22 books like Baking at the 20th Century Cafe

By Michelle Polzine,

Here are 22 books that Baking at the 20th Century Cafe fans have personally recommended if you like Baking at the 20th Century Cafe. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Good Bake: The Art and Science of Making Perfect Pastries, Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and Breads at Home

Rick Rodgers

From my list on baking for at home bakers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rick Rodgers is an award-winning culinary teacher and cookbook writer who has made a specialty of books on baked goods. His book Kaffehaus explores the delicious sweets of the Austro-Hungarian coffee culture. With two of America’s most iconic bakeries, he is the co-author of The Model Bakery Cookbook and Sarabeth's Bakery, as well as Coffee And Cake, Tea And Cookies, and Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food.

Rick's book list on baking for at home bakers

Rick Rodgers Why did Rick love this book?

Baking books are constantly evolving because of changing tastes and new availability of groceries. What was once an exotic grocery item can now be found at every supermarket. Weller’s book is for today’s cook, but she uses familiar formats for her creations. Her multilayered babkas are like no one else’s. You will learn a new technique or ingredient with every recipe.

By Melissa Weller, Carolynn Carreno,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Good Bake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the James Beard Award nominee, a comprehensive baking bible for the twenty-first century, with 120 scientifically grounded recipes for sweet and savory baked goods anyone can master.

"A very good combination: Baking science all of us can understand and a splendid collection of recipes. . . . A baker’s must!” —Dorie Greenspan, author of Dorie's Cookies and Everyday Dorie 

Melissa Weller is the baking superstar of our time. As the head baker at some of the best restaurants in the country, her takes on chocolate babka and sticky buns brought these classics back to life and kicked off a…


Book cover of The Simple Art of Perfect Baking

Rick Rodgers

From my list on baking for at home bakers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rick Rodgers is an award-winning culinary teacher and cookbook writer who has made a specialty of books on baked goods. His book Kaffehaus explores the delicious sweets of the Austro-Hungarian coffee culture. With two of America’s most iconic bakeries, he is the co-author of The Model Bakery Cookbook and Sarabeth's Bakery, as well as Coffee And Cake, Tea And Cookies, and Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food.

Rick's book list on baking for at home bakers

Rick Rodgers Why did Rick love this book?

When I worked in a food magazine test kitchen, it was a joy when a recipe by Flo came across my desk. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she was legendary for her skills and nurturing of young talent, her books deserve to be better known to the general public. The late, great Flo taught me so much about baking with her clear and concise recipes for top-notch baked goods. You will feel like your favorite aunt is standing next to you in the kitchen directing your every move. You can trust Flo.

By Flo Braker, Dana Gallagher (photographer),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Simple Art of Perfect Baking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The award-winning author of Sweet Miniatures offers an organized, methodical approach to baking that features some two hundred tested dessert recipes--for cakes, tortes, tarts, pies, pastries, and more, along with step-by-step instructions for a variety of useful cooking and decorating techniques. 1


Book cover of The Italian Baker: The Classic Tastes of the Italian Countryside--Its Breads, Pizza, Focaccia, Cakes, Pastries, and Cookies

Rick Rodgers

From my list on baking for at home bakers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rick Rodgers is an award-winning culinary teacher and cookbook writer who has made a specialty of books on baked goods. His book Kaffehaus explores the delicious sweets of the Austro-Hungarian coffee culture. With two of America’s most iconic bakeries, he is the co-author of The Model Bakery Cookbook and Sarabeth's Bakery, as well as Coffee And Cake, Tea And Cookies, and Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food.

Rick's book list on baking for at home bakers

Rick Rodgers Why did Rick love this book?

This book literally changed home baking forever by making artisan breads accessible to the amateur cook. It was the first time that many of us saw recipes for the rustic breads with crackling brown crusts and moist, hole-ridden interiors that were before only available at specialty bakeries. All books are a labor of love, but I can’t imagine the determination an American woman must have had to wrestle the original recipes from Italian masters.

