The best cake books

3 authors have picked their favorite books about cakes and why they recommend each book.

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The Birthday Cake Mystery

By The Tjong-Khing,

Book cover of The Birthday Cake Mystery

The characters in this visual mystery can be followed on each spread in a myriad of storylines that surprise and delight. With so many complex plots, in order to truly appreciate this book, re-reading is a must! Whose birthday is it? What is the mystery? Why is it so difficult to make a cake for the party? Fiascos and disasters abound, a classic illustration style that would keep detail-loving kids reading for hours.

Who am I?

From the ages of 1-4, my son Finn deeply rooted himself into the detailed world of Richard Scarry. These books could be such slow reads that we only needed two of them for long airplane rides. Through Finn’s love of Scarry books, I began searching for more books that delighted with detail. And when I did not see my family’s bicycle-rich lifestyle reflected in books, I created Cycle City.

I wrote...

Cycle City: (City Books for Kids, Find and Seek Books)

By Alison Farrell,

Book cover of Cycle City: (City Books for Kids, Find and Seek Books)

What is my book about?

When little Etta the Elephant goes to her Aunt Ellen's house, she takes a journey through bicycle-filled Cycle City, a town filled with bikes of all kinds! At the end of the day, a special surprise awaits Etta—the most amazing bicycle parade imaginable.

Detail-rich illustrations in this fun seek-and-find book paint the colors of this unusual town where everyone rides some kind of bike—whether a penny-farthing, a two-wheeled unicycle, or a conference bike, everyone is on wheels! Packed with prompts and lots to see on every page, this is a sweet story for the sharpest of eyes.

I Really Want the Cake

By Simon Philip, Lucia Gaggiotti (illustrator),

Book cover of I Really Want the Cake

When our heroine and her little dog spy a spectacular cake just sitting alone on the kitchen table, it's on! The note attached from Mom says "You must not eat the cake." But what's a kid to do? She tries lots of activities to help her forget about cake but will temptation win out? This book is fun, funny, and well written. I love the drama of the situation and the art (by Lucia Gaggioti) is spot on. Fun to read dramatically aloud to both kids and adults. (Pair it with a reading of Green Eggs and Ham!)

Who am I?

I'm an award-winning children's book author who loves everything about kid's books--including the smell! With over 50 books on bookstore shelves-- which have been read aloud hundreds of times all over the world-- I feel that I've become an expert on the subject.

I wrote...

People Don't Bite People

By Lisa Wheeler, Molly Idle (illustrator),

Book cover of People Don't Bite People

What is my book about?

People Don't Bite People is a humorous, yet helpful, look at a common early childhood problem. As the book says...It's good to bite a carrot. It's good to bite a steak. It's bad to bite your sister. She's not a piece of cake! Yes, there are a lot of things that go into toddler and preschool mouths. A person should not be one of them!

A Good Bake

By Melissa Weller, Carolynn Carreno,

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

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.

Who am I?

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.

My project is...

Cooking & Baking Classes

I am the author of 40 original cookbooks, and the co-author, ghostwriter, recipe tester, or consultant to more than 30 additional titles. I provide culinary and literary services to chefs, corporations, and celebrities, drawing on deep experience in these very different worlds. 

Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake

By Michael Kaplan, Stephane Jorisch (illustrator),

Book cover of Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake

This is a hilariously funny book for children ages 3 – 5 about a bunny girl who discovers chocolate cake. Besides being an entertaining story, valuable life lessons about food are woven into the plot. This gives the book a deeper layer that can be enjoyed by parents as well. The illustrations are endearing and well-suited for this age group.

Who am I?

Who doesn’t love chocolate? This is what I ask myself very often. Being an award-winning children’s book author with a passion for chocolate and sweets, I began to wonder how healthy my lifestyle really is. With the death of an overweight friend of mine and many people around me with weight issues, I felt it was time to write a book about food choices for kids.

I wrote...

The Chocolate Clouds

By Marc Remus,

Book cover of The Chocolate Clouds

What is my book about?

Chocolate clouds hover above the town of Choco-Locoville. When it rains, it rains chocolate! It sounds fantastic, but what if there’s nothing else to eat but chocolate and sweets? 

This holds true for the magical world of Sugarland, where everyone is overweight, including ten-year-old Henry. His parents have become rich by controlling the chocolate clouds and building a candy empire around them. But one morning, the clouds have disappeared. Henry goes on an adventurous journey to find them and learn about nutrition, weight loss, and friendship.

