bake it like you mean itGesine Bullock-Prado says it’s what’s inside that really counts, and in this visually sumptuous book, the author of Sugar Baby and Pie it Forward showcases cakes that are beautiful from the inside out.

Each chapter of Bake It Like You Mean It is devoted to a technique of making different types of cake, beginning with the easiest recipe and moving to the more technically difficult as the chapter progresses. When the cakes are cut, they will reveal intricate layers of patterns and designs, such as hearts, checkerboards, helixes, and colorful stripes that will bring a smile to everyone who enjoys them. This compendium of gorgeous cake recipes and techniques will yield glorious meringues, sponge cakes, pound cakes, cheesecakes, and tarts for all levels of bakers.

With her trademark wit and enthusiasm for the world of confections and baking, Gesine’s latest book will delight her fans. (description from publisher)

brown betty cookbookWhen three generations of African-American women decided to open a bakery in Philadelphia, they had no idea how quickly the accolades would come. With high praise from Rachael Ray magazine and other corners of the culinary world, the Brown Betty Dessert Boutique has found fame with their amazing poundcakes, cheesecakes, pies, and cookies, among other delectable treats.

This delicious cookbook features both the secret recipes that Brown Betty’s fans can’t wait to get their hands on, as well as the personal stories that explain the evocative names of such recipes as Alice’s Two Step and Strawberry Letter. The Brown Betty Cookbook features recipes that combine old-fashioned treats with thrilling contemporary flavors like sweet potato poundcake and dark cherry cheesecake and includes gorgeous and mouthwatering full-color photography throughout.

For home bakers who want to experience the best of Brown Betty in their own homes or dessert-lovers looking for something new, The Brown Betty Cookbook offers both inspiration and delectation. (description from publisher)

Not that they’ve ever really gone out of style, but pies are enjoying a resurgence of popularity these days with several new books extolling their virtues and delights. And what better time to try some new pie recipes than the holidays?

A Year of Pies presents beautifully photographed seasonal recipes that include such delights as a Chocolate & Orange Marmalade Tart in winter, a Strawberry & Rhubarb Ginger Hand Pie in spring, a classic Lattice Top Triple Berry Pie in summer, and Rosemary Bourbon Sweet Potato Pie in autumn. A Basics section offers six piecrust recipes, troubleshooting tips, and advice on selecting seasonal ingredients.

An utterly charming collection of regional heirloom American pies, from long-lost recipes to classic favorites, sweetly illustrated and chock-full of time-tested baking tips and secrets for perfect pies Before cooking shows and celebrity chefs there were church dinners, community bake sales, and county fairs-events for which regular women made and served their prized family recipes. The United States of Pie invites readers on a journey back in time.

From a ‘proper’ quiche Lorraine to an indulgent raspberry cheesecake pie, Tart it Up shows you the secrets for creating great pies and tarts every time. Pies and tarts are the ultimate comfort food. Whether sweet or savory, elegant or hearty, they are great for relaxed entertaining, family get-togethers and even weekday suppers.

(descriptions from publishers)

Sophisticated, contemporary cookie recipes from one of America′s most respected baking experts comes Simply Sensational Cookies, a delicious collection of cookie recipes that covers both the classics that mom used to make and modern, innovative ideas for the adventurous baker.

Whether you′re a novice baker, an experienced cook, or a parent looking for new treats to try, this is the ideal cookbook for cookie-lovers, with more than 200 recipes ranging from fast and simple no-bake preparations to challenging projects for experienced bakers featuring more than 200 recipes, from traditional cookies like chocolate chip to sophisticated, savory cocktail nibbles with gorgeous and inspiring photography throughout.

Whether you need quick treats for the kids to snack on or fancy fare for your next cocktail party, Simply Sensational Cookies offers a wide range of recipes that will satisfy your every craving. (description from publisher)

When journalist Beth Howard’s young husband dies suddenly, she packs up the RV he left behind and hits the American highways. At every stop along the way – whether filming a documentary or handing out free slices on the streets of Los Angeles – Beth uses pie as a way to find purpose. Howard eventually returns to her Iowa roots and creates the perfect synergy between two of America’s greatest icons – pie and the American Gothic House, the little farmhouse in Eldon, Iowa immortalized in Grant Wood’s famous painting, where she now lives and runs the Pitchfork Pie Stand.

Making Piece powerfully shows how one courageous woman triumphs over tragedy. This beautifully written memoir is, ultimately, about hope. It’s about the journey of healing and recovery, of facing fears, finding meaning in life again, and moving forward with purpose and, eventually, joy. It’s about the nourishment of the heart and soul that comes from the simple act of giving to others, like baking a homemade pie and sharing it with someone whose pain is even greater than your own. And it tells of the role of fate, second chances and the strength found in community.

Make way, cupcakes—it’s whoopie pie time! Everyone is falling in love with America’s classic sandwich treat—two soft cookies with a creamy filling. Now, baker extraordinaire Claire Ptak takes the humble whoopie pie to new heights in The Whoopie Pie Book.

