Giveaway Winner and Book Review: The Cupcake Club is Back!

The girls from PLC (Peace, Love, and Cupcakes) are back in the second book of The Cupcake Club series, titled Recipe for Trouble. Last week we had a guest post by author Carrie Berk (Carrie’s Cupcake Critique), who has been writing the series with her mother, Sheryl Berk (coauthor of Soul Surfer, founding editor in chief of Life & Style Weekly, and contributor to several publications, including InStyle and Martha Stewart), along with a book giveaway.

Recipe for Trouble follows Lexi, a girl with a love and talent for art (which she uses to create cupcake designs), as she and the other PLC girls begin 5th grade. When the girls witness their classmate Jeremy, who Lexi has a crush on, throw away a chocolate cupcake especially made for him, they decide to do some detective work to find out why. During this time, Lexi also faces new experiences that challenge her shy nature.

I thought the book was written appropriately for the target age group, 9 to 11 years old. The story parallels things that most young girls go through or feel at that age, and has a sense of humor (cute cupcake and baking puns) that any young cupcake lover would like. Not to mention creative cupcakes that sound tasty, with recipes included at the end of the book. A lot of similar lessons about confidence, friendship, and problem solving can be found in Recipe for Trouble, as in the first book.

Giveaway winner!
The winner of our giveaway, who will be receiving a free copy of The Cupcake Club: Recipe for Trouble, is Jamie, from Hey Jamie Bakes!

Congrats, Jamie! Please email us at CupcakeCrusaders@gmail.com with your mailing address and your copy will be on its way!

If you are interested in purchasing a copy for yourself, Recipe for Trouble is available now at bookstores and online. Let us know what you, or the young cupcake lover in your life, think!

Book Giveaway: The Cupcake Club is Back!

**GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR WINNER AND BOOK REVIEW***

Today’s guest post is from 9 year-old Carrie Berk, of Carrie’s Cupcakes Critiques. We reviewed her youth book,The Cupcake Club: Peace, Love, and Cupcakes (co-written with her mother, Sheryl Berk) last spring and now that the new book in the series, The Cupcake Club: Recipe for Trouble, is available, we are excited to give away a copy to one of our readers (more details at the bottom of this post)! But first, with Thanksgiving season upon us, many of us find ourselves thankful to be surrounded by friends and family. Carrie has shared with us some ideas of how cupcakes can be a great way to say, “Thank you” or “I love you” to those who matter. We love her creativity and hope you enjoy her cute ideas.

Carrie’s Tips:
Cupcakes are a sweet way to express how you feel about family and friends. You don’t even have to wait until Valentine’s Day to do it!

• Think about the person: What do they like? What are their fave flavors, colors, hobbies? Bake a cupcake that is as special and unique as they are! For example, if your sister likes pink and takes ballet, why not bake her a pink berry cupcake and top it with ballet slippers made from fondant? If you don’t want to make your own toppers you can find lots of fun ones in all shapes at craft and cooking stores. Or simply print out a pic on your home computer, glue it to cardstock, and attach it with a small piece of tape to a toothpick. Instant cupcake decoration!

• Spell it out! I love to make mini cupcakes topped with simple fondant letters. You can use mini alphabet cookie cutters to punch out your message. Use one letter per cupcake, then make your display on a platter or tabletop. Spell out, “Love You!” “XOXO,” or even “You Rock!”

• Gift a goodie. Pack a cupcake in a pretty cardboard box or plastic food container topped with a  bow. You can give it (like Lexi in the new book) to your secret crush or save it for a special occasion or holiday. Home-baked gifts are the best. They show you took the time to make them and really care!

• Use heart-shaped muffin pans to bake cupcakes. You can find inexpensive ones in cooking and craft stores or even on Amazon (http.amazon.com). If they’re silicon you’ll have no problem popping out your cupcake. If the pan is metal, coat first with non-stick spray, then bake and frost. Use a little gel icing to write a message on the heart. I love writing “text messages” on mine: UR GR8, 4EVR, QT, etc.

• Serve someone a cupcake in bed! I love doing this for my parents on Mother’s or Father’s Day. Plate a pretty cupcake you’ve bought or made and serve it on a tray with a glass of milk and a card for the occasion. It’s a sweet way to show how much you appreciate them and that you realize they need a little R&R!

•Send a DIY cupcake kit! Use plastic zipper bags to pack all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, sprinkles, baking soda, etc.). Type or write up the recipe, and include pretty cupcake wrappers, decorative cupcake picks, even piping bags and tips if you want to be fancy! Then send your kit to someone for a special day celebration. Baking cupcakes is as much fun as eating them!

Also keep an eye out for our review of The Cupcake Club: Recipe for Trouble, which will be posted soon.

GIVEAWAY
We are giving away a copy of Carrie’s latest book, The Cupcake Club: Recipe for Trouble, to one of our readers. To enter:

- Comment below letting us know what your favorite book growing up was.

- Earn an additional entry by subscribing to our email list and leave a separate comment to let us know that you did (if you are already signed up on our email list, leave a comment letting us know and you will also earn another entry).

The contest ends on Friday, October 12th and we will post the winner on Monday, October 15th. One winner will be selected at random. Good luck!

*Only open to U.S. and Canada residents.

- Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, MD)

Cupcakes AND Books? A Perfect Combination!

As you may already know, we Crusaders love it when some of our favorite things collide. We’ve been able to mix theater and cupcakes, but we’ve never had the opportunity to mix books and cupcakes. So, when we were contacted to review The Cupcake Club: Peace, Love, and Cupcakes, a new series written by mother-daughter team Sheryl and Carrie Berk, we jumped at the opportunity! Not only have I reviewed the book below, but we also interviewed the authors and have a giveaway!

