Bready or Not

Bready or Not recipe blog

Bready or Not Guest: Fiery Surprise Cupcakes by Wendy Nikel, author of THE CAUSALITY LOOP

Posted by on Oct 29, 2019 in Blog, Bready or Not, cupcakes, guest, guest recipe | 0 comments

I’m happy to welcome Wendy Nikel back for another bout of cupcakes and a time travel novella! The Causality Loop finishes up her four-book sequence from World Weaver Press, and it’s fantastic. The perfect end for the series. (Disclaimer: I have indeed read them all, courtesy of WWP.) As novellas, each book makes for a quick read… but not so quick that you can’t enjoy a cupcake (or two) as you snuggle into your reading nook for a much-needed escape from our current timeline.

If you haven’t yet, check out Wendy’s past visits:
THE CONTINUUM and Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes
THE GRANDMOTHER PARADOX and Cherry Cupcakes
CASSANDRA COMPLEX and Chocolate Blueberry Cupcakes


 

 

THE CAUSALITY LOOP
Fiery Surprise Cupcakes
by Wendy Nikel

It’s release day for THE CAUSALITY LOOP, the fourth and final Place in Time novella, which means that once again, it’s time for me to pull out my mixer, cupcake pans, and frosting tips, and share with you something delicious to celebrate my new book!

I have loved coming up with new cupcake recipes for each of these books. In a way, it’s kind of like being on Cupcake Wars or Sugar Rush – some of my favorite Netflix competition shows. In each of these, the judges provide a theme or challenge for each round, and bakers have to come up with ways to meet it by producing a delicious dessert. And while the previous books were a bit easier to figure out – space-inspired chocolate coffee cupcakes with galaxy-swirled frosting for THE CONTINUUM; Midwest county fair-inspired cherry chocolate cupcakes for THE GRANDMOTHER PARADOX; and a blueberry cupcake for THE CASSANDRA COMPLEX, which was inspired by an old Fred Harvey recipe – this one was a bit more difficult to figure out, but I had a couple elements I knew I wanted to include.

The first of these was fire! As you can see from the cover, fire plays an important role in this book. The opening pages (which you can read here) start out with an act of arson, which our main character Dodge Greenley hopes will protect his family – and the scent of smoke follows him throughout the book.

The second element I wanted to include was a callback to the previous books. In many ways, this final novella brings things full circle, pulling in story threads, characters, and elements from the previous three books, so I wanted to tie that into my celebration cupcake somehow. I scoured recipe books and baking blogs, searching for the perfect combination.

I pulled out my favorite basic cupcake recipe and grated the zest of one lemon to balance out some of the bolder, more “fiery” flavors I was planning to add later.

After mixing all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder) in one bowl and the wet ingredients (sugar, butter, eggs, lemon zest) in another, I combined them with a bit of milk. Then, it was into the cupcake trays and into the oven for 16 minutes at 350 degrees.

While they were cooling, I started on the orange frosting. I blended the orange extract and orange food coloring (I used the gel kind for a bright hue) into the butter until it was smooth, then alternated adding the powdered sugar and milk until it was the consistency I wanted. Then it was time to try out a new tip I’d run across in my research – a pastry bullet.

The idea with these is to lay out plastic wrap, drop your frosting directly onto it, and then twist it up into a “bullet” that’s easier to handle and tidier to clean up. Tie one end close to the frosting and leave a few inches of twisted plastic wrap on the other end. I was really pleased with how this worked out. When it was time to frost, I could just throw it all into the pastry bag, thread the longer end through the piping tip, cut off the extra, and be ready to frost without the mess of trying to maneuver the frosting into the very bottom of the bag or the excess frosting coming back out the back of the bag.

But first, it was time to add my surprise! I found large, round sprinkles in the colors of each of my previous book covers – blue, red, and purple – and mixed them together in a dish. Then I took each of the cupcakes, cut a hole in the middle, and had my assistants (my kiddos wanted to help with this part) drop the sprinkles into the center of the cupcake.

