabeth Prueitt & Chad Robertson
- The 17 Best Baking Cookbooks Recommended by Foodies
- These Are the Best Baking Cookbooks of 2019
- The 22 Best Baking Cookbooks You Can Own Right Now
- Baking at République
- Pastry Love
- Modern Baking
- Simple Cake
- Flour Water Salt Yeast
- Rose's Baking Basics
- Little Flower Baking
- Sister Pie
- The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook
- Crumb: A Baking Book
- The Cookie Book
- Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes
- Making Chocolate
- Baking Chez Moi
- Violet Bakery Cookbook
- Mary Berry's Baking Bible
- Sweeter off the Vine
- Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts
21 Baking Books Our Staff & Community Swear By
Cookbooks solve practical problems, what to make on a Thursday when you have 30-ish minutes to spare, what to bring to a newly vegan friend’s potluck, what to prep on the weekends. But baking books are all about pleasure.
Distracting yourself from what you’re actually supposed to be doing, celebrating a 91st birthday, making a midnight snack. Below are 21 of our favorite baking books, cherry-picked by our staff and community a.
Organized alphabetically by title, the list is by no means exhaustive—we hope you’ll weigh in with your favorites in the comments, too.
From Our Shop
1. BakeWise by Shirley O. Corriher
“If you love baking, reading BakeWise by Shirley O. Corriher is a joy, and will help you understand the science of it so much better (and give you a lot of good cake recipes, too).” —Kristen Miglore, Creative Director of Genius
Fun fact: Kristen highlighted Shirley’s moist-as-can-be biscuits in the very first year of the Genius column.
2. BraveTart by Stella Parks
I could tell you about how BraveTart won the James Beard Foundation award for Best Baking & Desserts, or how it was a New York Times best-seller. But it’s really hard to do this book justice.
It goes without saying that it includes obsessively tested recipes, as Stella regularly publishes on Serious Eats, homemade snack-aisle favorites (Twinkies! Nilla wafers! Animal crackers!).
It also includes deep dives into the history of American desserts, from chocolate chip cookies to brownies to McDonald’s-style apple turnovers. All of which to say, learning from it is just as sweet as baking from it.
3. Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman
First published in 2004, this book is a must for anyone who wants to understand (and bake and eat) bread.
You’ll cover the basics, then learn how to play around with them, ciabatta with olive oil and wheat germ, and sourdough rye with raisins and walnuts. “It is informative, well-written, and has all my favorite bread formulas in it.
I wish all my text books had been written at least half as well. It reset my career course from engineering to baking.” —BakerBren, community member
“In Dorie's Cookies, you've got all your classics (sablés, linzers, chocolate chip, brownies, World Peace), but also some real surprise hits (strawberry shortcake cookies, spicy togarashi meringues). And beyond that, Dorie's sage advice and meticulous instructions can make a baker the most hapless of us (i.e., me).” —Brinda Ayer, managing editor.
Another honorable mention, also by Dorie: Baking: from my home to yours, which has 300 recipes— the corniest corn muffins, raisin-swirl bread, and caramel peanut–covered brownie cake—plus lots of spin-offs and encouraging words along the way.
6. The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser
“I’m only recommending this one because they aren’t my recipes—but I most often turn to my Essential New York Times Cookbook for the pre-2000s baking recipes, because there are so many incredible ones that The Times covered over the years.” —Amanda Hesser, co-founder.
Look forward to: Teddie’s apple cake, no-knead bread, flourless chocolate cake, cashew butterscotch bars, lemon cheese pie, Pierre Herme’s chocolate sablés, and more.
7. Genius Desserts by Kristen Miglore
“Our Genius Creative Director Kristen Miglore unearthed more than 100 of the smartest and most iconic dessert recipes of our time, drawing from the biggest names in desserts and the wisdom of the Food52 community—plus the genius tips, mini-recipes, and riffs to make them your own.” —Lindsey-Jean Hard, contributor
8. Fancy Desserts by Brooks Headley
“It’s easy to explain away the style and makeup of Fancy Desserts as the result of a punk rock drummer becoming a pastry chef.
