100 books like Victorian Cakes

By Caroline B. King,

Here are 100 books that Victorian Cakes fans have personally recommended if you like Victorian Cakes. 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 The Young Housekeeper's Friend; Or, A Guide to Domestic Economy and Comfort

Jenne Bergstrom and Miko Osada Author Of The Little Women Cookbook: Novel Takes on Classic Recipes from Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy and Friends

From my list on food and cooking in Victorian America.

Who are we?

Miko and Jenne are librarians who love to eat. Their love of classic children’s literature led them to start their 36 Eggs blog, where they recreate foods and experiences from their favorite books. In 2019, they published the Little Women Cookbook, which required extensive research into the food of the Victorian era.

Jenne's book list on food and cooking in Victorian America

Jenne Bergstrom and Miko Osada Why did Jenne love this book?

We consulted a wide variety of historical cookbooks while writing our book, but one in particular stands out: The Young Housekeeper’s Friend (or as we affectionately call it, YHF), first published in 1846. It is actually mentioned by name more than once in Little Women, so it became our first point of reference for the recipes we wanted to include. YHF was quite popular in its day, and went through several editions–with good reason, as we discovered. Of all the cookbooks we used in our research, the recipes in this one were always the tastiest and most reliable.

Even though by modern standards the recipes are rather vague, she actually gave quite a bit more instruction than other cookbooks of the era, and many of the chapters include an introduction that goes into more detail about the overall theory of how to cook that particular type of food. During the…

By Mary Hooker Cornelius,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Young Housekeeper's Friend; Or, A Guide to Domestic Economy and Comfort as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and…


Book cover of A Domestic Cook Book: Containing a Careful Selection of Useful Receipts for the Kitchen

Jenne Bergstrom and Miko Osada Author Of The Little Women Cookbook: Novel Takes on Classic Recipes from Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy and Friends

From my list on food and cooking in Victorian America.

Who are we?

Miko and Jenne are librarians who love to eat. Their love of classic children’s literature led them to start their 36 Eggs blog, where they recreate foods and experiences from their favorite books. In 2019, they published the Little Women Cookbook, which required extensive research into the food of the Victorian era.

Jenne's book list on food and cooking in Victorian America

Jenne Bergstrom and Miko Osada Why did Jenne love this book?

Until 2000, What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking (1881) was considered the first cookbook authored by a Black American. It was then that historians chanced upon an incredibly lucky finding: a copy of A Domestic Cookbook at the bottom of a box. As far as we know, there’s only ONE copy left of this little 39-page collection of recipes, which was first published in 1866.

Historians and researchers have delved deep into the mystery of author Malinda Russell, but we barely know more than she tells us in her introduction -- a life story laid out in stark, gripping first-person over just two short pages. As a business owner who specialized in pastry, Russell’s book has upended assumptions about 19th-century Black women and African American cuisine. In such a slim volume, she still includes 70+ kinds of cake and comments that “a great many ladies have wished to…

By Malinda Russell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

{Size: 15.34 x 23.59 cms} Leather Binding on Spine and Corners with Golden Leaf Printing on round Spine (extra customization on request like complete leather, Golden Screen printing in Front, Color Leather, Colored book etc.) Reprinted in 2021 with the help of original edition published long back [1866]. This book is printed in black & white, sewing binding for longer life, Printed on high quality Paper, re-sized as per Current standards, professionally processed without changing its contents. As these are old books, we processed each page manually and make them readable but in some cases some pages which are blur…


Book cover of Food in the Civil War Era

Jenne Bergstrom and Miko Osada Author Of The Little Women Cookbook: Novel Takes on Classic Recipes from Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy and Friends

From my list on food and cooking in Victorian America.

Who are we?

Miko and Jenne are librarians who love to eat. Their love of classic children’s literature led them to start their 36 Eggs blog, where they recreate foods and experiences from their favorite books. In 2019, they published the Little Women Cookbook, which required extensive research into the food of the Victorian era.

Jenne's book list on food and cooking in Victorian America

Jenne Bergstrom and Miko Osada Why did Jenne love this book?

Of the many reference resources we encountered in the midst of our obsessive research for our Little Women Cookbook, this one was a favorite (along with the incomparable YHF). It’s just so satisfying to find the perfect book for a project, isn’t it? When we first started out, we thought, “We’d be so lucky to find anything about food from the Civil War era that doesn’t focus on soldiers’ rations, rich people, or the South — especially if it touches on the role of women in everyday culinary culture.” And as if our local university library were a magical genie who heard my wish, there this book was.

