Posts made in November, 2015

Bready or Not Guest: Sylvia Spruck Wrigley with Lemon Fairy Cakes

Posted by on Nov 12, 2015 in Blog, Bready or Not, guest recipe, lemon, muffin | Comments Off on Bready or Not Guest: Sylvia Spruck Wrigley with Lemon Fairy Cakes

DomnallI’m happy to welcome author Sylvia Spruck Wrigley as a guest of Bready or Not! Her novella Domnall and the Borrowed Child was published by just this Tuesday, and it’s all about FAIRIES. A unique approach to fairies, too–you get to learn about changelings, from their perspective! Quite appropriately, Sylvia is here to share a very British recipe for Lemon Fairy Cakes.

About Domnall and the Borrowed Child:

The best and bravest faeries fell in the war against the Sluagh, and now the Council is packed with idiots and cowards. Domnall is old, aching, and as cranky as they come, but as much as he’d like to retire, he’s the best scout the Sithein court has left.

When a fae child falls deathly ill, Domnall knows he’s the only one who can get her the medicine she needs: Mother’s milk. The old scout will face cunning humans, hungry wolves, and uncooperative sheep, to say nothing of his fellow fae!

Excerpt at
Audio Excerpt | MacMillan, with buy links everywhere



These days in Britain you are more likely to see a cupcake than a fairy cake. Cupcakes are modern, decadent, bold. Fairy cakes are old-fashioned, relics of children’s parties from years gone by. They are smaller than cupcakes and, to my eye, a little more refined. A fairy cake is easy to recognise because it is never, ever topped with thick swodges of buttercream but instead gets a quick white glaze made with icing sugar (powdered) and water. Very special cakes get “royal icing” made with egg whites.


Although any type of cake can be made into a cupcake, a fairy cake is based on Victoria sponge. These dainty cakes (just the right size for a fairy) are still seen as more appropriate for children, as they are smaller and with less sugar, whereas cupcakes are popular at weddings and hen nights.

The original fairy cakes (cakes just the right size for a fairy) are first referenced in the 1700s and were baked in ramekins or individual pottery cups. Although many people now make fairy cakes in muffin tins, you should take care to only fill the cups halfway so that they don’t turn out too large and get mistaken for a poorly frosted cupcake!

Now you’d think it’d be easy to make a British recipe in a British kitchen. Further, you’d think it would be easy to convert. Unfortunately, there are some issues which I feel compelled to share with you. I should reassure you first, however, that this is a very simple recipe, commonly the first treat that children in England learn to bake. So don’t take my notes all too seriously – just follow the recipe and I’m sure you’ll be fine.


So first: Conversion
I modified the recipe slightly to convert it to American measurements. The recipe works with imperial, metric and US measures but don’t mix and match between them. The butter/sugar/flour amounts are slightly higher in the US version but no one complained (well, not about the cake, anyway).

Second: Temperature
I’ve simply said to bake these at 180°C/350°F, just like the majority of cakes baked around the world. However, that’s not the way recipes work in the UK.

British recipes give instructions to deal with every kind of oven, like so:
Pre-heat your oven to 200°C or 180°C if it is a fan-assisted oven or gas mark 6 if you haven’t upgraded your oven since 1962.

So if you bake using an exciting oven or even (god help you) an Aga, then I’m afraid you are on your own, but I suspect you are probably used to it.

Third: Yield
The recipe makes twelve fairy cakes but that’s assuming a British bun tin. You can make these with muffin tins just fine, just be sure not to overfill your cases. Standard cupcake cases should only be filled up to the halfway mark. If you make these cupcake sized, you’ll only get nine.

Fourth: Decoration

My first batch, the control group made with British imperial measures, I thought it would be nice to add fairy wings. I thinly sliced some lemons and candied them in the oven at low heat, then cut them in half and stuck them on with the lemon glaze.


Every single person ripped the wings off and discreetly abandoned them somewhere. Apparently, that was not an appropriate decoration for a fairy cake. Who knew?

Fifth: The Appropriate Number of Sprinkles

“Hundreds and thousands,” my boyfriend said. “That’s what you put on fairy cakes.”