But what makes all the weird, fascinating, beautiful parts of this book come together into a shockingly cohesive and valuable whole are Headley’s reverence for Italian cooking (and those who have passed it down), his focus on simplicity and flavor over presentation or pretense, and his desire to make the book a collaboration rather than a self-congratulatory Chef Manifesto.
“Headley’s recipes are more Italian than fancy. While he does write a recipe for fennel cake garnished with pickled green strawberries (the latter he borrowed from René Redzepi), and he does ask you to use a dehydrator a few times, Headley’s recipes share more DNA with those of an Italian nonna than the sorts of chefs who turn fruit into foam.” —Marian Bull, contributor
9. The Fearless Baker by Erin McDowell
Over 100 pounds of butter went into The Fearless Baker photo shoots, which gives you some idea of how much goodness is in this sprawling collection.
Erin, who has been contributing to Food52 since 2009, shares countless pro tips for upgrading your baked goods, from peachy coconut macaroons to black-bottom crème brûlée, and all in her you-got-this voice, which is as inspiring as it gets.
10. Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich
“We have come to rely on Alice Medrich for superlative desserts: the chewiest cookies, the darkest chocolate, the purest flavors. She is an obsessive baker and a diligent student, whose recipes are smartly written and quick to become classics.
In Flavor Flours, Medrich has taken on eight ‘alternative’ flours, from teff to oat to rice, and found the ways to get the best each one—the best texture, the best taste, the most complementary spices and sidekicks.
Medrich has tested and toiled and mastered eight types of flavor flours, turning them into crackers and cookies and cakes and pies that feel new discoveries rather than an exercise in substitution. It is a quietly gluten-free book, more focused on flavor and innovation than on diet.” —Marian Bull, contributor
11. Happiness Is Baking by Maida Heatter
Our co-founder Amanda Hesser loves Maida Heatter’s Best Dessert Book Ever “for tried and true home baking.” First published in 1990, this cookbook solidified the Heatter’s status as “Queen of Desserts.
” Most recently, Happiness Is Baking is “a modern-classic collection” of the late author’s most-loved recipes, Budapest Coffee Cake, her minty Palm Beach Brownies, and East 62nd Street Lemon Cake.
Lots of colorful, cheerful illustrations included.
12. Hot Bread Kitchen by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez
This book won The Piglet in 2016 (psst: Have you heard the word about our new cookbook extravaganza? Here’s the scoop) and we haven’t stopped turning to it since. Hot Bread Kitchen is a N.Y.C.
-based nonprofit, which serves as a small-business incubator and culinary training program for women facing economic insecurity.
Its menu (and cookbook) are inspired by its bakers, who hail from all over the world—yielding a diverse collection of recipes m’smen, challah, lavash, tortillas, paratha, and so much more.
13. How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking by Nigella Lawson
“Anyone who’s watched Nigella Lawson bake on TV knows how relaxing she makes it seem, and I have really leaned into that whenever I decide to break out the measuring cups and throw myself into the flour and sugar. Most of all: There’s a royal icing cupcake in there (the title image) that’s made me very popular at birthday parties.” —Eric Kim, senior editor
14. In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley
This book won the IACP Cookbook of the Year when it was first published in2001, and, almost two decades later, it’s just as beloved: “I have many baking cookbooks, but find myself using In The Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley frequently.” —Wendy, community member.
Expect thoughtful, reliable recipes toasted hazelnut pound cake, pumpkin breakfast cake with fresh orange syrup, and The World’s Sexiest Sundae. Yes.
15. The Joys of Baking by Samantha Seneviratne
“This book destroyed me. I've never held on so tightly to a cookbook as if it were a novel. Samantha's words are weighty, considered, and full of grace. In The Joys of Baking, the premise is clear: Baking is a salve for the traumas of life.
With each cake, cookie, pie, and other baked confection ( Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls With Browned Butter Cream Cheese Glaze, Dark Chocolate Malt Celebration Cake, and Danish Butter Cookies), and through deeply personal essays, she threads together a narrative that tells the story of what happens when we find ourselves suddenly broken. As she writes in the introduction, 'No one needs a chocolaty cake or a delectable sweet to survive. That is, until that moment when a chocolate cake is exactly what you need to survive.'” —Eric Kim, senior editor
16. The Last Course by Claudia Fleming
Authored by iconic pastry chef Claudia Fleming, The Last Course was first published in 2001, only to go print in 2008, as many cookbooks do.
