Banned Books Week: Twisting Recipes Into Banned Book Baked Goods

Posted by Maia Brown-Jackson

I’m fairly certain, in a completely un-scientific way, that if you asked anyone worth asking what the two best things are in the world (bar oxygen and anything that merits an NC-17) they would agree: books and food. As made obvious by the mere existence of banned book week, one way books have been made increasingly compelling over the years is (ironically) when groups of moral decide to ban them.

So now here’s another to make those banned books even better: pair them with cupcakes, or a tart! Following is a carefully curated list of some truly delicious baked goods with literary aspirations.

The Fahrenheit 451: Red Hot Cinnamon Cupcakes (The Domestic Rebel): Maybe not quite hot enough to burn books, but certainly spicier than the typical frosted dessert.

The Great Gatsby: Pink Champagne Cupcakes (Cupcakes by Tattooed MarthaSabayon by A Food Centric Life): Because if Gatsby and Daisy didn’t teach us about the perils of overindulgence, they certainly showed how fun it can be while it lasts. Plus, you know, champagne is delicious. To get the most out of the flavors, I swapped out the champagne frosting included in the cupcake recipe for a champagne sabayon as a slightly less pink topper.

The Huckleberry Fiin: Huckleberry Cupcakes (Martha Stewart): Huckleberries are a surprisingly underutilized fruit, but with a book like this classic there really isn’t a choice.

The Things Fall Apart: Coffee Cake Crumble Muffins (Table for Two): Fall apart. Crumble. It’s a dreadful pun, sorry. I embellished on these a bit by topping them with a simple fruit sauce (recipe below), using fruits native to Nigeria. The tang also balances out the sweetness of the crumble.

Fruit sauce:

50 grams pineapple

50 grams mango

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp sugar

Zest and juice of ½ lemon

Put the fruit in a pan with 1 tbsp sugar, a few drops vanilla extract, and the lemon juice and zest. Bring the mixture to a boil, then allow it to simmer until soft. Take the mixture off the heat and allow it to cool, then mix in a blender until smooth.

Harry Potter: Pumpkin Chess Pie Tart (Eat the Love): Pumpkins. Chess. This really doesn’t need further explanation. Optional: top with a tableau of chocolate frogs on little chocolate broomsticks (and if you actually find chocolate frogs and chocolate broomsticks, please, please, take photographic evidence.

If you really prefer cupcakes over pie, Tablespoon has a simple and comprehensive explanation for making mini, cupcake-sized pies. And if more instructions are really too much: they essentially boil down to: use each cupcake holder as a mini pie, by lining the cupcake tray with pie crust, and putting the filling inside. Of course, shorten the baking time—I would cut it in half, and then continue checking every 2-3 minutes to ensure the pies aren’t overdone.

So now, go forth, read, and eat sugar!

Maia Brown-Jackson

Maia Brown-Jackson

Maia Brown-Jackson is a recovering English major and recent transplant to Philadelphia. She tutors high school students when she’s not busy imagining life as a space pirate or internationally renowned detective. While drinking too much coffee and eating too much sugar, she’s mostly alive and learning Tumblr ( and Instagram (