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Monday, August 26, 2013

Taste Test Blog Tour {Guest Post}

I'm so excited to have the Taste Test Blog Tour stop by Word Spelunking today!! Author, Kelly Fiore, has dropped by with a super yummy, super fun guest post...

Taste Test
by Kelly Fiore
August 27, 2013
Purchase: Amazon / B&N / IndieBound

If you can grill it, smoke it, or fry it, Nora Henderson knows all about it. She’s been basting baby back ribs and pulling pork at her father’s barbeque joint since she was tall enough to reach the counter. When she’s accepted to Taste Test, a reality-television teen cooking competition, Nora can’t wait to leave her humble hometown behind, even if it means saying good-bye to her dad and her best friend, Billy. Once she’s on set, run-ins with her high-society roommate and the maddeningly handsome—not to mention talented—son of a famous chef, Christian Van Lorten, mean Nora must work even harder to prove herself. But as mysterious accidents plague the kitchen arena, protecting her heart from one annoyingly charming fellow contestant in particular becomes the least of her concerns. Someone is conducting real-life eliminations, and if Nora doesn’t figure out who, she could be next to get chopped for good. 

With romance and intrigue as delectable as the winning recipes included in the story, this debut novel will be devoured by all.

When I found out that Kelly is a huge foodie and baker I knew the perfect guest post topic to have her write about- Characters and Cupcakes...because we all know that here at Word Spelunking the one thing I love almost as much as books is cupcakes!

Characters Inspired by Taste Test Characters
by Kelly Fiore

Thank you so much for having me today!
So, it’s a little known fact that I actually had a cupcake business – well, I use the word “business” pretty loosely. I did a handful of weddings and sold my cupcakes at local farmer’s markets. This was right around the time that Georgetown Cupcakes (from the show, DC Cupcakes on TLC) got really popular, so I was really inspired by the success of other cupcakeries.
The biggest lesson I learned? Not everything you love should be a job. I LOVE baking – it’s one of my absolute favorite things to do. But I like baking 12 cupcakes. Or maybe 24. Not 200. I like mixing up various flavors of buttercream – but when it’s one bowl, not a dozen. Making that many cupcakes was hard work! I have a brand new respect for professional bakers.
I don’t bake for money anymore – just for fun. But I still love creating my own unique cupcake flavors, and I had a blast putting together recipes for the main characters of Taste Test. I’ve included the recipes and descriptions below.

Nora Henderson is a spunky, North Carolina-bred girl who is faithful to the barbecue culture she grew up in. When she meets Christian Van Lorton, a big-city boy with his sights set on being a celebrity chef, her hackles immediately rise. Christian’s got expensive tastes and an ego the size of an industrial refrigerator. So why exactly does Nora find him so dang irresistible?

Nora Henderson’s Sassy Pants Shortbread Cupcake
(A Southern Style, butter-based cake that’s true to Nora’s roots!)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large egs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup milk

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Strawberry Jam

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cornstarch, baking powder, and salt
In a large bowl, beat the sugar with the eggs and vanilla at medium speed until smooth and thickened slightly, about three minutes. Add the butter and oil and beat until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and milk, alternating between wet and dry. Fill muffin tins 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes until springy.
For the frosting, beat softened butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat the mixture at low speed until combined, then increase the speed and beat until smooth. Add the cream and beat until light and fluffy, about two minutes.
Microwave two tablespoons of jam in a small bowl for about 30 seconds. With a pastry brush or the back of a spoon, coat the top of the still-warm cupcakes with a coating of jam. Allow to cool, then frost the cupcakes once they’re at room temperature.

Christian Van Lorton’s Perfect Match Cupcake
(A rich, coffee-based chocolate cupcake with peanut butter buttercream!)

          1 ¾ cup All Purpose Flour
          2 cups granulated sugar
          ¾ cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup prepared coffee (espresso if you’ve got it!)
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

          6 tablespoons water
          3 tablespoons butter
          1 ½ squares unsweetened baking chocolate
          3 cups powdered sugar
          1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
In a large bowl, beat the sugar with the eggs, sugar and vanilla at medium speed until smooth and thickened slightly, about three minutes. Alternate mixing in the dry ingredients, the buttermilk, and the coffee. The batter will be very liquidy – don’t be alarmed. Pour into cupcake tins, about ½ of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes, then allow to cool completely.
For the glaze, melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or on the stove top. Add the water and sugar and mix until smooth. Add vanilla. Spoon over cooled cupcakes – it should be a flat layer, not like icing, and some should absorb into the cake itself.

How yummy do those cupcakes sound?! Thanks so much Kelly for the awesome recipes!

Kelly Fiore

1 comment:

Unknown said...

How cool that the author had a cupcake business! I can imagine that baking for herself versus baking for so many others was a big change though.

I'm excited to read this one!