Sunday, April 29, 2018

Welcome guest author Jenn McKinlay + book #giveaway



How wonderful to be visiting the yummiest blog on the Interwebs. Thanks so much for inviting me, Daryl! It’s great to be cooking in the kitchen again.

In honor of my latest release WEDDING CAKE CRUMBLE, the tenth cupcake bakery mystery, I am sharing the recipe for lemon-lavender cupcakes, which is in the book with the recipe included in the back.


Frequently, people ask me where I get the ideas for the cupcakes that I write into the books. It works pretty much like this, I am deep into writing the book and then I come upon a scene where cupcakes are baked, decorated, delivered, or otherwise mentioned and I think to myself ‘What cupcake would make me happy right now?’ On the day I was writing this book, I was freezing my butt off in New England and thinking about spring flowers and warmer weather. Lavender-lemon cupcakes popped into my head as just the thing to chase away the last of the winter blues so I wrote them into the book.

Little did I know, this was going to turn into an epic quest when it came time to develop the recipe. Hunting down culinary lavender became the equivalent of searching for the last dragon. Honestly, I tried my local grocery store. No luck. I went to my other grocery store. Nope. I checked out a fine foods shop, they were out. I then went to my favorite spice shop, but they had moved across town! It was beginning to look like the lemon-lavender cupcakes were going to remain fiction. And then, finally, while I was complaining to a friend from Oregon about my plight, she said, “Oh, I have some.” Seriously.

Have any of you kitchen mavens had the search for ingredients go wacky on you?

Thankfully, she had no use for the lavender, because as we know all know, there is some trial and error in getting the taste just right, and I had to use a good amount until I was happy with the result. And so, I share with you, my recipe for lemon-lavender cupcakes.

Lemon-Lavender Cupcakes: A tart lemon cupcake with sweet lavender frosting.

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°.  Line cupcake pan with paper liners. Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar until fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, and the lemon zest. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine the lemon juice, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Fill paper liners until two-thirds full. Bake 20 minutes. Makes 24.

Lavender Frosting:


Ingredients:

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
3 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 Tablespoons milk
1 drop purple food coloring
Fresh lavender

Directions:

Directions: In large bowl, cream butter. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Add dried lavender and vanilla, mixing well. Add milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Spread lavender frosting on cooled cupcakes and garnish with a fresh lavender sprig.




Now, you may have guessed from the title WEDDING CAKE CRUMBLE, that there is a wedding taking place in the latest cupcake bakery mystery. It’s true. Tate Harper and Angie DeLaura are scheduled to tie the knot. But…do they? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Here’s a synopsis of the plot for those who need to know more:

With Angie and Tate's wedding just around the corner, it's a happy time for Melanie Cooper and the bakery crew. Not only are they finessing the last minute details of the big day, but their bakery, Fairy Tale Cupcakes, has just been hired to bake cupcakes for the blockbuster book signing of a controversial author who wrote a steamy bestseller filled with juicy local gossip.

But one by one, the people Angie has hired to work at the wedding begin turning up dead. As the body count rises, the bestselling author is the next to bite the dust. Mel quickly realizes she needs to figure out how the murders are connected and why--before the killer brings the entire cupcake crew crumbling down. After all, Angie and Tate deserve their sweet happily ever after.

Thanks so much for letting me visit today! 

GIVEAWAY!

Leave a comment and be entered in the drawing to win a signed copy of the book and a sweet set of measuring spoons!


Happy reading (and eating)! XOXO Jenn


***

You can find Jenn here on the "interweb":


Website: www.jennmckinlay.com
Twitter: @JennMcKinlay 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jennmckinlayauthor
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/jennmckinlay
Instagram @mckinlayjenn









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124 comments:

  1. Jenn...I hope you set this up to post before you disappeared to finish your latest book. Thanks for the warning about how hard the culinary lavender is to find. They look divine...but I’m on team chocolate...keep writing and having fun with new recipes. I’m on the wait list at the library...my # keeps inching along towards “you’re next!” Lldawnjm (at) gmail ( dot) com.

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    1. Hi, Jane, I did write the post before - thank goodness! I'm team chocolate, too, but every now and again it's fun to mix it up!

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  2. Sounds delicious probably wouldn’t find any lavender around here, though. Hope your working on your book! 😉 good luck can’t wait to read it.

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  3. Sounds delicious! Wondering if the taste of lavender has the same effect that the smell does... calming! Looking forward to the new book!

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    1. Thanks, B. I haven't noticed a calming effect but I do love the smell and the taste is subtle.

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  4. Such a refreshing treat recipe; and I'd love to read the book! EMS591@aol.com

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  5. I have tasted wonderful desserts with delicate flavor of lavender but would be fearful of having too heavy of a hand with it myself. Years ago, I was in desperate search of curry leaves and they were remarkable difficult to find. However, the flavor of some curries just don't taste the same without it. Am so glad that it is easier to find now. Perhaps with time, culinary lavender will be more available, too.
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

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    1. I don't think I've ever cooked with curry leaves, Lil. I'll have to check my pantry.

