The person you're gift-hunting for loves to bake (in this scenario, remember you could be on the hunt for yourself). You want to get a baking cookbook, but there are like 5000 of them, and you've only managed to narrow the list to 1000 that look fabulous.
But not every book is right for everyone. Our highly tested system will churn out the right cookbook for the occasion: Just pick your ideal cake and we'll match it to a book. Note that not all of these cakes appear in the books they align with; rather, the ones with asterisks are dreamt up by us to hone in on the spirit of each book.
Click on your ideal cake to jump to its book match, or read through the article to see your full range of choices:
You like cozy, all-natural cakes that are best eaten with tea—not coffee, or wine, or harder liquor. You love pure, classic flavors (vanilla, lemon, straight pumpkin), but aren't opposed to little twists once in awhile. Maybe a burnt honey glaze?
You're excited by rustic, beautiful desserts that use somewhat out-of-the-ordinary flavor combinations. You can't wait to try fennel blondies, peach cardamom muffins, plum bourbon crumble pie, but especially a ricotta cake with tomato marmalade and tomato cream cheese frosting.
Little Flower Baking by Christine Moore
You like technically precise and wholesome, but still really delicious, baking recipes. You'd like to experiment with gluten-free and vegan baking but don't want to sacrifice flavor for anything.
For instance: You're the one who brings a luscious chocolate cake to your kid's bake sale that everyone raves over, and you keep to yourself that it's made with vegetables.
Better Baking: Wholesome Ingredients, Delicious Desserts by Genevieve Ko
More: Watch Genevieve make the Green Tea Chocolate Cake with Matcha Marshmallow Frosting from her book.
Your baking swerves from sweet to savory, classic to experimental. You're not afraid of combining ingredients for the first time, or of somewhat complex recipes—as long as they come out utterly delicious and comforting but still sophisticated. Bonus points if you hold your cast iron close, or want to be the kind of person who does.
Stir, Sizzle, Bake: Recipes for Your Cast-Iron Skillet by Charlotte Druckman
You ask for an oozy fruit cobbler or pie for your birthday instead of chocolate cake. You're the first "in line" at the farmers market for fall's quince, summer's delicate berries, and winter's kumquatsorangesgrapefruitslemons. You like playing with alternative flours, and spices, but will always use the season as your inspiration for what to bake.
Sweeter off the Vine: Fruit Desserts for Every Season by Yossy Arefi
You like traditional European pastries and the flavors that come with them: almond, dairy, sugary glaze, boozy-plump raisins. You're not afraid of yeast or shaping dough (or would like to be taught how to conquer that fear).
You love baking Middle Eastern desserts, and especially those that are floral, fragrant, and weeknight-friendly. You've got chamomile, mint, orange blossom, and rose at the ready for your next baking project.
Soframiz: Vibrant Middle Eastern Recipes from Sofra Bakery and Cafe by Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick
For you, baked goods are your canvas: You swirl your niece's birthday brownies with more than just cream cheese (strawberry-balsamic jam? pistachio butter?) and ask, again, if you can make a wedding cake for your neighbors. You've already made an ombré cake and are looking for surprisingly delicious and beautiful recipes.
Your idea of a history textbook is a vintage cookbook. And you only like to bake cakes that have a good story attached to them. Then, at your dinner party, you can say, "This cake first appeared in the second edition of America's first cookbook!" or "This is one of the Los Angeles Times's most-requested cake recipes of all time!"
You like the nostalgia and simplicity of boxed cake mixes (and the fact that they take 20 minutes to make), but you like to bake from scratch. And while you don't need spelt or mochiko flour, you do like to dream up an exciting cake that's just right for your occasion.
Cake Magic!: Mix & Match Your Way to 100 Amazing Combinations by Caroline Wright
You're a daytime dessert kind of person: Your breakfast and 3 P.M. snack is usually sweet, preferably with a spot of tea. You like messy, unfussy baked goods that ooze with fruit, spices, or both.
Golden: Sweet & Savory Baked Delights from the Ovens of London's Honey & Co. by Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer
You like the challenge of baked goods that require rising, kneading, folding, and twirling. And babka is your absolute favorite (even if it's not technically a cake), and you want to learn how to make it—and other breads—from the pro.
You seek out wholesome desserts, particularly gluten-free ones. If they happen to have fruit, use alternative flours, and look cute (you know, like a roulade, a tart, or a pie), then even better.
Alternative Baker: Reinventing Dessert with Gluten-Free Grains and Flours by Alanna Taylor-Tobin
You like cookies so much more than cake. You like to smile and experiment while you read recipes and bake, but you also want the best, most fun versions of classic cookies.
You like literally every kind of cake and no one could make you pick a favorite. You like the classic, the simple, the edgy—and the straight-from-your-own-brain.
How to Bake Everything: Simple Recipes for the Best Baking by Mark Bittman
What baking books do you have your eye on? Tell us in the comments!