Showing posts with label holiday dessert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holiday dessert. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How to make TWINKIE RUM BABA by Cleo Coyle

This shockingly delicious dessert was made famous by the Beverly Hills Italian restaurant Domo, which it listed on the menu as "Twinkie alla Domo." Doesn't that sound elegant? My husband, and partner in crime-writing, was skeptical, until he tasted it. "I can't believe it. This is actually good!" said Marc (as he went for seconds). 

All I can say is, its level of sophistication will surprise you. The rum and vanilla in the syrup lifts the Twinkie to happy heights...while lifting your spirits. May you too...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle's Twinkie Rum Baba 

(Baba au Rhum)

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

Readers of my Coffeehouse Mysteries may recall this unique dessert from ONCE UPON A GRIND when my amateur sleuth, coffeehouse manager Clare Cosiorders this nosh from the comfort food menu of "Babka's," a legendary New York eatery run by a barb-tongued woman, who may or may not be a ruthless killer. 

There are plenty of secrets for Clare to discover at Babka's, some shocking, some tasty. 

Today, I'm delighted to share the culinary secret behind making the perfect Twinkie Rum Baba...

Download Once Upon a Grind's
free Recipe Guide by
clicking here

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

Cleo Coyle's 
Twinkie Rum Baba Recipe  

The rum baba is basically a yeast or sponge cake fortified with an easy-to-make rum syrup. I grew up with an Italian version that included pastry cream in the center. That's why the Twinkie makes a great shortcut to a festive dessert, and a fun conversation piece for holiday trays.

Of course, you don't have to use Twinkies. You can always substitute thick slices of pound cake, brioche, or even challah. But don't skip the whipped cream, it's a must for full enjoyment of this dessert.

It's also delightful with coffee or tea, so it makes a wonderful after-dinner treat or midnight snack. In fact, after one Twinkie Rum Baba, I had my very own happy hour. Yes, this is one dessert that brings plenty of joy! ~ Cleo 

* * * 

Makes 10 Twinkies (there are 10 to a box)


3/4 cup water
1/2 cup white, granulated sugar
1/3 cup good dark rum
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
10 Twinkies (1 box of Twinkies, regular or banana flavored)
Homemade Whipped Cream or Coconut Cream (recipes follow)


Step 1 - Make the rum syrup: Place water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling for 5 full minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 full minutes. Stir in 1/3 cup good dark rum and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. This will yield a little over 3/4 cup of syrup.

Step 2 - Brush with patience: Cover plates with plastic wrap. Place 10 regular Twinkies (or banana Twinkies) on the plates leaving a bit of room between each. 

Use a pastry brush to generously brush the top and sides of the golden cakes. Repeat the brushing. Then set your timer for 5 minutes and wait for the syrup to be absorbed by the cake. Repeat this a few more times until most of the syrup is used up. This process may take as long as 20 minutes, but be patient! You want to give the cake time to absorb the liquid without losing its shape or integrity.

Step 3 - Chill, baby: Place the plates in your refrigerator for 1 hour or your freezer for about 20 minutes. This chilling will allow the cake to regain its solidity and allow you to gently transfer it to serving plates. Serve with whipped cream (recipe below) and, if you like, a few fresh raspberries or blackberries. 


Into a chilled metal, glass, or ceramic bowl, pour 1 cup very cold heavy cream (aka whipping cream). Add 2 tablespoons white, granulated sugar and about 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Using an electric mixer with chilled beaters, whip until stiff peaks form. To store one or two days, dollop into a plastic container, cover, and refrigerate.

(Dairy-Free) COCONUT CREAM - For the free recipe PDF, click here.

Congratulations to the winners!

* Best Book of Year List 
- Kings River Life 

* Top Pick!
- RT Book Reviews

* Mystery Guild

Thanks to everyone who participated in Cleo's  giveaway!

The Coffeehouse Mystery Coffee Mug and...

An autographed copy of Cleo Coyle's Once Upon a Grind 
in its new paperback edition 
were won by...

Kathleen Floyd


Andrea Heyman!

to you both!

More contests are
coming soon.
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Includes Wicked Good Recipes!

During a Fairy Tale Festival in New York's legendary Central Park, coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi discovers a young model's body in the park's woods.

The police dismiss "sleeping beauty" as the victim of a drug overdose. Then Clare uncovers evidence that points to a list of suspects--from a New York Giant to quite a few wicked witches--and a cold case murder that reaches back to the Cold War. Now Clare is really in the woods with a dangerous predator on her heels and an investigation that leads from a secret Prince Charming Club right back to her own NYPD detective boyfriend. If she doesn't solve this mystery, those magic beans predict an unhappy ending.

Learn more or buy at  

Amazon * B&N * BAM * IndieBound

Click here for the free
recipe PDF, and...

