Fan of baking? For everything from chocolate cake creations to beautiful bread bakes, these are the best baking books to add to your shelf
If you’re ready to take your baked creations to new level, you’ll need the very best baking books in your arsenal. Whether you’re a beginner in the world of bread or you consider yourself a pastry pro, no matter your baking abilities, there’s a recipe book for everyone. From vegan-based bakes and chocolate-laden recipes to classic patisserie and new twists on old classics, here is a list of the most drool-worthy books to take your tastebuds on a culinary adventure. The hardest choice you’ll have is just picking one.
If you need some help on where to start when it comes to choosing the best baking book, or advice on how much you can expect to spend, keep scrolling. Our buying guide tells you everything you need to know about what to look out for in the best baking books and recipe guides to get your tastebuds watering. Below this, you’ll find our tip picks across a range of baking sub-genres.
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How to choose the best baking book for you
Where should I start when choosing the best baking book?
When it comes to choosing one baking book over the other, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, what are you looking to bake? Do you want a baking book that covers all bases (think: cakes, breads, pastries and more)? Or are you looking for a specific baking guide on how to create vegan showstoppers, for example?
Also consider what level your baking skills are at. If you’re just starting out, it might be wise to invest in a baking book that reflects that. For example, some of the best baking books in our guide feature just five ingredients, along with easy-to-follow recipes, while others come with a lengthier ingredients list and longer-to-follow methods. All have their much-deserved place on our baking bookshelves, but it’s about choosing something that will work for you.
Are there baking books for specific dietary requirements?
Gone are the days of second-best choices for those with special dietary requirements. If you’re gluten free, living a vegan lifestyle or deciding to ditch sugar for the unprocessed kind, recipe writers, chefs and nutritionists have thought of everything.
Some baking books on today’s shelves are specifically targeted towards those with dietary requirements. These include the likes of lactose-intolerant recipes and vegan-friendly options. Others in our roundup include a mixture of these, as well as some with dedicated sections on how you can adapt recipes to suit your lifestyle choices. In 2022, the world is your oyster.
How much should I spend?
This all comes down to personal preference. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy a brilliant baking book you’ll use now and love forever more. Many of the books in our guide will set you back around £20. However, you’ll find other books costing anywhere between £18 and £30. The best baking books are a wealth of knowledge and, like most things in life, the more you spend, the more you get.
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The best baking books to buy
1. One Tin Bakes Easy by Edd Kimber: The best baking book for beginners
Price: £18 | Buy now from Amazon
Baking need not be hard, but don’t just take our word for it. Edd Kimber’s latest aptly named book, One Tin Bakes Easy, proves it. Expect foolproof cakes, traybakes, bars and bites from gluten-free to vegan and beyond.
Kimber was the very first winner of The Great British Bake Off, so he knows a thing or two about creating bakes without a soggy bottom in sight. In the book, there are around 70 easy-to-master creations, some of which can be made in one bowl, with others containing just five ingredients. There’s a mountain of ideas that will have you drooling just thinking about them, including a rhubarb and custard pavlova and a grapefruit poppy seed snack cake. There’s also a delectable recipe for chocolate bark with puffed rice and seeds – which happens to be vegan and gluten-free, just like many of the recipes.
If you need even more convincing, the best thing about Kimber’s book is that all the recipes are designed to be baked in the same 23 x 33cm tin. This is a book that has something for everyone, even if you’re short on baking equipment.
Key details – Type of baking: Easy baking; Format: Hardback and Kindle; Year published: 2021; Publisher: Kyle Books
2. Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh: The best baking book for special occasions
Price: £30 | Buy now from Amazon
This is Yotam Ottolenghi’s third cookbook, and this time it comes with a very modern spin on more than 100 desserts you’ll want to devour. Who knew we should be adding tahini and halva to brownies, and cinnamon and rosewater to pavlovas? Ottolenghi’s latest book covers everything from cookies and cakes to custards and candies, and comes with his much-loved Middle Eastern take on sugar, spice and all things nice.