By Carol Field, Ed Anderson (photographer),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Italian Baker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The only comprehensive book, in English or Italian, to cover the entire range of Italian baking, from breadsticks and cornetti to focaccia, tarts, cakes, and pastries. This latest edition, updated for a new generation of home bakers, has added four-color photography throughout, plus new recipes, ingredients and equipment sections, source guides, and weights. 

Carol Field introduces artisanal doughs and techniques used by generations of Italian bakers. Every city and hill town has its own unique baking traditions, and Field spent more than two years traversing Italy to capture the regional and local specialties, adapting them through rigorous testing in her…


Book cover of The Art of Fine Baking

Rick Rodgers

From my list on baking for at home bakers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rick Rodgers is an award-winning culinary teacher and cookbook writer who has made a specialty of books on baked goods. His book Kaffehaus explores the delicious sweets of the Austro-Hungarian coffee culture. With two of America’s most iconic bakeries, he is the co-author of The Model Bakery Cookbook and Sarabeth's Bakery, as well as Coffee And Cake, Tea And Cookies, and Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food.

Rick's book list on baking for at home bakers

Rick Rodgers Why did Rick love this book?

This prim tome may not have any photos, and the author’s voice is somewhat terse, but she comes across with excellent recipes. This is the cookbook that started me on the road to professional baking, as the desserts I made for my novice dinner parties were such hits that I got stars in my eyes. It is definitely Francocentric, but that is a very good place to start if you are a beginner, and if you are an experienced cook, you can’t go wrong with her basic formulas.

By Paula Peck,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Fine Baking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A complete treatise on the art of baking.


Book cover of Cocolat: Extraordinary Chocolate Desserts

Nick Malgieri Author Of How to Bake

From my list on getting you baking like a pro.

Why am I passionate about this?

Whenever I’m asked about when I knew I wanted to be a pastry chef/baker, I always answer, “birth!” My maternal grandmother lived with us and she loved to bake; I was playing with dough as soon as I was old enough to stand on a chair next to the kitchen table. After college I faced a crisis: graduate school or culinary school – I chose the latter and I’ve never looked back. Adding teaching and writing to my love of baking led me to travel, taste, research, and learn new techniques and recipes to share. It’s a passion from which I’ll never retire.

Nick's book list on getting you baking like a pro

Nick Malgieri Why did Nick love this book?

Before it was a book, Cocolat was a small chain of wildly popular chocolate dessert shops in and around San Francisco. 

Its founder and author, Alice Medrich, had spent some time in France, and had learned some enticingly delicious chocolate recipes there. Back in San Francisco, she started experimenting with quantity baking and the first Cocolat shop was born.  

Chocolate cakes, large and small (and fabulous cupcakes), soft-centered truffles, and individual chocolate pastries, are only part of the picture as there are also detailed instructions for chocolate fans and ruffles, and for sculpting delicate chocolate flowers. 

I’ve long admired Alice’s expertise with chocolate and her example helped me to up my game with that most popular ingredient.

By Alice Medrich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cocolat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

James Beard Foundation 1991 Cookbook of the Year!
"Cocolat is to chocolate what Tiffany is to diamonds." — Gourmet magazine.
One of America's leading chocolatiers and the founder of the famous Cocolat shops shares the secrets behind her decadent, European-style desserts in this beautifully illustrated, easy-to-follow guide. Alice Medrich founded the first in a chain of chocolate shops in 1976, introducing legions of Americans to the joys of chocolate truffles. With the guidance of this lavish book, home cooks and budding pastry chefs can make their own renditions of the shop's sophisticated confections. Each fabulous recipe features detailed instructions that…


Book cover of The Sweet Life: Desserts from Chanterelle

Lei Shishak Author Of Farm-To-Table Desserts: 80 Seasonal, Organic Recipes Made from Your Local Farmers Market

From my list on pastry baking from an award winning baker.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lei Shishak is the author of numerous cookbooks including Beach House Dinners, Beach House Brunch, Beach House Baking, and Farm-to-Table Desserts. A graduate of Culinary Institute of America, Lei is the founder of Sugar Blossom Bake Shop in San Clemente, California. She is one of Southern California’s most respected bakers, having been honored as the Orange County Pastry Chef of the Year in 2011 by Riviera Magazine.

