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

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How to Make Glazed Eggnog Muffins + a #bookgiveaway from mystery author Cleo Coyle

'Tis the season for eggnog! This classic holiday flavor is one of my favorites, and Marc's, too. (If you're new to this blog, Marc is not only my husband, but also my partner in crime writing.)
Billionaire Blend,
now an official
national bestseller in
Billionaire Blend is the newest entry in our long-running Coffeehouse Mystery series. It was released earlier this month to a Starred Review from Kirkus, a Top Pick from RT Book Reviews, and is now officially a Top-10 national bestseller in hardcover** (huzzah!). 

**B&N, Nielsen Bookscan, and (for the first time), Baker & Taylor!

I'm guest blogging about the book with a fun contest at Dru's Book Musings this week.

Scroll to the end of this recipe
for the link to the contest...

Now Back to the Food!

Today's recipe is the second eggnog muffin I've shared with readers. The first was in last year's "holiday special" Coffeehouse Mystery, HOLIDAY BUZZ. You'll find the recipe (pictured below) in the recipe section of that book...

Eggnog Crumb Muffins from
Holiday Buzz: A Coffeehouse Mystery
To see the many festive recipes
featured in Holiday Buzz,
click here.

The crumb muffin (above) is a very tasty "from scratch" version. Today's muffin is a quick-and-easy large batch recipe with a cake mix starter and a delicious eggnog glaze. It's just as tender and tasty as the scratch version and just as eggnoggy (yes, I made up that word).

Both muffins are delicious and festive. Whichever way you make them, I hope you will bake them with love and eat them with (holiday) joy!

~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle, baker of
"eggnoggy" muffins is author
 of The Coffeehouse Mysteries
Cleo Coyle's
Eggnog Muffins

In Holiday Buzz, I describe these muffins and how they came about...

During her years raising her daughter alone in New Jersey, my amateur sleuth, Greenwich Village coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi, created this easy "cake mix" recipe for her In the Kitchen with Clare column. The recipe produces tender and delicious breakfast or coffee break treats with the seasonal flavors of eggnog, nutmeg, and (if you like) even a spirited splash of rum. The eggnog glaze puts a lovely finish on each muffin, boosting the flavor while dressing them up for your Season's eatings. Enjoy! ~ Cleo 

For a free PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here

Makes 24 muffins

One Yellow Cake Mix (Butter Recipe)

1-1/2 cups Eggnog

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

3 large eggs, lightly beaten with fork

1-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Optional addition: 1 tsp. rum extract or 1 Tbsp. dark rum

Directions: Using an electric mixer, blend eggnog, butter, eggs, salt, vanilla, (and rum, if adding) in a large bowl. Once blended, add the cake mix and beat at medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes. Line muffin tins with paper liners, divide batter among them. Bake for 20 minutes in a well-preheated 350° F oven. Muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the center of a test muffin comes out with no wet batter clinging to it. Remove from oven. Allow to cool and dip tops into eggnog glaze (as shown below). 

Cleo's Eggnog Glaze

In a saucepan warm 1/2 cup eggnog and 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick) over low heat. Do not allow this mixture to boil! If it does, you may get a scorched taste in your glaze. When butter is just melted, stir in (about) 3-1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar. I also like to add in 1/2 teaspoon rum extract. If you really like rum, you may want to increase this amount; if you dislike rum, leave out the extract. 

Keep stirring until the sugar is melted and a smooth glaze forms. If you did not sift the sugar, you may need to whisk the glaze to smooth out any clumping. If the gaze seems too loose, add more confectioners’ sugar, if it’s too thick, spoon in a bit more eggnog until you get the consistency you like. Test on a plate. The glaze should drizzle easily off the spoon but harden fairly quickly once it cools on the plate. 

Dip the tops of each muffin into the glaze as shown in my photos. Remember that the glaze is hot! So watch your fingers. Finish with an optional sprinkling of Nutmeg Sugar before the glaze hardens.

NUTMEG SUGAR: Whisk together 1/4 cup granulated sugar and ½ teaspoon nutmeg. Sprinkle over freshly glazed eggnog muffins.