In Food in the Civil War Era: The North, editor Helen Zoe Veit provides a bit of background so you can understand the trends behind five Civil War-era cookbooks. Her engaging commentary made this one a surprisingly quick read.…

By Helen Zoe Veit,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Food in the Civil War Era as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cookbooks offer a unique and valuable way to examine American life. Their lessons, however, are not always obvious. Direct references to the American Civil War were rare in cookbooks, even in those published right in the middle of it. In part, this is a reminder that lives went on and that dinner still appeared on most tables most nights, no matter how much the world was changing outside. But people accustomed to thinking of cookbooks as a source for recipes, and not much else, can be surprised by how much information they can reveal about the daily lives and ways…


Book cover of Savory Suppers and Fashionable Feasts: Dining in Victorian America

Jenne Bergstrom and Miko Osada Author Of The Little Women Cookbook: Novel Takes on Classic Recipes from Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy and Friends

From my list on food and cooking in Victorian America.

Who are we?

Miko and Jenne are librarians who love to eat. Their love of classic children’s literature led them to start their 36 Eggs blog, where they recreate foods and experiences from their favorite books. In 2019, they published the Little Women Cookbook, which required extensive research into the food of the Victorian era.

Jenne's book list on food and cooking in Victorian America

Jenne Bergstrom and Miko Osada Why did Jenne love this book?

If you strive to be a Victorian-era food snob, this is the guidebook. It’s a comprehensive overview of food and cooking customs from the second half of the 19th century, packed with illustrations and tons of fun trivia. (For example: celery was considered a high-status food by the middle class because of its connection to Homer’s Odyssey. If you were looking for a trendy centerpiece, you could put it in specially appointed silver or glass vases like a bouquet of flowers. Haha!) You’ll also find an explanation of mealtimes, and how expectations for breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea, and supper were different from today’s. There’s a whole chapter on Victorian table etiquette! By the way, Victorians advise that if you’re hosting a dinner party, make sure to wear an outfit that’s “rich in material, but subdued in tone” so you don’t show up any of your guests.

By Susan Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Savory Suppers and Fashionable Feasts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Savory Suppers and Fashionable Feasts offers a delightfully flavorful tour of dining in America during the second half of the 19th century. Susan Williams investigates the manners and morals of that era by looking at its eating customs and cooking methods. As she reveals, genteel dining became an increasingly important means of achieving social stability during a period when Americans were facing significant changes on a variety of fronts - social, cultural, intellectual, technological, and demographic.

Focusing on the rapidly expanding middle class, Williams not only examines mealtime rituals, but she looks at the material culture of Victorian dining: the…


Book cover of An Alien Heat

Kim Alexander Author Of The Sand Prince

From my list on fantasy that make you feel like you’ve been there.

Who am I?

I’m a writer of epic fantasy and paranormal romance, and my obsession is writing about the fashion, food, language, and social politics of the worlds I create. World building is vital if you intend to create a lived-in backdrop for your story, but intricate, elaborate world building will only take you so far. You (the author) must have a cast of characters equally well developed. I’ve tried to take lessons away from every book I’ve read and every author I’ve interviewed and worked to balance characters to fall in love with against places that feel absolutely alive. Their joy/terror/love/hate/experience becomes the readers. It’s that combination that makes a book unforgettable.

Kim's book list on fantasy that make you feel like you’ve been there

Kim Alexander Why did Kim love this book?

Moorcock is better known for his Elric books, and grand, splashy epic fantasy, while my pick is more intimate but (I think) just as grand.

An Alien Heat is the first book in Dancers At the End of Time, and I read as a teen and have loved it ever since (even if some of it was over my head.) It’s the story of Jherek, perhaps the last human to ever be born, and Amelia, a proper Victorian lady thrown out of her own time, in a fantastical city literally at the end of time—it's right there in the title.

The remaining population has the power of gods—can do anything, be anything, and it’s a fascinating look at what to do with hugely overpowered characters.

(Spoiler—give them problems magic powers can’t fix, like getting the woman they love to love them back.) 

Book cover of Around the World in Seventy-Two Days

Tracey Jean Boisseau Author Of Sultan To Sultan - Adventures Among The Masai And Other Tribes Of East Africa

From my list on travel and exploration written by women in the Victorian Era.

Who am I?

