My Ten Favorite Baking Books

Friday 24 February 2023


Baking Books

As many of  my readers know, around two years ago I had to make a horrendous life change, through no fault of my own. I found myself in the middle of a Global Pandemic having to leave everything I had  acquired and then some from my life in the UK and make my way back to Canada.

I had been collecting cookery books since I was a girl.  I had to leave all of them behind. Many of them were irreplaceable.  It broke my heart, but it was what it was. I escaped with my Big Blue Binder and a copy of my own cookery book.

Since setting up my new home here in Canada,  I have gone about trying to replace some of the books I left behind. Unfortunately, as I said, many are irreplaceable.  I am also not stinking rich, so I have had to really pick and choose which ones I wanted to replace.  Sentimentality can’t really play a role. I am having to choose only those I find useful and that I know I will use.

Today I am sharing ten baking books that I decided were worth replacing.  As you know, baking is an exact science. It is the very rare person who is able to create baking recipes from scratch without any help from others. Baking books are invaluable when it comes to that.

We can put our own twists on things, but the basics are the basics and for that we need reliable backbones to work with. I believe these books are some of the best.  There are others that I have that are very good, but almost impossible to get here in North America, (Like the Bero Baking Book) so I have kept the list to reflect only those books which I feel are easily to procure here in North America.

Baking Books 


THE CAKE BIBLE, by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published in 1988, this book was a recipient of The Cookbook of the Year Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. High accolade indeed.  With more than 200 recipes, 350 drawings of techniques and equipment and 32 pages of finished cakes in full color, no cake baker should be without this book.

It covers everything from pancakes to pound cakes, butter cakes, fruit cakes, jelly rolls, ice cream cakes, wedding cakes, etc. With an extensive recipe list of frostings, fillings and toppings. Many recipes feature less sugar, low cholesterol and saturated fat, without taste compromise. There are a bazillion tips that solve all the problems you might encounter, as well as including many baking secrets and pointers guaranteeing success each and every time you bake a cake.

Baking Books 


Huge, HUGE fan of Martha Stewart here.  I have been following her since I discovered her show on the television back in the 1990's. My boss in the UK swore by her recipes, and I have to say that they are all spot on. She didn't get to be who she is by making errors. This book is a great book both for beginning bakers and expert bakers.  A baking compendium packed with more than 200 foolproof recipes for the best baked goods.

Learn to bake everything from the very simple to the sophisticated, with plenty of recipes for biscuits, muffins, scones, cookies, specialty cakes, sweet and savory pies, tarts, pastries and breads.

Organized for practicality and clarity with step by step photos of many of the recipes. There are many essential culinary building blocks which can help good bakers become great bakers. 

There are many time honored classics such as apple pie, marble cake and croissants as well as some newer recipes. 

This book is perfect for the novice baker, or the well seasoned baker. Reliable, trustworthy and foolproof. Just what one could and should expect in a good baking book.

Baking Books 

A PASSION FOR BAKING, by Marcy Goldman

This book is a delight on so many levels. It is  a great book to take to bed and browse through and, like all good cookbooks, stays open at the page you are using. Every time I turn a page, I want to start in the kitchen immediately.  Somewhat of a problem for me late at night, so I have to wait until the morning.

There is an abundance of great recipes all with beautifully photographed, mouth-watering illustrations. Breads, buns, cakes, pizza, pies, tarts, muffins, the list is endless. The bread and pizza dough recipes are divine. The early section on baking secrets is worth the price alone.

Many baking questions are addressed, as well as a multitude of professional tips. 

From the book:  

"Some things in the baker's kitchen are eternal. Taste, specifically great taste, is one of them.  Great taste in baking is founded on three specific things: superb ingredients, proper handling, and a balanced recipe."

This recipes in this book contain all of these things in spades.  Designed to help you be the best baker ever.

Baking Books 

THE ALL PURPOSE BAKER'S COMPANION, By the King Arthur Baking Company

This is a book that should be on every baker's cookbook shelf.  There are not a lot of photographs, but every recipe is sound and reliable. Great for beginner bakers, or well-seasoned ones.

King Arthur has become a cherished partner in the kitchen, not only for its sound reliable ingredients, but also it's sound reliable recipes.

With over 450 recipes for everything baked.  Breakfasts, quick breads, buckles, cobblers and crisps. flatbreads and crackers, yeast breads, sour dough, cookies and bars, cakes, pies and tarts, pastries, etc.

There is a complete and extensive overview of essential baking ingredients to an explanation of the chemistry and makeup of each one.  This book helps you to understand what you want to happen with your ingredients when you are baking something, why  and how to get the best results.

In the UK I also had their Whole Grain Baking Book. This is on my list of books to yet acquire.

Baking Books 

MAD ABOUT MUFFINS, by Diana Bonaparte

This is a book I have purchased three times in my life. The first time on a recommendation from a friend. The second time when I loaned it to a person and they then proceeded to lose it and finally when I returned back to Canada. Yes it is that good and a book I do not ever want to be without.

If you love muffins as much as I love muffins, this is a book you will want to have in your bookcase and I promise you it is a book you will turn to and use again and again.  There is a huge variety of muffin recipes, from simple savory muffins to decadent dessert muffins, along with an abundance of hints and tips to help you bake the best muffins ever.

I  have baked many of these muffin recipes multiple times, and they always turn out. I cannot recommend this book more highly if I tried.  You need this book. Its that simple.

Baking Books 

SOUTHERN BISCUITS, by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart

If you love biscuits (and by that I mean North American Biscuits, not British cookies) then this book is a "must-have" in your cookbook library. Nathalie Dupree is the Queen of Biscuits. This book is filled with all kinds of recipes and baking secrets for every kind of biscuit imaginable. From old fashioned beaten biscuits to modern trends and ingredient combinations.