Blaze and the Castle Cake for Bertha Daye

By Claude Ponti, Alyson Waters (translator),

Book cover of Blaze and the Castle Cake for Bertha Daye

Claude Ponti is now in charge of the answers to the children's questions in Philosophie Magazine. Maybe less diffused in the Anglophone world than Ungerer, he’s clearly a great artiste, one of the biggest, with an extravagant and surrealistic imagination, and this album, in particular, is a masterpiece.

Who am I?

I’m the happy father of five children, born between 2000 and 2017. So in my adult years, I have quite constantly lived in the company of young children, and I’ve started inventing stories for them. I have now six albums published in France, all of which were originally imagined for my kids just before we switch off the light for sleeping. Born in 1975, I live in Paris, I’m the chief editor of Philosophie magazine (a monthly publication with 50 000 readers), and I’ve published twenty novels and essays alas not available in English. I’m the president and co-founder of a creative writing school located in Paris, Les Mots.

I wrote...

Dragons in Love

By Alexandre Lacroix, Ronan Badel (illustrator),

Book cover of Dragons in Love

What is my book about?

Strokkur is a little dragon, living alone with his daddy. Then, he’s got a problem: when a charming little girl grants him a kiss on his cheek, he feels his fire burning inside… He’s terrified, a dragon shouldn’t be in love, otherwise, he may hurt the one he loves with his flames… Like in his previous adventure, Dragons. Father and Son, also illustrated by Ronan Badel, Strokkur we’ll have to solve a moral dilemma.

Crab Cake

By Andrea Tsurumi,

Book cover of Crab Cake: Turning the Tide Together

Crab Cake speaks to me as a biologist and as someone who cares deeply about the environment. It has a more serious tone than the other books on the list—but only as serious as a book headlined by a baking crab can be. The illustrations of the seafloor community are detailed, and true facts about sea animals are “baked” right into the text. When the undersea community in the story finds itself on the ugly end of humans’ habit of dumping trash where it’s not wanted, the titular crab uses his penchant for baking cakes to bring the community together to solve the problem.

Who am I?

Over my career as an elementary school teacher and a science educator I’ve seen time and time again that no matter the topic, learning happens best when people feel positive and engaged. My favorite books to share with young readers are those that capture their attention–be it with stunning illustrations, unusual information, or hilarious situations–and leave them with a strong emotional connection to the characters or story. Now, as I read oodles of picture books for writing research, I keep an extra special eye out for those that leave me smiling and also make me think. Some of my very favorites are collected for you here.

I wrote...

Rat Fair

By Leah Rose Kessler, Cleonique Hilsaca (illustrator),

Book cover of Rat Fair

What is my book about?

When a group of industrious, fun-loving rats find letters fallen from an Art Fair sign, they put the sign back together—with one small adjustment—and get to work creating a spectacular Rat Fair. Their fair is ruined when humans sweep away everything the rats have created. Undaunted, the rats switch gears and start working on their very own Rat Art Fair. As they are wrapping up their first day of the Rat Art Fair, a human child who has been following their progress from the sidelines catches them red-handed, and the rats must decide if they can trust the child.

A nearly wordless tale about creativity, kindness, and perseverance.

Llama Destroys the World

By Jonathan Stutzman, Heather Fox (illustrator),

Book cover of Llama Destroys the World

My granddaughter introduced me to Llama, and I had a hard time reading aloud because I couldn’t stop laughing. Has a character ever been more pleased with himself than Llama, or more self-indulgent? He eats more cake than a llama should ever eat, puts on his dancing pants and cha-chas—but squeezing into those pants after all that cake causes the pants to split so violently that a black hole opens in space. Portents of doom appear, but Llama ignores them. When the universe pops back through the black hole and all’s right with the world again, Llama finds pie. 

Who am I?

I’m the author of Raccoon Tune, Elena’s Story, and eight books about goofy sheep. My family didn’t get a TV until I was nine, so I used the library for entertainment. I liked all kinds of books. I’m still a voracious reader and I’m fascinated by the nuances of words. My kids loved silly books--especially where someone ignores the obvious--and so does my granddaughter. I also grew up playing with words. Once, on a car trip, I started rhyming about sheep driving a jeep, and even a preschooler knows you shouldn’t forget to steer. I think that seeing foolish characters in stories helps kids make sense of the world.

I wrote...

Sheep Trick or Treat

By Nancy Shaw, Margot Apple (illustrator),

Book cover of Sheep Trick or Treat

What is my book about?

