Cake Decorating Blog

The Secret Lives of Baked Goods Giveaway

baked goods jessie

Did you know that one of our very own Craftsy writers, Jessie Oleson Moore, has a new book out? In The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for American's Favorite Desserts Jessie shares the fascinating histories and tastiest recipes for America's favorite sweets, including whoopee pies, chocolate chip cookies, Baked Alaska, and New York cheesecake. From romantic musings on how desserts got their names to sugar-fueled scandals, this book covers it all. We were lucky enough to catch up with Jessie to find out about her inspiration for her latest book and a few details about what makes it so special.

Better yet, she's offering an exclusive giveaway to Craftsy readers! One lucky winner will receive a signed copy. To enter, just head here by May 24, 2013. Then comment on this blog post, and let Jessie know your most beloved dessert! We'll randomly select the winner on May 25, 2013. But first, learn all about the book from its lovely author, herself.

Where did you find your inspiration for this book?

It is my firm belief that everything tastes better with a back-story. So why not tell the stories behind some of our favorite and most beloved desserts--therefore making already good stuff even better? It was a delicious idea that really took off!

Can you tell us a bit about it?

Each baked good has a section in which its delicious story is told, followed by a recipe. There are chapters for cookies, cakes, pies, of well as fancy desserts, foreign desserts, commercial snacks, and more!

What's one of your favorite parts of the book?
I did the illustrations for the book, but I did them in a different style than usual: rather than watercolor and simple pen outlines, I did delicate, detailed ink illustrations featuring cross-hatching and shadowing. It was a personal challenge, and as I see the spot illustrations in the book, punctuating chapters and entries, I am really proud of trying something new. And goodness me, are the photos ever gorgeous! Photographer Clare Barboza did a fantastic job, as did Laurie Pfalzer, who styled the desserts for the shoots.

What was something you discovered while researching that surprised you?
So many little things. For instance -- did you know that chocolate chips (morsels) were invented in response to the chocolate chip cookie's popularity, rather than the other way around? Or that the Hydrox cookie preceded the more-famous Oreo? Or that Apple Pie, so famous as an "all-American" treat, was invented long before the country was even America?

Who will love this book?
It's really designed for people (like me!) who can read cookbooks as if they are novels. The recipes range from very simple to fairly involved, so there is bound to be something for everyone's skill level!

How was the process of writing it different from your first book?

It was very different, actually! My first book largely drew upon years of archives from my website,, so a lot of the work was already done and it was more a matter of cleaning it up, formatting and perfecting it, and making it sparkle. No small task, of course! But with this book, I really did have to start "from scratch", and it has a lot more writing in it, so it involved a lot more research and storytelling. Both books are quite different, but I believe they share a deep love of sweets and whimsical wit!


To enjoy all the heart, history, and classic recipes this book offers, don't forget to enter the giveaway here. Plus, be sure to purchase The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for American's Favorite Desserts here to find out more about beloved red velvet cupcakes, Girl Scout cookies, and more. Want to check out Jessie as she visits a city near you? Find her book tour locations and dates here.



My favorite dessert is Red Velvet cake, followed very-closely by key lime pie. The book sounds great!

Kathi Montoya

I love the fact that you can learn and enjoy…if only school was like this for kids, just think what this cookbook could teach… math, chemistry. history, and language…dynamite concept!

Melissa E

Current favorite dessert is a salted caramel cheesecake. Soooo good.

Jan Jones

I just love Chewey chocolate brownies with pecans!


Your book sounds yummy and I like that you share insights on some of the history of these desserts. I always enjoy finding new recipes, especially for desserts that I can take to a party or when I visit someone. I’d really like to find a good recipe for a Red Velvet Cake and I bet yours is really good!


Sandie Major

My favorite cake of all time is Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting. (You can add more chocolate: chips or candies to the cake – but Chocolate has to be the star!)

Cindy Kohan

Favorite dessert? Creme brulee—of course!

Bonnie R. S.

My all time fav is German Chocolate cake.


This book sounds like fun! I entered the drawing!

Ellen M.

Most beloved dessert is Germans Chocolate cake, from scratch if possible. My absolute favorite! Congratulations on the Book!



Southern Gal

My boys love brownies. I’m always baking brownies. I love pastries myself. thanks for the chance.


Wonderful recipes included, I’m sure. Congrats on your new publication!


It’s hard to pick one favorite. I love chocolate vanilla swirl cake.


This book sounds wonderful. I looooove baking. I can’t wait to read the stories about the recipes. Most of the recipes sited in this blog existed before most of us were born. It must have been a blast doing the research! I bet that all of your friends volunteered to be testers. I’m also excited to see your illustrations. So often they are photos or there aren’t any. You put a lot of love into this book and if you ask anyone in my family, they’ll tell you that that is the secret ingredient.

hope Seesock

The new book sounds yummy and the stories hopefully add some intrigue to my favorite thing– Dessert!


Looks like a fantastic book!


my favorite has always been warm chocolate cookies and a cold glass of milk


I hope I can win your book, the recipes sound delicious! The lemon pie looks so wonderful.


