Ever since my mom first read Wende and Harry Devlin's Cranberry Thanksgiving to me in about 1975, I've been a sucker for kid's books with recipes. I still make "Grandmother's Famous Cranberry Bread" from that book every Thanksgiving and Christmas. So of course I picked up The Bake Shop Ghost, written by Jacqueline K. Ogburn and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman, when it showed up on the new book shelf of my library's children's section. It has a great story and ends with a recipe for "Ghost Pleasing Chocolate Cake."
The book tells the story of Cora Lee Merriweather, a bakeshop owner with a severe hairstyle and lemon-pucker mouth but a talent for baking the best cakes and pies around. The lists of baked goods make for delightful reading, as in: "Few looked up from the glass-fronted cases filled with fluffy meringue pies, glistening fruit tarts, flaky strudels, and most of all, cakes. Layer cakes, sheet cakes, cakes with glazes, cakes with fillings, cakes with frosting finer than Irish lace, chocolate cakes, white cakes, tiny petit fours, and towering wedding cakes." The Bakeshop Ghost is not all just menu; it has a good plot as well. Cora Lee Merriweather dies and haunts the bakery, vandalizing it and driving out all new owners until plucky pastry chef Annie Washington takes over the shop and sets about winning over the ghost. The illustrations really convey the action of the story as well as the delicious baked goods.
We are all looking forward trying out the recipe for "Ghost-Pleasing Chocolate Cake" and we hope it becomes a family favorite like our beloved cranberry bread.
Warning: This book will make you hungry!