Six mouth-watering books about baking
Published on: 15 November 2022
Sarah Todd Taylor, author of Alice Éclair, Spy Extraordinaire, shares her favourite books featuring tasty treats. Grab a slice and get reading!
I often get accused of making people feel hungry when they read Alice Éclair’s adventures, with all her delicious cakes and melt-in-the-mouth pastries. It’s a feeling I can relate to and the books on this list certainly gave me a lot of sweet inspiration while writing Alice’s second adventure, A Spoonful of Spying. I love books about baking because they are often based on a recipe that combines three of my favourite things – cake, beautiful art and friendship. When I sit down to write Alice, one of the things that I enjoy most is imagining bigger and more complicated things for her to bake, so it’s no surprise that a lot of the books on my list are picture books. There is something about an illustration of a teetering pile of scones or a multi-tiered celebration cake that makes me smile. Cakes often lend a touch of drama too, because, as viewers of The Great British Bake Off know, there is so much that can go wrong, from a collapsed sponge to icing that won’t set. A lot of the books in my list show that a story about baking can be just as action-packed as a good murder mystery – but they are twice as tasty!
We’re moving into the Christmas season, with all its warm spiced biscuits and fruit-filled cake. It always puts me in a baking mood, so grab a macaron and a cup of tea and sit back for my Great Bookish Bake Off to get us all in the mood for the delicious festive treats ahead.
Great Bunny Bakes by Ellie Snowdon
Great Bunny Bakes is an adorable slice of fun with a strong message of acceptance and friendship. Quentin the wolf loves to bake, but has no one to share his creations with, so when he wants to enter the Bunny Bake Off he knows that he will have to go in disguise or all the bunnies will be scared of him. Gorgeous illustrations, a dastardly sabotage and Quentin’s joy at finally making friends make this a delight and the cake illustrations are delicious.
The Big Christmas Bake by Fiona Barker and Pippa Curnick
Just out in time for Christmas, this action-packed book re-imagines the Twelve Days of Christmas Carol as the baking of a traditional Twelfth Night Cake. I loved being introduced to this old tradition in such a fun way and the brightly coloured illustrations are packed with movement and energy. I’m not at all biased by the inclusion of piping guinea pigs, honest.
The Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam series by Tracey Corderoy and Steven Lenton
No baking list could be complete without this series of tales of bank robber dogs turned bakers. Tracey Corderoy’s effortless witty rhyme and Steven Lenton’s delectable colour palettes (my favourite is the black and orange combination of The Spooky School) bake up a treat every time.
The Twitches Bake a Cake by Hayley Scott and Pippa Curnick
I love the Teacup House series. Hayley Scott’s gentle and kind stories and Pippa Curnick’s bright and sweet illustrations are a perfect recipe, and who could fail to fall in love with a tale of bunnies who just want to get their paws on delicious cake? It is lovely to see chapter books with more illustrations and this series delivers every time.
The Magic Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton
This may be cheating, but I had to include the Magic Faraway Tree series because when I was a child, I was fascinated by the pop biscuits that the characters were so fond of and tried so many times to work out how a real one could be made. The stories of three children who find multiple worlds at the top of a magic tree are ones I return to time and time again. Pure escapism.
Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles by Rupert Kingfisher, illustrated by Sue Hellard
Set in Paris, the Madame Pamplemousse series follows the adventures of talented cook Madeleine, who discovers the magical cooking shop of Madame Pamplemousse. I adore this series for its whimsical, fairy-tale atmosphere. Kingfisher creates a world in which anything could happen as Madeleine discovers that cooking is, quite literally, magical.