Today I'd like to welcome Alan Orloff to Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen. Alan has a new release--Diamonds for the Dead, which is getting great reviews. He's also writing a new series for Midnight Ink--The Last Laff series. Thanks so much for coming by today, Alan!
Thanks for inviting me to guest blog today. And what a great blog you have—combining mysteries and food? Genius!
I’m a cake kind-of-guy.
Some people prefer ice cream; others dig pie or candy or cookies. I even know one misguided soul who claims to be a flan lover. But when it comes to dessert, I’ll choose cake every time.
Such variety. Such wonderful flavors. And don’t even get me started on icing. (Hey, what other dessert can you write on? If they can have cell phone and Twitter novels, what about a novel written in icing on birthday cakes? I’ll volunteer to beta read that baby!)
So when Elizabeth/Riley asked me to guest blog here today, my thoughts immediately went to cake (although, I must admit, I also considered pulling out my Tofu-Cornapalooza recipe, but decided the public might not be quite ready for that. Maybe another time.).
Anyway, enough rambling. Let’s get our cake on!
This recipe is for chocolate babka, a traditional eastern European cake (maybe Russian, I don’t know). This cake used to show up at my grandmother’s apartment from time to time. It didn’t last long. This cake also makes an appearance in my just-released novel, DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD, in a scene where the main character sits shiva for his deceased father. This babka is not real cake-y, but more of a cross between a rich egg-bread and cake. Most importantly, there’s chocolate!
Because I’m basically lazy, this recipe uses a bread machine for the dough.
Put the following ingredients into the bread machine pan in order listed. Run on the dough setting.
1/3 cup milk
2 large eggs (no shell)
1/4 cup oil (cooking, not motor)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp yeast
Combine the following for the filling/topping.
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Melt 1/4 margarine in a bowl.
Grease a ten-inch fluted tube or bundt pan. Spoon some of the filling into bottom of pan.
When dough cycle is complete, divide dough into 16 equal segments. Roll each ball into melted margarine, then roll through the filling. Place into pan. Use eight balls for the first layer, then top with the remaining eight balls. Toss in any remaining filling (or eat it--hey, you deserve a treat!).
Cover and let rise for an hour to an hour and a half.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
After dough has risen, bake for about forty minutes, or until golden brown.
If you happen to be at the Malice Domestic convention tomorrow, look for me and say hello. I’ll be the one with babka crumbs on my chin. Actually, if you sit at my table at the New Authors Breakfast on Saturday morning, you can get your very own slice of chocolate babka to snack on later in the day!
Alan Orloff is the author of the just-released mystery, DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD (Midnight Ink). The first book in his new series is KILLER ROUTINE - A Last Laff Mystery, featuring Channing Hayes, a stand-up comic with a tragic past (Spring 2011, also from Midnight Ink). A former engineer, marketing manager, and newsletter editor, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and two children. When he's not writing or reading, he's cooking and eating. For more info, visit www.alanorloff.com