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Eat Cake

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  4,943 Ratings  ·  960 Reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of Step-Ball-Change and Julie and Romeo-now in trade paperback for the first time... Ruth has always found baking cakes to be a source of relief from the stresses of life. And now-as her husband loses his job, her life-of-the-party father arrives for an extended stay (much to the dismay of her mother, who also moved in recently), ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 4th 2004 by NAL (first published May 27th 2003)
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The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Giver by Lois LowryTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann ShafferPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
LDS Book Club Reads
114th out of 439 books — 264 voters
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Food-Related Fiction
72nd out of 427 books — 519 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 02, 2007 Lain rated it really liked it
Before Chick Lit there were women's contemporary writers like Elizabeth Berg and Barbara Kingsolver -- writers who touched at the issues and concerns of women, but did so with intelligence and wit. Jeanne Ray writes in the same way -- perhaps with a bit less intensity, but definitely with the same pen. Eat Cake tells the story of a middle-aged woman who must recreate herself when her life is turned upside-down by her husband's layoff and warring parents. She delves into her deepest desires and f ...more
Aug 18, 2007 Becky rated it it was amazing
Put yourself inside of a lemon bundt cake and inhale deeply for some serious therapy!

I love the feel of this book. The overall tone was calming. I, like Ruth, unwind while baking. Everything makes sense when I'm up to my ears in flour.

One of my favorite parts of the book is that her family is so sick of cake because she makes it all the time. So, she's having this particularly bad day and is aching to shred up her carrots to put into a cake instead of glazing them for dinner. She justifies doi
Mary Gibb
May 16, 2011 Mary Gibb rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It is not what I expected, it was not fluffy. It was a great read, and it made me want to bake, and eat.

Best Quote:

"Cakes have gotten a bad rap. People equate virtue with turning down dessert. There is always one person at the table who holds up her hand when I serve the cake. No, really, I couldn't, she says, and then gives her flat stomach a conspiratorial pat. Everyone who is pressing a fork into that first tender layer looks at the person who declined the plate, and they
Suanne Laqueur
Feb 07, 2016 Suanne Laqueur rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-five-stars
Second reading review: like a cake whose flavors intensify after sitting overnight, this was even better the second time around. Cannot recommend it highly enough.

I love Jeanne Ray. I mean, come on, she's Ann Patchett's mother for crying out loud! And of all her books, Eat Cake is my favorite. It's everything you could expect from the title. It's cake. But the best kind of cake. Intelligent cake. Complex, thoughtful cake. Multi-layered cake.

And also because of the scene where Ruth's mother smas
Nov 14, 2012 Jalyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book <3

Brief summary
Ruth bakes a cake for all reasons. When she's happy, when she has a reason to celebrate, when she doesn't know what else to do. So when her dad, who she has rarely seen throughout her life, needs to move in with her family because he has broken both wrists and needs help taking care of himself, Ruth turns to baking. Having her dad move in wouldn't be such a big deal if her mom wasn't already living with her, and if her parents didn't hate each other. Add to th
May 15, 2008 Christine rated it liked it
It's not really about cake just how cake saves Ruth's life. My Mom gave it to me, it was a lot of fun to read. For anyone who likes to save room for dessert, this ones for you... "Cakes have gotten a bad rap. People equate virtue with turning down dessert. There is always a person at the table...No, really, I couldn't...Everyone who is pressing a fork into that first tender layer looks at the person who declined the plate, and they all think, That person is better than I am. That person has disc ...more
Humorous and delightful, this charming book is pure cake therapy. If you've ever felt you had a little too much on your plate family-wise, you'll relate to Ruth and her need to find some way of balancing the chaos--for Ruth it's baking cakes. Who knew that something so simple and sweet could also prove to be a saving grace? A wise, wonderful, foodie comfort read.
*The Angry Reader*
Feb 07, 2016 *The Angry Reader* rated it really liked it
This book is, essentially, chicken pot pie for a reader. Maybe meat loaf and mashed potatoes. Steamed veggies and rice if you're vegetarian. It's simple and easy and palatable. It makes you feel all warm and happy inside.

This is the story of Ruth - a homemaker whose orderly life goes a little haywire - in the way that a lot of orderly lives do. Ruth uses cakes to soothe and work out her frustrations. She's pretty timid and very kind. When new responsibilities land on Ruth's shoulders she has to
We're entering into a new phase here at chez czuk, and I've been a little weepy over it, as it is not only a change in a family member, but a severe change in my lifestyle as well. But it's a change I am willing to make. (I keep remembering that saying that you are an adult once and a child twice, and thinking someone needs to add a bit that you are a parent forever, even if it's to those who parented you. Sigh.) Anyhow, I've been feeling quite sorry for myself, because on top of it all, I seem ...more
Melissa T
Jan 28, 2010 Melissa T rated it really liked it
Such a fun, fun book. Definitely one I will buy. I guess it's not a surprise that a book about a woman who loves to bake was as riveting to me as a mystery is to someone else! I started it yesterday and decided that I had to go to bed at 11:30 even though I hadn't finished it. I left off at the climax, and I kept waking up all night to dreams of cakes!

