It's "anchors away!" for the Cupcake Club!
Jenna's stepdad Leo is taking his family on a Caribbean cruise. Unfortunately, Jenna's younger siblings get the chicken pox, leaving Leo with four extra tickets. Enter Peace, Love, and Cupcakes! Leo says Jenna's four besties can come-in exchange for baking twelve thousand cupcakes for his company's pirate-themed event. Shiver me timbers, that's a lot of icing! Now veterans in the cupcake-baking game, the PLC takes on the challenge.
But when a freak rainstorm flares up on the night of the big event, will it be rough seas for the girls?
About the Author
Her daughter, CARRIE, a cupcake connoisseur, cooked up the idea for the Cupcake Club series in second grade. Together, they have invented dozens of crazy cupcake recipes in their NYC kitchen (can you say Purple Velvet?) and have the frosting stains on the ceiling to prove it. Carrie maintains her own cupcake blog, featuring reviews, photos and recipes of her culinary adventures.
New York Times bestselling co-author of Soul Surfer, SHERYL BERK is the founding editor in chief of Life & Style Weekly as well as a contributor to InStyle, Martha Stewart, and other publications.
Her ten-year-old daughter, CARRIE, a cupcake connoisseur, cooked up the idea for the PLC series in second grade. Together, they have invented dozens of crazy cupcake recipes in their NYC kitchen (can you say Purple Velvet?) and have the frosting stains on the ceiling to prove it. Carrie maintains her own cupcake blog, featuring reviews, photos and recipes of her culinary adventures.
Read an Excerpt
Bakers on Board
The Cupcake Club
By Sheryl Berk, Carrie Berk
Sourcebooks, Inc.Copyright © 2016 Sheryl Berk and Carrie Berk
All rights reserved.
Jenna Medina's stepfather, Leo, came through the door of their house singing a happy tune: "Sailing, sailing, over the ocean waves ..." He kicked up his heels and did a little jig around the living room. For the finale, he jumped up on the couch and bowed deeply.
Jenna giggled. By now, she was used to Leo's silliness. A year ago, when her mom sprang it on her that they were getting married, his jokes and teasing had driven her crazy. But that was before Jenna knew him — and decided to give him a chance.
"I grow on you, kind of like mold," he'd teased her on the big wedding day in Las Vegas. "Please let me show you what a great papa I can be."
Leo had shown her, in more ways than one. He was always there for her when she needed to make a delivery for her cupcake club. He was there when she was sweating over her science final and needed someone to test her on the elements of the periodic table. He'd even convinced her mami to let her adopt Dulce, her Havanese puppy. Her own father had left her mom to raise five kids by herself, but Leo had assured Jenna that he would never leave. He had an enormous heart, and Jenna had grown to love him, as well as her new stepsister, Maggie, who stayed with them every other weekend.
Leo had found them all a bigger home so Jenna didn't have to share a bedroom with her two older sisters, Marisol and Gabby. Even if her room was small, she actually had some peace and quiet and privacy away from her maniac little brothers, Ricky and Manny. It was all hers — from the patchwork quilt her mami had sewn from Jenna's old baby blankets to the Oreo cookie pillow her BFF Kylie had given her, because like an Oreo, "she was a tough cookie outside and a softie inside." Having her own space was a dream come true. Now, she could cover her walls with pictures of her favorite Spanish telenovela stars and not worry that Gabby would draw mustaches on all of them!
Yet there was no denying her family was more loco than most. Especially when Leo called for a family meeting.
"What is it, mi amor?" Her mother, Betty, came racing out of the kitchen, still carrying a raw chicken in her hands. "Qué es la emergencia?"
"Mami, are we having arroz con pollo for dinner?" Ricky asked, tugging on her apron.
"No! I want pizza!" Manny protested. Jenna's five-year-old siblings never could seem to agree on anything.
Gabby skipped downstairs. Her hair was set in hot rollers. "Can we hurry it up? I'm meeting Marc at the mall."
Jenna rolled her eyes. All her sister thought about — and talked about — were boys!
Leo took a head count. "So, Maggie is at her mom's tonight, and I will have to call her with the good news. But where's Marisol?" No doubt Jenna's oldest sister had her nose in a book upstairs.
