Food from books: Harriet's cake and milk

"It was time for her cake and milk. Every day at three-forty she had cake and milk. Harriet loved doing everything every day in the same way."

——Harriet the Spy, Louise Fitzhugh


I loved Harriet the Spy when I was growing up. I re-read it this year (and also The Long Secret and Sport) and I still love Harriet. It was Harriet who convinced me to try tomato sandwiches when I was a kid. It's also thanks to her that I became a "spy" for a time. Harriet fed my love of reading and writing.

I came across this recipe for hot milk cake, and it's exactly what I picture Harriet eating after school every day. I think Harriet is a plain cake sort of girl, but I couldn't resist putting this hazelnut buttercream on top.

Have you read Harriet the Spy? Did Harriet influence your childhood? Do you think she would prefer her cake with frosting or without?


  1. I haven't read the book..
    The butternut cream frosting sounds like a great idea.. yummy

  2. Your post induced me to bring the book home from the library. What a gem. I love Harriet's notes. All this about fatness and creepy body parts. How did Fitzhugh manage to successfully peddle her manuscript? I can't imagine a publisher touching it with a ten-foot pole, these days.

    1. The sequel, The Long Secret, pushed the envelope quite a lot in its day, because girls talk about getting their periods. I love them both, but I loved Harriet the Spy best when I was a girl. And re-reading as an adult, I'm just glad that Harriet is not my child.