Then we took the inner section we’d cut out of the cupcake and placed the top of it back onto it to cover the hole we’d made. Ta-da! Now when you bite into the cupcake, you’ll get a confetti-like surprise!

After we frosted the cupcakes, I threw them back into the fridge while I prepared the next step: our fiery cinnamon Red Hot drizzle. I dumped about half a cup of Red Hots into a saucepan and just barely covered them with water. Stirring constantly, I melted these over medium heat.

Once they were melted and I pulled them off the stove, I could drizzle them onto the frosted cupcakes. The drizzle thickens fairly quickly; I had to put it back onto the hot burner a couple times to thin it out again to make it easier to dribble onto the cupcakes.

I topped the cupcakes with orange and white sprinkles (if you do it while the Red Hot drizzle is still hot, they stick to it pretty well).

And now our fiery surprise cupcakes were finally ready for consumption!

About THE CAUSALITY LOOP:

Dodge Greenley is tired of being the go-between for his time-traveling family. All he wants is for them all to be able to live together peacefully in one era—is that too much to ask? But after breaking all the Rules of time travel in a desperate attempt to retroactively free his parents from the threat of the secret organization his father worked for a hundred years earlier, Dodge makes a startling discovery. It turns out there’s someone else stalking his family up and down the timeline, and this time, the menace may be coming from within the Place in Time Travel Agency itself.

Enlisting the help of his 22nd century coworker, Dodge sets off to the year 1915 to rescue his sister from a threat that might have originated at any point in their past, present, or future, proving once again that the greatest threat to time travelers is other time travelers.

THE CAUSALITY LOOP: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes/Apple Books | World Weaver Press

About the author:
Wendy Nikel is a speculative fiction author with a degree in elementary education, a fondness for road trips, and a terrible habit of forgetting where she’s left her cup of tea. Her short fiction has been published by Analog, Nature: Futures, Podcastle, and elsewhere. Her time travel novella series, beginning with The Continuum, is available from World Weaver Press. For more info, visit wendynikel.com

THE CAUSALITY LOOP Fiery Surprise Cupcakes

A subtly citrus cupcake with cinnamon Red Hot drizzle and a surprise inside, inspired by THE CAUSALITY LOOP by Wendy Nikel
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cupcake
Author: Beth Cato

Ingredients

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup butter 2 sticks 2 sticks
  • lemon zested zested
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons milk

Frosting ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter 2 sticks 2 sticks
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons milk
  • orange food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • Red Hot candies
  • sprinkles

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Sift together flour and baking powder. In separate bowl, blend sugar and butter. Grate lemon zest into the mixture.
  • Add eggs to sugar mixture one at a time.
  • Gradually add the dry mixture and milk into the sugar mixture until well blended.
  • Fill cupcake liners half full and bake for 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool.
  • Beat butter, food coloring, and orange extract until creamy. Alternate adding 1 cup confectioners' sugar and 2 tablespoons milk, mixing well after each addition, until all ingredients are mixed in.
  • When cupcakes are cool, carefully cut a hole into the top of each cupcake. Pull out the inner section of cake and set aside. Fill hole with sprinkles, then replace the top of the cake and frost!
  • Melt Red Hots on the stove. Drizzle melted candy over the frosted cupcakes. Top with sprinkles and enjoy with a good book!
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Bready or Not: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

Posted by on Oct 23, 2019 in Blog, Bready or Not, cake, chocolate, pumpkin | 0 comments

Halloween is about a week away. Let’s celebrate with a Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake!

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

This is an honest-to-goodness cake, too, light and fluffy and topped with a just-thick-enough layer of frosting.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

This cake melds the glorious powers of a spice cake with a chocolate cake, finding a medium that is happy indeed.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

As with most of my baked goods, this was packed up and sent with my husband to work. I can report that this cake can be cut into squares and stored in containers with waxed paper between the layers. It traveled surprisingly well.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

Most cakes are not that cooperative. I can’t even say how many times I’ve tried a recipe and mangled it when I’ve tried to portion it out to make it more portable. Those cakes don’t typically make it onto Bready or Not.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

This one does… and not only is it cooperative for travel, but it’s also darn delicious.