“Like, sprinkles?”

“Not just any sprinkles. Round ones. All colours.”

“Round rainbow sprinkles. Got it.”

“No, don’t buy sprinkles. Buy hundreds and thousands.”


This didn’t seem like a requirement of fairy cakes, but I’m not British and I’m aware that sometimes I can miss nuances. So I purchased sprinkles which actually said hundreds and thousands on the label and did the decorating again.

This time, my fairy cakes were accepted with bright smiles. “Much nicer,” said my son with his mouth full of cake. “Needs more hundreds and thousands.”

“What have you done? This is more like tens and hundreds,” muttered my boyfriend.

I asked my friend to adjudicate. “They look lovely.” And the hundreds and thousands? “Well, okay, yes, it’s a bit sparing.”

I gave the very last fairy cake to the security guard who patrols the marina flats. I barely know him but it’s a long cold shift in November and I wasn’t speaking to anyone in the family by then.

“Lovely,” he said, “thank you so much.” He took a bite. “A wee bit mean on the hundreds and thousands, though.”

So learn from my mistakes. Don’t bake things for the British.


Lemon Fairy Cakes

Yield: 12 fairy cakes


  • 4 oz / 100g / ½ cup butter
  • 4 oz / 100g / ½ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 oz / 100g self-raising flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder OR ¾ cup all-purpose flour and two teaspoons baking powder
  • zest of half a lemon


  • 2 cups (250g) of powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Rainbow sprinkles to taste

Pre-heat your fan-assisted oven to180°C/350°F and line your muffin tin with fairy-cake or cupcake cases.

Cream the butter and the sugar at high speed for three minutes or more. Keep the speed on high and add the two eggs one at a time. Once well mixed in, add the flour, the baking powder and the lemon zest. Fold the dry ingredients into the batter until blended.

Drop a large spoonful of batter into each cake case – if using cupcake-sized cases, only fill to halfway.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes, until the cakes have risen and are golden-brown.

While the cakes are baking, mix the powdered sugar with the lemon juice so that you have a thick but still spreadable glaze.

Brush the cakes with the lemon glaze while still warm so that the lemon syrup will melt into the cake. Then remove them from the muffin tin. After the cakes have cooled, brush the tops again with the glaze and sprinkle generously with rainbow sprinkles.



Sylvia Spruck Wrigley was born in Germany and spent her childhood in Los Angeles. She emigrated to Scotland in 1990, guiding German tourists around the Trossachs while she searched for the supernatural. She now splits her time between South Wales and Andalucia where she writes about plane crashes and faeries, which have more in common than most people might imagine. Her short stories have been translated into over a dozen languages.

Author website

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Bready or Not: Maple Sugar Cake: A Clockwork Dagger recipe

Posted by on Nov 11, 2015 in Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, cake, Clockwork Dagger recipe, maple | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Maple Sugar Cake: A Clockwork Dagger recipe

Maple is one of my favorite flavors. It’s also a flavor that is often mentioned in my Clockwork Dagger books, especially in connection with the northern kingdom of Frengia.

Maple Sugar Cake

My new Clockwork Dagger novella “Wings of Sorrow and Bone” follows an important minor character from Clockwork Crown: Rivka. Her mother was Frengian and a baker, and teenaged Rivka is also a baker when you meet her in the book.

“Wings of Sorrow and Bone” begins soon after the events in Clockwork Crown. Rivka now lives in Tamarania City with her grandmother. Instead of running a bakery, she is pursuing her dream of becoming a master mechanist… but maple-flavored goods are still a major subject of nostalgia. They make her think of her old home, and her mama.

Maple Sugar Cake

I looked around online for recipes that I thought would suit the more rustic world of my books. I found a maple sugar cake recipe
at The Kitchy Kitchen and decided to make some adaptions. I wanted something that would work for gift-sized loaf cakes.

Maple Sugar Cake

Maple sugar is the one extravagant ingredient, but it can now be bought for a decent price on–heck, you can even subscribe and get it cheaper! A little maple sugar goes a long way, too. It’s potent stuff.

