Showing posts with label Strawberry cake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Strawberry cake. Show all posts

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Vicki Delany’s Strawberry Cake, as Served in Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room #bookgiveaway

Today we're delighted to welcome back guest blogger Vicki Delany, author of the popular new Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery, the most recent being Body on Baker Street. She's giving away a hardcover copy so be sure to enter the draw! Here's a teaser of what's happening in this book:

Gemma Doyle and Jayne Wilson are busy managing the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium on Baker Street and adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room in anticipation of the store’s upcoming book signing with the illustrious Renalta Van Markoff, author of the controversial Hudson and Holmes mystery series. But during the author Q&A session, dedicated Sherlockian Donald Morris verbally attacks Renalta and her series for disgracing Sherlock’s legacy, only to be publicly humiliated when the author triumphantly lashes back and gains the upper hand. That is until Renalta collapses on the table—dead.

Donald insists he didn’t do it and pleads to his friends to clear his name. Fortunately, Gemma and Jayne have no shortage of suspects between author’s bullied personal assistant, her frustrated publicist, the hapless publisher, a handsome rare book dealer, an obsessively rabid fan, and a world of other Sherlock enthusiasts with strong objections to Renalta’s depiction of the Great Detective. It’s up to the shrewd sleuthing duo to eliminate the impossible and deduce the truth before the West London police arrest an innocent man in Body on Baker Street, the second Sherlock Homes Bookshop mystery perfect for fans of Miranda James and Kate Carlisle.

Renalta Van Markoff, author of the hugely popular, and highly controversial, Hudson and Holmes mystery series, is about to pay a visit to the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and   Emporium, located at 222 Baker Street, West London, Massachusetts. 

Almost everyone is thrilled, including shop owner Gemma Doyle and head baker Jayne Wilson. They’re hoping book lovers will engage in a frenzy of shopping after the author talk, and then pop into Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room next door at number 220 for afternoon tea.

After all, as the author explains:
“I try to have at least one scene involving afternoon tea in each of my books. It gives Desdemona and Sherlock a chance to get together and talk over what they’ve learned.”

I refrained from mentioning that I couldn’t imagine Sherlock Holmes, man of action, pipe tobacco, and lover of a seven percent solution, enjoying a cream tea.
                                                      Body on Baker Street by Vicki Delany

Who isn’t thrilled about the author’s visit? Prominent and dedicated Sherlockian Donald Morris who insists that Van Markoff’s books are an insult to Sir Arthur Conon Doyle and his greatest creation. Will Donald create a scene at the book signing?  Will afternoon tea be cancelled? Will Jayne’s strawberry cake go to waste?

Will Gemma once again have to eliminate the impossible and deduce the truth before the West London police arrest an innocent man?

This strawberry cake will be perfect for serving at your next afternoon tea get together. Or even just dessert with your family.

·         6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pie plate
·         1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
·         1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
·         1/2 teaspoon salt
·         1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
·         1 large egg
·         1/2 cup milk
·         1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
·         1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch pie plate. 

S-  Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl.

2.    Put butter and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low; mix in egg, milk, and vanilla.

3.      Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. 

4.      Transfer batter to buttered pie plate. Arrange strawberries on top of batter, cut sides down and as close together as possible. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.

5.     Bake cake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 50 minutes. Let cool in pie plate on a wire rack. Cut into wedges.

Cake can be served with ice cream or whipped cream and fresh strawberries on the side.

You could win a hardcover copy of Body on Baker Street. Just leave a comment and be sure to include your email address. A random draw will be made for the winner after tomorrow at 5 PM EDT. US and Canada entries, please.

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than twenty-five books:  clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. Under the name of Eva Gates, she writes the Lighthouse Library cozy series for Penguin Random House. Her newest novel is Body on Baker Street, the second in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series from Crooked Lane.  

Vicki is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.  Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards.

Visit Vicki at On Facebook at Twitter @vickidelany

Monday, June 20, 2016

Strawberry Sheet Cake

I had house guests this past weekend. When I was thinking about a dessert, I had berries on the brain. And when I found beautiful strawberries at the store, I knew what I would do—sort of. I envisioned a cake piled with strawberries. In my mind, it seemed fabulous.

But when I came home and started looking through recipes, I couldn't find exactly what I had imagined. So I used a recipe I knew I liked for the cake part. But as I started the strawberry part, I ran into some dilemmas.

I didn't want the heaping strawberries on top to fall off when the cake was cut. Easy enough. I could use corn starch or gelatin to hold them in place. But I didn't want it to be like strawberry jello on top of the cake, either. At this point I wondered why I do this to myself. I could have just settled for a standard recipe. But I forged ahead.

I cut half of the strawberries into small pieces so they would fill in between the larger pieces. Then, because I didn't want it to be like jello, I used corn starch to thicken the structure. But it dawned on me that cornstarch would not give them that beautiful glistening top that was in the image in my mind. There were a few alternatives on that one, but I decided to do something daring—I added one packet of gelatin to the strawberries. Like magic, it immediately made them glisten! Yay!

Now there is one drawback to my gelatin solution. The pretty glaze disappears around day three. It's a big cake, but you won't have much left by day three anyway, and the not-so-shiny leftovers taste every bit as good!

Strawberry Sheet Cake
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mace
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter at room temperature or softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9x13 baking pan.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and mace in a bowl and set aside. 
Cream the butter with the sugar. Beat in each egg. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk and vanilla. Bake 25 - 30 minutes. It should be lightly golden on top and a cake tester should come out clean. While it bakes, prepare the strawberries.
2 pounds strawberries (divided)
2 cups sugar (divided)
1/3 cup corn starch
1 1-ounce packet unflavored gelatin
Hull and slice 1 pound of the strawberries. Slice in quarters and then slice into pieces from the end to the top. Combine with 1 cup of the sugar in a pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for about five minutes. Remove 1/2 cup of the liquid by draining or spooning. While the cake is still warm, poke holes into it with a wooden skewer. Pour 1/4 cup of the liquid over it slowly (if you do it too fast it will run off to the sides).
Hull and slice the remaining pound of strawberries.  Quarter large strawberries and half the small ones. Add them to the berries in the pot, along with the remaining 1 cup of sugar and cornstarch. Stir to combine. Cook one minute while stirring. Whisk gelatin into the remaining 1/4 cup of berry liquid and add to the pot. Stir to cover everything. Pour all the strawberries and juice onto the cake. If you like, turn the strawberries so the curved side is up. Refrigerate several hours before serving.

1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat the cream until it begins to take shape. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until it holds a soft peak.

Bake cake.

Chop 1 pound strawberries. Halve, quarter, slice.

Cook with sugar.

Poke some holes and add 1/4 cup of the juice.

Not glossy!
Whisk gelatin into 1/4 cup juice.

Now they're glossy!

I'm giving away a copy of THE DIVA SERVES HIGH TEA today! 
Please leave a comment below with your email address to enter.
Good luck!