Thursday, January 13, 2011

cupcakeMAG approved! Close to Famous -- A FABulous oh-so-sweet book!

"I'm just going to make the world a better place, one cupcake at a time."

"Everyone needs to feel like a kid again. This is why God made cupcakes."

Of course we simply adore anything with cupcakes so when we recently came across Close to Famous By Joan Bauer we were thrilled to share with our Littles. Yes, we did read it in just a few hours and fell in love with this feel-good tale that totally warms the heart. Going on sale Feb. 3rd from Viking Children's Books (Ages 10&Up) is the perfect oh-so-sweet treat.

Readers will discover Foster - the strong & feisty heroine who loves to bake and dreams of starring in her own cooking show. One can practically smell and taste the delicious cupcakes she bakes wafting from the pages.
"Foster's making the world a better place -- one cupcake at a time!"

cupcakeMAG approved: what we love about this book?

Foster the strong, problem-solving character has a passion just like our every day kids can relate to these days - cooking! As we all know The Food Network is very popular among children as it teachers many valuable lessons about determination, practice, ambition, and sharing happiness with family and friends, all of which Foster embodies.

Author, Joan Bauer is the bestselling author of nine previous novels for young readers. Her awards and honors include a Newberry Honor and a Christopher Award for Hope Was Here and the Los Angeles Book Prive for Rules of the Road. See just what inspired the book, her favorite part about writing the novel and your very own cupcake recipe from Foster!

Read the Q+A below and snatch up a FABulous cupcake recipe!

What inspired you to write Close to Famous?

I am fascinated by certain kids who have so many odds against them, but manage to respond to life again and again with resilience. Foster McFee in the novel is one such kid. She has a special yeast in her that keeps rising when life gets impossibly hard. When I was growing up, my mother, sisters, and I went through some very difficult times, but my mother always managed to find times of celebration in the midst of the madness. We never missed a holiday or a birthday. There was a cake, there were cookies, cupcakes. And it really helped. My mom's gift of celebration was a big inspiration for this story.

Food and cooking plays a big part in this novel..why did you make Foster a young baker who dreams of having her own cooking show?

Oh, that's my love of baking coming through - I baked when I was little, I bake now -- it's something that has always given me joy. When I was young I watched Julis Child on TV - I so wanted to go to her house and have a meal. And today's TV chefs are so wonderful to watch and learn from. There's an intimacy in a kitchen, a warmth when people are making food for others. So many young people love to bake and watch TV chefs, so it seemed like the perfect connection.

What was your favorite part about writing this novel?

Exploring baking as a survival skill for life. I thought I knew all about cupcakes when I began this story -- there's more power packed in them than I ever knew. A fine cupcake can take you places you can't imagine.

What is your favorite baked good? Favorite cupcake?

I adore coconut. If anyone hands me a large piece of coconut layer cake with an embarrassment of frosting, I'm in heaven. My all-time favorite cupcake is made with a great deal of maple syrup and pecans and it's piled so high with maple frosting it almost tips over. I actually make a praline and stick it on top. You must have a moment of silence before biting into this cupcake.

Foster's Cupcake Wisdom & Recipe

"In the cupcake world, anything is possible."

"Sometimes a cupcake just has your name on it."

"You don't know the power of a cupcake until your life depends on it...."

"There's something about a cupcake that gets inside of people and helps them be the best they can be."

The Famous Frosted Vanilla Cupcake Recipe
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter softened (stick)
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cup coconut (for moistness)
1/2 cup milk

In one bowl, sift cake flour with baking powder and salt. In another bowl, cream butter and sugar with mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla until creamy. Add cake flour mixture a little at a time with milk until well blended and fluffy. Fold in coconut. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Makes around 15. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Let cupcakes cook on rack. Pile on vanilla frosting. 

Vanilla Frosting
1 box confectioners sugar
1/2 cup butter softened (1 stick)
3/4 tsp milk o, if you want it extra special, instead of milk add 3 1/2 tbsp half and half
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all in a bowl, and beat with your mixer for two minutes until creamy!


Details on the book:
Close to Famous By Joan Bauer
On Sale February 3, 2011
Hardcover | Young Adult | Fiction
Ages 10up | Grades 5 up 
250 pages | $16.99

All we can say is pre-order it now. We are way over the age of 10 & we truly LOVED this sweet book. Your Little will adore it! 

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