So hard to decide on one favorite dessert. However there is one that I look forward to getting (and is mentioned in the book) – Girl Scout Cookies1 (If the Thin Mints were available year round I’d be a happy lady.)

Hope to see you in Vernon Hills.


A year ago I discovered the Red Velvet Cake for me. I love this Cake, the color, this taste. I like to experiment with the American Recipes. And it ist particulary interesting for me to know the story behind the recipe. Thank your for this great job.


Hi Jessie,my favourite dessert is tiramisu.It began on my nephew’s birthday party(maybe it is on 2006),my sister bought a tiramisu cake .Since I have never tasted or heard(I’m from Malaysia) of it,so that brings a new chapter to my life:I searched for the recipes.Now I can make it on my own be it the classical type(using the lady’s finger biscuit) or using sponge cakes as the layer-my version of tiramisu.Hope your book will enrich my knowledge on baking

Kristien Justaert

Dear Jessie,
In Europe, we are in desperate need for good American baking cookbooks, and yours seems to be just perfect to fill that gap – great design, pleasure to read, and fantastic recipes… To me, the problem of traditional European (or Belgian) cake, pie and cookie recipes is that they are mostly too dry, something you could never accuse and American dessert of! My favorite American cake (so far, because as said, I lack good recipes) is a Carrot Cake – I got a marvellous recipe for that from an American friend. Congratulations with your book!
Kristien (Craftsy member from Belgium)

Deborah J.

I love Hummingbird Cake. I think I love the name just as much as I do the cake, not to mention the cream cheese frosting… swoonnnnn!


This looks like a fun book to read! I love cookbooks and desserts!


My favorite dessert is Flan – though the treats on this page look wonderful!


Most favorite dessert? My mom’s homemade fresh strawberry pie in her homemade crust!! Hands down the best pie ever, especially because it’s only made with locally grown farm fresh strawberries. So really, that wonderful flavor is only “available for a limited time” because it just does not taste the same made with store bought strawberries.


My favorite dessert anything with chocolate! But my favorite is a good chocolate chip cookie or brownie with vanilla ice cream! Yum, I’m hungry.


I love Chocolate Cake with White icing…but any fruit pie is a close second.


I have two favorite desserts 🙂 cheese cakes is one and strawberry mousse is the other one. I like to add the mousse as a filling in my cakes and it tastes just like a taste from heaven 🙂


Chocolate Pecan Pie is my favourite. I make it with LOTS of dark chocolate (even a chocolate pie crust!).

Courtney Lewis

Oh, wow. Isn’t this like choosing a favorite child? It’s impossible to resist a warm brownie (preferably smothered with a quality vanilla ice cream). The book looks great! Hope I win the raffle. 🙂


I love love love LOVE red velvet cupcakes mmmm soo delicious! Also like the new way to enter giveaways really nice improvement.


Love dessert so hard to pick favorite–either My grandmas chocolate chip cookie recipe or the Benedict Bars I create from a Special K bars recipe.


Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies!

Laura G

Our favorite at our house is Toffee Bars. (no toffee involved) Mom says dad came with this pinned to his shirt when she married Dad (pre-sticky note). Grandma said this was one of Dad’s favorite foods. It’s very easy to make since you need to frost it while it’s just out of the oven.

Trish Sarfert

Chocolate covered peanut butter balls, or ‘Buckeyes’, as they are known here in the South. Too hot to make them in Florida in the Summer, so this is an annual holiday time treat.

Juli Williams

I love black forest cake. The combination of dark chocolate cake and sweet red cherries is just perfect.


I’m not too picky when it comes to desserts, especially if there’s chocolate involved! But I do have to say my one serious dessert kryptonite is homemade chocolate chip cookies. Especially when they’re fresh out of the oven.

Maria K.

I love cheesecake in all flavors! just be cheesecake-y!!


Lemon cake and tiramisu are my favorite


My favorite dessert is Pavlova with passion fruit and kiwi!

Kim Wickware

A good banana pudding does it for me, every time! It reminds me of my late grandmother, who made the best EVER until her last few years. Can’t wait to read the book!


My favorite dessert is Old Fashion Banana Pudding followed my Coconut Cake.

Marta Torres

Hello and congratulations! Red Velvet is my favorite cake. It was just a few years ago I’ve tried it for the first time and i became in love.
Thank you so much for sharing some amazing recipes.

Cheers, Marta Torres


Well, I simply adore a good green tea ice-cream, but since they’re not always good, I can’t go past a salted caramel macaron, cupcake or cake. 😀

Victoria Cornish

My favourite pudding is lemon meringue pie! So light and refreshing, yum! Can’t wait to read the book


I love anything Lemon, Orange or Chocolate! This looks like a great book!

Kristi Brown

Chocolate Meringue Pie!


My Favorite is my orange cake. Oh how I love the fresh taste of it, it’s so crisp and ah it’s so hard to describ how good it is. Yum Yum


I agree no way to pick an absolute favorite.. chocolate is always high on the list but this time of year it goes to say fresh strawberries need to come be front and center. I can’t wait to read the cookbook always love when there is a story behind the recipe.

Barb K

My favorite dessert is Cake any kind or Cookies.


I love looking through a post that can make men and women think.
Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!


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