Saturday, November 2, 2013

Welcome our special guest, Janet Rudolph!

Janet Rudolph

Some of you may know me as the Editor of the Mystery Readers Journal, or from my blogging at Mystery Fanfare and, or from my photos of roses and sunsets on my Facebook page. You may have run into me at mystery conventions that I’ve attended or helped organize. Or you may have turned up in my living room as an author or attendee at a Literary Salon or as part of my weekly mystery book group.

Wherever we’ve met, either online or real time, you probably know that I have another interest—chocolate. Chocolate has been another passion of mine and a major component in my cooking and baking and eating! Chocolate is good for the heart, the blood pressure, the skin, the mood… just about everything. Of course, I’m talking ‘good’ chocolate -- dark organic chocolate. I always have chocolate in my desk and have a piece or two of Taza 70% Mexicano every day. With chocolate, I’ve even lowered my cholesterol by 95 points! However, everything in moderation. Eating a whole chocolate bar is not going to help your weight or heart.

Several years ago I was at the Fancy Food Show discussing chocolate with an exhibitor, when another attendee at the Show, said to me, “You have to Judge the chocolate at the upcoming San Francisco International Chocolate Salon.” Now, I didn’t know this guy, and although I think of myself as somewhat knowledgeable about mysteries, what did I really know about chocolate? Well, I liked it, but was that enough? Of course, he offered me a job I couldn’t refuse. Who wouldn’t want to be a chocolate judge?  But having been trained as an academic (that’s another story), I thought I should have the ‘proper’ credentials to be a judge. So, I immediately went home, bought a domain name, and started a chocolate blog. I post a daily chocolate recipe or review and have been for 5 years now at

But mystery and chocolate. Some of you know, I post Holiday Lists on Mystery Fanfare (Halloween Mysteries, Fourth of July Mysteries, Christmas Mysteries, and more). I’m a list maker. Well, for Chocolate, I also post Holiday Chocolate Recipes. Did you know that there are over 75 Chocolate Holidays a year?  And, that doesn’t count the other food holidays that I’ve been able to tweak to include chocolate. National Zucchini Day? No brainer. Chocolate Zucchini Bread.  National Oatmeal Cookie Day? Add Chocolate Chips! Have a look at when you get a chance. You can never have enough chocolate—or recipes.

So now that I’m part of the chocolate community, I not only receive mysteries at the door from publishers (delivered by UPS and FedEx with biscuits for Topper, my golden retriever), but I also receive chocolate and cookbooks. Pretty cool, huh?

So today I want to share a recipe for one of my favorite chocolate cakes. “Dying for Chocolate” Chocolate Cake. It’s easy.. and cakes always look great when baked in a bundt pan! Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and you’re good to go. Want other recipes? Check out Want to know more about mysteries? Check out www.mysteryfanfare.  And, I love it when my two world collide, and they do. Lots of mystery folks love chocolate, and lots of chocolate folks love crime fiction.  Guest posts from authors on both blogs... about their passions: chocolate and crime fiction. Have a chocolate recipe to share. Contact me.


2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1-1/2 cups water
2 Tbsp Instant Coffee Granules (or ground espresso)
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (save two ounces of chocolate chunks)
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup sweet butter, softened
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease 10-inch Bundt pan.
Combine flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder in small bowl. Bring water and coffee granules to a boil in small saucepan; remove from heat. Add 6 ounces chocolate; stir until smooth.
Beat sugar, butter and vanilla extract in mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs; beat on high for 5 minutes. Beat in flour mixture alternately with chocolate mixture.
Fold in remaining 2 ounces chocolate chunks.
Pour into prepared Bundt pan.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until long wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean.
Cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes.
Invert onto wire rack to cool completely.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar, optional!


  1. When worlds collide indeed! You are the perfect guest for us, Janet, a mystery maven who also blogs chocolate recipes. (You're also one of my favorite follows on Twitter and Facebook, and I'm in very large company on that!) Thanks for sharing your "Dying for Chocolate" cake today--love that little bit of espresso that boosts the chocolate flavor. Aren't Bundt cake recipes wonderful? They make great snacking and coffee cakes, and this one is a keeper.

    Have a delicious weekend,
    ~ Cleo

  2. Janet, so delightful to have you with us today. I know we have tons of reading and chocolate fans. May all of them start following your literary endeavors as well as your blog. I know I've picked up some fabulous chocolate recipes there!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Daryl / Avery

  3. Fabulous! I'm always looking for more chocolate recipes, so thank you for this one.

    Janet, your cholesterol lowering is interesting, too. Twenty-seven years ago I had a broken jaw due to some very poorly done oral surgery. This resulted in several repair operations, braces for two years, and a severed nerve that caused permanent facial numbness and the loss of taste for sweet and salty for several years. However, the one thing I could taste, and enjoy, was dark chocolate. Ever since I've had at least one square of 70% or higher chocolate every day, and I also have very low cholesterol numbers.

    So interesting, that something so delicious can do as much as an expensive pill. Moderation is clearly the key, too.

  4. Thanks for visiting us Janet--you're such an amazing friend of mystery lovers and writers.. Definitely going to try this cake...

  5. Welcome, Janet! Now I'm craving chocolate! Your recipe is taking me back to life in the city, when I worked one block from a fabulous gourmet store and bought the best baking chocolate by weight. It came in huge slabs that they cut off on the spot for customers. That store is long gone (yes, I looked for it about a year ago!) and I miss that chocolate!

    How lovely that publishers send biscuits for Topper! I had no idea.

    Of course, I have to try your cake. When a chocolate expert recommends a recipe, how can we pass it up?

    I am also very impressed by the effect of chocolate on your blood pressure. Amazing!


    1. Oops, not blood pressure – cholesterol. And still amazing!


  6. Lovely to have you here, Janet! So glad you brought some chocolate. This is a beautiful cake and I can't wait to make it.

    Keep those flags flying for mystery and for chocolate! We appreciate all you do!

  7. Janet, I love the story about how you earned your credentials as a chocolate judge, and you've inspired me to go in search of some dark chocolate today--the perfect accompaniment to mystery writing!