October is National Bake and Decorate Month. Take part in the celebration by checking out a book with delicious recipes and how-to details on cake decorating, or read a novel inspired by baking.
Start with the James Beard Foundation Book Award winner, Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. This book has over 300 recipes perfect for home baking, including breakfast sweets, cookies, cakes, pies, tarts, and spoon desserts.
For more delicious recipes, check out The Weekend Baker: Irresistible Recipes, Simple Techniques, and Stress-Free Strategies for Busy People by Abigail Johnson Dodge. From breads and cookies to pies and cakes, this resource is aimed at those short on time. The cookbook moves from the simplest recipes to those that will take more time, making it easy to find just the right recipe.
Peter Mayle, the author of many memoirs about Provence, writes with baker Gerard Auzet, owner of a French bakery, in Confessions of a French Baker: Breadmaking Secrets, Tips, and Recipes. This book breaks down the breadmaking process and has illustrated instructions on how to make sixteen types of bread, all in the casual first-person style Mayle is known for.
Baking inspires fiction, as well. Author Jeanne Ray’s Eat Cake: A Novel follows Ruth, a mother and wife who bakes to relax. This family drama has teenage kids, a recently unemployed husband, an estranged father coming to live with them, and recipes for some of the scrumptious cakes she bakes.
Citizen Vince: A Novel by Jess Walter won the Edgar Award for best novel. This mystery features Vince Camden, a doughnut baker in the witness protection program. Set against the backdrop of the 1980 election, Vince tries to decide who to vote for while the mob tracks him down.
Learn the skills taught in trade school with Cake Decorating by Rachel Brown. With plenty of photos, this practical guide covers basic equipment, different types of icing, and advanced techniques making it a great reference.
The Artful Cupcake: Baking & Decorating Delicious Indulgences by Marcianne Miller provides 32 simple cupcake recipes with lots of inspiration and details on how to make them gorgeous.
From elegant to eccentric, The Whimsical Bakehouse: Fun-To-Make Cakes That Taste As Good As They Look! by Kaye Hansen and Liv Hansen has plenty of cakes to choose from. The book is divided into three sections, covering the basics, simple cakes, and tiered cakes.
Be the hit of your child’s party with a cake from Cakes for Kids: 35 Colorful Cakes with Easy-To-Follow Tips & Techniques by Matthew Mead. This book includes recipes for cakes and frostings while providing instruction on how to assemble and decorate. The cookbook is organized by level of difficulty, from easy to medium to more advanced designs.
Notable bakers, such as James Beard and Julia Child, contributed the content for Birthday Cakes: Recipes and Memories from Celebrated Bakers by Kathryn Kleinman and Carolyn Miller. Well illustrated, each recipe includes a short essay by the baker and includes tips for decorating.