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"Fat Girl on a Plane" Book Discussion and Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe with SAFE Edible Cookie Dough Frosting

I wish to inspire readers, teachers, and book clubs to bake along with their reading and promote discussion about the books we've enjoyed.


Cookie Vonn is the overweight daughter of a supermodel and a doctor, raised by her grandmother, since neither of her parents have time for her. Her dreams are to be thin, marry her best friend Tommy, and make designer clothes for women of all sizes. She starts out with an amazing opportunity writing for a blog, but then a rival challenges her at every turn. On her journey toward her weight loss and fashion goals, Cookie realizes it isn’t being fat that made her unhappy, nor even all the encounters with her archenemy. Fat Girl on a Plane is a hilarious revealing of the fashion industry and the struggles of overweight women, and is a testament that women need to learn to love ourselves more, and compare less, while achieving our goals.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did Cookie think that people are fat and losing weight is so hard?
  2. What were some of the benefits of Cookie going to “fat camp”?
  3. Why didn’t Cookie want to be like her mom? Was she, in any way, at some point? How had her mom disappointed her?
  4. How did controlling what she wore help Cookie feel control in her life? Why was that so important? Was it really the only thing she could control?
  5. Why did Tommy use illustrations like the light of Arcturus at the World’s Fair and the relative size of the moon depending on whether its up in the sky or on the horizon to give advice to Cookie? Why didn’t she learn from it?
  6. How did Piper come to be a “Giver of Zero F***s” and what was stopping Cookie from being that way as well? Did Piper have any advantages Cookie didn’t?
  7. What were some of the things (particularly about fashion) that Cookie and Gareth had in common? Why was she so attracted to him? How were they different?
  8. Why didn’t Gareth have a plus sized collection and what was his argument? How did Cookie feel about it?
  9. What was wrong with Cookie Vonn’s Master Plan? Why were other lists more helpful for her, such as “My Weekly Goals” and “Five Things I Like about Myself”? What were some of those things? What would yours be?
  10. Where did Gareth go to be inspired, and why?
  11. How did learning the “psychology to food consumption” and the ways that food companies trick people into “mindless eating” and second helpings help Cookie overcome her own overeating and take control back from them? Did this happen in other areas of her life as well?
  12. Why did Cookie and Kennes not get along? How was Kennes “all opportunity and no talent”? How would Cookie crying give Kennes power?
  13. Father Tim gave some wise advice about an often misinterpreted verse in the Bible: “when someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.” What does it not mean? What was it really a warning against, and how did that apply to Cookie?
  14. How had “getting off the bus with ten bucks in his pocket, eating his dinner in dives” made Gary into the designer he originally was? How is it that “the struggle makes us”? Is that why Gary had lost his edge and needed Cookie’s fresh perspective?
  15. How was eating junk food “ a form of self-defeat, a way of giving myself an excuse not to go for the things I want” for Cookie? What was really stopping her? Why was she still hollow once she achieved her goal?

The Recipe

Cookie’s name came from the fact that “my mom ate chocolate chip cookies in the hospital after I was born.” Cookie’s first picnic and meal with Tommy consisted of ham sandwiches, quinoa chips, and chocolate pudding, and she admits “But after the day I’ve had, it’s a gourmet feast.” Often the donut shop where Cookie had worked sold “trays and trays of chocolate and sprinkle-covered pastries.” And at college, after running into Kennes and Tommy again, Cookie grabs a chocolate chip cookie and some PB&J’s for lunch, despite her diet, at a moment of revelation.



  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp milk, divided
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp cocoa extract
  • 1/2 cup hot coffee, freshly brewed
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine the oil with the granulated sugar in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed for about two minutes. Into another medium bowl, sift together flour with baking powder, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder. When the sugars and oil are combined, drop the mixer speed to low and add the sour cream, quarter cup of milk, cocoa extract, one teaspoon of vanilla extract, and the eggs, one at a time.extract, and the eggs, one at a time.
  2. After about two minutes when those are fully combined, add in the flour mixture on low speed, mix for about a minute, just until it looks combined, then stop the mixer and pour in the hot coffee. Turn the mixer back on to medium-low speed and mix for about a minute. Stop the mixer again to scrape down the insides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then allow them to combine again for one more minute on medium-low. Scoop the batter into paper-lined cupcake tins about 2/3 full and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean of any raw batter, only crumbs. Cool for at least 20 minutes before frosting, preferably on a cooling rack.
  3. For the frosting, combine the butter with the brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes. While that is going, measure your remaining one and a half cups of flour into a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave for at least 1 minute and 15 seconds on high, stirring every 20 seconds, until it at least reaches 160° F. It is not safe nor recommended to consume raw, uncooked flour or flour heated below this temperature.* Drop the mixer speed to low and add half of the powdered sugar. After a couple minutes, when those are combined, add the milk, the remaining tsp of vanilla extract, and the rest of the powdered sugar, as well as the flour on low for one minute, then up the speed to medium and mix to combine, about another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the chocolate chips into the frosting. Use a small spatula to scoop the frosting into a piping bag with an XL round tip, or you can just cut a large end off a piping bag, or scoop it on using a spoon to look like real cookie dough batter. Frost onto cupcakes that have cooled at least twenty minutes. Makes 1 dozen cupcakes.

