Sunday, April 29, 2018

Welcome guest author Jenn McKinlay + book #giveaway

How wonderful to be visiting the yummiest blog on the Interwebs. Thanks so much for inviting me, Daryl! It’s great to be cooking in the kitchen again.

In honor of my latest release WEDDING CAKE CRUMBLE, the tenth cupcake bakery mystery, I am sharing the recipe for lemon-lavender cupcakes, which is in the book with the recipe included in the back.

Frequently, people ask me where I get the ideas for the cupcakes that I write into the books. It works pretty much like this, I am deep into writing the book and then I come upon a scene where cupcakes are baked, decorated, delivered, or otherwise mentioned and I think to myself ‘What cupcake would make me happy right now?’ On the day I was writing this book, I was freezing my butt off in New England and thinking about spring flowers and warmer weather. Lavender-lemon cupcakes popped into my head as just the thing to chase away the last of the winter blues so I wrote them into the book.

Little did I know, this was going to turn into an epic quest when it came time to develop the recipe. Hunting down culinary lavender became the equivalent of searching for the last dragon. Honestly, I tried my local grocery store. No luck. I went to my other grocery store. Nope. I checked out a fine foods shop, they were out. I then went to my favorite spice shop, but they had moved across town! It was beginning to look like the lemon-lavender cupcakes were going to remain fiction. And then, finally, while I was complaining to a friend from Oregon about my plight, she said, “Oh, I have some.” Seriously.

Have any of you kitchen mavens had the search for ingredients go wacky on you?

Thankfully, she had no use for the lavender, because as we know all know, there is some trial and error in getting the taste just right, and I had to use a good amount until I was happy with the result. And so, I share with you, my recipe for lemon-lavender cupcakes.

Lemon-Lavender Cupcakes: A tart lemon cupcake with sweet lavender frosting.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°.  Line cupcake pan with paper liners. Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar until fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, and the lemon zest. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine the lemon juice, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Fill paper liners until two-thirds full. Bake 20 minutes. Makes 24.

Lavender Frosting:


¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
3 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 Tablespoons milk
1 drop purple food coloring
Fresh lavender


Directions: In large bowl, cream butter. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Add dried lavender and vanilla, mixing well. Add milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Spread lavender frosting on cooled cupcakes and garnish with a fresh lavender sprig.

Now, you may have guessed from the title WEDDING CAKE CRUMBLE, that there is a wedding taking place in the latest cupcake bakery mystery. It’s true. Tate Harper and Angie DeLaura are scheduled to tie the knot. But…do they? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Here’s a synopsis of the plot for those who need to know more:

With Angie and Tate's wedding just around the corner, it's a happy time for Melanie Cooper and the bakery crew. Not only are they finessing the last minute details of the big day, but their bakery, Fairy Tale Cupcakes, has just been hired to bake cupcakes for the blockbuster book signing of a controversial author who wrote a steamy bestseller filled with juicy local gossip.

But one by one, the people Angie has hired to work at the wedding begin turning up dead. As the body count rises, the bestselling author is the next to bite the dust. Mel quickly realizes she needs to figure out how the murders are connected and why--before the killer brings the entire cupcake crew crumbling down. After all, Angie and Tate deserve their sweet happily ever after.

Thanks so much for letting me visit today! 


Leave a comment and be entered in the drawing to win a signed copy of the book and a sweet set of measuring spoons!

Happy reading (and eating)! XOXO Jenn


You can find Jenn here on the "interweb":

Twitter: @JennMcKinlay 
Instagram @mckinlayjenn



  1. Jenn...I hope you set this up to post before you disappeared to finish your latest book. Thanks for the warning about how hard the culinary lavender is to find. They look divine...but I’m on team chocolate...keep writing and having fun with new recipes. I’m on the wait list at the # keeps inching along towards “you’re next!” Lldawnjm (at) gmail ( dot) com.

    1. Hi, Jane, I did write the post before - thank goodness! I'm team chocolate, too, but every now and again it's fun to mix it up!

  2. Sounds delicious probably wouldn’t find any lavender around here, though. Hope your working on your book! 😉 good luck can’t wait to read it.

  3. Sounds delicious! Wondering if the taste of lavender has the same effect that the smell does... calming! Looking forward to the new book!

    1. Thanks, B. I haven't noticed a calming effect but I do love the smell and the taste is subtle.

  4. Such a refreshing treat recipe; and I'd love to read the book!

  5. I have tasted wonderful desserts with delicate flavor of lavender but would be fearful of having too heavy of a hand with it myself. Years ago, I was in desperate search of curry leaves and they were remarkable difficult to find. However, the flavor of some curries just don't taste the same without it. Am so glad that it is easier to find now. Perhaps with time, culinary lavender will be more available, too.
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

    1. I don't think I've ever cooked with curry leaves, Lil. I'll have to check my pantry.

  6. This is a delectable treat which I would love to make. The book sounds captivating. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  7. Lavender is my favorite scent. It gives me hope and is soothing and wonderful. Your cupcakes are winners and the book a delight. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  8. Those cupcakes are gorgeous! I love the lemon and lavender combination. I will have to start the hunt for lavender. Hopefully I won't have as hard of a time as you did! Thank you so much for thec chance to win!

    1. Hi, Abby, I hear you can use lavender extract but I had no luck finding that either.

  9. Lemon is a favorite flavour of mine and these cupcakes are going to be made pronto!
    I love this series! Hope there are more to come!
    Thank you for the giveaway.

    1. Deb- Hooligan 1 loves lemon and lime - these cupcakes were gone in a day! LOL.

  10. Sure love your books and your recipes !

  11. Congratulations on your latest book release.
    The book looks like it will be a great read !
    Your lemon cupcakes look very fluffy and light!
    I've been on search for a good lemon cupcake recipe from scratch.Thanks for sharing ! Good luck with your book sales !

    1. Thank you, Mindy! I do love my cakes to be light and fluffy!

  12. We are fortunate to have Red Oak Lavender Farm in our county, where they sell all things lavender. They sell culinary lavender online at

    1. Thanks for the tip, Robin! It must be beautiful when it's all in bloom.

  13. I recently made Lemon cupcakes with lavender frosting and experienced the same problem you had - nobody carried culinary lavender! Looking forward to reading this book - love this series. Debbie(dot)Erickson14atgmail(dot com

    1. Debbie, next time I'm ordering lavender extract (in advance)! LOL.