But what happened after that was different: As Daniela Galarza reported for Taste, The Last Course became legendary among professionals and home bakers a, to the point where it started selling for hundreds of dollars on Ebay.
This past year, to all our luck, it came back in print. Stout gingerbreads and chocolate-caramel tarts for everyone!
17. Pastry Love by Joanne Chang
“Hailed as chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author Joanne Chang's ‘most personal and comprehensive book yet,’ this collection of 125 recipes more than anything demonstrates Chang's inspiring passion for ‘baking and sharing with others.
’ Among the book's eight chapters is an entire section on gifting with sweets, aptly titled ‘I Made This for You.
’ The recipes themselves, many of them gluten-free and made with moderate amounts of sugar, are as appealing and unique as you'd expect: Tahini Black Sesame Spiral Shortbreads, Garlicky Cheesy Monkey Bread, Vietnamese Espresso Profiteroles, and many more.” —Brinda Ayer, managing editor
P.S. If you’re a Joanne Chang fan thanks to her bakeries in Boston, you can get their recipes in Flour and Flour, Too.
18. Rose’s Baking Basics by Rose Levy Beranbaum
“Best-selling author Rose Levy Beranbaum's latest cookbook arrived in September 2018. It's packed full of 100 essential recipes, from breads to cakes to pies and more, and has more than 600 step-by-step photos to help everyone achieve flawless results, every time.” —Lindsey-Jean Hard, contributor.
Note: If you’re looking for something a little more advanced, try Rose’s Pie and Pastry Bible, which our co-founder Amanda Hesser recommends “for its maniacal precision.”
19. Simple Cake by Odette Williams
“This book shows that if you can master a very small, very delicious set of ‘formulas’ for cakes and frostings/toppings—no fancy ingredients or head-spinning techniques here—you can riff your way to pretty much any cake imaginable.” —Brinda Ayer, managing editor
Bonus: To get started, try Odette’s chocolate tres leches.
20. The Sweet Life by Kate Zuckerman
“One of the most thoughtful and trustworthy pastry cookbooks I've ever come across.
It features delicious recipes as well as ‘technique tips’ explaining in greater detail certain processes ( browning butter or baking French meringue), as well as ‘beyond the basics’ sidebars that explain some of the science behind the recipes (why room-temp eggs are different than eggs straight from the fridge, how the alkalinity of baking soda has a positive effect on cookies and cakes, etc.).” —Josh Cohen, host & food writer/recipe developer
21. Tartine: a Classic Revisited by Elisabeth Prueitt & Chad Robertson
The first edition of Tartine published in 2006, four years after Prueitt and Robertson opened their bakery of the same name in San Francisco.
In the relatively short time since, Tartine has become one of the most iconic bakeries in the country, famous for its croissants, morning buns, and wide-crumbed, extra-crusty bread.
This new edition includes more than 50 new recipes—with plenty of whole-grain and gluten-free variations.
Check out more community responses on the Hotline here, or weigh in with your own picks below!
This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. As an Amazon Associate, Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.
The 17 Best Baking Cookbooks Recommended by Foodies
In the infamous words of Julia Child, “with enough butter, anything is good.” A sentiment that rings especially true when it comes to baked goods.
After all, who among us can resist a flaky, buttery pastry or a moist, rich slice of cake? However, whipping up said shatteringly flakey pastry or wonderfully moist cake at home is a difficult endeavor for an amateur baker.
Baking is a science that requires precise measuring, hawkish time watching, and following a recipe to the letter—which is where cookbooks come in.
To discover which baking tomes we should have on our shelves, we asked some of our favorite foodies—including Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest, Adrianna Adarme of A Cozy Kitchen, Naomi Robinson of Baker's Royale, and more—to weigh in on the best baking cookbooks that everyone should own. And boy, did they deliver. Spanning an accessible collection of simple cake recipes from bakeware designer Odette Williams to a creative collection of cake concoctions from Milk Bar genius Christina Tosi, their recommendations are fit for amateur and seasoned bakers a.