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  6. This is a delectable treat which I would love to make. The book sounds captivating. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  7. Lavender is my favorite scent. It gives me hope and is soothing and wonderful. Your cupcakes are winners and the book a delight. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. I love the smell, too, petite. Thank you!

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  8. Those cupcakes are gorgeous! I love the lemon and lavender combination. I will have to start the hunt for lavender. Hopefully I won't have as hard of a time as you did! Thank you so much for thec chance to win!
    magicgirl2357@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi, Abby, I hear you can use lavender extract but I had no luck finding that either.

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  9. Lemon is a favorite flavour of mine and these cupcakes are going to be made pronto!
    I love this series! Hope there are more to come!
    Thank you for the giveaway.
    debprice60@gmail.com

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    1. Deb- Hooligan 1 loves lemon and lime - these cupcakes were gone in a day! LOL.

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  10. Sure love your books and your recipes !

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  11. Congratulations on your latest book release.
    The book looks like it will be a great read !
    Your lemon cupcakes look very fluffy and light!
    I've been on search for a good lemon cupcake recipe from scratch.Thanks for sharing ! Good luck with your book sales !
    Bakingcookies32@gmail.com

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    1. Thank you, Mindy! I do love my cakes to be light and fluffy!

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  12. We are fortunate to have Red Oak Lavender Farm in our county, where they sell all things lavender. They sell culinary lavender online at www.redoaklavender.com

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    1. Thanks for the tip, Robin! It must be beautiful when it's all in bloom.

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  13. I recently made Lemon cupcakes with lavender frosting and experienced the same problem you had - nobody carried culinary lavender! Looking forward to reading this book - love this series. Debbie(dot)Erickson14atgmail(dot com

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    1. Debbie, next time I'm ordering lavender extract (in advance)! LOL.

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  14. With me it's the other way round: I have a packet of dried lavender flowers lying around in my tea-/spice cabinet - and I didn't know what to do with it exept for a lavender-mint tea out of another book. Now my printer is rattling with the printout for your delicious recipe. So the lavender or its lack is not a problem for me.
    Once I had eaten a lemon-lavender-cake and it was fantastic (but I sadly could not recreate it later), so I'm looking forward trying out your recipe - and reading your book of course.
    I love culinary mysteries, especially ones about baking. Your series is one of my favourites (and the library one, too).
    So, cross my fingers.

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    1. Thanks, D, and that tea sounds divine.

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  15. Lovely to look at and even more lovely to eat! Lavender is such a treat as are your books!!

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  16. Lovely. Have not had the misfortune of hunting down ingredients in a lonnngg time since the internet is so handy. Now recipes? That is a different story. Will be doing this recipes in the next couple days. It has two of our favorite flavors and I have all the ingredients on hand. We're partial to Lavender Shortbread Cookies. Della at deepotter (at) peoplepc (dot) com

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    1. Oh, lavender shortbread - yum! Thanks for the idea, Not really (love that ahem - LOL).

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  17. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway. Love your books. Janngrogan@yahoo.com

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  18. I have to make these cupcakes for Mother's Day!!! I know they will be a hit. Loved Wedding Cake Crumble, but the whole series is awesome!!

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  19. I love cupcakes! Those sound yummy!

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  20. The cupcakes sound wonderful - just like your books!
    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

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  21. That sounds so delicious! I would have helped you taste them!!!! <3 cocanvaz@gmail.com

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    1. Brenda, I barely got to taste them - my hooligans were all over these.

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  22. I am sure these smell as delicious as they look

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  23. Love your books! Please excuse me while I go try to hunt down some culinary lavender up here in Alaska! Last time I hunted down an ingredient for one of your books was years ago when I made the mojito cupcakes! Blonde bombshells are still one of my favorites ❤️

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    1. Thank you, Julie! The Blonde Bombshell is one of my all tie faves, too!

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  24. Can't wait to read the book!!!

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  25. I'm curious. What is the difference between regular garden variety lavender and culinary?

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    1. Good question, Libby! I imagine culinary lavender is grown specifically for cooking - possibly no pesticides and such. I will have to check a cooking site to be sure.

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  26. I will have to try this recipe. Love all the adventures and mysteries of Mel, Angie, Joe and Tate and all the gang.

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  27. I’ve made lavender cookies. I can’t wait to make lemon lavender cupcakes!

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    1. Yum!!! I will have to try making cookies, Renee!