Modified from Taste of Home Desserts Magazine.

 

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

This light, fluffy cake combines all the goodness of spice cake and chocolate!
Course: Dessert, Snack
Keyword: cake, chocolate, pumpkin
Author: Beth Cato

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Frosting

  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 3 Tablespoons milk or half & half
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • sprinkle cloves
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa sifted
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups confectioners' sugar

Instructions

Making the cake

  • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a 13x9 pan with foil and apply butter or nonstick spray.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the pumpkin puree, sugar, oil, and eggs. In a separate bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Gradually beat the dry mix into the wet. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the center passes the toothpick test. Let cool to room temperature, or chill in fridge if desired.

Frosting

  • In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add in the milk, vanilla, and cloves. Slowly beat in the cocoa and the base amount of confectioners' sugar, adding more if needed to reach spreadable consistency. Cover the top of the cake. Slice within pan, or use foil to lift cake onto cutting board.
  • Store covered in the fridge.

*OM NOM NOM!*

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    Bready or Not Original: Pumpkin Raisin Cookies

    Posted by on Oct 16, 2019 in Blog, Bready or Not, cookies, pumpkin | 0 comments

    Pumpkin Raisin Cookies! These delicious treats combine a lot of fall flavors.

    Bready or Not Original: Pumpkin Raisin Cookies

    I don’t know why I never thought to pair raisins and pumpkin in cookies before. After all, I’ve used them together in bread.

    These cookies are all the more delicious because of the use of pumpkin pie spice. That mix is obviously good with pumpkin, but wow, does it go well with raisins!

    Bready or Not Original: Pumpkin Raisin Cookies

    On the subject of raisins, I am biased toward golden raisins, but really, you can use whatever seedless variety you wish.

    Bready or Not Original: Pumpkin Raisin Cookies

    Also, using golden raisins makes it less likely that hungry people will endure Cookie Betrayal Syndrome (CBS). This is the condition wherein people who hate raisins accidentally ingest raisins in cookies because they think the raisins are really chocolate chips.

    Bready or Not Original: Pumpkin Raisin Cookies

    Good bakers are honest bakers. Golden raisins are usually pale enough in color that they won’t mislead people.

    Bready or Not Original: Pumpkin Raisin Cookies

    Besides, maybe, just maybe, people who’ve endured CBS will think these cookies look so good they’ll give them a try, even knowing what they contain.

    Bready or Not Original: Pumpkin Raisin Cookies

    These chewy cookies partner up pumpkin, raisins, and pumpkin pie spices in a delicious new way. Enjoy them through the fall and all the year long! NOTE: the dough needs to chill for at least a few hours prior to baking.
    Course: Dessert, Snack
    Keyword: cookies, pumpkin
    Author: Beth Cato

    Ingredients

    Cookies

    • 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks, softened
    • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
    • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 egg room temperature
    • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup golden raisins

    Topping

    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

    Instructions

    • In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar, pumpkin, vanilla, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Thoroughly combine. Beat in the flour, then fold in the golden raisins. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours; this is necessary, as the dough is very sticky, and it's even stickier when warm
    • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. In a small bowl, combine the two topping ingredients. Use a tablespoon (a scoop doesn't work well with such sticky dough) to form 1-inch balls; roll them in the topping mix, and place spaced out in a cookie sheet,
    • Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, until cookies are set. Let cool on pan for 10 minutes before moving to a rack. Store in a sealed container.

    OM NOM NOM!

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      Bready or Not: Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Bars

      Posted by on Oct 9, 2019 in Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, brownies, chocolate, pumpkin | 0 comments

      Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Bars. Because I will never feature enough iterations of this perfect pairing.

      Bready or Not: Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Bars

      Yeah, every year I do a new take (or a couple) on this lovely Voltron-saving-the-galaxy team-up between pumpkin and chocolate. You know why? Because it’s AWESOME. Like Voltron. With a lot less death and destruction.