It was also a tender story about family, marriage, and working differences out.

And now, I think I must bake a cake today.

These are a couple of m
Susan O'Bryant
Feb 25, 2011 Susan O'Bryant rated it it was amazing
Shelves: female-fiction, food
"You never really know what's going on with your ceiling until you just give up and lie down on your floor."

That is just one of the quotable phrases from this wonderful book. In fact, it's the first book I've read this year that I really loved. I knew I would enjoy it, because I read Julie & Romeo by the same author last year, and it was great, too. But I wasn't prepared to find a character that I actually had quite a bit in common with. Ruth, the lovely main character, has a husband who ju
Nov 21, 2009 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
This is what happens when I wander the aisles of my library (like a kid in a candy store). I bring home stacks of books that sound tempting at a glance. When I get home, I'm always amazed at what I've found. I absolutely adored this book. Maybe it's because it was set, once again, in my hometown Minneapolis, but references to our city were few and far between (or nonexistent). I think it was the title that grabbed me.

Ruth is a busy wife and mother who loves to bake. No, that's not quite right.
Feb 10, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this. The temperature dropped to -14 degrees last week and all the kids were out of school, so of course I needed a 'warm yummy' read. This totally fit the bill! The story is down to earth and very realistic. It is easy to identify with the main character, who uses baking cakes as a way to escape life's craziest moments. I can identify with that...yum! Of course the book had me salivating for cake the whole time. :-) I love that there are recipes at the end. I made the c ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Mar 16, 2016 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it really liked it
Shelves: women-s-fiction
What a good day to read Eat Cake!
I went with my mom and dad to the
clinic while my mom had some extensive
outpatient surgery. Ruth, the main
character in Eat Cake, finds her whole
world changed as her husband is laid off
and her estranged father comes to live
with her in a crowded household that
already includes her mom (from whom her
dad was divorced and deeply estranged)
and a sassy teenage daughter. For stress
relief, Ruth finds herself going more
and more into her safe place, inside a
Feb 26, 2016 Margaret rated it really liked it
Shelves: fluff
Who needs a fun, light, optimistic book to read? Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray came to me via a bit of book serendipity - a random comment on someone's Facebook page. I requested it from the library as soon as I saw the title. I don't buy much fiction anymore, and surely not a book I am not sure I will like well enough to reread. Sorry about that, Ms Ray, nothing personal, that's just the way it goes.

But by page 2 I knew I was hooked when I read this:

Cakes have gotten a bad rap. People equate virtue w
Sep 13, 2011 Sara rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
This is a good light read. It was a nice change from the deep reads we've gotten accustomed to lately in our book club, and good way to end the summer reading list. It made me want to bake a cake everyday if I could get away with it. Problem would be, a cake would not last long on my counter. I can relate to baking as "therapy." I liked all the characters...especially Hollis and Guy! They really cracked me up.
Towards the end I could understand how a communication breakdown could happen when your
Oct 04, 2016 Catherine rated it really liked it
Great read, but it bothers me when the characters don't speak to one another. Tell it like it is. The family is as normal as a dis functioning family can get. Love all the cakes.
Linda Robinson
Dec 31, 2013 Linda Robinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I took my time reading this book and I'm glad I did. It is a book you want to savor, like the cakes Ruth Hopson makes. You know you haven't tasted anything quite like it before and it's fun to let the words melt in your head a little before taking another bite. I like everyone in this book. Everyone. Even the cranks and curmudgeons because Ray writes with heart and empathy and the characters find a genuine desire to make a family work well together. And bonus round! There are recipes in the back ...more
Jan 25, 2016 Barb rated it it was amazing
Read many years ago and still, this little book stays with me as a sweet story. A gem of a book!
Beth Pearson
Jun 30, 2011 Beth Pearson rated it really liked it
This is my 2nd book from this author and she really writes real characters with plenty of flaws to go with their good sides. The middle aged housewife "star" of this book deals with her unemployed husband, snotty teenage daughter, live in mother, and a loser, crappy absentee father who suddenly is no longer absentee. I chuckled at the snide comments, realism, and busyness of the whole thing and didn't even mind that she escapes to the details of cakes when life became too much. I wish she would ...more
Jan 02, 2012 Aimee rated it really liked it
Shelves: fun
I really liked this book. It was a quick fun read. I loved the main character her thoughts and comments often read true to yours truly. However she was much, much slower to anger than I am. I came to realize that the place I go to for inner peace like her has nothing to do with the beach or a place but much like her a feeling. The characters came alive and seemed like I had known them forever.
I wanted to be hired by her, be her friend, recieve one of her cakes and just like the savo
Maddie S
Nov 01, 2015 Maddie S rated it really liked it
Eat Cake, written by Jeanne Ray, is a compelling book about a woman and her family that are struggling through everyday life. The inspirational wife and main character, Ruth, has a passion for baking cakes. Her husband loses his job, has their divorced parents living in their house, and has two teenagers. In desperacy and need of money, many of Ruth’s friends encourage her to start a baking business. That is exactly what she does. The wife and husband both follow their dreams, baking cakes, and ...more
Feb 14, 2015 Sonya rated it liked it
This book was on the lighter side of what the Braille and Talking Book Library book club reads. Rebecca, this month's host, calls it "fluffy." At first i kept expecting the book to get deep, as Rebecca is deep and she has an MFA and generally goes for contemporary literature.