Eat (and read) with Joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of  
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Friend me on facebook here. * Follow me on twitter here
Learn about my books here

* * *

See Once Upon a Grind's 
Free Recipe Guide by

* * * 

*Starred Review 
~ Kirkus

A Coffeehouse Mystery 

"Top Pick" -RT Book Reviews

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

* * * * * * 

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

(with mini plot summaries)

* * * 

Marc and I also write
The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

Get a free title checklist, 
with mini plot summaries, 

Or learn more about the 
books and meet Jack Shepard, 
our PI ghost by clicking here.

Don't miss Cleo's 

September Newsletter

New Contest, Recipes, Fun Info...

Coming this week!

To sign up, click here.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Gingerbread Roll-up Cake #Christmas #Recipe @LucyBurdette


LUCY BURDETTE: Merry Christmas and Happy All Holidays everyone! It's not that easy to come up with a holiday treat that isn't an old standby. But I started to think about my favorite gingerbread recipe which I found many years ago in Moosewood's Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook. Three things made it special: fresh ginger, molasses, and honey.

Could I transform this into a rolled cake stuffed with cinnamon-scented whipped cream that would appear fancier than gingerbread and fit for a holiday table? Taste testers said I did--here's the new recipe: 

Ingredients for the Cake:

4 eggs, separated
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1-2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp powdered mustard
2 Tbsp confectioners' sugar

Whipped cream filling:

1 pint heavy whipping cream
3 Tbsp sugar, or to taste
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Grease a 15 X 10 inch baking pan, then line it with parchment paper; butter the paper and set aside.

Saute the grated ginger in the butter. Cool.

Let eggs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Separate the whites from the yolks.

With your stand mixer or mixer, beat egg yolks on high speed until thickened, about 3 minutes.

Beat in molasses, honey, vanilla, and butter. Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, mustard and cinnamon,) and beat these until well combined.

In a small bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites on medium speed. Add a pinch of cream of tartar and continue beating on high until soft peaks form. Fold the whites into yolk mixture.

Spread batter into prepared pan and bake in a 375 pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes.

Prepare a clean dish towel by sprinkling powdered sugar over it.

Turn the cake onto the towel, peel off the parchment, and roll the cake up in the towel. 

(You are rolling the towel right in with the cake--which I found fun and amazing...) 
Cool completely.

In a mixing bowel or cuisinart, combine the cream and vanilla and beat. When this begins to thicken, add cinnamon and sugar to taste, then beat until thick. 

Unroll cake and spread the filling to within 1/2 inch from the edges.

Roll up the cake again. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve the cake slices with dollops of leftover whipped cream—or in the case of my family, with ice cream AND whipped cream. (ALWAYS ice cream, and preferably chocolate:).

Merry Christmas and hope you'll find a copy of DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS under your tree!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Chocolate Cream Cake from Once Upon a Grind + Magic Bean Necklace Giveaway via Cleo Coyle

With a real Prince visiting New York this week (shout-out to William and Kate), it seems appropriate to share a dessert served at the elegant, underground "Prince Charming Club" in Once Upon a Grind, my new culinary mystery.

My amateur sleuth, coffeehouse manager Clare couldn't resist a slice of this cake, a heavenly cloud of chocolate whipped cream tucked between layers of devil’s food and topped by a layer of fudgy ganache. It’s outrageously good and sinfully delicious—but is it worth risking a run-in with a ruthless killer? Clare will get back to you on that one!

BTW, there are over 20 more delicious and unique recipes featured in my new Coffeehouse Mystery. For a peek at some of them, click here
Click here to see the Recipe Guide
for Once Upon a Grind.

Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here or here.

Cleo Coyle's "Inside-Out"
Chocolate Cream
Coffee Cake

A light chocolate dream with sophisticated flavor and an irresistible mix of textures, this cake would make an impressive addition to any holiday table, yet it’s easy to make. 

It's also the very cake Marc and I served at a fantastic setting in our new mystery. Elegant and exclusive, the "Prince Charming Club" is full of culinary temptations worthy of a gourmet witch’s gingerbread cottage. You'll learn more about them as you read Once Upon a Grind.

I'm discussing the book this week at crime-writer Terry Ambrose's blog here with a book giveaway. 

Or join me at Fresh Fiction by clicking here, where I’m also offering an autographed copy of the beautiful first-edition hardcover and a Magic Bean Necklace in a comment giveaway (see caption below). 

NOTE - My Newsletter Subscribes know there is another comment-to-win contest right here at this blog. Scroll to the end of this post to see the winner...

Now let's get baking!

~ Cleo

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

Click here for
free recipe PDF.

Cleo's "Inside-Out"
Chocolate Cream
Cake Recipe

This recipe provides: 

8-10 servings if cut into larger rectangles, or...

20-24 servings if sliced into thinner slivers. (Examples of slice sizes
are shown in my photos.)

