Showing posts with label Cupcake Bakery Mysteries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cupcake Bakery Mysteries. Show all posts

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Jenn McKinlay is our guest!

Please welcome former MLK'er and now our guest, Jenn McKinlay. 

Jenn amazes me. She is the successful New York Times selling author of two series, the Cupcake Bakery Mysteries and the Library Lover’s mysteries.  She also writes under the names Lucy Lawrence and Josie Belle...which, if you can count, means there are possibly four new titles out at any one time!  Her newest release is RED VELVET REVENGE coming in July 2012.  I had the delightful pleasure to read this book! Delicious.

Welcome, Jenn, from Avery. :)

* * *

The Cherpumple!

Writers, I’ve noticed, are an obsessive lot.  We get thoughts stuck in our heads and we become practically non-functional until we have exorcised the ideas that are ailing us, which could be anything from figuring out a particularly challenging scene, a reluctant character or a twisty plot point.  For me, this sort of obsessiveness also spills over into my daily life, which my family has learned to tolerate as one of the perks of living with me.  I like to think I’m teaching them flexibility but probably, they are really learning to humor the crazy lady.

Anyway, my latest obsession is with the cherpumple.  The whattle?  Yes, you heard me right.  The cherpumple.  It is a three layer  -- CHERry pie in chocolate cake -- PUMPkin pie in carrot cake -- apPLE pie in spice cake -- combination that leaves one equally dazzled and repulsed.  It was developed by Charles Phoenix as dessert’s  answer to the turducken (you know the turkey stuffed with a chicken stuffed with a duck).



Amazing, no?  Now, as much as I wanted to tackle the entire cherpumple, I was mostly obsessed with the cherry-chocolate layer and so, I decided to give it a go.  Charles doesn’t use chocolate as the cake for his cherry pie.  I saw that somewhere else and decided it was definitely the way to go.  My fellow librarian Jordan, the one who  introduced me to the cherpumple, was leaving our library for a promotion.  I decided to make it for her good-bye party.  Needless to say, the pressure was on not to screw it up!

I am happy to report that it was easy peasy just as Charles Phoenix’s video demonstrates.  I baked the pie, Mrs. Smith’s classic cherry, according to the box’s directions the night before and let it cool overnight.  The next day I got out my trusty springform pan and made my cake batter.  I used a boxed mix, Pillsbury Chocolate, not wanting to invest too much time if it proved disastrous.  I put a half inch of batter in the pan then I carefully removed the pie from its aluminum pan and put it in the cake batter.  I poured the rest of the batter over the pie and put it in the oven to bake according to the mix’s instructions.  I set the timer for 35 minutes and then tested it.  It was still gooey on top so I gave it another ten minutes.  Ding!  It was perfect.

Then I made a batch of vanilla buttercream.  One cup of butter, 4 cups confectioner’s sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 3 tablespoons of milk.  When the cake cooled, I carefully took it out of the pan and then frosted it and we were ready to go.

I took the cake to the party and was very nervous to see what it would like when we cut that baby open.   It was also a lot heavier than a standard cake, and I was equally relieved that I didn’t drop it.  Well, I have to say, “SUCCESS!”  The cake set up perfectly around the pie and much to my surprise it was delicious. 

If I do it again, I will serve the cake-pie with ice cream.  The pie part of it seemed to demand it. 

And that, my friends, is the cherpumple.  Well, at least the “cher” part of it.  Someday soon I am going to try the pumpkin and the apple layers, but I do think I will have to work up to putting all three together at once.  It is stunning though, isn’t it?

Thanks for letting me bring my insanity to the Mystery Lover’s Kitchen!    You ladies are the cherpumple  of my eye.   Yes, that’s a good thing.  Happy reading and happy eating!

* * *

Jenn McKinlay is the New York Times best selling author of the Cupcake Bakery mysteries and the Library Lover’s mysteries.  She also writes under the names Lucy Lawrence and Josie Belle. You can contact her via her website: JENN MCKINLAY.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes Can't Be BEET!

Hi, Everyone!

It’s so great to be back in the kitchen! Thanks for inviting me, ladies, and thanks for all of the wonderful recipes you share every day. You’re keeping my family safe from dying of culinary boredom and a diet consisting solely of cupcakes.

My next cupcake caper, DEATH BY THE DOZEN, comes out in October, so when Ellery invited me to blog, I knew it had to be one of the recipes from that book. The trouble was – which one? You see, this story finds our intrepid, over-sugared heroines Mel and Angie entered in the challenge to the chefs, pastry division, at the Scottsdale Food Festival. Their bakery rival Olivia Puckett joins the fray and the tensions run high as they have to bake delicious desserts from mystery ingredients such as beets, beer and chili peppers. Mel and Angie are up to the task until Mel’s mentor, Vic Mazzotta, who is judging the competition, is found murdered. Now Mel and Angie have to whip up amazing desserts and solve a murder before the killer makes sure they are out of the competition – for good.