Keep scrolling to find out which cookbooks inspire these foodies to stock up on flour, sugar, and, of course, plenty of butter.
Christina TosiAll About Cake$25
“Hands down this is the most creative dessert only cookbook out there,” says Gerard of Half Baked Harvest. “If you love New York City's popular Milk Bar bakery, then you need this cookbook. It's filled with the most magical cakes and every last one is stunning and beyond delicious. This is for all the cake lovers out there.”
Donna HayModern Baking$36
“Everything Donna Hay does is pure magic, and her desserts are over the top and beautiful,” Gerard says. “This book is not only full of incredible cakes, cookies, and pretty much everything in between, it's pretty enough to sit on your coffee table too. Her recipes are easy to follow and show stoppers.”
Zoë François and Jeff HertzbergHoliday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day:$18
“For the everyday baker who wants to easily have bread on the table for dinner and cinnamon rolls for holiday brunches, this book is the baking Bible, with step-by-step photos and easy to follow directions for some of the most delicious breads,” Gerard says. “This is a staple in any baker's kitchen.”
Judy RodgersThe Zuni Cafe Cookbook$26
“This is definitely not considered a baking cookbook, but the dessert recipes are easy, delicious and fresh,” explains Adarme of A Cozy Kitchen. “If I’m ever stumped on what I should make when people come over, I thumb through this and get instant inspiration.”
Margarita ManzkeBaking at République$20
“I love any excuse to go to République,” Adarme reveals. “Their desserts are sublime. When this book arrived at my doorstep, I was so stoked to read it—it did not disappoint. The photography is beautiful, as are the recipes by Chef Margarita Manske.”
Odette WilliamsSimple Cake$17
“If you’re ever looking for easy-breezy cake recipes, this is the book for you,” Adarme says. “Nothing is frilly, overly complicated or too time-consuming and all of the recipes look delicious and beautiful.”
Tom Douglas & Shelley LanceThe Dahlia Bakery Cookbook$22
“You know how everyone has a well-loved, well-worn sweater—this is the equivalent in a baking book,” according to Robinson of Baker's Royale. “It’s the first one I reach for when I want comfort baked goods.
The recipes range from sweet to savory. Each chapter opens with a primer, for understanding the basics of the recipes to follow so that success is a foregone conclusion.
For those myself who appreciate step-by-step photos—this one is full of them.”
“This is where high and low baking meet for what are some of the most inspirational and fun treats to come my kitchen,” Robinson says.
“It’s also a book with recipes that require planning before you jump in—many of the recipes are step intensive and require online sourcing for ingredients, but believe me when I say, the payoff is there.
The end result is fun treats that are playful, nostalgic and always a home run.”
Rose Levy BeranbaumThe Baking Bible$21
“This is a reference book everyone should have,” Robinson says.
“It's simple to follow, detailed and informative in the way that’s not extraneous, so you won’t need to cherry pick for what you need.
Of course, there are a ton of recipes for all the classics and if you read your way through this cookbook you would a novel, you’ll learn how to make each classic your own and become a better baker.”
Ken ForkishFlour Water Salt Yeast$18
“When I get on a bread baking bender, this is my Bible,” divulges Firth of Displaced Housewife.
“You’ll start fermenting and throwing around words 'poolish' and churning out gorgeous loaves of bread that pair perfectly with your evening glass of wine.
My absolute favorite recipe (if I had to pick one) would be the White Bread with Poolish: gorgeous open crumb, delicious developed flavor and a cinch to make.”
Tessa HuffIcing on the Cake$18
“I am an obsessive fan of Tessa’s talents and cookbooks,” says Firth.
“This is her latest tome and it includes all of her signature beautiful photography, impeccable recipe writing, and drool-worthy flavor combinations.
This book is loaded with step-by-step photos, so you’ll be busting out buttercream flowers in no time. Definitely try the vanilla cupcakes, which my daughter described as the airiest cupcake she's ever eaten.”