"I'll go get her," Jenna volunteered. She raced up the stairs and barged right into Marisol's bedroom, even though her door was shut.
"Hey!" Marisol yelled. "Do you ever knock?"
"Nope," Jenna said, shrugging. "Leo wants you downstairs — ahora!"
"I'm just finishing up," Marisol said, focusing on something on her laptop screen.
"Qué pasa?" Jenna asked, peering over Marisol's shoulder. She assumed her sister was working on yet another term paper that would earn her yet another A+.
"None of your business," Marisol replied, slamming the computer shut. "I'll be right down."
* * *
Once everyone was gathered, Leo cleared his throat. "Mi querida familia, the Medina-Winters clan," he began. Jenna tried to stifle a laugh but it was hard. Leo loved to speak in Spanish — although he wasn't very good at it. "As you all know, my boss, the fabuloso fashion designer Ralph Warren, has been looking for a unique venue to premiere his new resort collection."
Jenna did know. Leo took great pride in his vice president of marketing position and talked about it all the time. His passion for fashion was one of the things that had drawn him and Betty together. He had come into the tailor shop where she worked one day by chance and spotted her beautiful sewing. According to him, it was love at first stitch.
"Well, I've found it. And I am going to take all of you along with me on this trip," he continued. "If you guess where it is."
"Paris? Are we going to Paris?" Gabby asked excitedly.
"Good guess," Leo teased her, "but no cigar."
"London? Milan? New York?" Marisol picked up where Gabby left off, naming the rest of the fashion capitals of the world.
"No, no, and no." Leo shook his head. "You're not even warm — which is a hint." He winked at Jenna.
"Warm? So the location of your runway show is someplace warm?" she asked. "Like tropical warm?"
"Sí! Estás cerca," he teased. "You're close."
"A beach!" Ricky piped up. "I wanna build a giant sand castle."
"Think more surf, less sand," Leo hinted.
"Hawaii? Are we going to Hawaii?" Betty jumped in. "I've always wanted to see it."
"No, not Hawaii." Leo grinned mischievously. "I'll give you another hint: I'm sure this collection is going to make a big splash."
"Water!" Jenna exclaimed. "Is it the rain forest?"
"You're missing the boat." Leo winked. "Think harder."
While the rest of her family was completely baffled, Jenna suddenly remembered the sailor song Leo came in singing. "Sailing ... Missing the boat ... Wait, are we going on a cruise ship?" she guessed.
"Ding-ding-ding! Give that girl a prize!" Leo cheered. He handed her a brochure that read "Victory Cruises" and showed a photo of a giant white ship with seventeen decks. "Yes, we are all going on a seven-night cruise to the Bahamas over midwinter break from school!"CHAPTER 2
"You are so lucky," Kylie told Jenna when she broke the cruise news at lunch in the Blakely Elementary cafeteria the next day. She had brought the brochure Leo gave her to school to show her friends.
"Ralph Warren bought out the entire cruise for a corporate retreat so they can present the new spring-summer line to the company," Jenna said proudly. "Leo is organizing the entire thing."
"It looks amazing," Kylie said. "I can't wait to tell the cupcake club!"
"I know you're president of Peace, Love, and Cupcakes and all," Jenna said gently. "But it's my cruise. Let me do the telling, por favor?"
"Oh sure," Kylie replied. "You can tell the girls."
Sadie sat down next to them. "Tell me what? What did I miss?"
"The fact that Jenna is going on a cruise to the Bahamas with her family in two weeks!" Kylie was so excited she wouldn't let Jenna get a word in. "Can you imagine? It's like a giant hotel floating on the water."
"Sweet!" Sadie replied. "That'll be so much fun. I saw this cruise ship commercial, and the ship had ginormous rock climbing walls."
Jenna shook her head. "No, no rock climbing for these feet." She pointed to her sneakers. "You're the jock, Sadie, not me."
Lexi dropped her tray down at the table next to Kylie. "Ugh, do you think the cafeteria lady could even consider the art of food presentation?" She groaned. "Honestly! She just threw my mac and cheese on top of my hot dog. It's gross!" Since Lexi was the cupcake club's official cake decorator, she bristled anytime anyone presented a plate that was less than pretty.
"You won't believe Jenna's amazing news," Kylie began. But this time, Jenna put her hand over her friend's mouth.
