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Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Moments in Fiction

Baby, it's cold outside--so why not get all warm and fuzzy-feeling by curling up with a book featuring delicious treats? Here's a baker's dozen of fictional tales which include memorable scenes involving sweets.

Bread Alone and The Baker's Apprentice by Judith Ryan Hendricks: These linked books detail a pivotal time in the life of the main character, who abandons a plastic LA lifestyle and keeps it real by working at a bakery in Seattle. 

Carrot Cake Murder (and basically anything by Joann Fluke): A murder mystery series which focuses on an unlucky baker who has a tendency to come across dead bodies. This series includes recipes that are actually quite good!

Chocolat by Joanne Harris: If this doesn't make you want chocolate, nothing will.

Cooking for Mr. Latte by Amanda Hesser: OK, so this is not fiction, but it really does read like it--and it has a recipe for cake. Win-win!

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens: Who could forget Miss Havisham's mummified wedding cake? 

Heartburn by Nora Ephron: Before there was Sleepless in Seattle, before she directed Julie and Julia, Nora Ephron was one of the first novelists to include recipes in a novel. This one is liberally peppered with all sorts of food, but has a killer Key Lime Pie recipe.

Lady Baltimore by Owen Wister: Owen Wister's tale from whence the cake of the same name sprouted!

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel: Sex! Betrayal! Sadness! And best of all, plenty of food (including cake!).

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder: Two words for you: Maple Snow. What kid didn't want to get in on that action after reading this classic?

Pastries: A Novel of Desserts and Discoveries by Bharti Kirchner: The title does kind of say it all--this novel details the soul-searching journey of a Seattle baker.

Ruby Bakes a Cake by Susan Hill: This one's for the kids, but even adults will enjoy the sweet illustrations (by my mom, Margie Moore!) accompanying an equally sweet story of Ruby the Raccoon and her journey to make the ultimate sweet treat.

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister: This wonderfully written novel details several students in a cooking class and the ways in which they lose (and find) themselves in cooking. Includes a great chapter (with valuable baking tips and a recipe!) on cake.

September Fair: A Murder-by-Month Mystery by Jess Lourey: This murder mystery is not about sweets per se, but it takes place at a Minnesota state fair and includes plenty of appetizing descriptors of decadent fair foods (deep fried nut goodie, anyone?).

That's just a baker's dozen of sweet reads--please feel free to comment with your favorites or to leave suggestions!

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Reader Comments (15)

I LOVE cooking for Mr. Latte. I totally agree—reads like fiction with the bonus of great recipes.

(I'm also with you on maple snow. I wanted it bad.)

Great list!

January 11 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

Love the Little House Books... I also remember in one of the books the family making homemade ( of course) egg nog and taking it to the fields to quench their thirst from the hot sun. Funny how books can leave an impression. Also remember The Box Car Children book where the kids baked potatoes in a campfire and had icey cold milk :-)

January 12 | Unregistered CommenterElyse

the cherries jubilee in dealing with dragons is my favorite

January 12 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

Any of the Redwall series - sure, they're young adult fiction, and about woodland creatures, but the things they eat! I don't know what half of the foods are, but I still want them.

January 12 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

I love love love Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen, it takes place near Ashville, NC, and is great!

January 12 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle

For a little vampire action, check out Sunshine, by Robin McKinley. Awesome baker chick who makes cinnamon rolls the size of your head teams up with horrifyingly ugly but strangely compelling vampire dude. They fight crime!

January 12 | Unregistered CommenterEmmy

Although not fiction, I recommend all of Ruth Reichl's books! They are filled will stories of her coming of age with food, Tender at the Bone and also Comfort Me With Apples. My favorite, Garlic and Sapphires, describes her life (and costumes) as LA Times restaurant critic. She often includes recipes for delish desserts!

January 12 | Unregistered CommenterEden

Anything by Diane Mott Davidson - The Goldy mysteries are about a Caterer who solves murders... also Cleo Coyle - she has a series about a Coffee Shop owner - recipes included for coffee based food mostly and also Laura Childs books - tea shop series, scrapbooking series and the cacklebury club - all three always include recipes at the back and I simply cannot live without Hayley's lemon curd from Shades of Earl Grey... it's fab!

January 12 | Unregistered CommenterJ

Best. Reading List. Ever.

January 12 | Unregistered CommenterEB

Any of the books in Jan Karon's "Mitford" series will make you hungry. They constantly talk about food and even have some recipes in them. I just want to say how much I LOVE this drawing!!! It combines my passion for reading and my love of cupcakes in the cutest way. Will it be available for purchase in some way?

January 12 | Unregistered CommenterMyra

Little House in the Big Woods used to make me wish my parents would butcher a pig so I could play with its bladder.

January 12 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

thanks so much for all of these books you have all suggested - i've been needing some good reads and my favorites are ones that talk about food!! i'm headed to the library tomorrow!!!

January 12 | Unregistered Commenterarlene

Thanks all--and especially to those who suggested even more sweet reads! :-)

January 13 | Unregistered CommenterCakeSpy

I've a list of baking themed fiction picture books at http://www.playingbythebook.net/2009/12/23/fantastic-fiction-for-kids-baking/

A fantastic find!! Thank you for this wonderful list. I love your whimsy looking blog.

March 21 | Unregistered CommenterVirginia

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