Rebecca FirthThe Cookie Book$12
“I mean, indispensable to any baker, of course! I reach for my own book at least once a week—because we need weekly cookies in our life,” Firth admits.
“It satisfies every craving from weeknight emergency sweet needs (think a whole chapter of chocolate chip cookies) to long weekend baking projects (yes, we need homemade macarons in our life!).
Try the big-ass olive oil chocolate chunk cookies—I promise they’ll quickly become your new faves.”
Christine MooreLittle Flower Baking$35
“This is one of my all-time favorite baking cookbooks for when I want something that will turn out fabulous and not be excessively complicated,” Firth says. “The recipes are the perfect combination of familiar, but with fresh flavors combinations.
Think of sweets peach ricotta scones, lemon semolina cakes and banana chocolate bread pudding with salted caramel. This is the kind of cookbook you’ll reach for often and never be disappointed.
Definitely try the peach cardamom muffins—they are the perfect breakfast-brunch treat!”
Cenk SönmezsoyThe Artful Baker$44
“This is the cookbook to have on hand for when you really want to dazzle with dessert,” suggests Firth. “[Sönmezsoy] elevates everything in terms of flavor and appearance, without the recipes seeming overly fussy.
This book will definitely get you thinking outside the box when it comes to your next baking project and covers everything from brownies and cookies to tarts and confections.
Make the vanilla bean meltaways—they are delicious, stunning and surprisingly simple to bake.”
Kim EvansTreats from Little and Friday$45
“Everything I've ever made from Treats from Little and Friday (also a beloved Café in Auckland, New Zealand) has come out both delicious and gorgeous,” says Erickson of The Modern Proper. “It’s our go-to when we want to bake an impressive treat.”
Alanna Taylor-TobinAlternative Baker$18
“I love Alternative Baker because I do a lot of entertaining and often find myself needing to accommodate a variety of dietary restrictions,” Erickson says. “The recipes don't call for many hard-to-find ingredients, and I'm always discovering new flours when I use it.”
Charity MathewsSuper Simple Baking for Kids$12
“When my kids want to help me in the kitchen, they always want to bake,” reveals Erickson. “Super Simple Baking for Kids is just what it sounds —impossibly easy to follow and adorable to boot.”
These Are the Best Baking Cookbooks of 2019
Continue reading the main story
Has our national obsession with baking shows made us savvier bakers? Do we now think nothing of folding together a batch of homemade puff pastry after binge-watching a season of “The Great British Baking Show”? Are we better versed in the ways of fondant after a “Nailed It!” spree?
If I had to gauge the answer 2019’s best pastry cookbooks, I’d say it was a big, sugar-fueled yes.
Almost across the board, the pastry cookbooks published in 2019 are more ambitious and sophisticated, and call for more diverse, international ingredients without apology, than most dessert books I’ve seen in recent years.
Quick, easy and accessible are out; impressive, photogenic and deeply innovative are in. (Note that I did not include the many excellent bread-baking cookbooks published this year here because they are a category unto themselves.
In the best of these books, this adventuresome spirit is padded with some gentle hand-holding, at least when it comes to complicated techniques. (Laminated croissant and Danish doughs abound.) Overall, though, there’s a lot less cajoling. Today’s home bakers don’t seem to need to be sweet-talked into a croquembouche challenge; they’re eager for it.
Whether this raising of the bar comes from a fascination with cooking shows and videos, or a deepening devotion to Instagram, the result is a growing willingness to pull out pastry bags and digital scales in order to try something new. Why make brownies when a matcha crème brûlée tart will garner more s, and you can order the powder online?
You’ll find this matcha tart in “Tartine: A Classic Revisited” (Chronicle, $40), by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson. The book is an updated, revised edition of their 2006 classic, with 68 new recipes, 55 updated ones and gorgeous new photography.
Fans of the bakery’s straightforward tea cakes, currant scones and fruit galettes won’t be disappointed. They are all there, tweaked to reflect the changes in the Tartine kitchen over the past 13 years, but as delectable as ever. (Testing the currant scones made me wonder why I bother using any other recipes when this one is perfect.)