Win and Autographed 
Copy of Billionaire Blend and 2 more fun prizes...

*Star Reviewed ~ Kirkus

"Top Pick" ~ RT Book Reviews

"...a highly satisfying mystery."
~ Publishers Weekly

Update: This contest is now over, but you can still enter the contest at Kings River Life magazine (of CA):

And Note:
Two new contests to win the
book and extra fun prizes
are starting Christmas Day.

Stop by my
website for links to those or 
subscribe to my newsletter. 

Simply write an e-mail 
that says "sign me up"
and send it to...


Read with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

Free Title Checklist!

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
13 titles includes the added bonus of recipes.

To download a free checklist of titles (in order)
with mini plot summaries, click here.

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

How to make a Baileys Irish Cream and Coffee Poke Cake for St. Patrick’s Day by Cleo Coyle

Baileys Irish Cream and coffee are a natural together. Who wouldn't enjoy a wee spot of Irish whiskey in their coffee, blended with real Irish cream from real Irish cows? With St. Patrick’s Day coming up this weekend, it’s no wonder I’m featuring both flavors (coffee and Irish cream) in a delicious cake recipe. My only regret is that it’s not green! 

Yes, I’m one of those classy people who enjoy making green food for St. Patrick’s Day. (If you'd like my recipe for Shamrock Green Pistachio Muffins (with ricotta)- click here for the recipe and/or you can also watch my little video from a recent St. Patrick's Day parade here in New York City).

Unfortunately, my original plans for today’s recipe (a green avocado cake) went south (literally!), which is why I’d like to give a shout-out of thanks to Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) for stepping in on my regular post day Tuesday, thus giving me a chance to recover. Thanks again, Lucy! 

Behold: My avocado cupcake fail.
I’ll write more about my altercation with an avocado cake in a future post. Let’s just say it not only fell flat but baked up weirdly doughy. My second attempt at avocado cupcakes didn't fare much better (again, weirdly flat and doughy). So I abandoned "baking with avocado" idea (for now, anyway) in favor of a much better one! I hope you enjoy it!

~ Cleo

FYI - Last night on facebook, some readers asked about
the cup in my teaser photo. I call it my "Downton Abbey" cup.
It's not an antique. It's (happily) affordable bone china made by
The Johnson Brothers (click here for more info).

Some Fun Facts About Irish Cream

* Irish cream is made with Irish whiskey and real dairy cream. Baileys uses cream from a dairy in County Cavan.

* Irish Creams have an alcohol content between 17% and 20% by volume (Baileys is 17%)

* There are no preservatives in Baileys yet the cream doesn’t spoil because the alcohol content is enough to preserve it. Baileys has a shelf life of 30 months, and the manufacturer guarantees its taste for two years from the day it was made.

* Baileys is available in several flavors, including hazelnut (the newest), chocolate mint, crème caramel, and (of course) coffee!

Cleo Coyle's
Baileys Irish Cream
and Coffee Poke Cake

Cleo Coyle, addicted to coffee
and green food (especially
on March 17), is author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries.
If you enjoy the flavors of Irish Cream and coffee, then I think you'll find this cake absolutely delicious. It's an impressive cake to serve, and my readers might be curious to know that I'm planning to include a version of this recipe in my upcoming Coffeehouse Mystery Billionaire Blend, in which my amateur sleuth, coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi, is not only tasked with preventing the bump-off of a billionaire, she's also hired to create the rarest and most expensive coffee blend on the planet. 

My challenge is a little different from Clare's (other than co-writing her tale with my partner in crime writing, my husband). I have to think about what cake one might eat with such a heady blend. Honestly, this one comes close...

To download a copy of this recipe in a PDF document that you can print, save, or share, click here.