My eager sheep create scary costumes to go trick-or-treating at the farm in the dell. Not noticing a scarier creature lurking in the woods, they collect treats from the animals in the barn—apples, oats, and sugar lumps are great; a dried-up fly, not so much. As they head home, a bunch of wolves lurks in wait, but the sheep’s costume faces, lit from below by lanterns, send the predators skedaddling. The sheep settle down with their Halloween treats.

Victorian Cakes

By Caroline B. King,

Book cover of Victorian Cakes: A Reminiscence With Recipes

This delightful memoir/cookbook of a girl and her sisters growing up near Chicago in the late 1800s gives us a glimpse of what kinds of things a middle-class family ate--there were trendy foods back then, just like we have now!

What’s it like? Just imagine if you took all your favorite 19th-century children's books, mashed them all together, and edited out everything except talking about cake. Oh and maybe keep in a few things about fancy outfits and picnics.

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.

We wrote...

The Little Women Cookbook: Novel Takes on Classic Recipes from Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy and Friends

By Jenne Bergstrom, Miko Osada,

Book cover of The Little Women Cookbook: Novel Takes on Classic Recipes from Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy and Friends

What is our book about?

You already adore the story of these four sisters who, with little means, find their own paths in a tale full of laughter, love, loss, and family. Now, experience Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel in an entirely new and delightful way—as a cookbook. You’ll learn to make ice cream with Meg, molasses candy with Jo, baked squash with Beth, pickled limes with Amy, and so much more. For a creative twist, these delicious step-by-step recipes are adapted from vintage Civil War-era cookbooks for the modern kitchen.

Oh No, George!

By Chris Haughton,

Book cover of Oh No, George!

Another book about a dog named George! This George is a sweet, well-intentioned dog who is trying very hard to be good. But oh dear, there are so many temptations. Cake! A cat. Some lovely dirt. 

“What will George do?” the book asks. And then comes the page turn. (As you can probably tell from the title, George doesn’t always make the best choices.) The kids will shout, “Oh no, George!” with me and giggle at the silly illustrations that follow, like George happily eating an entire cake. But they can also relate. Sometimes making the right choices can be hard.  

The ending is unexpected and usually starts a lively discussion. I love anything that gets kids talking to each other about books.

Who am I?

I’ve been a preschool teacher for several years, and now I’m a preschool librarian. When I was teaching, storytime was my favorite part of the day, so when I was offered the spot of librarian, I happily took it! I have storytimes in all the classes, which range in age from 1-year-olds up to PreK and kindergarten classes. My favorite moments are when the children are connecting to each other in some way, like sharing a laugh together. Such joy! Ultimately, the best books for preschool storytimes are the ones that a reader is excited to share, with the hope that the kids will love them, too. 

I wrote...


By Sheri Dillard, Jess Pauwels (illustrator),

Book cover of Cowhide-And-Seek

What is my book about?

When Bessie hears the farmer counting his cows, she thinks he’s starting a game of hide-and-seek. She hurries off to hide, determined to be the winner — but she’s the only one playing!

When her “hiding spot” walks away, she follows it . . . right off the farm! Ready or not, here comes the farmer! Will Bessie find the perfect place to hide?

Jane Asher’s Eats for Treats

By Jane Asher,

Book cover of Jane Asher’s Eats for Treats

This was my first foray into baking when I received this cookbook. Although it’s aimed at children, it’s a straightforward recipe book with step by step images of stages in a recipe. My favourite recipe from the book is a Banana Cake. It has splashes of batter on it because it has been baked time and time again and I still use this recipe a decade later. 

Who am I?

Growing up as an Asian girl in the UK has its ups and downs. I was bullied at school but sought solace in cooking and learning from my mother about Indian cuisine. Now in my adult life, I’ve been awarded the British Empire Medal for cooking services to the community during the pandemic. A straightforward approach to cuisine has won me fans globally and a TV series broadcast to over 80 million viewers cooking British dishes for an Indian audience. After writing 6 books on the subject of easy cooking, I hope you like the choices on my very personal list which are dog-eared and spice stained with overuse and love. 

I wrote...

Easy Indian Cookbook: Over 70 Deliciously Simple Recipes

By Manju Malhi BEM,

Book cover of Easy Indian Cookbook: Over 70 Deliciously Simple Recipes

What is my book about?

The Easy Indian Cookbook is a book that’s sold globally even in India and does what it says on the cover. There’s an image of the dish for each recipe and at the back there are menu suggestions on what to cook and how to plan your cooking schedule. This globally sold cookbook has also been translated into several languages and I still refer to it as my Indian cooking guide whenever I teach novice spice cooks.

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