But it’s the new recipes that show just far we’ve come since 2006. Ten call for matcha powder, including a light-textured poundcake with a marbled green wave. Alternative flours — einkorn, teff and rye — appear frequently, often where you’d least expect them (flaky tart dough, carrot cake, devil’s food cake).
Perhaps the most telling change is the selection of gluten-free recipes practically hidden throughout the pages.
There’s no index listing them, and sometimes there’s not even a mention of their gluten status in the headnote; you’d have to read the ingredient list to know.
That these recipes are so integrated into the book is a testament to both how comfortable we have become with the roster of flours and starches necessary for gluten-free baking, and how far gluten-free baking has come.
Ms. Prueitt learned she was gluten intolerant before Tartine opened in 2002, but kept this fact relatively quiet until a few years ago. There were no recipes specifically created to be gluten-free in the original Tartine cookbook.
The ones in the updated volume, however, are every bit as good as their gluten-filled counterparts. The chocolate cream pie with an oat crust was so thoroughly delicious that neither my daughter nor her friend with celiac disease believed me until I swore on a bar of chocolate I was telling the truth.
Then they did something formerly impossible: They gleefully shared a piece of pie.
When the cookbook from the well-known Los Angeles bakery appeared on my desk this spring, it wasn’t any of the fancy French recipes I dog-eared first. Not the raspberry-pistachio kouign-amanns, with their caramel-encrusted dough; not the multicolored plum brioche tarts that graced the cover (though when I did make those, they were stunning).
Instead I went straight for the ginataan, a lightly sweet coconut soup from the Philippines that Ms. Manzke ate as an after-school snack when she was a child.
Made with tapioca pearls and chewy rice flour balls, along with chunks of ube (purple yam) and tender bits of fresh young coconut, the ginataan was one of a handful of traditional Filipino desserts sprinkled throughout what is otherwise a decidedly French-leaning tome.
It’s this juxtaposition — the interweaving of the classic Filipino sweets laced among the complicated, professional-caliber French pastries — that makes “Baking at République” so appealing. I loved being able to follow Ms.
Manzke’s confident guidance on both fronts, reveling in her delightful versions of familiar confections fluffy-centered brioche and a dulce de leche-swirled poundcake, along with her Filipino-inspired avocado-calamansi tart.
“Pastry Love: A Baker’s Journal of Favorite Recipes” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40) is the fifth cookbook from the Boston pastry chef Joanne Chang, of Flour Bakery.
And it follows the same winning pattern as the others, sparking new life into homey bakeshop favorites. Ms.
Chang’s latest offerings reflect an increasingly sophisticated sensibility: spelt croissants, tahini-black sesame shortbread and an ethereal Japanese cotton cheesecake that dissolves on your tongue, leaving a lemony, creamy trail.
With recipes whimsical Super Bowl cupcakes topped with pretzels, potato chips and peanut butter buttercream, and sticky bun caramel corn, “Pastry Love” is also more playful than Ms. Chang’s previous books, yet just as exacting and rigorous. Your digital scale will be put to good use here.
You can keep that scale out, too, when you’re baking from Shauna Sever’s “Midwest Made: Big Bold Baking From the Heartland” (Running Press, $30), and this is a very good thing. Un the casually written Junior League recipes that served as inspiration, Ms.
Sever’s collection of sweets from the Midwest has been thoroughly tested using both grams and volume measures. Then, with plenty of humor and can-do practicality, she rewrote every step to clarify those opaque instructions our homemaking forebears took for granted.
(In a recipe for yeast rolls: “Roll, shape and bake as usual.”)
This means that Great-Aunt Pearl is no longer the only one who can successfully pull off the Swedish flop with just a hand-scribbled index card to guide her. I was able to make it, too, even though I’d never heard of the yeast-risen cake with its silky buttercream and jam filling.
Ms. Sever’s wonderful book is full of recipes that: Midwestern favorites that deserve a wider audience. There’s a bright and tangy lemon angel pie (think lemon meringue pie flipped on its head), and an ultrabuttery Danish kringle, a specialty of Racine, Wis.
Using spices in arresting, unexpected ways was the theme of Samantha Seneviratne’s 2015 cookbook, “The New Sugar and Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking” (Ten Speed, $27.50).
