On Tuesday my newest book, Curiosity Thrilled the Cat—written as Sofie Kelly—will be available. (If you like cosy mysteries, cats, and a touch of magic I think you’ll like it.)
We’ll probably celebrate book launch day with Happy Cake. We celebrate a lot of things with Happy Cake—book launches, an “A” in math, snow days, cleaning out the basement.
The original cake recipe came from a church cookbook, the kind of recipe collection lots of church groups put out in the 1960’s and 70’s to raise money for things like choir robes or a new stove for the church hall. I love these cookbooks. They feel a bit like a time capsule. In my battered old cookbook, along with recipes for Mountain Dew Pudding and Miracle Whip Cake, there are ads for local businesses like Murphy’s Esso, and Kirks Foodliner. Mr. Murphy drove my school bus. His son, Wayne, was in my class from first grade all the way through ninth. We got our groceries every week at Kirks. (And I sighed over photos of the Mod Squad’s Michael Cole in Tiger Beat.)
The cake isn’t called Happy Cake in my cookbook. It’s actually called Jiffy Devil’s Food Cake. But in my house it’s always going to be Happy Cake, named by my daughter when she was two. Birthdays were “happy, happy day,” and birthday cake was “happy, happy cake.”
If you have a book to celebrate on Tuesday, or an “A” in math, or maybe just the fact that you made it through another January day, here’s the recipe for Happy Cake.
1 1/2 cups cake flour*
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix these ingredients together in an un-greased 8 by 8 cake pan. Make 3 wells in the mixture. Add the following ingredients, one in each well:
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon vinegar
Pour 1 cup of cold water over everything and mix well with a fork. **Sprinkle half a cup of chocolate chips over the batter. Do not mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool, cut, and enjoy!
*You can use all-purpose flour but the cake is better with cake flour.
**Or omit the chocolate chips and frost with your favorite frosting.
As Sofie Kelly, Darlene is the author of the new Magical Cats mysteries from Obsidian. The first book, Curiosity Thrilled the Cat will be available February 1st.
When librarian Kathleen Paulson moved to Mayville Heights, Minnesota, she had no idea that two strays would nuzzle their way into her life. Owen is a tabby with a catnip addiction and Hercules is a stocky tuxedo cat who shares Kathleen’s fondness for Barry Manilow. But beyond all the fur and purrs, there’s something more to these felines.
When murder interrupts Mayville’s Music Festival, Kathleen finds herself the prime suspect. More stunning is her realization that Owen and Hercules are magical—and she’s relying on their skills to solve a purr-fect murder.