"Yes, it's my news," she reminded Kylie. "So let me tell Lexi."
"She's going on a cruise ship!" Sadie blurted out. "And it has like a dozen restaurants and a kids' club and a giant waterslide and three pools ... Oh, and a magic show at night!"
Jenna threw her hands in the air. "I give up!"
"Sorry, Jenna," Sadie apologized. "It just slipped out. But you can tell Delaney and Herbie at the PLC meeting after school." Since Delaney attended another school and their advisor taught robotics all day, the club met once a week at 3:30 p.m. in the Blakely teachers' lounge.
"Oh, I kinda emailed them both just now," Lexi said, holding up her phone. "Sorry. I couldn't wait."
Jenna shook her head. "I am surrounded by bocas grandes, big mouths! Remind me never to ask any of you to keep a secret."
"And you're such a great secret keeper?" Lexi teased her. "How about the time I told you I had a crush on Jeremy Saperstone and you blabbed it all over the place."
Jenna blushed. "Okay, fine. I might have told a few people."
"Me!" Kylie said.
"And me," Sadie added.
"And the entire fifth grade," Lexi pointed out. "I'm just sayin'."
* * *
Delaney and Herbie were equally excited by Jenna's announcement — even if it came through Lexi's email.
"Can you take me with you, please!" Delaney pleaded as she burst into the Blakely teachers' lounge. "Maybe smuggle me on board in one of your suitcases?"
"A cruise ship that size has a very complicated computerized system," Herbie added thoughtfully. "Maybe you should bring me along too — in case of any glitches."
Jenna shook her head. "Sorry, guys. Leo only has eight tickets — enough for him, my mom, my sisters and brothers, and our stepsister, Maggie."
"No problem," Kylie reminded the club. "We're going to be very busy over break. Remember? We said we're going to work on a new PLC website to show off our cupcake creations and drum up more business."
Delaney scowled. "Well, Jenna's break sounds like a lot more fun."
Kylie opened her official cupcake club binder to an order labeled "Mount Vernon Library" and showed it to her friends. "Any ideas for this one?"
Lexi read the client's request carefully: "Twelve dozen cupcakes commemorating our forefather's influence on our great country."
Delaney's eyes lit up. "Hey, maybe we could make a life-size replica of the Lincoln Memorial out of cupcakes."
"Oh no," Lexi exclaimed. "Not happening. I went to DC with my family a few years ago, and that Lincoln is almost a hundred feet tall!"
"That's taller than Sadie," Jenna teased.
"Nice idea, wrong president," Kylie interrupted. "Mount Vernon was George Washington's home, and this is the library's annual fund-raiser cocktail party."
Lexi heaved a sigh of relief. "In that case, I think we should bake something elegant — but with presidential flair."
"What do you think of when you think of George Washington?" Herbie asked them. "I'll admit American history was never my best subject."
"Mine neither," Sadie said. "But I do know he got in trouble as a kid for chopping down his father's cherry tree. When his dad asked him if he did it, he said, 'I cannot tell a lie!'"
Delaney made a face. "Ooh, busted! I bet he was grounded for a week."
"How did you ground a kid in the seventeen hundreds?" Kylie wondered out loud. "They didn't have TV or Xbox or iPhones to take away. It must have been really tough to come up with a punishment."
"This cupcake design is really tough to come up with too," Lexi said, chewing on her pencil eraser. "We could do red, white, and blue — but that seems so boring."
"What about red, white, and blueberry?" Jenna suggested. "Cherry vanilla cupcakes, our famous white chocolate cupcakes, and blueberry cobbler cupcakes?"
"Okay, I'm liking this direction," Kylie replied. "Keep going."
Lexi held up her sketchpad. "I could do a silhouette of Washington out of fondant," she said. She'd used a charcoal pencil to show how the silver gum paste would look when molded to resemble the first president.
Jenna took a quarter out of her pocket and compared it to Lexi's drawing. "That's pretty good — but don't forget the bow on his ponytail. And make it strong and commanding — not floppy."
Lexi added a ribbon to the bottom of George's do. "Happy now?"
Jenna smiled. "Sí! Muy feliz."
