Over the last six years I’ve been inspired by hundreds of incredibly talented bakers, and as you’d probably expect, I have a rather large collection of recipe books. Some I’ve bought myself; others have been given to me as gifts, but they have all helped to shape me into the baker I am today.
It’s hard to chose just a handful of my recipe books, but after careful consideration I’ve narrowed it down. Featuring stunning photography, detailed instructions and of course, some of the best recipes out there, here are my top five favourite recipe books.
1. Mary Berry’s Baking Bible (Mary Berry…obviously)
No baking book collection would be complete with the Queen of Cakes! This book has a special place in my kitchen library – it was the first recipe book I received when I started my baking journey. I had already been a fan of both Mary Berry and the Great British Bake Off for several years, but this book introduced me to so many classic recipes, including her famous and delicious Victoria Sponge.
Cakes, biscuits, traybakes, tarts, pastries, breads and so much more, this book has something for bakers of every skill level. Each recipe includes simple instructions and beautiful photographs, as well as helpful tips along the way. The book even includes a super helpful conversion table and an introduction to key ingredients, baking equipment and baking terminology.
2. How Baking Works…And What to do if it Doesn’t (James Morton)
This is my go-to book for every baking-related question. It’s essentially a book of baking hacks, so if something happens to go wrong in my kitchen, it’s the first source of knowledge I turn to. Who needs Google when you’ve got James Morton?!
Starting ‘the basics’, James takes you through the role of different ingredients in baking (flour, fat, sugar, etc.) as well as essential baking equipment before offering a fantastic step-by-step guide to creating a variety of different delicious treats. He discusses the bake itself in real detail, variations to base recipes, how to substitute ingredients, how to store your bakes and troubleshooting common baking mistakes.
3. Love Manuela, The Baking Book (Manuela Kjeilen)
Manuela’s baking book is probably the biggest and most comprehensive set of recipes on my shelf. I was lucky enough to win this book as part of a Mason Cash competition a couple of years ago, and I’m so glad I did, because it’s just wonderful.
First off, the photography is amazing. Not only am I super jealous of her beautiful kitchen (it really is pastel pink perfection), but every single bake featured in her book looks good enough to eat right off the page. The recipes themselves are equally amazing – and there are so many to choose from! From cookies all the way through to frostings and fillings (with a variety of cakes, cupcakes, brownies and more in between), each recipe is easy to follow and includes a sweet personal note from Manuela about why she chose to feature them.
4. Couture Cupcakes (Eric Lanlard & Patrick Cox)
‘Couture Cupcakes’ is another recipe book with amazing photography. Created by pâtissier Eric Lanlard and designer Patrick Cox, this is a small yet might book filled with innovative cupcake flavours and some really cool decorations.
I bought this book (along with another Eric Lanlard masterpiece, ‘Totally Chocolate’) at the BBC Good Food Show and have been inspired by both the flavours and styling. Nutty and chocolatey cupcakes, rich and spicy cupcakes, fruity cupcakes – there really is a sweet treat for everyone.
5. Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery (Martha Swift & Lisa Thomas)
Last but certainly not least, ‘Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery’ is another book that I’ve had from the early stages of my baking journey. Given to me at Christmas several years ago by my wonderful mother-in-law, it fuelled my passion for cupcakes, which are still my favourite thing to make. This book is full of wonderful cupcake ideas – starting with basic cupcakes and frostings, it moves onto offer a variety of creative and delicious recipes for every occasion, including Christmas, weddings, christenings and birthdays.
Martha and Lisa also have a fantastic story to tell, which you can find at the start of this book. From baking cupcakes in their own kitchens at home to creating delicious treats for A-list celebs, and eventually opening their own bakery in London, they’re a real inspiration.
I’d love to hear your recipe book suggestions – drop me a comment below!