Maple Sugar Cake

The resulting cake is perfect for breakfast or a snack. You can sweeten it up to your preference. Make glaze with the recipe below, or eat it plain. Plus, it freezes and keeps for months! I used it as a handy breakfast loaf to thaw out for company.

This maple loaf cake has a role in the novella, too. Maybe you can go all meta and eat some cake as you read about the cake!


Bready or Not: Maple Sugar Cake: A Clockwork Dagger recipe

This maple sugar loaf cake is featured in my Clockwork Dagger novella "Wings of Sorrow and Bone." It's great for breakfast or snack. Freeze the unglazed mini loaves and they keep for months. Recipe makes FOUR small loaves.
Course: Bread, Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Keyword: maple, quick bread
Author: Beth Cato


For the loaf cake:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter half stick, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups maple sugar
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon heaping
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

Glaze for ONE small loaf:

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar or powdered xylitol, sifted
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons milk or almond milk or other substitute, more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple flavor or vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Prepare mini loaf pans (tin, stoneware, paper) by applying nonstick spray.
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and gradually add the maple sugar. Beat until creamy; with a mixer, this takes about a minute. Add the beaten eggs and combine.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the salt, baking soda, spices, and flour. Alternately add applesauce and dry ingredients to butter mixture. Once they are blended, fold the nuts into the batter. Distribute the batter among the pans; they should be about half full.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minute, until a tester comes out clean. Let cakes cool completely. If they are in a tin or stoneware pan, remove them from the dish.
  • At this point, you can freeze the loaves wrapped in wax paper and plastic wrap or in a gallon bag.
  • If you want to eat them now, store at room temperature or in fridge. Serve with glaze (see recipe above) or topped with powdered sugar or even a small amount of maple syrup... or plain! Eat cold or warmed in microwave.
  • A loaf keeps for days if wrapped in the fridge. In the freezer, keeps for upward of six months.


Maple Sugar Cake


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Wings of Sorrow and Bone: A Clockwork Dagger Novella is out NOW!

Posted by on Nov 10, 2015 in Blog, clockwork dagger shorts | Comments Off on Wings of Sorrow and Bone: A Clockwork Dagger Novella is out NOW!

Today’s the day! My novella is unleashed upon the world! Read the further adventures of Rivka and Tatiana, two young characters first introduced in Clockwork Crown, as they confront Balthazar Cody to save his laboratory of gremlins.

Wings of Sorrow and Bone novella

[Release date: Nov. 10th Price: 99-cents]

Wings of Sorrow and Bone: A Clockwork Dagger Novella

A few months after the events of The Clockwork Crown

After being rescued by Octavia Leander from the slums of Caskentia, Rivka Stout is adjusting to her new life in Tamarania. But it’s hard for a blossoming machinist like herself to fit in with proper society, and she’d much rather be tinkering with her tools than at a hoity-toity party any day.

When Rivka stumbles into a laboratory run by the powerful Balthazar Cody, she also discovers a sinister plot involving chimera gremlins and the violent Arena game Warriors. The innocent creatures will end up hurt, or worse, if Rivka doesn’t find a way to stop Mr. Cody. And to do that means she will have to rely on some unexpected new friends.


Available for just 99-cents

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | iTunes

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Clockwork Crown $1.99 ebook sale

Posted by on Nov 9, 2015 in Blog, clockwork crown, clockwork dagger shorts | Comments Off on Clockwork Crown $1.99 ebook sale

The Clockwork Crown by Beth Cato

Happy, happy news! The Clockwork Crown ebook is on sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. Grab it for a super-duper $1.99. This price won’t last for long (seriously, it won’t) so grab it while you can, or gift it to someone else.

The timing on this is fantastic, too, because the novella “Wings of Sorrow and Bone” is out tomorrow. The events of that follow The Clockwork Crown. That sells for just 99-cents.

Wings of Sorrow and Bone novella

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Sunday Quote’s novella is out in 2 days

Posted by on Nov 8, 2015 in Blog, Quote | Comments Off on Sunday Quote’s novella is out in 2 days

“A word after a word after a word is power.”
~Margaret Atwood

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