When Elinor Klivans was testing recipes for her 12th cookbook, she had little trouble finding friends to share the workload.

Klivans, whose other books include such tasty subjects as “Pot Pies” and “Big Fat Cookies,” tells the story in the introduction to “Chocolate Cakes – 50 great cakes for every occasion.”

“My freezer was full,” she wrote. “I had marched cakes up to the neighbors, served them to company, carried them on airplanes to family and friends, and brought them everywhere that I had been invited to for months.” In the end, the Camden resident sent an e-mail message to her friends and neighbors and threw a dessert party, complete with 20 types of chocolate cake and Prosecco sparkling wine to wash it down.

“Chocolate Cakes” is the result of all that writing, baking and testing. Beginning with descriptions of how chocolate is grown, harvested and processed into the products found on store shelves, Klivans’ book goes on to explain how to make a variety of cakes, frostings and decorations.

Klivans had written for Bon Appetit magazine, prior to writing her first cookbook in 1994. In a March 12 interview, she said she gets her ideas in many ways. She travels frequently and said many of her recipes are inspired by things she eats in foreign lands as well as things she sees right at home.

“I was reading a catalog at breakfast this morning and I was getting ideas,” she said. “I was in Portland yesterday and saw a butterscotch brownie that had been split and filled in the center.” Such experiences inform the creations she makes in her own kitchen, she said. “New recipes come from seeing ingredients on the counter, from friends’ comments.”

“This is just a labor of love,” she said of her most recent book, as she set a rich gooey slice of Chocolate-Apricot Pudding Cake with Chocolate Toffee Sauce on a plate. She said she enjoys desserts that offer a variety of textures or an unusual combination of flavors, such as Chocolate Toffee Crunch Cake and Chinese Five-spice Chocolate Chiffon Cake. She especially enjoys it when ice cream is part of the recipe, as in Milk Chocolate Haystack Ice Cream Loaf.

“When people think of chocolate cake, they think of a layer cake with chocolate frosting,” Klivans said.

“Chocolate Cakes – 50 great cakes for every occasion” has several variations on that theme including one, called Happy Chocolate Cake, that Klivans described as “the perfect birthday cake.”

Klivans said she began her career as an English major in college and cooking came naturally to her.

“When I started, it was hard to write the head notes,” she said. “With the first book, it took as long to write a three or four line recipe introduction as it did to work out a three-page recipe. You have to have a personality, a voice.”

The personality that emerges in “Chocolate Cakes” is playful, accessible and imaginative. A grandmother, Klivans said the best way to start children off in the kitchen is to give them something simple to make, such as chocolate chip cookies or an easy dinner recipe.

“Success makes you happy,” she said. “Sometimes the less you know, the better.” She said that when young children are in the kitchen, she begins by spreading newspapers on the floor. “Kids love frosting and sprinkles,” she said.

Klivans said she enjoys the food in Italy and San Francisco, but the Midcoast is one of her favorite places to eat out.

Klivans’ next book, “Real Bread, Real Fast,” is expected to come out at the end of this year. Her books are available at local bookstores.

The Herald Gazette Reporter Shlomit Auciello can be reached at 207-236-8511 or by e-mail at sauciello@villagesoup.com.