Her latest book, “The Joys of Baking: Recipes and Stories for a Sweet Life” (Running Press, $30), builds on that vibrant foundation. Ms.
Seneviratne, a contributor to NYT Cooking, places an emphasis on bold, fresh flavor combinations, adding Earl Grey tea to pain au chocolat and guava paste to rugelach. I particularly loved her rum-scented raisin slab pie, which was a giant Pop-Tart that grew up right.
Last but not least is “Simple Cake: All You Need to Keep Your Friends and Family in Cake” by Odette Williams (Ten Speed, $23). Un the others here, Ms. Williams doesn’t offer recipes for labor-intensive, intricate pastries. Instead, as promised by the title, every cake recipe in the book is about as simple as can be; some don’t even need an electric mixer.
But they are also some of the best cakes I’ve made. Her milk-and-honey layer cake has replaced an old Rose Levy Beranbaum recipe as my birthday go-to, topped with a mascarpone frosting that takes under a minute to stir together. If you were to garnish it with a dusting of matcha powder, it’d be as eye-catching as any elaborate confection — no pastry bag necessary.
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The 22 Best Baking Cookbooks You Can Own Right Now
Our favorite baking cookbooks run the gamut from tomes about genius desserts from pastry chefs to beautiful step by step photos for making incredible pies.
Your baking bookshelf requires the classic cookbook authors Dorie Greenspan and Rose Levy Beranbaum, as well as new takes on dessert from Violet Bakery and Dominique Ansel.
Whether you’re working on a layer cake for a birthday or baked goods to snack on every day, these books full of bread and dessert recipes will point you in whichever direction you need to go. So grab your baking essentials, your best pie dish and get your apron on, it’s time to whip up something delicious.
Baking at République
Learn how to elevate your baking from Margarita Manzke, baker and co-owner of Los Angeles’s République. Over 100 recipes and even more great photographs will inspire any baker looking to take their techniques to the next level. S’mores bomboloni, anyone?
Baking at République: Masterful Techniques and Recipes, $20 (originally $30) at amazon.com
From lemon sugar cookies to malted chocolate cake, we can’t wait to get our hands on the recipes in James Beard award-winner Joanne Chang’s cookbook. Bake special treats and learn new techniques in this brand new title.
Pastry Love: A Baker's Journal of Favorite Recipes, $17 (pre-order price before $40 full price) at amazon.com
Australia’s lead cookbook author Donna Hay offers this dessert bible of 250 treats, including both delights chocolate ice cream pie and better-for-you options with wholesome ingredients raw lamingtons with blackberry jam.
Modern Baking, $28 (originally $40) at amazon.com
Cakes are a cornerstone of baking, but they don’t have to be complex. Brooklyn apron and bakeware designer Odette Williams shares her favorite cake recipes, with 10 base options and 15 toppings for every baker’s taste.
Simple Cake: All You Need to Keep Your Friends and Family in Cake, $21 at amazon.com
Flour Water Salt Yeast
Portland’s Ken Forkish makes some of the best pizzas and bread in the country, and both beginners and serious bakers can do the same at home with his book.
Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza, $18 (originally $35) at amazon.com
Rose's Baking Basics
The most instructive book by the godmother of desserts, Rose Levy Beranbaum. Choose between cakes, cookies, pies and tarts, breads or the toppings and fillings to go along with everything. These are the recipes you’ll learn and use forever, chocolate sheet cake, peach cobbler, and apple walnut muffins.
Rose's Baking Basics: 100 Essential Recipes, with More Than 600 Step-by-Step Photos, $13 (originally $35) at amazon.com
Little Flower Baking
Christina Moore is one of California’s best bakers, and this cookbook is one of the best. Every recipe has a photo, and every treat is as good as the next.
Little Flower Baking, $33 at amazon.com
No baking book roundup is complete without some proper pies, and Sister Pie is just that. The Detroit bakery has earned acclaim from far and wide, and Lisa Ludwinski’s recipes rhubarb rosemary streusel pie and toasted marshmallow-butterscotch pie will impress your guests (if you can agree to share it with them).