As a historian of feminism, I am always on the lookout for sources that reveal women’s voices and interpretation of experiences often imagined as belonging primarily to men. Whether erudite travelogue, personal journey of discovery, or sensationalist narrative of adventure and exploration, books written by women traveling on their own were among the most popular writings published in the Victorian era. Often aimed at justifying the expansion of woman’s proper “sphere,” these books are perhaps even more enthralling to the contemporary reader —since they seem to defy everything we think we know about the constrained lives of women in this era. In addition to illuminating the significant roles that women played in the principal conflicts and international crises of the nineteenth century, these stories of women wading through swamps, joining military campaigns, marching across deserts, up mountains, and through contested lands often armed only with walking sticks, enormous determination, and sheer chutzpah, never fail to fascinate!

Tracey's book list on travel and exploration written by women in the Victorian Era

Tracey Jean Boisseau Why did Tracey love this book?

Bly was a brilliant investigative journalist best known in the United States for her exposé of the Women’s Lunatic Asylum based on her feigning of insanity as an undercover patient … until she became even more famous for her circumnavigation of the globe, inspired by Jules Verne’s fictional Around the World in 80 Days. Sponsored and encouraged by Joseph Pulitzer (editor of the tabloid newspaper, The New York World) and written in a witty, breezy style, Bly’s pithily-told tale upends every stereotype of fragile Victorian womanhood; her gutsy candor about her madcap race around what was supposed to be a wholly man’s world still stuns and delights!

By Nellie Bly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Around the World in Seventy-Two Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"She was part of the 'stunt girl' movement that was very important in the 1880s and 1890s as these big, mass-circulation yellow journalism papers came into the fore." -Brooke Kroeger

Around the World in Seventy-Two Days (1890) is a travel narrative by American investigative journalist Nellie Bly. Proposed as a recreation of the journey undertaken by Phileas Fogg in Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days (1873), Bly's journey was covered in Joseph Pulitzer's popular newspaper the New York World, inspiring countless others to attempt to surpass her record. At the time, readers at home were encouraged to estimate…


Book cover of The Heyday of Natural History, 1820-1870

Michael Layland Author Of In Nature's Realm: Early Naturalists Explore Vancouver Island

From my list on the history of natural history.

Who am I?

In Nature’s Realm is my third book on the theme of exploration of Vancouver Island, my home for the past thirty years, and my first focussed on the history of natural history. In it, I call upon decades of experience in mapping hitherto scarcely known parts of the world, combined with a keen fascination with the fauna and flora of the many places where I have lived and worked. I have marvelled at the work of the exploring naturalists and am fascinated with their personal histories. I find it enthralling how they each added to the sum of human knowledge of the wonders of the natural world, now so sadly threatened.

Michael's book list on the history of natural history

Michael Layland Why did Michael love this book?

I found this delightful, well-written account of great interest and reference. It covers the widespread passion for all aspects of natural history during the Victorian era, how the collectors of ferns, seashells, birds’ eggs, and skins, butterflies, beetles, orchids, and all manner of curiosities from the natural world, pursued their hobbies. This general acceptance by society led to the formation of clubs, articles, and even specialist journals and popular lectures by amateurs and scientists.

Beautifully illustrated, this book, even though constrained in its timeframe, provides a wonderful introduction to the topic. Since I cover many of the people and motives included here, I much enjoyed another writer’s perspective on them.

By Lynn Barber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Heyday of Natural History, 1820-1870 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First American Edition. "Generously illustrated and impeccably researched, "The Heyday of Natural History" is a highly informative look at a fascinating slice of Victorian culture and scientific history, and the scholars of the Victorian period will find it illuminating. . .Lynn Barber writes primarily for the general reader, and no one can fail to enjoy her witty style, and the rich gallery of eccentrics she describes."


Book cover of The Diaries of Hannah Cullwick: Victorian Maidservant

Lydia Murdoch Author Of Daily Life of Victorian Women

From my list on Victorian women who defied stereotypes.

Who am I?

I’m a professor of modern Britain with a specialty in nineteenth-century social history. I’m drawn to sources and topics that tell us about how everyday people lived and thought about their lives. One favorite part of my job is the challenge of discovering more about those groups, like working-class women or children, who weren’t the main focus of earlier histories. Since 2000, I’ve taught classes at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, on Victorian Britain, the British Empire, the First World War, and the history of childhood.

Lydia's book list on Victorian women who defied stereotypes

Lydia Murdoch Why did Lydia love this book?

This is one of the first books that I remember buying for myself in graduate school. Cullwick’s descriptions of her relationship with upper-class Arthur Munby (whom she eventually married) and the photographs of her dressed as a maid-of-all-work, a lady, a “slave,” an agricultural worker, and a valet highlight Victorian power negotiations and performativity.