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Similar Books

Another hilarious contemporary fiction book about struggles to overcome difficult circumstances, an overbearing mother, and personal awkwardness is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger is about a young woman working in the fashion industry for a cruel boss, in the hopes that her ridiculous demands might one day lead to the job of her dreams.

Something Like Happy by Eva Woods is a humorous contemporary fiction about a woman in desperate need of finding joy in life again, and discovering her new identity in the face of tragedy, with the help of an eccentric friend with cancer who is determined to find things that restore their happiness while she still has time.

Dumplin’ and Puddin’ by Julie Murphy are both YA novels about overweight teens with struggles over boys, rivals, and their own identity and confidence in themselves.

Notable Quotes

“Here’s why people are fat. Losing weight is hard....Need to lose weight? You’re on your own. And most of the world is working against you.”

“You keep punching yourself in the face and hoping your mom will get a black eye.”

“Fashion isn’t about finding clothes, it’s about finding yourself...”

“The way I get results is simple. Calories out exceed calories in. That’s it.’”

“It’s up to us what we do.”

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“We can be whatever we want.”

“There’s no such thing as a color philosophy. Color is mood. Season. Temperament.”

“Some things aren’t for sale.”

“You can’t just dress plus-size women, you have to also pull of something of a magic act. You have to make them look thin. Otherwise, they won’t be opening their pocketbooks. Especially not for clothes at a luxury price point.”

“We can’t assume that people are overweight solely because they overeat. Likewise, we can’t make assumptions about why people overeat.”

“Losing weight is hard. And honestly it sucks. It takes time and work. And you could be doing great. Then in six months or weeks or days, you’re tired. You pull out that list, and you won’t have anything you can cross off. That’s when people quit.”

“Fashion is art...It’s one of the few kinds of art that everyone gets to participate in. Fashion turns each of us into our own museum... and for some people, that’s the only creative decision they get to make.”

“I truly hate it when people tell you something’s not personal. All it means is that they don’t want you to make them feel bad for doing something really sh***y to them personally.”

“When you’re fat, you’re very conscious of the area you occupy. Of all the people in the universe, the overweight are the most conscious of personal space. We never want you to have to rub up against us.”

“There’s a psychology to food consumption...for the most part, food companies want your money. And need you to loosen that belt and help yourself to a second serving.”

“Looking different every day ≠ looking good every day.”

“The difference between a dressmaker and a fashion designer is that a dressmaker gives the client what she wanted last week, while the designer tells her what she wants next season.”

“I’m tired of this cruel world that says it’s okay for beautiful people to be careless and cruel.”

“Asking me to have sympathy for you is like the lion eating the zebra and asking for its pity.”

“What are some reasons we might want to quit our weight loss plan? Because we’d rather go back to our old lives of occasionally feeling full after a meal and watching tv instead of running?”

“Dior is right. Fashion changes when ideas change, and right now the world is ready for a big change.”

“You should forgive your friend. But also realize that when we offer forgiveness, we don’t need to keep putting ourselves in a position to get hurt. Just because you love someone doesn’t necessarily mean being around that person is good for you.”

“The struggle makes us.”

“For the first time, I realize that eating all this stuff is a form of self-defeat, a way of giving myself an excuse not to go for the things I want.”

The world doesn’t need more people to make excuses for the bad behavior of all the beautiful people.”

© 2018 Amanda Lorenzo


Naude Lorenzo on June 26, 2018:

Very interesting book and even better recipe, excellent Amanda

Pam Lorenzo on June 26, 2018:

Great book!

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