The best dessert books

4 authors have picked their favorite books about dessert and why they recommend each book.

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The Sweet Life

By Tina Rupp, Kate Zuckerman,

Book cover of The Sweet Life: Desserts from Chanterelle

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.


Who am I?

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.


I wrote...

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

By Lei Shishak,

Book cover of Farm-To-Table Desserts: 80 Seasonal, Organic Recipes Made from Your Local Farmers Market

What is my book about?

When we shop at farmers' markets, we support our local economy and consume food that's healthier, tastier, and packed with essential nutrients specific to our local environment. In Farm-to-Table Desserts, chef Lei demonstrates how baking with locally sourced, organic ingredients is so satisfying that it will quickly become an easy and delicious habit.

Baking and Pastry

By The Culinary Institute of America (CIA),

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

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.


Who am I?

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.


I wrote...

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

By Lei Shishak,

Book cover of Farm-To-Table Desserts: 80 Seasonal, Organic Recipes Made from Your Local Farmers Market

What is my book about?

When we shop at farmers' markets, we support our local economy and consume food that's healthier, tastier, and packed with essential nutrients specific to our local environment. In Farm-to-Table Desserts, chef Lei demonstrates how baking with locally sourced, organic ingredients is so satisfying that it will quickly become an easy and delicious habit.

Baking at the 20th Century Cafe

By Michelle Polzine,

Book cover of Baking at the 20th Century Cafe: Iconic European Desserts from Linzer Torte to Honey Cake

Disclosure: The owner of this San Francisco restaurant was strongly influenced by the less familiar Austro-Hungarian recipes in my book KAFFEEHAUS. But, while my book focuses on the classic versions, Michelle takes them to new heights with seasonal produce and her fresh taste on flavors and techniques. It is worth the price of the book to get her infamous Russian honey cake recipe, the towering masterpiece that graces the cover. This book is an instant classic that every serious baker will want to own.


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. 

The Divvies Bakery Cookbook

By Lori Sandler,

Book cover of The Divvies Bakery Cookbook: No Nuts. No Eggs. No Dairy. Just Delicious!

As a food allergy parent, I bought a lot of cookbooks so I could make safe meals and treats for my allergic child, and The Divvies Bakery Cookbook was one of our family’s favorites, even for the non-allergic members of the household. The recipes are delicious, the photos are gorgeous, and Sandler, the parent of a child with multiple food allergies, makes it easy and fun to duplicate all sorts of beloved desserts without nuts, eggs, or dairy. You may also find the simple recipes that use common household substitutions are fun ones to make together. 


Who am I?

I’m a kidlit author myself. I’ve written two middle-grade novels, one of which is all about having a food allergy, but my interest in food allergies is all due to my first kid. Amelia was born with multiple allergies to common ingredients like eggs and dairy. At first it was hard! Figuring out how to cook for her at home and keep her safe when she was in school or at a friend’s house felt daunting and frightening, so we turned to books for advice, recipes, and education for the entire family. Even if your reader isn’t the one with allergies, they’ve no doubt got a classmate or family member who does. 


I wrote...

My Year of Epic Rock

By Andrea Pyros,

Book cover of My Year of Epic Rock

What is my book about?

A funny, relatable tale about friendship, first crushes, and...anaphylactic shock? When Nina's BFF ditches her on the first day of 7th grade, Nina is banished to the peanut-free table where she forms a band with the other allergic kids called The EpiPens. A rollicking debut from journalist Andrea Pyros, whose spot-on tween voice rings with authenticity.

The Art of Fine Baking

By Paula Peck,

Book cover of The Art of Fine Baking

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.


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. 

Yummy

By Victoria Grace Elliott,

Book cover of Yummy: A History of Desserts

This recent release is a deep dive for young readers into the history of popular desserts, from brownies to biscotti. The gorgeous colors and charming character design make Yummy a joy to page through, but it's a great way to introduce to kids that people are responsible for the foods that we love – and sometimes our favorite dishes were complete accidents!


Who am I?

I love writing about food, and it appears as a motif in nearly every comic I've ever drawn. Comics are an exceptional medium for discussing food – a talented artist can render a drawing into something that looks delicious, but they can tie it into a story that gives the dish meaning or connects to a particular character's inner life. With Meal I had the opportunity to tell a story about a kind of cuisine that delights me, but that most people know very little about – and I turned to my favorite comics about food for inspiration on how to translate that joy from the plate to the page.


I wrote...

Meal

By Blue Delliquanti, Soleil Ho,

Book cover of Meal

What is my book about?

Meal is about a young chef named Yarrow who has just moved to town to achieve her dream job: working in a new restaurant that specializes in insect dishes. But what does she need to learn about this niche cuisine to earn the head chef's approval?

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