So, you can see, I had several unorthodox recipes to choose from. My personal favorite is the red velvet cupcake made with beets, so that is the one I’m going to share with you today. For you non beet lovers, take heart. My Hub hates beets and he loved these cupcakes. And moms, it’s one more sneaky way to get those veggies in!

Red Velvet Cupcakes (using beets): A red velvet cupcake made with beet puree and topped cream cheese frosting and an edible flower (optional).

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup beet puree
1/3 cup canola oil

1 egg, room temperature

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F. Put 12 cupcake liners in muffin tin. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, add in the oil, lemon juice, vanilla and egg to the pureed beets. Pour the beet mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix just enough to combine. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full and bake for 18 – 22 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in large bowl until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until frosting is smooth. Put frosting in a pastry bag and pipe onto cupcakes in thick swirls, using an open tip. Decorate with an edible flower, such as a nasturtium.


Jenn McKinlay

New York Times Bestselling Author of the Cupcake Bakery mysteries and the

Library Lover’s mysteries!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hot Seafood Dip

I have just returned from the New England Crime Bake
in Dedham, MA. It was a great conference on
many levels. First, I got to have a long
chat with Charlaine Harris. I have to say, she is a
genuine soul. I learned so much just chatting with her.
Really, I can't say enough nice things about her.

Jenn and Charlaine Harris!

Second, I didn't faint when I met Dennis Lehane.
I call that a triumph!

And finally, I got to make a bunch of new friends
(Hi, Leigh Ann), talk shop with writers from
all over New England *AND* I got to visit my family;
Lunch with dad, crashing at my brother's for a few
nights and the banquet with Mom. Good times!

Now I am doubly fortunate because my sister-in-law,
Natalie, is one of those cooks who can have a potato
and two canned goods in her pantry and knock your
socks off with what she can create out of it.
Seriously, I live in awe of her culinary skills.
She's such a love, she prepared a seafood stew that
was to die for while I was there.

So, since I'm a little homesick, I thought I'd
share one of her other yummy seafood recipes.
Now, I've been to her parties. People throw elbows
and tripping has been known to happen when she
brings this baby out of the oven. So be warned!


12 oz cream cheese, softenend
1/3 cup minced green pepper
1/3 cup chopped green scallion
2 tblspns lemon juice
1/2 tsp WORCESTERSHIRE sauce
1/2 tsp salt
dash garlic powder
6 oz can crab, drained
4.5 oz can shrimp, drained
6.5 oz can minced clams, drained
1/4 cup slivered almonds

In medium bowl, blend cream cheese, green peppers, onion,
lemon juice, W. sauce, salt and garlic powder. Stir in
crab, shrimp and clams.
Turn mixture into a 1 qt ungreased casserole or oven
proof serving dish. Sprinkle with almonds.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min until bubbly around edges.
Serve with crackers and veggies. Makes 4 cups.


BUTTERCREAM BUMP OFF -- Available January 2011
"A sublime mystery" -- Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A book cover celebration with cupcakes!

Hats off to the Berkley Prime Crime
cover artists! I just got the cover art
for cupcake bakery mystery number
two and I love it!!! (Note the lovely
cover blurb by our own Krista --
Thanks, blog buddy)!

Although, it won't be released until January,
I wanted to celebrate and what better way
than to bake a batch of cupcakes. The recipe
going share is one of the many to be
included in the upcoming book and
it's the one that inspired the cover

So without further ado, I give you...

Kiss Me Cupcakes!

A mint chocolate
chip cupcake with
red and white
swirled mint
buttercream icing
and a big Hersey’s
Kiss planted in the


1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 tspns baking powder
1/8 tspn salt
1 tspn peppermint extract
1/2 cup milk
1 stick butter, softened
1 cupc sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup chocolate chips
1 bag Hersey's Kisses


Preheat oven to 350. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda
and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and
sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with
each addition, then stir in the peppermint extract. Add the flour mixture
alternately with the milk, beat well. Add the chocoalte chips after dusting
them with flour to keep them from sinking while baking. Bake for 15-17
minutes. Makes 16.

Peppermint Buttercream Frosting:


1 cup butter, softened
1 tspn peppermint extract
4 cups confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons milk


In a large bowl, cream the butter and the extract. Gradually add the
sugar, beating well on medium speed. Add milk and continue mixing
until frosting is light and fluffy. Divide in half into separate bowls.
Use red food coloring to dye one half of the frosting red. To decorate
the top of the cupcake use a pastry bag with a star tip and working
from the center of the cupcake to the edge, pipe the frosting in
alternating colors so that it resembles a hard candy.
Top with a Hersey's Kiss.

Jenn McKinlay ~
Sprinkle With Murder ~
Buttercream Bump Off

also writing as:

Lucy Lawrence ~ Stuck on Murder ~ Cut to the Corpse

Congrats to my blog buddy Cleo Coyle for

the hard copy release of ROAST MORTEM!

Way to go, Cleo!!!