Sunday, April 30, 2017

Welcome our guest Hannah Dennison + book #giveaway!

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British transplant Hannah Dennison is the author of The Vicky Hill Mysteries (Constable Crime) and The Honeychurch Hall Mysteries (Minotaur), both set in the wilds of the Devonshire countryside. Hannah originally moved to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting. She has been an obituary reporter, antique dealer, private jet flight attendant and Hollywood story analyst. Hannah has served on numerous judging committees for Mystery Writers of America and is currently serving on the MWA board for 2016-2018. 

Now living in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two insane Vizsla dogs, Hannah’s heart remains in England. She is a passionate supporter of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Historic Houses Association, and the National Trust. She enjoys all country pursuits, movies, theater and seriously good chocolate. 

Don't miss Hannah's giveaway below!

Lemon Drizzle Cake (Without The Drizzle)

It’s great to be back at Mystery Lover's Kitchen once again. 

I hope your readers will enjoy the recipe for my quintessentially English Lemon Drizzle Cake—although the moment my American husband spied it cooling in the kitchen he asked, “Where is the frosting?”  He has a good point. If you make this cake the traditional old-fashioned way, there is no frosting. But of course you can always sprinkle it with confectioners sugar (we call it “Icing Sugar” in the UK) or even whip up some sugar, butter and a tiny bit of milk to make a buttercream frosting if that’s what suits your fancy.

I picked Lemon Drizzle Cake in honor of Jane Wynne, who owns Dundridge Stables in Harberton, Devon. That’s the setting for Iris Stanford’s carriage house that is featured in The Honeychurch Hall Mysteries. Jane invited me to tea and baked the most delicious Lemon Drizzle Cake, and I’ve never forgotten it.

I have to say however, that the recipe here comes from Warren Williams, a fellow Brit whose fabulous technique ensures that the lemon syrup soaks into the cake itself, which is why this one really does not need any frosting. Yum!

Ingredients for the cake
6oz self-raising flour (it really is available in the USA if you look)
1 level tsp. of baking powder
6oz of softened butter
6oz of caster sugar (i.e. superfine, not powdered)
3 medium eggs
2 tbsp. of semi-skimmed milk
The finely grated rind of 3 lemons—must be finely grated

Ingredients for the Lemon syrup
The juice of 3 lemons, strained
4oz of caster sugar (i.e. superfine, not powdered)

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl, add the remaining cake ingredients and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. I cheated and used my Cuisinart.

 Spoon the mixture into a greased and base-lined 2lb loaf tin. You really want to line it with parchment paper otherwise the cake can stick to the bottom and it will be hard to get out.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C or 350F for 1 hour or until cooked. You’ll know when it’s done when the cake seems to come away from the sides of the tin.

Keep the cake in the tin to cool whilst you make the syrup. Basically you’re just going to gently warm the lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved.

Next, use a skewer to pierce the top of the cake (still in the loaf tin) with deep holes. Pour the warm syrup over whilst the cake is still warm. Let it cool in the tin. This helps keep the syrup in the cake until it has all cooled down.

Turn out onto a wire tray.

When completely cool, slice and serve.

I had planned on garnishing my effort but the moment my back was turned … my husband cut a slice.


Remember to line the pan with parchment paper.


I am offering  a trade paperback of DEADLY DESIRES AT HONEYCHURCH HALL, 
the first Honeychurch Hall mystery, to one commenter. Leave your email so I can get in touch!  And tell me, do you enjoy history or mysteries set in historical places?

Learn more about Hannah on her website, and follow her on all her social media places!