      Bready or Not: Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Bars

      This recipe gets extra oomph from cream cheese, but by no means do these taste like cheesecake bars. Here, the cream cheese adds umami richness rather than straight-out cream cheese flavor.

      Bready or Not: Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Bars

      I was amazed by how thick these bars ended up. Really, these are more akin to cake than standard blondies or brownies.

      Bready or Not: Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Bars

      Bake these up and brighten someone’s day. You don’t need to summon up Voltron to save a person’s world. Sometimes, baked goods can do the trick.

      Bready or Not: Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Bars

      Need more pumpkin X chocolate OTP? Check out past posts on Bready or Not!

      Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars
      Pumpkin Nutella Swirl Muffins
      Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt Cake
      Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Shortbread
      Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (2 loaves)

      Bready or Not: Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Bars

      This perfectly autumn recipe pairs pumpkin and chocolate with the richness of cream cheese to create thick, moist bars.
      Course: Dessert, Snack
      Keyword: bars, chocolate, cream cheese, pumpkin
      Author: Beth Cato

      Equipment

      • 15x10-x1 jelly roll pan

      Ingredients

      Pumpkin base layer

      • 2 cups all-purpose flour
      • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
      • 2 teaspoons baking powder
      • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
      • 1 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
      • 4 eggs
      • 15 ounces pumpkin puree
      • 1 cup vegetable oil

      Chocolate swirl

      • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
      • 1/3 cup white sugar
      • 1 egg
      • 1 Tablespoon milk
      • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

      Topping

      • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

      Instructions

      Prepare the base layer

      • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a jelly roll pan (15x10x1) with aluminum foil, making sure the edges are covered. Add nonstick spray or grease.
      • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cloves. Add the four eggs, the pumpkin, and oil. Pour into the prepared pan.

      Start the chocolate swirl

      • Microwave 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, zapping in short increments and stirring well between each pass, until it is melted. Set aside.
      • In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with the sugar; it's okay if it's still a little lumpy. Follow up with the one egg, milk, and melted chocolate. Dollop the chocolate mixture atop the pumpkin batter. Use a narrow spatula or butter knife to swirl layers together in a marbled effect. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top.
      • Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until it looks puffed and the middle passes the toothpick test. Cool on a rack for at least an hour, then chill in fridge before cutting. This will make it easier to cut.
      • Use foil to lift onto a cutting board. Slice into bars then store chilled in a sealed container with waxed paper between stacked layers.

      OM NOM NOM!

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        Bready or Not: Buttery Pumpkin Cookies

        Posted by on Oct 2, 2019 in Blog, Bready or Not, cookies, pumpkin | 0 comments

        It’s October! That means Bready or Not resumes its traditional month of pumpkin recipes, starting with these Buttery Pumpkin Cookies.

        Bready or Not: Buttery Pumpkin Cookies

        These cookies are a dream come true for pumpkin lovers. They are soft and tender, like handheld cake, really.

        Bready or Not: Buttery Pumpkin Cookies

        But of course, the cookies are better with a little extra sweetness. These babies need ICING–a brown sugar icing that comes together quickly on the stovetop.

        Bready or Not: Buttery Pumpkin Cookies

        This is a recipe to make to share: the end result is about 70 tablespoon-sized cookies!

        Bready or Not: Buttery Pumpkin Cookies

        Modified from Fall Baking 2016 from Better Homes & Gardens.

