Sunday, July 6, 2014

Welcome, guest author Nancy Parra!

Welcome our guest, Nancy Parra!

Best known for writing “…strong stubborn heroes and plucky heroines who aren’t afraid to go toe to toe with them,” (Shelley Mosley, Booklist Magazine), Nancy currently has 3 cozy mystery series -- 
the Gluten-free Baker's Treat Mystery Series and the Perfect Proposal Mystery Series with Berkley, and the Candy Coated Mystery Series with Kensington--a total of 15 books in print. Praise from readers and booksellers made All Fudged Up - by pen name Nancy Coco - a 2013 National Bestseller. Nancy Lives in the Midwest with her Bichonpoo, affectionately known as Little Dog on social media. Nancy loves to hear from readers. Contact her at 

By the way, Nancy is offering a copy of Murder Gone A-Rye today to one lucky commenter. Remember to leave your email with your comment!!

Take it away, Nancy!

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It’s  July and everyone’s eating fresh and colorful with great summer greens, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and more at the famer’s markets and in gardens.

Toni Holmes, of the gluten-free Baker’s Treat series, loves making gluten-free berry pies and coffee cakes.  If I may, I'd like to ask Toni a couple of questions.

Toni, what is your favorite summer desert?

I love to make gluten-free sponge cake. Then I layer it in glass dishes with blue berries, blackberries and strawberries, whipped cream, cake, more berries, more cake and whipped cream on top.

Is whipped cream gluten-free?

You can make your own to ensure that it is not made in a facility that processes other foods that contain gluten. It’s simple. Buy organic whipping cream – a pint will do. Be sure and get it as cold as possible. The colder it is the faster it whips. I like to put my beaters and the bowl in the freezer for ten minutes before I make the cream to help keep it cold and light. As the cream starts to form peaks add sugar. I like organic pure cane sugar. Usually a tablespoon per cup of cream is enough. For a faster smoother sweet, you can use confectioners’ sugar – I recommend pure cane sugar. Many people who have celiac or gluten sensitivity also have a corn sensitivity so cane sugar is best.  Serve immediately.

Will you share your sponge cake recipe?

Sure - this is my Grandmother’s recipe modified to be Gluten-free.

SPONGE CAKE, Gluten-free


6 large eggs, separated
½  cup sifted tapioca flour
½ cup sifted all purpose gluten-free flour
¼  teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white pure cane sugar (divided)
1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla (or vanillin)
2 tablespoons water
Zest of orange (outer skin) Approximately 1 tablespoon
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350. You will need an ungreased ten-inch tube pan.

Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes until they are room temperature.

In a medium bowl mix the flours, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Place the egg yolks and 2/3 cup of sugar in a large bowl and beat until thick and light – at least three minutes. Mix in water, vanilla and orange zest. Set aside.

In clean bowl with clean cold beaters, whip the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tarter and beat to soft peaks. Slowly add 1/3 cup of sugar until stiff peaks form.

Sift the flour mixture over the egg yolk mixture-1/3 at a time until combined. Gently fold in the egg whites until the batter is a uniform yellow color. Pour into pan.

Bake 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Remove from heat and immediately invert the cake. Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan. About 1 hour.

Slice and layer with berries and whipping cream. 


So what is your favorite dessert with whipped cream??

PS  Don't miss the first in my new series, a Perfect Proposals Mystery.  Engaged in Murder debuted in June!