Lei's book list on pastry baking from an award winning baker

Lei Shishak Why did Lei love this book?

Pastry chef Kate Zuckerman shares her recipes from Chanterelle, the beloved, award-winning New York City restaurant. This book is a beautiful and complete look into a restaurant pastry chef’s world. The recipes cover a full spectrum of desserts from luscious tarts to cakes, cookies, custards, soufflés, and delightful confections. Readers will enjoy in-depth explanations of pastry techniques and the history of ingredients. Two of my favorite recipes in the book are the Roasted Apple Beignets and the Brandied Dried Fig Soufflé.

By Tina Rupp, Kate Zuckerman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sweet Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Say the word "Chanterelle" to a food-loving New Yorker and the first thing she thinks of is the beloved restaurant that put SoHo on the culinary map in 1979 and is now approaching its 25th anniversary in its new location in Tribeca. Kate Zuckerman, Chanterelle's pastry chef, has met and exceeded the high expectations of the restaurants' founders, David and Karen Waltuck, by creating exquisite desserts that draw upon her vast culinary experiences - both as a 4-star pastry chef in Boston, San Francisco and New York - and through her culinary travels to countries such as India. The Sweet…


Book cover of Eclairs: Easy, Elegant and Modern Recipes

Sylvie Gruber Author Of Bite-Sized French Pastries for the Beginner Baker

From my list on cookbooks to learn French pastry baking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved French Pastry for as long as I can remember, all the way from my Mum’s kitchen as a kid in Belgium to my own kitchen here in Melbourne. I love it so much I quit my job as an architect 6 years ago to start a blog that focuses on baking and French pastry especially! This crazy experience took me all the way back to Paris to attend a French pastry program at Ecole Ducasse in 2019 and to publish my first cookbook on French pastry at the end of 2023.

Sylvie's book list on cookbooks to learn French pastry baking

Sylvie Gruber Why did Sylvie love this book?

I’m a sucker for a good éclair, and choux pastry is probably one of my favourite things to bake, so this book is a real goldmine!

I love that it breaks down the basic techniques of choux pastry and cream fillings but is also packed with creative recipes, original flavour associations, and gorgeous desserts.

It may not be the best book for beginners, but if you are looking for inspiration, it is an amazing book to browse through!

By Christophe Adam,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eclairs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The newest darling in the world of baking - the classic French pastry has been embraced by a whole new generation of bakers. Making this classic at home is much easier than you think. And it is made easy by the fact that this book is written by one of Europe's top pastry chefs, Christophe Adam. With its straightforward approach, full colour pages and hundreds of step-by-step photographs, it is as though Christophe were by your side giving you a lesson in your home kitchen. Over the last dozen years, Christophe has perfected the eclair and has turned it into…


Book cover of Pure Dessert

Lara Ferroni Author Of Doughnuts: 90 Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home

From my list on feeling like a professional baker.

Why am I passionate about this?

I didn’t really mean to become a food photographer. But with the first photo that I took of a batch of homemade raspberry scones, I knew I found something special. And then, I didn't really mean to become a cookbook author. But photos led to recipes, which led to this crazy notion that the world needed a cookbook dedicated to doughnuts! I’ve since written five more cookbooks and have a bit of an obsession with beautifully designed and photographed baking books that can fuel my project baking and cooking fascination. The books on my list continue to inspire me, and hope they inspire you too.

Lara's book list on feeling like a professional baker

Lara Ferroni Why did Lara love this book?

One of my favorite things is being able to take a basic or classic recipe and tweak it here and there to create something entirely new. That’s the spirit behind Pure Dessert.