Sister Pie: The Recipes and Stories of a Big-Hearted Bakery in Detroit, $16 (originally $25) at amazon.com
The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook
Ruth Reichl once called Jim Lahey’s Sullivan Street Bakery “a church of bread.” This cookbook demonstrates that and all the glorious elements of rustic bread baking.
The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook, $21 (originally $35) at amazon.com
Ina Garten sings her praises for Zoe Nathan’s recipes from Huckleberry Bakery & Café: “Every once in a while, a cookbook comes along that simply knocks me out.” This cookbook has the full spread from sweet to savory, even with gluten-free and vegan options.
Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets, and Recipes From Our Kitchen, $25 (originally $35) at amazon.com
Crumb: A Baking Book
The Great British Bakeoff contestant Ruby Tandoh offers a book for the casual baker, with sweet and savory cookies, pastries, crackers and plenty more.
Crumb: A Baking Book, $20 at amazon.com
The Cookie Book
The dessert that thrills both adults and kids of course has its own cookbook, and why shouldn’t it? The book has an entire chapter dedicated to chocolate chip cookie recipes as well as new treats red velvet madeleines and peppermint bark shortbread bites. Sign us up for that cookie swap.
The Cookie Book: Decadent Bites for Every Occasion, $12 (originally $22) at amazon.com
Sweet is a New York Times bestseller for a reason. Yotam Ottolenghi’s pastry chef past is in full display in these confections such as rosemary olive oil orange cake and cinnamon pavlova with praline cream.
Sweet: Desserts from London's Ottolenghi, $25 (originally $35) at amazon.com
Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes
A coffee table book as well as a masterclass in pastry recipes. Dominique Ansel’s creations continue to evolve, but these recipes are here to stay.
Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes, $25 (originally $37) at amazon.com
Chocolate fiends will love a book dedicated to their greatest joy. San Francisco chocolate maker, Dandelion Chocolate has the first ever complete guide to making chocolate from scratch.
Making Chocolate: From Bean to Bar to S'more: A Cookbook, $23 (originally $40) at amazon.com
We’ve sung our praises for Nicole Rucker’s first cookbook, but all you need to know is that this book will help you make the best fruit pies ever.
Dappled: Baking Recipes for Fruit Lovers, $17 (originally $32) at amazon.com
The famous Parisian bakery with high praise from Martha Stewart and Ina Garten will soon have its own book of recipes. Apollonia Poilâne is a third-generation baker and owner who took over her late parents’ business as the age of 18, and the book includes all of her tips from helping the bakery thrive today.
Poilâne: The Secrets of the World-Famous Bread Bakery, $30 (pre-order) at amazon.com
Baking Chez Moi
Author of the award-winning Around My French Table and Baking: From My Home to Yours, Dorie Greenspan offers recipes for simple French desserts at home. These recipes are delectable and delightful for any time of year.
Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere, $25 (originally $40) at amazon.com
Violet Bakery Cookbook
With a foreword by Alice Waters, the Violet Bakery Cookbook puts Claire Ptak’s delightful dessert repertoire on full display. less refined sugars and seasonal ingredients, these baked goods work for everything from breakfast to tea time snacks and celebratory gatherings.
The Violet Bakery Cookbook, $20 (originally $30) at amazon.com
Mary Berry's Baking Bible
A core requirement for any baking fanatic, Mary Berry’s book covers all the bases. Use her traditional recipes for tarts, brownies, sponge cakes, cupcakes and everything in between. Now you don’t have to imagine how those desserts on the Great British Bakeoff taste.
Mary Berry's Baking Bible: Over 250 Classic Recipes, $20 (originally $50) at amazon.com
Sweeter off the Vine
Bake by the season with this truly loveable collection of recipes that will treat your sweeth tooth and make desserts worthy of no filter and no leftovers.
Sweeter off the Vine: Fruit Desserts for Every Season, $16 (originally $24) at amazon.com
Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts
No baking book collection should be without the great Maida Heatter's classic. The undisputed “Queen of Cake” published this book in 1974, but the recipes and lessons in taking time to enjoy dessert speak volumes.
Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts, $46 at amazon.com