Showing posts with label cupcake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cupcake. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sparky Dog Cupcakes plus book #giveaway for AS GOUDA AS DEAD from @AveryAames

I'm gearing up for the release of the next Cheese Shop Mystery #6: As Gouda As Dead. From now and long into February, every Wednesday, if you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win a Cheese Shop Mystery plus some fun swag. See below!

Many of you know that I have a Goldendoodle named Sparky. He is 28 pounds and a bundle of good energy. He is the ultimate party animal! He makes everyone who comes into the house a dog lover. He can’t wait to play, romp, zoom!

Over the holidays, I decided to honor him by making a cupcake that looks like him. Okay, really?

The real reason I made these little treats is because my daughter-in-law sent me a YouTube link of a woman making doggie cupcakes. So cute!!!!  Here's the LINK

For those who don't have time to watch the video, I'm trying to show as many steps as I can. By the way, the woman used whipped cream for the frosting, but I didn’t think that would hold up, so I created this version using my favorite cream cheese frosting. Why not? I’m constantly thinking about cheese since I write the Cheese Shop Mysteries! The cupcakes, the few that didn’t get gobbled up immediately, lasted for a couple of days in the refrigerator! Perfect for a snack when reading a good book. 

Ahem, is anyone planning on picking up a copy of AS GOUDA AS DEAD?

Note: This cupcake was one of my first attempts at using a pastry tube. Because Sparky can look messy, don’t worry about the end result being perfect. I sure didn’t.

Also note: You can cheat and make cupcakes using your favorite regular or gluten-free boxed cake mix. If you want to make them from scratch, here is a delicious gluten-free recipe. The mayonnaise makes a HUGE difference!

Sparky Dog cupcakes
with cream cheese frosting

(makes 24 cupcakes)

1 1/2 cups sweet white rice flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups white sugar
2/3 cup Best Foods mayonnaise (it’s gluten-free!)
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanillin

For decoration:
Cream cheese frosting (see recipe below)
Melting chocolate cut into tiny bits for eyes, larger for the nose (you could use pre-formed chocolate chips)
Red MandM’s for the tongue


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, mix the sweet rice flour, tapioca flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and xanthan gum together and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, blend the eggs, sugar, and mayonnaise until fluffy. Add the milk and vanillin and mix well.

Add the flour mixture. Beat on low speed for about 2 minutes.

Using soup ladle, pour batter into prepared cupcakes liners.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-17 minutes. Know your oven!  Cakes are done when they spring back when lightly touched or when a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Put on wire rack to cool so they don’t get “moist” on the bottom.

Let cool completely then frost, as follows:

Fix a pastry tube with a leaf tip. Fill the pastry tube with frosting. Squeeze out little “leaves” of frosting in a circle around the cupcake, leaving the center free. Then in longer swirls, fill in the center. Drip some frosting off the lower portion for the “beard.” Mound some frosting at the top for the ears.

Set two bits of chocolate near the top for the eyes; set one bit of chocolate in the center for the nose. Slip a red MandM between the beard portion for the tongue.

Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


4 ounces cream cheese – room temperature
8 tablespoons butter – room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar (more if necessary)

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, whip cream cheese and butter together until creamy. Reduce the mixer to low speed and add a half cup of powdered sugar at a time, until blended. You want the frosting to be fairly stiff, so make sure you add enough powdered sugar.  May be saved in the refrigerator in airtight container.

And now for that giveaway...tell me what your favorite "kid" treat is and leave your email so I can reach you if you win. If you don't feel like leaving an entire email, you can go cryptic and I'll try to figure it out. I am a mystery writer, after all. I will not use your email for any other purpose other than to contact the winner. I'll pick a name tomorrow morning. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me.

Good luck!

Savor the mystery!


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NEXT BOOK OUT: AS GOUDA AS DEAD, coming February, 2015
pre-order here

STIRRING THE PLOT is available for order: order here.

If you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list 
so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Welcome our guest, Jenn McKinlay!

We have a special treat today, Wednesday. A guest!  Whee! Don't you love surprises?

Welcome our guest, Jenn McKinlay. Jenn is the fabulous NYT bestselling author of A Cupcake Baker Mystery and so much more! Her latest: Going, Going, Ganache!

Take it away, Jenn!

For the love of bacon and Larry!

Here's how to get what you want in my house. It starts with me asking the Hub to do whatever, which is always greeted with an affirmative. Yay! The speed of completion of the requested task varies, however, and I've discovered that if I up the ante (otherwise known as a bribe) things tend to happen much more swiftly. The number one bribe in my arsenal is bacon. If I can leverage my request with scent of frying bacon, well, that garbage finds its way out of the house so fast you'd think Hefty made their bags with a drawstring activated jet propulsion feature, which would be pretty cool. 
Seeing the power of bacon, I naturally decided I needed to incorporate it into the cupcake world to help motivate my sons, aka the hooligans, and get that lawn mowed with same turbo power as the above mentioned garbage disposal. The idea was inspired by the Hub's cousin, who is actually having two types of cake (bacon and tiramisu) at his wedding. No, not kidding. But here's where a dilemma hit. Hooligan number two has gotten it into his head that he would like a pet pig that he plans to name Larry. Out of respect for his future snuggle buddy Larry, hooligan two has sworn off all pig products. All righty then.Luckily, while visiting the Queen Creek Olive Mill in Queen Creek, AZ with my mother, our curiosity was piqued by their bacon infused olive oil that is made without bacon and therefore vegetarian friendly. My mother, being more adventurous in the culinary arts than me, bought a bottle and so I figured I had a way to tempt hooligan number two without infringing on his loyalty to Larry.
Much experimenting ensued but attached are two recipes, one with real bacon and one without, to motivate your day laborers into speedy chore completion. May the bacon flavor be with you!  