"Eat Cake" is about a family where the wife who is a homemaker takes on the breadwinner role by taking advantage of her passion and talent baking cakes, her husband has lost his job as a hospital administrator, and all of i
May 25, 2015 Jessie rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
Everyone needs a place to go when things get rough, a refuge. Some people go sailing, others run, some read books and Ruth goes inside "the warm, hollowed-out center of a Bundt cake. It is usually gingerbread, though sometimes that changes." I love books about food. They always make me want to eat what they have been talking about. The author is very good at describing the delicate, delicious, delights that Ruth bakes for her unappreciative family. **stop here for spoilers*** Ruth's family is u ...more
Aug 02, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: book club
Ruth's family is in a state of flux. She deals with stress by baking cakes from scratch, so she ramps up production. Recipes are included, although I cannot imagine making a cake from scratch.
This is a light and humorous read, but predictable. I am looking forward to discussing it in book club and I hope we can encourage some people to bring their favorite cake to share while we discuss and laugh.

Mar 14, 2015 Barb rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this fun book. Ruth, with a teenage daughter who is a snot, a son in college, and her mother living with the family, then her husband losses job and news that her long-divorced father fell and broke both wrists and he is a long time piano player, and needs a place to recover. And since he left when Ruth was only 2 years old, her mom hates him. Now they all live together.
Mar 26, 2012 Carlie rated it liked it
Cute book. We all need a place to escape to feel comforted, whether it be the beach, or mountain scenery. This character uses cake. She pictures herself wrapped inside one, and has a gift for baking them too.

THe best part is the complete recipes of the cakes discussed at the end. I am totally making the Lemon Cake for our book club night.
Apr 17, 2015 Joanne rated it it was amazing
I was given one of Jeanne Ray's other books as a birthday gift. I liked it enough to look for more. I found Eat Cake and LOVED it. It's what I call a "nice" book (that is not a derogatory term, in this case). I've read it several times now, recommended it to numerous people and I'm reading it again because...well, because I'd misplaced the book I'd started and Eat Cake was there. Once again I'm loving it. It's not a big book. It's not earth shattering. It's just a nice book that shows that even ...more
Mar 26, 2014 Michelle rated it liked it
A husband recently laid off, and antagonistic teenage daughter, mother living with you when your divorced father needs to move in because of a debilitating accident. That is some serious stress. No wonder Ruth imagines herself inside the safe, soft, warm sweetness of a bunt cake in order to escape. I am not usually a cake lover, but this book had me drooling for the cakes she made, described with mouth-watering detail. The characters were fun and likable, and I enjoyed myself while reading the b ...more
Madelin Gonzales
Feb 21, 2016 Madelin Gonzales rated it it was amazing
I rated this book a five due to many various reasons and I will now list them all. One of the reasons was the very good quality of the grammar and vocabulary it contained. I enjoy a little above average vocabulary and not too difficult to comprehend so I can still have to time to image through the book. I could definitely relate to the fact she is comparing life to cake because sometimes life can be sweet and sometimes it's too sweet to be true. The main problems the character faced were several ...more
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a humorist's look at a women's out of control middle age and family 3 20 Feb 02, 2008 04:49PM  
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Jeanne Ray is the New York Times bestselling author of Julie and Romeo and four other novels. She worked as a registered nurse for forty years before she wrote her first novel at the age of sixty. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and her dog, Red.
More about Jeanne Ray...

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“A slice of cake never made anyone fat. You don't eat the whole cake. You don't eat a cake every day of your life. You take the cake when it is offered because the cake is delicious. You have a slice of cake and what it reminds you of is someplace that's safe, uncomplicated, without stress. A cake is a party, a birthday, a wedding. A cake is what is served on the happiest days of your life.” 161 likes
“Cakes have gotten a bad rap. People equate virtue with turning down dessert. There is always a person at the table...No, really, I couldn't...Everyone who is pressing a fork into that first tender layer looks at the person who declined the plate, and they all think, That person is better than I am. That person has discipline. But that isn't a person with discipline, that is a person who has completely lost touch with joy.” 12 likes
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