Kylie put a check next to the order in her book. "Then all that's left is for us to get baking."CHAPTER 3
Taste Test Time
After two years of running a successful cupcake business, Peace, Love, and Cupcakes had gotten recipe testing down to a science. Jenna was in charge of the ingredients and tasted every cupcake to make sure it was delicioso. Sadie was the expert egg cracker and in charge of whipping the batter to a perfect, smooth consistency — without overbeating it.
Lexi was the artist — the one who made sure every cupcake was frosted neatly and delicately with just the right ratio of icing to cake. She created intricate decorations sculpted out of fondant or modeling chocolate, and Delaney was her right-hand woman, standing over each cupcake, ready to give them the finishing touch: a dusting of sprinkles, mini chips, chopped nuts, coconut, candies, or even — in this case — shimmery edible glitter.
"What do you think?" Delaney asked, holding up a cupcake for Kylie to inspect. Everyone's opinion mattered in the cupcake club, but it was Kylie's job to give it the presidential seal of approval.
"I love it — it's so shimmery, like a medal of honor," she said.
She handed the cupcake to Jenna to sample. "Cherry vanilla up first."
Jenna used a fork to sample the inside of the cupcake. They had blended chopped maraschino cherries into the batter and topped the frosting with a long-stemmed cherry.
"Nice," she said, licking the fork. "Nice texture — very moist. But I would up the amount of cherry syrup just a bit — I'm losing the cherry flavor to the vanilla."
She took a bite of the frosting by itself. "I'm liking the texture." Finally, she tried both cake and frosting together.
"Well?" Kylie asked anxiously. "What's the verdict?"
Jenna smacked her lips together. "Sabroso."
Delaney scratched her head. "Translation, please?"
"Tasty!" Jenna exclaimed.
The white chocolate cupcake was one of their most popular recipes, so Sadie and Delaney knew the ingredients and directions by heart.
"Six ounces white chocolate, melted!" Sadie called across the kitchen.
Delaney placed a bowl in the microwave and watched it carefully, checking every thirty seconds to make sure the chocolate didn't burn. She whipped it with a whisk until it was smooth and glossy.
"Aye, aye, captain," she said, pouring the hot chocolate into the mixing bowl with the batter. Then she turned to Jenna. "See? I would be totally amazing at sea. I already know sailor lingo." She saluted and announced, "Shiver me timbers!"
Kylie cracked up. "That's pirate lingo, Laney," she said. "I don't think Captain Jack Sparrow is going to be cruising with Jenna."
But Jenna was too busy trying to figure out the blueberry cobbler cupcake recipe. "The question is, how much blueberry pie filling do we put in the batter?" she said. "Too much, and you get a mushy cupcake. But too little, and you lose the whole blueberry flavor."
She looked at the muffin tins filled with cupcake liners. "Batter first, then un poco blueberry filling on top," she decided.
"What's a poco?" Delaney asked, studying her measuring spoons. "Is that like a teaspoon?"
"Un poco. It means 'a little,'" Jenna said. "In this case, a little more than a teaspoon but a little less than a tablespoon."
"I'm confuzzled," Delaney said. "I thought we should never guess ingredient amounts."
Herbie weighed in. "Yes, baking is a science. Precise measurement is key."
"You're both right, but I gotta go with my gut here," Jenna insisted. "Have I ever steered us wrong?"
The girls looked to Kylie for her decision. "Jenna is our official cupcake taster. What she says goes."
When the cupcakes came out of the oven twenty minutes later, Jenna gently removed one from the tin and placed it on a plate to cool. She peeled the wrapper back and squeezed the warm cake gently with her fingertips. "Spongy — not mushy. So far, so good."
Then she took a bite.
"Well?" Lexi asked. "Don't leave us in suspense."
Jenna didn't say a word. She took another bite. Then another, and another.
When she had devoured the entire cupcake, she wiped the blueberry stain off her mouth with a napkin. "It's not good," she said slowly.
Kylie's face fell. A bad recipe meant back to the drawing board. "Really? Not good at all?"
"No," Jenna said, sighing. Then she smiled brightly. "Es perfecto!"
She handed each of the girls a cupcake. "Try it. I think it's one of the best recipes we've ever made."
Delaney, Lexi, Sadie, Herbie, and Kylie each dug in. Like Jenna, they couldn't speak — they were too busy gobbling up every last crumb.