Bacon Cupcakes:

Same recipe for both cupcakes but for the cake with real bacon add one cup cooked and minced bacon into the batter. 


2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon salt 
3/4 cup bacon infused olive oil 
1 1/2 cups sugar 
4 large eggs 
1 cup milk 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
* 1 cup cooked and minced bacon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, mix together olive oil, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla extract.

Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and blend until smooth. (*If using the real bacon, add cup of minced bacon now). 

Scoop the batter evenly into the cupcake liners.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool before frosting. Makes 24. 

Maple Frosting: 


6 tablespoons butter, softened
3-4 tablespoons milk 
1 1/2 teaspoons maple extract 
4 cups confectioners' sugar sifted 
Turbinado sugar and sea salt 


Whip butter, milk and extract together until creamy. Mix in powdered sugar until frosting is the desired consistency. Spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Garnish by sprinkling turbinado sugar and sea salt on cupcake and for cupcakes with real bacon a piece of bacon looks pretty tasty, too.

Thanks for inviting me to visit the kitchen, Daryl!
As always, it’s been a pleasure! 

You can find out what’s happening with me by checking out my website:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Win on Independence Day!!!

Happy Independence Day! 

May you be enjoying the freedoms of our great country. Family. Friends. Good food. Fireworks.

To celebrate...

I read Jenn McKinlay’s RED VELVET REVENGE (and was asked to blurb it). It was such a fun read. 

It just launched yesterday!  In the book, she highlights cake pops.

For 40 years (or something like that), chocolate cake with white frosting has been by far my favorite cake. (Of course, I also love strawberry shortcake, white cake with chocolate icing...all sweets...) 

Now that I’m gluten-free, and inspired by Jenn’s delicious delights, I thought it would be a great idea to offer a gluten-free version of cake pops.  Enjoy the recipe.


    1 Betty Crocker super moist GLUTEN-FREE chocolate cake mix
    1/2-3/4 cup Cream Cheese frosting (gluten-free) (see below)
    1 (24 oz) package of white chocolate candy coating
    1/2 cup chocolate or colored sprinkles
    25-30 Lollipop sticks
One Styrofoam box or box of some sort to slot the cake pops into.

    Start by baking the Gluten-free chocolate cake mix by following the instructions on the package. While the cake is baking, MAKE the cream cheese frosting (recipe below). Set aside.  THEN place the sprinkles into a bowl. Set aside.
    Once your chocolate cake is fully baked and cooled (about 30 minutes to cool), crumble it entirely in a large bowl (plastic or metal) while adding 1/2-3/4 cup of cream cheese frosting. That’s right, crumble it. Mix it all together until thick. Once thick enough, start making round 1-2 inches cake balls. Place each of them on a large baking tray, which you will cover with plastic wrap and place in your fridge (overnight).
    The next day. Place all the white chocolate candy coating into a microwaveable bowl and follow the melting instructions. Next, dip the tip of a lollipop stick (about half a inch) into the chocolate candy coating and then insert it into a cake ball (about halfway). Repeat this operation for each cake ball.
    One cake ball or cake pop at a time, dip it entirely into the melted white chocolate coating. Use a spoon to fully cover each cake ball. Tap gently to remove any extra coating (if too much). Repeat this operation for each cake pop and set them balls up on a styrofoam box.

Immediately sprinkle the cocoa powder and sprinkles on the melted coating. Once done, place your cake pops into the fridge. Let them cool for about an hour. The only thing left to do now is to enjoy them!

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup powdered sugar
¼ cup butter, softened
1 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Blend all together until smooth.


BAKER'S NOTE:  These were so much fun to make that I wish I had a passel of little helpers!  Get your kids into the mix!! However...they were messy!  The warm chocolate dip was a little thick. Not sure if I should have thinned with a little water so the cake pops dipped easier. And because it's warm, rolling the balls immediately in sprinkles made the sprinkles sort of melt, so if you can bear it, wait a few minutes before rolling. I'm sure they'll stick.  Also, I froze half of the cake balls for use at a later time. I've eaten one since, plain, and it's yummy!


BY THE WAY, my protagonist from A Cheese Shop Mystery series, Charlotte Bessette, has taken over the blog at Killer Characters today. F-R-E-E-D-O-M!!  Chime in, won't you?  

AND LASTLY...I'm starting some mini-contests to promote THE COOKBOOK NOOK MYSTERIES which come out one year from today!  

feature a cookbook store owner
who is an avid reader and admitted foodie - 
set in picturesque coastal California town!

The first contest runs this week until next week. Leave a comment on this MLK post with your favorite ADULT OR KIDS DESSERT COOKBOOK TITLE and you're entered to win a book of your choice from A CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY series and lots of fun swag, including the new COOKBOOK NOOK kitchen gripper. 


You can learn more about Avery by clicking this link.
Chat with me on Facebook and Twitter.

And if you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list
 so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!

You can learn more about Daryl, by clicking this link.

"Like" Daryl's page on Facebook and "follow" Daryl on Twitter.
She doesn't say all the same things Avery does. Promise.

Say cheese!