Let them read cake

Having just celebrated my birthday, I’ve been thinking about cake for some time and have noticed a trend: we need cake now more than ever.  In an unofficial cake cookbook census taken by *me,* statistics indicate a rise in the Library’s purchase of how-to-bake-cake books. The library owns ten cake cookbooks published from 1991 to 1999, and 36 cake cookbooks published between 2000 and 2010 – an increase of more than 300 percent in one short decade. Even I own a copy of The Cake Mix Doctor Returns by Ann Bryn!

In  2009 and 2010, I read several new fiction books featuring cake, which must mean something, too! It started with Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin, a story about Angel Tungaraza who bakes colorful elaborate cakes to cheer her friends in a Rwandan city suffering from the aftermath of genocide. Not a grim book but a hopeful, sometimes funny one – especially when you read Angel’s descriptions of her cakes. And when I found cake in the new Sarah Addison Allen book, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, about a woman who loves to bake cakes and gains both a lover and a young friend just on the strength of cake aromas, I knew I was onto something. While sniffing around for other cake fiction, I couldn’t help but find Aimee Bender’s new book, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake  in which Rose Edelstein has a peculiar talent for tasting emotions. She can barely eat her mother’s cooking for all the negativity baked into it – especially the lemon birthday cake. Eschewing depression, Bender takes an emotionally bankrupt family situation and molds it into a confection of bittersweet delight.

On my still-to-be-read list are these 2010 cake treasures:

Oh no, my colleague just mentioned the upswing in pie consciousness. Stay tuned…                   
               ~ Jen B., Central Library

3 thoughts on “Let them read cake”

  1. Fantastic post, Jen! It really brightened my day. Plus, this weekend brings a birthday cake for my son–so the prospect of eating cake is imminent. As for books, I am reminded of “The Whole World Over” by Julia Glass which features a baker as one of its main characters. I have also heard good things about two Seattle-based books by Judith Ryan Hendricks: “Bread Alone” and “The Baker’s Apprentice.” I think they are bread heavy, but I bet there’s some cake in them, too!

  2. perfect timing for today, birthday number two for my younger son! ah, the joy of cupcakes (when is the cake doctor lady going to write the cupcake doctor cookbook?!?) smeared on all flat surfaces and some body parts too. I miss the dog…

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