Olive oil and sherry pound cake? Yes please. Cocoa nib and buckwheat butter cookies? I am all over that. I love that this book focuses on a flavor theme, and then plays around with different ways to bring that to life. The recipes are deliciously crafted, but also just a great inspiration for creating my own.

By Alice Medrich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pure Dessert as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Delicate handmade cheeses, wholesome grains, organic yogurts, and great chocolates create pure and simple desserts that provide soul satisfaction through the pleasure of real flavours. Taste how sesame seeds and sesame oil completely redefine cake and the lovely, nutty flavour buckwheat flour brings to indulgent buttery cookies and strawberry shortcake. Medrich transforms ice cream by using honey, pound cake with the addition of olive oil and sherry, and meringue by adding chestnut flour and walnuts. Recipes like Cardamom-Roasted Figs and Chilled Oranges in Rum-Caramel Syrup prove that authentic, fresh flavours taste best and make for desserts that are easy and…


Book cover of Baking and Pastry: Mastering the Art and Craft

Lei Shishak Author Of Farm-To-Table Desserts: 80 Seasonal, Organic Recipes Made from Your Local Farmers Market

From my list on pastry baking from an award winning baker.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lei Shishak is the author of numerous cookbooks including Beach House Dinners, Beach House Brunch, Beach House Baking, and Farm-to-Table Desserts. A graduate of Culinary Institute of America, Lei is the founder of Sugar Blossom Bake Shop in San Clemente, California. She is one of Southern California’s most respected bakers, having been honored as the Orange County Pastry Chef of the Year in 2011 by Riviera Magazine.

Lei's book list on pastry baking from an award winning baker

Lei Shishak Why did Lei love this book?

This was my textbook when I was a baking and pastry major in culinary school. In its third edition, this is the most comprehensive pastry baking book from the country's premier culinary school. I still refer back to it time and again for its reliable recipes and classic techniques. The chapters cover every specialty in pastry baking, including bread, chocolates, confections, wedding cakes, pastries, decorating, mousses, and frozen desserts. This book is well worth its price.

By The Culinary Institute of America (CIA),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Baking and Pastry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The leading learning tool for all levels of baking and pastry ability, newly illustrated and updated Praised by top pastry chefs and bakers as "an indispensable guide" and "the ultimate baking and pastry reference," the latest edition of Baking and Pastry from The Culinary Institute of America improves upon the last with more than 300 new recipes, photographs, and illustrations, and completely revised and up-to-date information on creating spectacular breads and desserts. Covering the full range of the baking and pastry arts and widely used by professionals and readers who want to bake like professionals, this book offers detailed, accessible…


Book cover of Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts

Nick Malgieri Author Of How to Bake

From my list on getting you baking like a pro.

Why am I passionate about this?

Whenever I’m asked about when I knew I wanted to be a pastry chef/baker, I always answer, “birth!” My maternal grandmother lived with us and she loved to bake; I was playing with dough as soon as I was old enough to stand on a chair next to the kitchen table. After college I faced a crisis: graduate school or culinary school – I chose the latter and I’ve never looked back. Adding teaching and writing to my love of baking led me to travel, taste, research, and learn new techniques and recipes to share. It’s a passion from which I’ll never retire.

Nick's book list on getting you baking like a pro

Nick Malgieri Why did Nick love this book?

Maida’s Book of Great Desserts is the first of many books by her, and the one that influenced me very early in my developing love of baking and desserts.

I was privileged to know Maida for the last 25 years of her life and was able to teach several classes with her. Although all her books were masterpieces, she would most often pick recipes from this book to teach. 

Some of my (and Maida’s) favorites include Queen Mother’s Cake (a recipe shared by a musician who claimed to have received it directly from the Queen Mum), East 62nd Street Lemon Cake, Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies (simply delicious), and Black and White Cheesecake. 

Don’t pass this one by!

By Maida Heatter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gathers recipes for cakes, cookies, pastries, crepes, blintzes, popovers, cream puffs, puff pastry, pies, cheesecakes, ice creams, and souffles.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in dessert, baking, and pastries?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about dessert, baking, and pastries.

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