"Yummo," Sadie finally said. "Is that a Spanish word?"
Jenna chuckled. "No, but it sums it up perfectly."
"The fund-raiser is a week from Saturday," Kylie said, checking her binder. "Which means we bake Thursday, decorate Friday, and deliver Saturday afternoon."
"And I set sail the next day," Jenna pointed out.
"Go ahead, rub it in," Delaney said, groaning.
Jenna picked up a piping bag and squirted a dollop of pink frosting in the palm of her hand. Then she rubbed it across Delaney's nose and cheeks. "You said to rub it in," she teased.
Delaney shrugged, wiped the frosting with her finger, and took a lick. "Un poco messy, but still yummo," she said, laughing.CHAPTER 4
Kylie and the girls were packing the red, white, and blueberry cupcakes in the back of her dad's car when her phone suddenly rang.
"Is this Peace, Love, and Cupcakes?" a harried woman asked on the other end.
"Yes, it is," Kylie replied. "But we're about to make a delivery. Can we call you back?"
"It's the delivery that I'm calling about," the woman continued. "The cupcakes for the Mount Vernon Library fund-raiser. This is Ms. Cushman, the head librarian."
"Oh, yes!" Kylie replied. "We'll have them there soon. Five o'clock sharp, just like we promised."
"There's a little problem," Ms. Cushman said, hesitating. "It seems we underestimated how many guests would be coming tomorrow. We need a few more than I originally ordered."
"Not to worry," Kylie said. "We always bake some extras just in case. Instead of twelve dozen, you have thirteen dozen."
"That's nice of you," Ms. Cushman said. "But I'm afraid we need more than that for our guest list."
Kylie held up her hand, motioning for Jenna, Sadie, Lexi, and Delaney to stop loading the car. "Exactly how many more cupcakes are we talking about?" she asked.
"Oh, just another twelve dozen."
Kylie's mouth hung open. "Are you serious? You need us to double the order? Now? We can't!"
Excerpted from Bakers on Board by Sheryl Berk, Carrie Berk. Copyright © 2016 Sheryl Berk and Carrie Berk. Excerpted by permission of Sourcebooks, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. Surprise, Surprise,
2. Anchors Aweigh,
3. Taste Test Time,
4. Picture This,
5. An Itchy Situation,
6. Sea You Later,
7. High Seas Hijinks,
8. Picture This,
9. Tall Tales,
10. All Hands on Deck,
11. Seas the Day,
George Washington's Cherry Cupcakes,
PLC's Wonderful White Chocolate Cupcakes,
Pirate Pistachio Cupcakes,
Carrie's Q & A: Vinny Buzzetta, Cake Artist Extraordinaire!,
About the Authors,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Bakers on Board is an adorable middle grade novel girls are sure to love. It’s a fun adventure for the Peace, Love, and Cupcakes crew and a terrific example to young girls to believe in themselves and their skills. Even though this book comes in the middle of the series, I had no trouble picking up where it began. One of my favorite parts was the references to the Pirates of the Carribean movies. Especially since I read this on a road trip where my kids were watching one of the series (completely by accident). It was a fun match. I do think this is best suited to 3rd-5th-grade girls than middle-grade readers. While there weren’t any pictures the girls personalities, maturity, and the length of the book seem better suited to that average group.
Bakers on Board is the eighth book in The Cupcake Club Series and it tells Jenna's side of the story. Jenna's step-dad Leo, comes home with the news of everyone in the family is going on a cruise for his job until half of the family comes down with chicken pox. Leo makes Jenna a deal that if PLC can make 12,000 cupcakes then they can come along for the ride, they accept the job offer but soon regret it as they spend all their time in the kitchen. With a rainstorm threatening all of their hard work and with Jenna's sister keeping a secret from everyone, the ending will surly delight everyone. As I read more of the Cupcake Club, I truly believe this is a great series for young kids and even adults. I do wish they would put out a cookbook of all the recipes that are in these books so everyone can enjoy the recipes that are included. The more I read this series, I could totally see it being a TV series that will do good since it has a strong message for kids to do good and safe enough for everyone in the family to watch. Thank You to Sheryl & Carrie Berk for writing yet another fantastic book in this series!! I received this book from the Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.