For the Cake*
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable, canola, or extra-virgin coconut oil (measure in liquid form)
1-1/2 cups white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, lightly beaten with fork
1 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (use table salt or finely ground sea salt)
1/2 cup unsweetened (natural) cocoa powder

For the Chocolate Cream Filling
12 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (for more chocolate flavor, double)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups very cold heavy cream**

(**Optional for mocha-flavored filling: replace 1/4 cup of the heavy cream with 1/4 cup Kahlua and dissolve 1 teaspoon of instant espresso into the Kahlua before adding it to the recipe.)

For the Chocolate Ganache Topping
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream (for mocha flavor use coffee or espresso instead)
5 ounces semisweet block chocolate, chopped into uniform pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

(**Optional for mocha-flavored ganache: also add 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder)

*A note on using a cake mix: To save time, feel free to use a devil’s food cake mix, but follow the directions in Step 1 regarding (a) pan size and (b) preparing the pan to prevent the cake from sticking. 

**A note on espresso powder: Espresso powder is made from freeze-​dried espresso. It dissolves in water to create instant espresso. While I would not suggest drinking espresso made from freeze-​dried powder, I do advise using good-quality espresso powder (rather than freeze-​dried instant coffee) to add coffee flavor to your recipes. Look for espresso powder in the instant coffee section of your grocery store or search online. 

Step 1—Make the chocolate cake batter: First preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a rimmed baking sheet measuring around 17- to 18-inches by 12-inches (a "half-sheet pan") and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust with unsweetened cocoa powder, tapping out any excess. Use a devil’s food cake mix or these directions to create the batter: Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the oil, vanilla, eggs, and milk. Blend until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the remaining dry ingredients. Add this dry mixture, a little at a time, to the mixing bowl, beating between additions until a smooth batter forms. Do not over-mix. Spread out the batter and smooth it evenly on the prepared baking sheet. 

Step 2—Bake and chill the cake: Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cake has risen, is slightly springy, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with no batter clinging to it. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool. Gently invert the cooled cake and peel away the parchment paper. Slice the cake down the middle, crosswise, to form two even rectangles. Slip these into the fridge to chill while you prepare the filling.

Step 3—Make the chocolate (or mocha) cream filling: Using an electric mixer, beat the softened cream cheese with the sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla, (and espresso powder dissolved into the Kahlua if using). Once blended and smooth, add the chilled heavy cream and switch to high speed on your mixer. Whip vigorously until the cream forms firm peaks. 

Step 4—Assemble the cake: Invert one of your cake rectangles so the flat bottom is facing up. Spread the cream filling evenly. 

Now cover it with the second cake rectangle (again with the flat bottom facing up). Lightly press down on the top layer. Run an offset spatula (or wide flat knife) around all of the edges to smooth them. Chill the cake for at least 1 hour. Then prepare the topping. 

Step 5—Make the chocolate (or mocha) ganache topping: In a small saucepan, over low heat, bring the butter, cream (or coffee), and (if using) the instant espresso powder to a simmer. Do not boil or you will scorch the ingredients and destroy their flavors. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate. When the chocolate is melted, stir in the vanilla. Let the glaze cool for about 15 minutes; it will become slightly thicker. 

Pour the glaze onto the center of the cake and gently spread it—ideally with an offset spatula (or in a pinch, the back of a large spoon)—until it evenly covers the top of the cake and drizzles slightly over the cake's top edges. Chill the cake for several hours (or overnight). 

Tip for perfect presentation: Slice off the edges of the cake with a sharp knife and you will create a bake-shop-perfect presentation (and guess who gets to eat the ends). 

If you're an old pro, you'll have a presentation tray ready. But if you don't bake much, here's another tip. Cover a cutting board with aluminum foil and buy inexpensive round paper doilies, cut them in half, and slide them gently beneath the cake's bottom edges to make it look even prettier.

Then slice into slivers or larger squares...

Click here for the free
recipe PDF, and...

Eat with royal joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Friend me on facebook here. * Follow me on twitter here
Learn about our books here

Sign up for my Coffeehouse Newsletter here.
(Recipes, contests, videos, fun info)

Now on Sale!

Join coffeehouse manager
Clare Cosi as she solves the crime
against "Sleeping Beauty," opens
secret doors (uptown and down),
and investigates a cold case that's
been unsolved since the Cold War.

A Wicked Good
Murder Mystery

Learn more by
clicking here.

* * * 

Cleo also writes
The Haunted Bookshop

Get a free title checklist,
with mini plot summaries, by clicking here.
Or learn more here. 

* * * 

A Note for Cleo's Newsletter Subscribers

Welcome! If you read my flash newsletter,
then you know I hosted a special contest here.
In the comments below, my newsletter
subscribers told me what inspired joy
in them (other than family and friends).

Congrats to our winner...

Jane C. of
BC, Canada!

~ Cleo

For anyone who would like to subscribe
to future newsletters, click here.