For the easy sheet cake

1 package white cake mix (with or without pudding in the mix)  

4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter (softened) 
½ cup vegetable or canola oil 
1 package vanilla instant pudding 
½ cup Baileys Irish Cream 
¾ cups milk (whole or skim) 
4 egg whites 
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 

Step 1 - Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Do not follow cake mix box directions. Using an electric mixer cream the 4 tablespoons of softened butter into the package of white cake mix. Stop the mixer. Add the ½ cup of oil and continue creaming. Now add the rest of the ingredients (instant pudding, Baileys Irish Cream, milk, egg whites, and vanilla). Beat this mixture for at least 90 seconds, scraping down the bowl to create a smooth batter. Pour into a well-buttered and floured 13 x 9-inch pan. Batter will be thick. Use a spatula or back of a spoon to even out the batter and level off the top. Bake in a well-preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out free of wet batter and the top springs back after a light touch. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature (about 20 minutes). 

Step 2 - Poke, Glaze and Frost the Cake: After the cake has cooled, poke it using a chopstick, wooden skewer, or similar tool. Slowly pour my warm Baileys Irish Cream and Coffee Glaze evenly over the cake (recipe below). This glaze will harden as it cools, and you don't want that, so gently rewarm it if necessary. As you pour, let the liquid seep into the holes then tilt the pan one way and the other until the cake top is evenly covered with glaze (see my photos below). Let the glaze cool and set, then finish the cake with simple whipped cream or frost it with my Baileys Irish Buttercream Icing (recipe below)

Cleo's Baileys
Irish Cream & Coffee Glaze

1 teaspoon espresso powder 
2 Tablespoons water
4 Tablespoons (½ stick) butter
½ cup white, granulated sugar
¼ cup Baileys Irish Cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions - First a warning: Do not dump all of the ingredients into the saucepan. The flavor of the Irish cream and vanilla will be ruined if boiled. Instead, do the following: Put a saucepan over medium heat, add the water, espresso powder (or instant coffee granules), butter, and sugar and stir until the butter melts. Increase the heat a bit and bring the mixture to a boil, turn down to a simmer and continue cooking stirring for four or five minutes, watching for the mixture to thicken. Take the pan off the heat, stir in the Irish cream and vanilla extract. Blend well and transfer to a measuring cup with a spout to give you better control as you pour it over the cake. Follow remaining directions in my cake recipe (above).

Baileys Irish Buttercream

(Cleo's version)

Makes about
2 cups of (amazing!) Icing

2 Tablespoons Baileys Irish
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
   to room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar

Directions: Using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter. Stop the mixer and add the Baileys Irish cream, vanilla extract, and 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Beat the mixture until the sugar is dissolved. Scrape down the bowl, add a 2nd cup of powdered sugar, beat until dissolved. Finally add the 3rd cup of sugar and beat until smooth. If frosting is dry, add a bit more Irish Cream until you get the consistency you like. Frost the cake with joy!

St. Patrick's Day!

~ Cleo Coyle 

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Friend me on facebook here
Follow me on twitter here.
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 
To learn more, click here. 


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Even-on-a-Deadline Lemon Poppyseed Cake

My mother is an excellent cook.  Today, she uses high end ingredients and posh cookbooks to create gourmet masterpieces.  In fact, she just recently sent me a copy of a cookbook she bought ... trust me when I say it's on the high end of degree of difficulty.  I'm not sure how often I'll use this beautiful masterpiece of a cookbook, but I know my mother will use it often and with great success.

But when I was a kid, money and time were usually tight.  We ate a lot of casseroles.  In face, we used to joke that my mom could make a casserole out of any combination of meat and snack chip out there.  The food was still delicious, but a little more humble.

My mother happens to share my love of treats, and so we always had some sort of snack at night (a sweet or popcorn or potato chips).  And a snack after school.  And, on weekends, a snack in the middle of the morning.

One of my favorite snacks was a poppyseed "bread" my mom made with yellow cake mix and instant coconut pudding.

This is my variation on that theme, adding a lemony twist to that moist, delicious cake of my youth.  I've also made the cake in a bundt pan instead of two loaf pans, just to make it a smidge prettier.

Yes, it's made with packaged food.  No, it's not gourmet.  But it's dang tasty . . . and it's so fast and easy to prepare that it's one of my go-to desserts when I'm particularly pressed for time (like when I'm on a deadline!).

