Sunday, January 30, 2011

Happy Cake

A few weeks ago, I heard about a fabulous new series with magical cats. I was eager to book the author, Sofie Kelly, as a guest blogger, but I couldn't find her! I finally gave up. In the meantime, my friend Darlene mentioned that her new book was about to come out. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Darlene was the elusive Sofie Kelly! She's not so elusive anymore, cat lovers everywhere can find her at Welcome to Mystery Lover's Kitchen, Sofie!

On Tuesday my newest book, Curiosity Thrilled the Cat—written as Sofie Kelly—will be available. (If you like cosy mysteries, cats, and a touch of magic I think you’ll like it.)

We’ll probably celebrate book launch day with Happy Cake. We celebrate a lot of things with Happy Cake—book launches, an “A” in math, snow days, cleaning out the basement.

The original cake recipe came from a church cookbook, the kind of recipe collection lots of church groups put out in the 1960’s and 70’s to raise money for things like choir robes or a new stove for the church hall. I love these cookbooks. They feel a bit like a time capsule. In my battered old cookbook, along with recipes for Mountain Dew Pudding and Miracle Whip Cake, there are ads for local businesses like Murphy’s Esso, and Kirks Foodliner. Mr. Murphy drove my school bus. His son, Wayne, was in my class from first grade all the way through ninth. We got our groceries every week at Kirks. (And I sighed over photos of the Mod Squad’s Michael Cole in Tiger Beat.)

The cake isn’t called Happy Cake in my cookbook. It’s actually called Jiffy Devil’s Food Cake. But in my house it’s always going to be Happy Cake, named by my daughter when she was two. Birthdays were “happy, happy day,” and birthday cake was “happy, happy cake.”

If you have a book to celebrate on Tuesday, or an “A” in math, or maybe just the fact that you made it through another January day, here’s the recipe for Happy Cake.

Happy Cake

1 1/2 cups cake flour*
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix these ingredients together in an un-greased 8 by 8 cake pan. Make 3 wells in the mixture. Add the following ingredients, one in each well:

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon vinegar

Pour 1 cup of cold water over everything and mix well with a fork. **Sprinkle half a cup of chocolate chips over the batter. Do not mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool, cut, and enjoy!

*You can use all-purpose flour but the cake is better with cake flour.

**Or omit the chocolate chips and frost with your favorite frosting.

As Sofie Kelly, Darlene is the author of the new Magical Cats mysteries from Obsidian. The first book, Curiosity Thrilled the Cat will be available February 1st.

When librarian Kathleen Paulson moved to Mayville Heights, Minnesota, she had no idea that two strays would nuzzle their way into her life. Owen is a tabby with a catnip addiction and Hercules is a stocky tuxedo cat who shares Kathleen’s fondness for Barry Manilow. But beyond all the fur and purrs, there’s something more to these felines.

When murder interrupts Mayville’s Music Festival, Kathleen finds herself the prime suspect. More stunning is her realization that Owen and Hercules are magical—and she’s relying on their skills to solve a purr-fect murder.


  1. I'm looking forward to reading this book as soon as I can get my greedy little hands on a copy.

  2. Sofie,

    Your book is at the top of my reading pile. Looking forward to getting to know Kathleen and her cats.

    Another good recipe to add to my collection.

  3. I'm so excited about your book! Best wishes for a successful release. :) And...this cake will definitely make me happy. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. This book sounds too cute. I'll have to be on the lookout for it.

    And the cake - wow. Yum. It probably doesn't help that I just saw some pictures on another blog of rocky road brownies. Another yum.

    I remember Michael Cole and the Mod Squad and Tiger Beat. Good times. LOL

  5. Thank you Krista--and everyone else for the warm welcome.

    Kay, it's so good to hear someone else remembers Michael Cole and the Mod Squad. At one time my career goal was to become a TV director so I could meet Michael Cole. (Now I want to meet Matt Lauer from the Today Show.)

  6. Ah, an author around my own age, if you're talking Michael Cole & Matt Lauer as sex symbols. Or, is that Matt Lauer so he can interiew you about a book? Good luck with the book, Darlene/Sofie.

    Have to try the cake. That's one I have the ingredients for!

  7. Oh, I do love a crazy cake ... so easy! No mess! And delicious cake at the end. Will have to try this recipe.

    And congrats on the new series!

  8. Monday is going to be a challenging day for me, so I'm thinking Tuesday would be a good day for Happy Cake. Maybe I can get Mr. Booklady to whip one up for me. As for your book - I know it's a cat book, but I'm more excited about the fact that Kathleen is a librarian. I'm adding this one to my collection for sure.

  9. This book just sounds delightful! As does the recipe.
    Can't wait to try both - Thank You!

  10. Yes, Lesa, I think we must be the same age. I'l be 29 on Saturday--at least that's the story I'm sticking with. And I really do think Matt Lauer is adorable, he's articulate, obsessive about neatness, and he probably uses as much hand sanitizer as I do. What's not to love?

    Booklady, I'm certain that if Mr. Wonderful can make this cake then so can Mr. Booklady.

  11. Happy cake indeed! I am always happy when something delicious is easy and has a hint of magic.

    Looking forward to reading your series. As a lapsed librarian myself, you had me at librarian!

  12. Mary Jane, I think you're right! This recipe sounds like magic. I can't wait to try it -- or read the book!

    Thanks for joining us today, Sofie!

    ~ Krista

  13. I haven't thought about Tiger Beat magazine in ages! And today (in a fun coincidence) I saw that David Cassidy is coming to my area next month. Be still my teenage heart!

    Love this recipe for Happy Cake. How fun! Thanks for sharing!

  14. I've made this cake under the name "Wacky Cake". Many years ago someone at work made it and that was her name for it. It was great when I had twin grandsons who were allergic to eggs, we could still have this cake for special occasions. Looking forward to finding your book - I too have a weakness for the old personal cookbooks.

  15. Welcome, Darlene (aka Sofie)! I'm so excited about your new series. I'm a cat lover, too (with a tabby and tuxedo cat in my furry family, as well), and I've always believed felines are a little bit magical. I can't wait to read your first Magical Cat Mystery -- and make the Happy Cake. The story of your daughter naming it is adorable. The recipe is brand new to me (I do love those fundraiser cookbooks, btw), and I'm lovin' the choco chip topping AND mixing the whole thing in the pan (no extra bowls to clean. :)) Cheers to you and congrats on the debut of your new series!

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  16. Sofie - delightful post. The series sounds as delightful. Thank you for sharing! Happy cake. Just the name makes me smile.