Our favourites? The pistachio roulade with raspberries and white chocolate and a lemon and blackcurrant stripe cake, which looks almost too good to cut into. These are the bakes to serve up at your next dinner party, special occasion or just a celebratory midweek mealtime.
Key details – Type of baking: Middle Eastern baking; Format: Hardback and Kindle; Year published: 2017; Publisher: Ebury Press
3. Gail’s Artisan Bakery Cookbook by Roy Levy and Gail Mejia: The best baking book for bread
Price: £25 | Buy now from Amazon
Hopelessly devoted to bread? Us too. If you’re thinking about making your own sourdough starter, focaccia or brioche beauty, Gail’s Artisan Bakery Cookbook will help you rise to the challenge. The bread-focused book from the award-winning bakery is essentially a one-stop shop on how to bake bread (and other mouth-watering treats).
Along with a range of guides to shaping, kneading, mixing and proofing your dough, there’s a broad mix of bread recipes, puddings and tried-and-tested classics, all of which are also served up at the much-loved bakery. These bakes are so devoted to deliciousness, lucky tasters of your creations will be flouring you with compliments.
Key details – Type of baking: Bread; Format: Hardback and Kindle; Year published: 2014; Publisher: Ebury Press
4. The Little Book of Vegan Bakes by Holly Jade: The best vegan baking book for beginners
Price: £20 | Buy now from Amazon
If you’re new to the vegan lifestyle and haven’t heard of this book, you’ll soon be wondering how you ever lived without it. Holly Jade’s The Little Book of Vegan Bakes is new to the baking bookshelves for 2022 and, in our very humble opinion, covers all the best cakes to devour – just with a plant-based spin. From Victoria sponge to sticky toffee puddings, who said vegan takes were boring, bland or basic?
At the front of the book, the recipe guide lists the key ingredients used the most throughout the book, so you can get an idea of what ingredients you’ll need to stock up on beforehand and make sure no produce goes to waste. Better still, there are easy-to-follow baking tips on how to make baking vegan masterpieces simple – what more could you ask for as a beginner?
Key details – Type of baking: Plant-based; Format: Hardback and Kindle; Year published: 2022; Publisher: Ebury Press
5. Baked to Perfection by Katarina Cermelj: The best gluten-free baking book
Price: £22 | Buy now from Amazon
Question: what do you get if you combine gluten-free bakes with a side of science? Answer: A recipe for success. Recipe developer, food writer and photographer Katarina Cermelj’s Baked to Perfection is the gluten-free book our shelves have been missing.
Featuring recipes for pillowy soft cinnamon rolls, coffee cream puffs and a strawberry and cream tart, it turns out you don’t need gluten to create magic on a dessert plate. But there’s more: in the book there are handy and fun explanations on the science-backed whys and hows of gluten-free baking. If that’s not enough, Nigella Lawson described this book as the “only gluten-free baking book you’ll ever need”. If it’s good enough for Nigella, it’s most definitely good enough for us.
Key details – Type of baking: Gluten-free; Format: Hardback and Kindle; Year published: 2021; Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
6. Mary Berry’s Baking Bible: The best baking book for classic recipes
Price: £26 | Buy now from AmazonWhere would we be without baking sensation Mary Berry’s beautiful tried and tested creations? The Baking Bible might not be her latest book, but it’s a golden oldie. Featuring more than 250 classic foolproof recipes, everyone needs this in their cookbook arsenal.
At the front of the book, there’s a handy list of conversion tables and an A-Z guide on all the equipment you need. And that’s before you’ve even found your way to the delectable and seemingly never-ending list of cakes to choose from. From celebration cakes, cupcakes, fruit and nut cakes, fruit breads, scones and cheesecakes, the list is almost overwhelming. The pictures look a tiny bit dated after ten years but just remember, the proof is in the pudding.
Key details – Type of baking: Classic; Format: Hardback and Kindle; Year published: 2009; Publisher: BBC Books