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 box instant lemon pudding
4 eggs
1/2 c. oil
juice of one lemon
hot water
3 Tbs. poppyseeds

Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease and flour a bundt pan.*

Juice the lemon, straining seeds and pulp.  Add hot water to the lemon juice until you have 1 c. of liquid.  Combine that cup of liquid with all the other ingredients, beating with a hand mixer until batter is smooth.  Pour batter into bundt pan and tap to distribute evenly.

Bake 45-50 minutes (or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean).

Cool completely before glazing with the Lemon Glaze

Lemon Glaze

juice of one lemon
powdered sugar

Strain the lemon juice.  Add enough powdered to make a glaze (usually about 1 cup).  Drizzle over cooled cake.

* Note that I do not have a pretty picture of my cake, all glazed and delicious-looking.  That is because I got lazy on this step and simply used a little cooking spray, which didn't get into the nooks and crannies.  The result is the cake did not release.  Oy.  It still tasted great, but was much more difficult to serve.  So please don't skip this step!!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Irish Birthday Cake

I've mentioned before that I have no shame when it comes to convenience foods.  One of my favorites is the boxed cake mix.

Oh, sure, I make cakes from scratch, too.  Some of those recipes are wonderful and worth the little extra effort.  But the boxed cake mix makes life so much easier when you need a dish in a hurry.

What's more, there are so many ways to spruce up a boxed mix to make it extra special.  When I was young, my mom made something she called "poppyseed bread."  There was nothing "bread" about it; it was cake, pure and simple.  It started with a box of yellow cake mix, some coconut instant pudding, and a mess of poppyseeds.  I could eat a whole loaf in a single sitting.

In fact, there are so many ways to trick out a boxed cake mix, there's even a book called The Cake Mix Doctor.  I highly recommend the chocolate cake made with sour cream and raspberry puree.  Delish!

Recently, I attended a birthday party (sort of a grown-up slumber party:  a handful of girlfriends, take-out pizza, some schlocky chick flicks, and CAKE).  I chose this cake for a couple of reasons:  (1) it was fast to whip together; (2) I had a bottle of Irish cream liqueur in my pantry, and I'm not much of a drinker; and (3) it looked so, so good.

Dang, it was awesome.  The crumb is dense and moist, almost fudgy.  The Irish cream in the cake itself is just a subtle note, but the liqueur in the buttercream gives it just the right depth of flavor, that heady hint of whiskey and a finish reminiscent of good French roast.  Yum.

Delicious, dense, fudgy cake!

As an added bonus, I got the recipe from the Betty Crocker website (in the interest of time and tidiness, I left off the chocolate glaze and it was still heavenly).  It was such a hit, I think I'll be perusing the company's website for more delicious dishes I can whip up in a pinch.

What about you?  What's your favorite convenience food?  Or are you a "strictly from scratch" person?

Simple, ingredients
Irish Birthday Cake

1 box devil's food cake mix
1 box (4 serving size) chocolate instant pudding
4 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1 c. Irish cream liqueur
1/3 c. oil

Irish Buttercream

1 c. softened butter
4 oz. softened cream cheese
3 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. Irish cream liqueur
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350; spray two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick spray.

Combine all cake ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mixing until well-combined.  Divide batter between pans and bake 35 - 45 minutes (until tester inserted near center comes out clean).  Cool 10 minutes on wire rack, then remove cake from pans and cool completely.

Sour cream creates a silky batter
For buttercream, cream butter and cream cheese.  Beat in powdered sugar until smooth and fluffy.  Add liqueur and vanilla and combine.

For pretty frosting, start with a thin "crumb coat", refrigerate for 30 minutes, and then use the rest of the frosting.  This keeps the crumbs from popping through and leaves the finished cake pristine!

Place one cake on a platter and top with 1/3 of the frosting.  Top with second cake and use remaining frosting to cover top and sides.  Chill until ready to serve.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Insanely Easy Cherry Streusel Coffee Cake for Mother's Day from Cleo Coyle

Cleo Coyle, who aspires to
wear purple, is author
of The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Happy Mother's Day!