It is filled with beautiful photographs and step by steps, dozens of how to photos explaining how to mix, stir, roll and fold beautifully.  You can't go wrong.

This book informs and inspires. Every biscuit recipe I have baked from it has been infallible and impeccable. I highly recommend.

Baking Books 

PIE ACADEMY, by Ken Haedrich

I have long been a fan of Ken Haedrich's baking recipes.  I had several of his baking books in the UK. This is the first one I decided to replace. I adore pie and this book contains over 250 recipes of some of the best pies imaginable, along with a multitude of hits and tips for making the best pastry, etc. 

Both novice and experienced bakers can discover the secrets to baking a beautiful pie from scratch with recipes, crust expertise, hints, tips and tutorials, advice about ingredients to use and tools and much, much more.  There are step-by-step photos for many.

There are recipes teaching you how to make pie dough using butter, lard or both. How to work with a variety of flours, including whole wheat and gluten free.  How to roll out doughs, which pans to use, etc. with recipes for every kind and style of pie, from classic apple pie and pumpkin pie to summer berryfruit, nut, custard, chiffon, and cream pies, freezer pies, slab pies, hand pies, turnovers, and much, much, more.

Every recipe I have baked to date has been exceptional. This is the only pie recipe book that you will ever need. I guarantee.

Baking Books 


Essential Techniques and Recipes for Creating Great Breads and Desserts

This came recommended to me. It is not a book I ever had before recently. I was quite pleased with its purchase I have to say. This is a book that enables Home Bakers to follow in the footsteps of the graduates of America's leading Culinary Institute.  The best of the teachings of the CIA have been distilled into it's pages.  With clear concise explanations of essential baking methods designed to broaden your understanding and skills of the art of baking.

Streamlined recipes.  Loads of "how-to" photographs and expert instruction. This is a great baking book for the novice who is just learning or the more knowledgeable baker who is wanting to perfect their skills.

Yeast breads, quick breads, cookies, pies and tarts, cakes and tortes, custards and puddings, frozen desserts, pastries, chocolates and confectionary, icings glazes and sauces.  Techniques and recipes for each of these categories and an extensive conversion and equivalents table, plus a section dedicated to what went wrong.

Baking Books 


This is a book that I have been using for baking inspiration for years and years.  I used to belong to an online baking group called Tuesdays with Dorie. I forget how many members there were, but there were lots. The only qualifications for belonging were that you loved to bake and that you had your own copy of the book.  Dorie Greenspan is one of the best bakers out there and she is also very personable.  She had somewhat of a personal relationship with everyone who belonged to the group and knew most of us by name.

This is probably one of the better baking books out there.  Dorie co-authored Baking with Julia and is the author of Desserts by Pierre Herme.

This book contains more than 300 recipes compiled from over three decades of Dorie's experience with baking (her first love) both in North America and in Europe. Not snobby in the least however, she brings a down home familiar touch that is inspirational and uplifting.  It feels like you are baking with your long lost Auntie.

With numerous mouth-watering photographs and a very helpful chapter on Indispensables at the end of the book providing you with base recipes for simple basics such as pastry cream, crème fraiche, lemon curd, etc.

It is a very engaging book. I highly recommend.

Baking Books


This had to make my list.  I received my first copy for Christmas shortly after I moved to the UK. It is filled to overflowing with beautiful recipes from the British Doyenne of Baking, Mary Berry. If you are a fan of the British Bake Off, you will know who she is.  In my opinion the show has never been the same since she left.

Mary shares the secrets of her success with over 200 recipes from the simple classics such as the Victoria Sponge, butterfly cakes and a really fabulous fruit cake, to more decadent recipes that are not only classic but sinfully indulgent. Some of my favorite cake recipes are in this book.

Yes, it is in British measurements, but that is nothing that a good pair of kitchen scales can't cope with. Once you try baking by weight, you will never want to do it any other way.

BONUS BOOK (Because I just couldn't leave it out.)

Baking Books


This is one of the very first baking books I ever purchased. Many of the recipes which became my tried and trues, that I used to bake for my family when they were growing up, came from this book.  I knew that I had to replace it so that I would still have recipes for my old favorites.

I have always felt that if you want a good baking book, go to the flour people and Pillsbury (like King Arthur) have been making and providing good flour for people for years and years.

The recipes are simple and reliable and delicious.

This is by no means a total list of my favorites.  I have more baking books that I also love, the main one being my handwritten Big Blue Binder which is filled with family favorite recipes handed down through the years and recipes shared from friends.

Do  YOU have a favorite baking book that isn't mentioned here?  Share with us all by leaving a comment in the comments section.  A joy shared is a joy doubled! 

This was fun, and I hope that it was fun for you too!

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  1. Loved hearing about your favourite recipe books, Marie. Some are my favourites, too. I love Ina Garten's recipe books although they are not really "baking" books. Anna Olson's books are another favourite. I also love the community cookbooks often published by churches to raise money. The recipes are always tried and true. Have a good weekend. Happy baking. Love and hugs, Elaine (in Toronto)

    1. Oh I do so love Ina's books also. And Anna Olson. I lost all of my church community books which were some of my favorite books, but nothing I can do about that except hope to find some in yard sales! You have a great weekend also! Love and hugs! xoxo

  2. I just ordered Mad about Muffins. I needed a good muffin book. I have quite a few of your other recommendations. Plus Anna Olson. Thanks!

    1. You won't be sorry! Its a great muffin book and there are pictures of every muffin! I have several Anna Olson book as well. It was hard to keep my list down to ten! xo

  3. My favorite is Flo Braker's "Baking for All Occasions". It has great directions and some fantastic recipes

    1. Oh that sounds good Monica! I will have to check it out! xo


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