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  28. I really love this series I'm looking forward to this one, love the recipe too thanks Penney

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  29. Taylor R WilliamsApril 29, 2018 at 2:12 PM

    I love your books - so glad my library has them - would love to own one - thanks for the great stories and recipes

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  30. I have been looking forward to this book!!! I want Tate Harper and Angie DeLaura to tie the knot and have a happy life together. I have always wonder how you come up with the different cupcakes (and recipes). Thank you for answering my question and for the giveaway. myrifraf (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Thanks, Jen! It is all dictated by my stomach. LOL!

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  31. I can't wait to read this book! I need to start making some of the cupcakes you've included in your books!

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  32. I love lavender Would love to try to make these cupcakes.

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  33. Am so excited & want to make these cupcakes with my girls!

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    1. The pale purple frosting is so fun, Valerie!

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  34. Winning this book would be a real 'treat'! ;) Especially since I am one of the main characters. Thanks! Angie

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  35. Those cupcakes are gorgeous ❤
    adyortiz233@gmail.com

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  36. I'e ordered some culinary lavender! I love the taste of lemon and lavender. Never tried making them, but now I will! Thanks so much!!

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  37. Your book looks amazing & I would love to try one of those delicious looking cupcakes. Thanks for your generosity.

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  38. Love this series! I've never tried to cook with lavender, will have to try the cupcakes. Looking forward to reading the book.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  39. Thank You!!!
    You are so dedicated and I love it!!
    Love your books

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  40. I've read all of your books and can't wait to read this one. I can make cupcakes but am awful at decorating them; however my youngest daughter is great at both baking and decorating. She has made several of your recipes and they were delicious. I'm looking forward to her making these cupcakes and me eating them.

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    1. So nice to have a cook in the house, Holly!

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  41. And weight was added just by reading the recipe. I'll be glad when we get the kitchen back together (still working on the house after Harvey) so that I can try them out. Absolutely love your books!

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    1. Wow, that's brutal, Shannon! I hope you get your kitchen back soon!

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  42. Absolutely love all your book series! Can’t wait to read the latest!

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  43. great books and this recipe should be amazing

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  44. This is a great book series I just love them so much that I am rereading them.

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  45. I love this series. Thanks for the giveaway. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  46. I can’t wait to read this book! Love them!
    Cozieslover77@gmail.com

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  47. I love this series! The recipe looks delicious. Thank you for this opportunity! areewekidding(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  48. Recipe looks so yummy. I need to try it. Your book also looks good. thanks for the chance at the giveaway.

    faithdcreech at gmail dot com

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  49. Love everything lemon from lemonade to lemon donuts and cake. Yum.

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    1. I don't think I;ve ever had a lemon donut! Thanks, Cheryl!

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  50. Your tarr lemon recipe must be delicious! Thanks for the opportunity.
    browninggloria@hotmail.com

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  51. Lemon cake is the best! bethrevis@gmail.com

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  52. I love all cake, but especially chocolate. I also love your books! Good luck, everyone.

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    1. Me, too, Wendy! Chocolate rules but I'll eat any cake :)

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  53. Paula Jacobson
    I love all of your series. I remember one night when I couldn't find anything that I wanted to read. I took out one of the Cupcake series and, as always, enjoyed every minute of reading that book. Thanks for the opportunity. Keep them coming Jenn.

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    1. I forgot my email address jsjacobson(at)prtel(dot)com

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    2. Thanks, Paula! That's so nice of you to say!

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  54. These cupcakes sound delicious. I absolutely love the cupcake bakery mysteries! mcastor07(at)gmail(dot)com

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  55. I do love cupcakes but, I'm not fond of lavender. I like the color of the frosting, though. It's pretty. I'd love to win your book so I can read it.
    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks, Linda. It is different for sure!

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  56. I am available as a cupcake taster! I enjoy your books and would love to win your giveaway! lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com

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  57. Thanks for such a great series!! I love all things lavender, and can’t wait to try the recipe. Also, what a great contest to try and win!! hopegrubka@att.net

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  58. Love lavender. These look so delish. Thx for the chance!! ctymice(at)gmail(dot)com

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  59. I so want to try these cupcakes. My 13 year old son loves to cook cakes, pies and cobblers. Ill have to show him this recipe. I can't wait to read your books. Thank you for the opportunity to try and win.

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    1. Ooooh, cobbler! That boy is a keeper, Penny!

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  60. We have a lavender farm nearby and they have a shop. They sell culinary lavender online if people have trouble locating it: www.redoaklavender.com
    Your recipe looks great - I think I'll make it with my granddaughter. She loves to bake with grammy.

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  61. I am looking forward to baking these cupcakes. I thought they would be fantastic at a family gathering. Different. The book grabbed my attention and it is not hard core violence.

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  62. A great recipe for our upcoming English Tea at book club. I really enjoy wedding themed mysteries.

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  63. Love the sound of this recipe and the smell of it must be amazing!! Thanks for a chance to win! ljbonkoski@yahoo.com

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  64. The winner of this giveaway is Stacie T. Congrats. Jenn will be in contact. ~ Daryl

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