It’s A Piece of Cake by Laurie Lunsford. Illustrated by Brittani Gothard.

Foodie Lit

Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes

a more open community around the table

Laurie Lunsford It’s a Piece of Cake. Illustrated by Brittani Gothard


Such a delightful children’s book, one that will be read again and again in schools and libraries.  Charming illustrations help create an important message:  practice and persistence help us succeed.  Laurie explained her choice of topic.  “I raised my three sons to be persistent.  It is a key to developing the character to succeed in many endeavors of life.  It was emphasized in my own upbringing.  I was expected to aim high and try new things.”

The paper-cut illustrations by Brittani Gothard are exquisite. Laurie praised Brittani, “Everything was hand cut with an exacto knife and [it] took hours and hours.” This is the second collaboration of the two.

The illustrations of the children show a girl in glasses, a boy in a wheel chair, diverse skin and  hair color—a lovely representation of America. Each child tries a different task—swimming, reading, basketball, getting along or climbing trees.

Laurie commented about the actions of the children that were included. “I selected skills that fit what a four, five, or six year-old is learning.  I included physical, mental, and social skills….This book is about living life to its fullest.”

Like a chorus, after each “impossible” task, we read, “I can practice. I will try….Now it’s a piece of cake!”  And on that page is a hidden piece of cake. Another fun part of this read, inserted by the illustrator.

This is such a perfect book to read to your child at bedtime, to pull a grandchild onto your lap during a visit, for teachers to read to a class, volunteers to library groups—I can’t think of a time it wouldn’t work. And for beginning readers, the repeated “chorus” is one that children will look forward to reciting. “Every book is written to stir interaction between those who read it together.”

One of my favorite cakes in the birthday cake I have used over the years.  I share that recipe with you—make the cake before you read this book and have a slice with your favorite kids.

Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Filling and Mocha Icing

This is a delicious and moist cake, which was such a favorite at Susan’s
house that it became her children’s requested annual birthday cake. The
cake is a wonderful dessert for any un-birthday as well. The jam filling is
a delightful surprise with each bite.

Vegetarian /Gluten-Dairy-Soy-Allium Free/Diabetic/Kosher
Serves 8

3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1¾ cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves
1 cup walnuts, ground
½ cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs, separated
¾ cup milk of choice

¼ cup raspberry jam, room temperature

Mocha Frosting

½ cup butter, room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar 3 tablespoons brewed coffee
2 ounces baking chocolate, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat two 8-inch cake pans with non-stick spray.
2. Separate eggs. Melt chocolate over double boiler. Remove from heat.
3. Mix together sifted flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and chopped nuts.
4. Beat butter until soft and add sugar gradually, blending until light and creamy. Add cooled chocolate and vanilla.
5. Beat yolks into batter one at a time. Beat egg whites until stiff and set aside.
6. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with milk. Stir batter until smooth after each addition.
7. Fold beaten egg whites into the cake batter. Bake in prepared pans for about 20-25 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
8. Cool.
1. Spread raspberry jam on top of one cake until the entire layer is covered. Place other cake over the jam.
2. Ice with mocha frosting.

1. Cream butter. Add confectioner’s sugar slowly and beat until smooth.
2. Mix in vanilla and coffee. If icing is too thick to spread, add 1-2 teaspoons of water or milk of choice until desired consistency.
3. Spread on top and sides of cake.

Expand the Table:

Make it Gluten Free: Use a gluten free flour.

Use only Dairy Free: Substitute dairy free margarine for butter in cake and icing and dairy free chocolate. Use any dairy free milk in cake recipe.

Keep it Soy Free: Substitute any milk other than soy in cake recipe.

Diabetics can eat: Substitute ¾ cups stevia for sugar in cake recipe. Use sugar free jam for filling. Substitute sugar free chocolate syrup and/or melted sugar free raspberry jam on top of cake for frosting.




Learn more about author Laurie Lunsford

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