Cullwick started working as a servant at the age of eight. From her diaries, I learned much about the daily lives of domestic servants: their relationships with employers, the different levels of service and employment networks, and the sheer amount of hard, physical labor that it took to run a Victorian household.

By Liz Stanley, Hannah Cullwick,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Diaries of Hannah Cullwick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Hannah Cullwick (1833-1909) worked all her life as a maidservant, scullion, and pot-girl. In 1854 she met Arthur Munby, 'man of two worlds,' upper-class author and poet, with a lifelong obsession for lower-class women. And so began their strange and secret romance of eighteen years and marriage of thiry-six, lived largely apart. Hannah's diaries, written on Munby's suggestion, offer an obsorbing account of life 'below stairs' in Victorian England. But they reveal, too, a woman of extraordinary independence of will, whose chosen life of drudgery gave her the freedom not to 'play the Lady,' as Munby demanded. Rescued from obscurity.…


Book cover of Sketches by Boz

Steve Morris Author Of Out on Top – A Collection of Upbeat Short Stories

From my list on short stories for when spare time is short.

Who am I?

Short stories suit the speed of modern society. I began writing them as a child and began to get them published in magazines. My first collection of stories in 2009 got quite a lot of press in the UK and two more collections followed. Initially, they were darkly-themed backfiring scenarios for the anti-hero and I redressed the balance in Out on Top. We all deserve some good Karma!

Steve's book list on short stories for when spare time is short

Steve Morris Why did Steve love this book?

This is often overlooked by readers of Dickens. I think the term “sketches” is important here at a point where Dickens was still experimenting with his art and particularly his characters which were always going to be his greatest strength. Sketches by Boz is a collection of fascinatingly detailed insights into London life intertwined in episodes (or scenes) as Dickens terms it through a richly caricatured study of a set of interesting lives of the working classes, in a way that only Dickens has ever been able to do. The “sketches” had, prior to this, been serialized in weekly installments (the soap operas of the day). Dickens had experienced sufficient highs and lows of social mobility in his own life to fully qualify his portrayals. "The Tuggses at Ramsgate" is perhaps for me the most memorable but the whole volume is bursting with energetic individuality and character. I have…

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was an English short story writer, dramatist, essayist, and the most popular novelist to come from the Victorian era. He created some of the most iconic characters and stories in English literature, including Mr. Pickwick from "The Pickwick Papers", Ebenezer Scrooge from "A Christmas Carol", David Copperfield, and Pip from "Great Expectations", to name a few. Dickens' began by writing serials for magazines, and from 1833-1836 he used the pseudonym Boz, taken from a childhood nickname for his younger brother. "Sketches by Boz" contains 56 stories and, like most of Dickens' work, vividly portrayed the lives of…


Book cover of Forbidden Desire

Maggie Sims Author Of Sophia's Schooling

From my list on spicy historical romance.

Who am I?

Like many of us over (ahem…we’ll say) 40, I grew up reading historical romance—those were the first full-length romance novels on store shelves. My mum is British and visits there added to my interest in Regency England. Then 50 Shades exploded and people’s spice level tolerance increased. But mainly in contemporary romance, with all the tools and toys. Curious as to how spice in the Regency would look, I went searching. I found a few of these fabulous authors, but not many choices, so I decided to write one. Now there are more authors published in this subgenre, and I’m proud to be one of them.

Maggie's book list on spicy historical romance

Maggie Sims Why did Maggie love this book?

Ah, a Victorian woman feeling restricted, what a shock. Thus, Lady Finchingfield decides to become Mademoiselle Noire, and enthralls Lord Henry. In something of a reaction to the excesses of the Regency period, the Victorian period had more rules than women could keep up with, and this way of addressingor circumventing them—appealed to me as very creative. The disguise and gentlemen’s club add an aura of suspense so it was a super quick read for me. I love fast-paced books.

By Emmanuelle de Maupassant,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A decadent world of dark temptation.
A woman addicted to danger.
A man who never believed he'd meet his match.

Lady Finchingfield dons disguise to infiltrate the chambers of London’s most decadent club.
Can she keep her identity secret, or is scandal inevitable?
One thing is certain: falling in love can only bring disaster.

Heat level: darkly sensual

Originally published in 2014, as 'The Gentlemen's Club' - within the 'Noire' trilogy

Read all three titles in the 'Dangerous Desire' series:
Forbidden Desire
Forbidden Temptation
Forbidden Seduction


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