        Bready or Not: Buttery Pumpkin Cookies

        There are more pumpkin recipes to look forward to this month! Here’s the full schedule:
        Buttery Pumpkin Cookies (today)
        Chocolate Swirl Pumpkin Bars
        Pumpkin Raisin Cookies
        Pumpkin Chocolate Cake
        Pumpkin-Ginger Coffee Cake

        Bready or Not: Buttery Pumpkin Cookies

        This recipe makes about 70 frosted cookies, each loaded with pumpkin and spice and topped with a perfect complement of brown sugar icing. Note that the frosting amount should be just adequate to top the cookies, but if a few cookies remain naked, that's no tragedy. They are good by themselves, too!
        Course: Dessert
        Keyword: cookies, pumpkin
        Author: Beth Cato

        Ingredients

        Cookies

        • 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks, room temperature
        • 2 cups white sugar
        • 2 teaspoons baking powder
        • 2 teaspoons baking soda
        • 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
        • 1 teaspoon salt
        • 2 eggs
        • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
        • 15 oz can pumpkin puree
        • 4 cups all-purpose flour

        Brown sugar icing

        • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
        • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
        • 1/4 cup milk or half & half
        • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        • 3 cups confectioners' sugar

        Instructions

        • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
        • In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Mix in the white sugar, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Beat until fluffy, scraping bowl as needed. Add the eggs and vanilla, followed by the pumpkin. Mix in the flour until just combined.
        • Use a tablespoon scoop to dole out dough onto the cookie sheet, spacing out to allow for expansion. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until tops are set and edges golden. Cool on wire rack.
        • Once cookies are completely cool, make the icing. In a small saucepan, cook the butter and brown sugar, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Stir in the milk and vanilla. Mix in the confectioners' sugar until smooth, adding more if necessary to reach a spreadable consistency. Use the back of a spoon to spread the icing onto the cookies. If the icing in the pot begins to harden, stir in a few drops of hot water to make it pliable again.
        • Store cookies in a sealed container, with waxed paper or parchment between the layers.
        • OM NOM NOM!
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        Bready or Not: Fudgy Chocolate Gluten-Free Cake

        Posted by on Sep 25, 2019 in Blog, Bready or Not, brownies, cake, chocolate, gluten-free | 0 comments

        This incredible Fudgy Chocolate Cake is like a great big grown-up brownie.

        Bready or Not: Fudgy Chocolate Gluten-Free Cake

        While this can’t be said to be healthy, it IS gluten free, so makes for a wonderful treat for people with that dietary restriction.

        Bready or Not: Fudgy Chocolate Gluten-Free Cake

        It also keeps very well. I sliced it up and kept pieces stored in the fridge for over a week. They never dried out or lost flavor.

        Bready or Not: Fudgy Chocolate Gluten-Free Cake

        Even better, this cake can be frozen to last longer. Freeze slices on waxed paper and keep stored in a plastic container or freezer bag. Defrost in fridge when you want to indulge!

        Bready or Not: Fudgy Chocolate Gluten-Free Cake

        This cake is delicious by itself, but you could easily dress it up with fresh strawberries, cherries, or raspberries, and/or a scoop of vanilla ice cream–all of which are gluten-free as well, of course.

        Bready or Not: Fudgy Chocolate Gluten-Free Cake

        Modified from Allrecipes Magazine February/March 2015.

         

        Bready or Not: Fudgy Chocolate Gluten-Free Cake

        This gluten-free chocolate cake includes basic ingredients and is fast to make, to delicious results. The cake keeps well in the fridge and can be frozen as well.
        Course: Dessert, Snack
        Keyword: cake, chocolate, gluten free
        Author: Beth Cato

        Ingredients

        • 1/2 cup cocoa powder sifted, plus more to dust pan
        • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
        • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
        • 3/4 cup white sugar
        • 3 eggs beaten
        • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        • confectioners' sugar for top, optional

        Instructions

        • Preheat oven at 300-degrees. Cut parchment to fit in the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan. Grease pan. Set parchment inside. Grease again. Dust paper and sides of pan with cocoa.
        • In a large microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate and butter in short bursts, stirring well between each pass, until smooth. Stir in cocoa powder followed by sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan.
        • Bake about 40 minutes, until cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan; a toothpick inserted in the center should come out just slightly wet. Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then invert onto a rack. Remove the parchment, then invert again onto a plate to cool for at least an hour before cutting. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, if desired.
        • Keep cake covered by plastic wrap in fridge; keeps well as long as a week. Cake can be sliced and frozen for later enjoyment.
        • OM NOM NOM!
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