(A little early.)

I'm putting on the coffee and
baking up a favorite...

Shirley Hunt Jackson,
Red Hat Queen

Courtesy of a beautiful mom
and grandmom, 
who wrote to me two years ago
and shared this recipe.

Thank you to Red Hatter...

Shirley Hunt Jackson 

Insanely Easy
Cherry Streusel Coffee Cake

Courtesy of Shirley Jackson

Note from Shirley: "I made this coffee cake for the first time at Pam's home in Houston for a group of Red Hat friends. This coffee cake tastes just like a yeast bread that has taken you a long time to make. Sure does make your kitchen smell cozy."

Note from Cleo: "Shirley is absolutely right about the yeast and the coziness of this coffee cake. Over the years, I've seen many cake recipes with a cake mix as starter. I've seen many 'pie-filling-over-cake-mix' recipes, too. But I've never seen yeast used as an ingredient (have any of you?). The use of yeast in this recipe gives the streusel a sweet bread-like flavor and texture, but without kneading or rising time. It's also fantastic chilled, so it makes a great summer cake, too. Thanks again to Shirley!"

To download this recipe in a PDF file that you can print, save, or share, click here.


For dough base:
1 package yellow cake mix
1 cup all-purpose flour, unsifted
1 packet (1/4 ounce) dry yeast
2/3 cup very warm tap water
2 eggs

For topping:

5 Tablespoons butter (salted is fine)
1 can (1 pound 5 ounce) cherry pie filling
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Step 1 - Make dough base: First preheat your oven to 375° Fahrenheit and coat a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with cooking spray (or grease and flour it to prevent sticking). Then, in a large mixing bowl, measure out 1-1/2 cups of the dry cake mix. (You are reserving the remaining mix for the topping.) Add the flour and dry yeast. Now add the 2/3rds cup of very warm tap water. Allow the yeast to come alive and bubble for a minute. Finally, add the 2 eggs. Beat everything for 2 minutes at medium speed, scraping bowl often. Dough will be thick. Using a rubber spatula or back of a spoon, spread it across the bottom of your coated baking pan.

Step 2 - Make streusel topping: Melt butter in a saucepan and pour it over the remaining cake mix. Mix the butter in well with the dry mix. It should be lumpy and crumbly. (See photo.)

Step 3 - Assemble coffee cake: Spoon the cherry pie filling evenly across the top of the dough in the baking pan. Sprinkle sugar on top of the filling. Finally, using your fingers, crumble the streusel topping over it all. (There is quite a bit of topping in this recipe. I decided to hold back some of mine so the bright redness of the cherries would really show through.)


Step 4 - Bake and glaze: Bake the coffee cake for 30 minutes in your preheated oven (375° F). Cool the coffee cake on a rack (to allow air to circulate under the hot pan bottom). When the top is fairly cool, drizzle with glaze. See my Quick Glaze recipe below. After cake is served, refrigerate leftovers to keep fresh. This cake is also delicious chilled!



Cleo's note: Shirley's cherry streusel coffee cake glaze used corn syrup, water, and powdered sugar. With her indulgence, I am giving you my favorite butter glaze instead, which is what I use when I make this cake. Here is the simple recipe...


2 Tablespoons butter (salted is fine)
2 Tablespoons whole milk (cream or half-and-half)
1 cup confectioner's (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

Over medium heat, warm butter and milk in a saucepan. Do not let this mixture brown, burn, or boil or you will have a scalded taste in your glaze. As soon as butter has melted, stir in the sifted confectioner's sugar, a little at a time, until it is completely melted. You must work with the glaze quickly, while it is still warm. Using a rubber spatula or spoon, drizzle the warm glaze over the coffee cake. If the glaze hardens up on you, place the saucepan over the heat again and whisk until liquefied and smooth once more.


Happy Mother's

~ Cleo Coyle, author of 

To get more of my recipes, enter to win
free coffee, or learn about my books, including
my bestselling 
Haunted Bookshop series, visit my online coffeehouse:

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.