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Saturday
Nov272010

Baker's Dozen: CakeSpy's Favorite Cookbooks of 2010

New York Times Bestseller list? Pshaw. Here's the real deal, a baker's dozen of CakeSpy's favorite pieces of sweet publishing of the year. Fact: most, but not all of these books were released in 2010, but they are the ones that I turned to most throughout the year, and the ones that I would suggest most highly to anyone who cares and / or asks. Listed alphabetically. True: I received some of them as review samples (thanks, various publishers!). But were I to misplace or damage any of these beauties, I'd totally buy 'em again.

  1. Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. What and why: this a collection of classic desserts from all around the nation, but refined with the signature twist that I've come to expect from their wonderful Brooklyn bakery, Baked. From salt-and-pepper sandwich cookies to two versions of Mississippi Mud pie, this book is a keeper. It does not hurt that the bakers are two extremely adorable gentleman, to boot.
  2. Betty Crocker's Cooky Book 1963 (1st Edition). What and why: If you are a regular visitor to this site, you know that I have what verges on a mild obsession with this book. It's classic, it's campy, and it's a pleasure to read, look at, and bake from. If possible seek out the first edition version--if it comes with smudges or stained pages from years of use, all the better.
  3. Betty Crocker's Pie & Pastry Cookbook. What and why: A natural progression from the Cooky Book, this Pie and Pastry cookbook is filled with retro recipes as well as classics, and comes with some great recipes for baking up "old is new again" types of recipes.
  4. Bon Appetit Desserts: The Cookbook for All Things Sweet and Wonderful, edited by Barbara Fairchild. What and why: Bon Appetit is consistently a favorite source of mine for delicious dessert recipes and what amounts to pastry porn in terms of pictures, and so naturally I was attracted to this book. It's huge, it's beautiful, and it's full of great recipes. What's not to love?
  5. Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats by Bakerella. What and why: Easily the cutest new release in 2010, this book is extremely thorough in teaching you how to craft cake pops that look so adorable that you might take pause before taking a big bite. But trust me, you'll power through it, because the decadent treats are delicious, too. I know, because I've gotten to eat ones made by Bakerella herself!
  6. The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941-2009. What and why: A comprehensive year-by-year review of the best cookies from the magazine's archives, this book reads like a piece of cookie anthropology, and has really stunning, almost textile-inspired photos of the cookies which make turning pages a pleasure.
  7. Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich. What and why: After I received this book to bake from for an upcoming event, I became an instant devotee. It includes a great variety of cookie styles, written by a lady who is obviously a chocolate and baking expert, but at no point do the recipes or writing seem too intricate or fussy to follow along. This book makes me feel like a baking expert by proxy.
  8. The Original King Arthur Flour Cookbook (Commemorative Edition). What and why: Like, whoa. When I received this cookbook, I knew it meant business. It's a binder-style cookbook, and it's incredibly comprehensive (as one would hope the official cookbook from a flour company would be). Some cookbooks are for looking at; this is not one of them, but it is one that will definitely be used. Get a preview of their recipes here.
  9. The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century edited by Amanda Hesser. What and why: Here's another comprehensive cookbook, which includes fascinating stories along with each recipe. It's a big one too, so when people see it in your kitchen they'll know you're like, really serious. Interesting recipe from it: Semolina Shortbread.
  10. Paris Sweets: Great Desserts From the City's Best Pastry Shops by Dorie Greenspan. What and why: No, it's not Dorie's most recent release, but it was the one I looked to most this year. I took it to Paris as a more valuable guide than any travel book, and have baked from it extensively. It comes with stories just as charming as the treats.
  11. Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes by David Lebovitz. What and why: a stunning collection of dessert recipes from pastry rock star David Lebovitz. This collection includes cookies, cakes, pies, and various confections/sauces/etc, and every single thing I've tried has been incredibly delicious. And as a bonus, Lebovitz's writing is incredibly witty--his cleverness puts him on par as an Oscar Wilde of pastry writing. Most recent recipe enjoyed: peanut butter cookies.
  12. United Cakes of America: Recipes Celebrating Every State by Warren Brown. What and why: For one thing, it's a great concept, and it's fun to read about regional recipes in this book by CakeLove owner Warren Brown. It includes a healthy dose of history, and plenty of interesting recipes to discover. As a bonus, it's beautifully designed and very fun to flip through. Recent recipe enjoyed: Hartford Election Day Cake. Note: if you like this book, you may also enjoy another favorite of mine, All American Desserts: 400 Star-Spangled, Razzle-Dazzle Recipes for America's Best Loved Desserts .
  13. A World of Cake by Krystina Castella. What and why: This book deserves a gold star for hitting all of the points of things I love in a cookbook: beautiful pictures, interesting backstories, plenty of baking lore, and straightforward, unfussy recipes. I strongly suggest this one for any cake enthusiast!

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Reader Comments (8)

I love so many of these on your list and was especially obsessed with the Betty Crocker'S Cooky book. I inherited it from my mother and unfortunately lost it in one of my many moves. Thanks for reminding me I need to buy another one.
November 27 | Unregistered CommenterLora
I recently snagged (I mean, took with permission) my mom' s original Betty Crocker. I keep in plastic!
i have the Baked cookbook on it's way to my house now! i live in new york, so i've visited the Brooklyn shop before. i'm excited! this list is great -- i may just print it out as a go-to christmas list for the year :)
November 28 | Unregistered CommentercupcakeOdoom
I can't wait to get my hands on my mother's copy of the Cooky Book. It's worn, dirty, there are notes on all the pages but it is the most loved book ever seen!
November 28 | Unregistered Commenterjean
Thrilled to be in such good company--thanks!
November 29 | Unregistered CommenterDavid
Great company, indeed -- thank you!
November 29 | Unregistered Commenterdorie
Spymaster, this is an awesome list! Will link to it this week! Have you seen the massive Rizzoli book by Sarabeth Levine? http://goo.gl/9W6xE Pretty awesome.
December 4 | Unregistered CommenterNiko
what a FUN site!!! thank YOU <3
i will be back; it's on my "favorites" list -and going
to share with my friend -who i know will love it too
December 6 | Unregistered Commentergigi lamore

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