The Cupcake Club: Peace, Love, and Cupcakes is geared towards “tweens,” but this almost-30-year-old also found it entertaining. The protagonist, 9-year-old Kylie, is easily relatable to, in that she just doesn’t seem to fit in. After arriving at a new school, the “popular” girl quickly decides that she’s going to make things very difficult for Kylie. Luckily, Kylie has a good teacher and supportive parents. With their help she starts a new club at school and finds a few other “outcasts” to join. As the girls overcome baking obstacles and bullies, while learning to manage a growing business, they begin to realize that they aren’t so alone after all.

The subject for the book was a natural selection for 9-year-old Carrie Berk, cupcake blogger for Carrie’s Cupcakes Critiques. She has a passion for cupcakes, so when she approached her mom about writing a book for her age group, they both agreed it should be about fun, friendship, and cupcakes.

Some of the trials that Kylie encounters and feelings of not belonging, reminded me of the Judy Bloom books I read growing up.  There are moments when I wanted to say to Kylie, “Don’t take that from them! It wasn’t even a good insult!” but then remembered what kids can be like. This book series is one that I would love for my daughter to read when she’s in the target age group. There are some valuable lessons about confidence, friendship, and what it means to be the bigger person.

We had an opportunity to interview the authors, Sheryl and Carrie, to find out more about their inspiration for the book and how cupcakes and writing fit in to their lives:

Crusaders: Carrie, do you have a baking club at school? If so, did you help get it started? If not, are you thinking about starting one with your friends now that the book has been released?

Carrie: We had a cooking club during lunch clubs at school with Taste Buds, who is also my recipe developer (Jessi Walter). We made all sorts of things, not just cupcakes. It was fun! But I don’t really bake cupcakes with a club. I bake with my mom and my friends and we share them, not sell them.

Crusaders: When I was growing up I was lucky to have great teachers who made school fun, so I related to Kylie in that aspect. Carrie, have you had similar experiences with teachers as Kylie? Do you have a favorite teacher at school?

I love all of my teachers at PS 6, but it was really Ms. Schottland, my second grade teacher, that first taught me about realistic fiction and got me writing reviews of cupcakes. The name of Kylie’s teacher in the book is Ms. Shottlan–that’s for her! And my teacher Ms. Levenherz is into cupcakes big time and is a great baker. So we’re always talking about them.


(Mother and Daughter writing team, Sheryl and Carrie Berk.)

Crusaders: Carrie and Sheryl, can you give any examples of characters that may have been inspired by people in your own lives?

Carrie:  I used a lot of the names from my friends, family and teachers in the book, because they support and inspire me so much. Like my principal is Ms. Fontana, and Kylie’s principal is Ms. Fontina. Sadie, Abby and Ava are names of my BFFs, Saperstone is my cousin’s last name, and Mr. Ludwig, the gourmet shop owner, is actually the last name of my BFF Jaimie Ludwig.

My friend Darby’s birthday is around Halloween, so she’s really into watching cool monster movies, and that gave me the idea for Kylie liking monster movies.

Everyone loves trying to find themselves in the book. My Uncle Charles says, “It’s like Where’s Waldo!”

Sheryl: I think there’s a little bit of Carrie in each of the four main Cupcake Club girls in the book as well as her besties. As for where the book takes place, New Fairfield, CT, that’s where I spent my summers as a child with my BFF Pam! Lots of great memories of bake sales on Frisbee Street! And Greenwich is where my husband grew up.

Crusaders: Sheryl, what would you say to other parents who might be hesitant to let their child start their own time consuming business?

Sheryl: I think it’s so important to support your child when they have a passion. In Carrie’s case, that’s cupcakes as well as ballet. So we divide our time between her hobbies and her school work. If your child is creative, ambitious and motivated, these are all great qualities that you should embrace. When Carrie said, “I want to write a book about a cupcake club,” I didn’t say, “No, you’re too busy. You have too much homework.” Instead, I said, “Let’s figure out how to make this happen for you.” I think it’s been a great lesson for her in time management and following your dreams. I always want her to dream big!

Crusaders: Carrie, how did you manage to juggle school, with the blog and then the book?

Carrie: I love reviewing cupcakes. My mom and dad take me on vacations and holidays to cupcake places all over the country and the world. We just did four in Boston. I really like posting cupcake pics and news on our Facebook page, site, Twitter and Pinterest. And my mom and I worked together on the book. We talked about how the story would go, then she wrote a rough draft and I edited and changed it, and she put in my changes. I think writing the book has made me a better writer in school-my teachers really like my essays.

Crusaders: As Cupcake Crusaders, we obviously love cupcakes! Carrie, what is it about cupcakes that you love?

Carrie: I like that there are so many more elements to them than other desserts like brownies or ice cream. There’s the cake, the frosting, the decoration. Cupcakes taste good and look good…hopefully! I also like that they’re small and unique. You never run out of ideas for new cupcakes.


Thanks so much to Carrie and Sheryl for taking time to answer our questions!

One of my favorite things from the book is that it includes recipes for some of the cupcakes mentioned. So, after reading mouth-watering descriptions of cupcakes, like their Eco-licious Chocolate, you can make them yourself! The Cupcake Club: Peace, Love, and Cupcakes is available now. If you can’t find it at a bookstore near you, it’s also available on Amazon.

And for our giveaway, we want to know what YOUR favorite cupcake is! The winner will receive a signed copy of The Cupcake Club: Peace, Love, and Cupcakes and a Cupcake Club measuring spoon. All you have to do is tell us below, in the comments section, where you found the recipe, who the bakery is, or where you had your favorite cupcake!! The contest ends on Sunday, April 29th and we will post the winner on Monday, April 30th. The winner will be selected at random. Enter now! We can’t wait to hear what some of your favorites are!

** This contest is now closed.

- Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, MD)

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