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!