Sunday, August 29, 2010

Welcome Gayle Trent!

Today I'd like to give a big
Mystery Lover's Kitchen welcome to
Gayle Trent, author of the Daphne Martin
cake decorating series.
Like most of us cozy mystery
writers, Gayle also writes an embroidery
series under the pen name Amanda Lee.

Gayle was nice enough to let me pepper her
with questions about her multiple series
and she has a recipe for us!

Welcome, Gayle!!!

-What inspired you to become a cozy mystery author?

I've always been a mystery fan. I went from Nancy
to Victoria Holt to Mary Higgins Clark.

-You have two series that you're writing - one is the Daphne Martin Cake Decorating
series under the name Gayle Trent and the other is the Embroidery Mystery
series under the name Amanda Lee - what are the differences in writing food based
mysteries and craft based mysteries? What are the similarities?

I guess the main difference is the amount of calories
involved in my research! ;) Seriously, I'm passable
but not adept at either of my heroines' chosen
professions, so I do have to do a lot of research with
both books. The research makes me wish I was a
better cake decorator and embroiderer, and it
makes me want to experiment with new techniques
and designs. So that's fun. They're similar in that
you can't fool the real pros. That makes it all the
more important to get your facts straight.

- Do you have any advice for writers looking to be published?

I always advise writers to go to conferences.
ShawGuides (
has conferences listed by location and date so
you can find one that suits your needs. Conferences
are terrific opportunities for networking, for learning,
and often for pitching your book to editors and agents.

- What would your protagonists consider the perfect meal?

Daphne would consider the perfect meal filet mignon,
steak fries, and rolls. Marcy would prefer a pasta dish
--maybe chicken Parmesan.

- Do you have a recipe you want to share with our readers?

Sure. Here's a delicious (and oh, so easy) recipe
from the May 2010 issue of Family Circle. It has
become my favorite go-to cake when I have to
make one for some type of function.
Tiramisu Bundt Cake

1 box white cake mix (I used golden vanilla)
1 pint coffee ice cream,
such as Haagen-Dazs, melted
3 eggs
1 container whipped vanilla frosting
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
Cinnamon sugar for dusting, optional

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 10-cup bundt pan
with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat cake mix, melted ice cream and eggs on low speed for
1 minute. Beat 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape into prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center of
cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 20 minutes. Invert onto wire rack
to cool completely.

In large bowl, beat together frosting and instant coffee mixture.
Place cake on stand and spread with frosting. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Dust with cinnamon sugar, if desired.

The magazine includes nutritional information along with this do-ahead tip:
cake may be baked up to 2 weeks in advance. Cool completely on wire rack.
Wrap unfrosted and freeze. Remove from freezer the day of the event and
thaw for 3 hours before frosting.

I can't wait to try this recipe. Thanks so much for joining us today, Gayle!
For more information about Gayle or Amanda, check out her website:


  1. Thanks for stopping by the kitchen, Gayle.
    Great series -- great book covers! And I always love a good Bundt.

  2. This recipe sounds yummy. Can't wait to give it a try. Gayle, I enjoy both of your series. Looking forward to see what adventures both ladies get into next.

    Thoughts in Progress

  3. Sounds yummy. I read your Amanda Lee book and enjoyed it. Will check out your other series.

  4. Thank you all so much for your warmth and encouragement!

  5. I adore tiramisu, so I can't wait to try this cake. Thanks for sharing the recipes and doing the terrific interview, Gayle!

  6. Gee, Gayle, what a bummer having to bake cakes for research! Thanks for joining us today.

    ~ Krista

  7. Thanks so much for joining us today, Gayle! Tiramisu...mmm!! Thanks for sharing the recipe. :)

  8. Thanks for visiting us here on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. I had no idea you and Amanda Lee were the same person. Congrats on both your successful series! And thanks for the great recipe!


  9. Gayle, easy and fun recipe. I've got to try it. Thanks for being with us today.

  10. I absolutely love tiramisu...I mean I really really love it!! Thanks so much for this lovely and more importantly easy recipe, Gayle!

  11. Chiming in late but didn't want to miss the chance to give Gayle a shout-out of welcome to the kitchen! Great interview and recipe. I hope you'll be back again soon, Gayle. :)

    ~ Cleo