Here are 60 irresistible recipes—made with fresh, seasonal ingredients—that show home bakers how to make the components for more than two dozen distinctive, flavorful whoopie pies from Classic flavors to frozen varieties to holiday-themed desserts that are sure to become favorites.

The Whoopie Pie Book will inspire and guide every time the whoopie-pie urge hits! (description from publisher)

Food blogger Lindsay Landis has invented the perfect cookie dough. It tastes great. It’s egg free (and thus safe to eat raw). You can whip it up in minutes. And, best of all, you can use it to make dozens of delicious cookie dough creations, from cakes, custards, and pies to candies, brownies, and even granola bars.

Included are recipes for indulgent breakfasts (cookie dough doughnuts!), frozen treats (cookie dough popsicles!), outrageous snacks (cookie dough wontons! cookie dough fudge! cookie dough pizza!), and more. The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook features clear instructions and dozens of decadent full-color photographs. If you’ve ever been caught with a finger in the mixing bowl, then this is the book for you. (description from publisher)

One Sweet Cookie by Tracey Zabar is a delectable collection of cookie recipes from New York’s best chefs, pastry chefs, and bakers. Cookies are the perfect end to a wonderful meal from one-bite meringues and macaroons that melt in your mouth to linzers and tuiles that are the ultimate fanciful confections.

Tracey Zabar has selected distinctly original cookie recipes from seventy-five of the very best culinary talents in Manhattan. Some are the chefs’ personal recipes, while others are the signature creations of top restaurants such as Le Cirque, Eleven Madison Park, Gramercy Tavern, Artisanal and City Bakery. This irresistible array of more than ninety cookie recipes for the home baker includes butterscotch and oatmeal cowboy cookies from Chef Mario Batali and his son Benno; coconut macaroons from master baker Sarabeth Levine; a chocolate chip cookie invented by Chef Todd English of Olives that combines his children’s favorite chocolate flavors with walnuts; Chef Jason Weiner of Almond’s rugelach; and Eli Zabar’s tempting buttery sugar cookies. There are also international cookies-Jammy Dodgers from England, wedding cookies from Puerto Rico, Kipferl from Austria, and Lamingtons from Australia.

This beautifully photographed book will not only appeal to discriminating dessert lovers but also to fans of New York City’s culinary scene, the cookie-swap aficionado, and the bake-sale maven.

I feel a little guilty admitting this, but I literally could watch the Food Network all day long.  One of the shows I really enjoy is Ace of Cakes, where the folks at Charm City Cakes make the most unique desserts you can imagine.  So naturally when I was looking through the cookbook section of the library a few days ago and stumbled upon Ace of Cakes: Inside the World of Charm City Cakes by Duff Goldman and Willie Goldman, I had to pick it up.  I really just wanted to look at the pictures of all the amazing cakes they have made on the show, but I found myself really reading through the book because there was so much interesting information about how Charm City Cakes got started and what inspires the staff of bakers and decorators.

The coolest part of the book is definitely the pictures of all the crazy creations they have made over the years.  I wish I were as creative as these people!  Their cakes are like nothing I have ever seen before.  There are cakes to please every personality type and every interest you could have, and a lot of them don’t even look like cakes!  The full page of Star Wars themed cakes really warmed my little geek heart (though I was sad that they didn’t include my favorite Ace of Cakes creation, the cake in the form of Han Solo frozen in carbonite).  For the creative types, the book will inspire you to try out some new and cool things with cakes.  I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to bake or enjoys watching the Food Network.

Here is almost 70 years of history one cookie at a time. The editors of Gourmet magazine (which recently ceased publication) went through their vast files of cookie recipes and chose one “best” cookie for each year, 1941-2009. The result is The Gourmet Cookie Book, a treasure trove not just of recipes, but as a reflection of our history.

Presented year by year, it is remarkably easy – and fun – to watch how recipes and baking have changed over the years. Early recipes are much more casual than what you may be used to now  with instructions like “bake in a moderate oven until done” or “add flour until stiff”, indicating that they assumed that the reader was an experienced cook;  more recent recipes give precise measurements and directions.

The style of recipes has also changed – early on, they are written in an almost conversational style, in paragraph form very different from the now standard list of ingredients followed by mixing instructions. Each recipe is presented as it originally appeared in the magazine but never fear – added notes take the guesswork out of anything that might be unclear.

It’s also interesting to track the trends and interests of the country through the years. The 40s reflect the lean years of wartime shortages and food rationing – cookies are simple and plain, using few ingredients. Recipes became more daring in the 60s with many international flavors, the 80s were the decade of chocolate and the 90s see the introduction of espresso as a regular ingredient. The look of cookies changes through time too, from simple shapes to colorful and complex. Yet they all hold one thing in common – they’ve all stood the test of time and they all taste great.