Gingerbread Cupcakes

In my novel, Scrappy Cupcake Angels, Jodi enjoys baking cupcakes to take along to the weekly scrapbooking classes at Wattle Lane Keepsakes. Here is another of the recipes that she makes for the women in the group to enjoy when they stop for a coffee break.

Gingerbread Cupcakes

125g softened butter or dairy-free spread
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk (or soya milk or oat milk)
175g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Line 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases.

Cream together butter, brown sugar and golden syrup. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add sifted dry ingredients, then milk, and mix to combine. Divide mixture between paper cases. Bake about 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Let cool, then dust with icing sugar or ice with ginger frosting.

Ginger Frosting

50g softened butter or dairy-free spread
2 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons milk (or soya milk or oat milk)

In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and sifted icing sugar and ginger. Add milk and beat to spreadable consistency.

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Raspberry Lemon Cupcakes

A number of people who have read my novel, Scrappy Cupcake Angels, have commented to me that they would like to have seen recipes included in the book. In hindsight, it seems it would have been a good idea and I have taken the comments on board and plan on including recipes in my next book. But for now, I will be putting some of the cupcake recipes on my blog periodically. Here is the link to Jodi’s Jaffa Cupcakes that I posted on my blog in September last year.

Below is the recipe for the raspberry lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese icing that Jodi takes along to Wattle Lane Keepsakes for her scrapbooking friends. This is a lovely recipe to make during the berry season, but can also be made with frozen raspberries, thawed out first.

These cakes can easily be made dairy-free. Having a dairy intolerance, I have got used to substituting ingredients. Simply replace the butter with dairy-free spread, the milk with oat milk or soy milk, and the cream cheese with a vegan cream cheese.

Raspberry Lemon Cupcakes

125g butter
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
150g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
¼ cup milk
1 cup raspberries, roughly chopped
extra raspberries for decorating

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases.

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and mix until combined. Stir in lemon zest and juice. Add sifted flour, baking powder and salt alternately with milk. Gently stir in raspberries.

Divide mixture between cases. Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned. Cool, then spread with lemon cream cheese icing and decorate with extra raspberries.

Lemon Cream Cheese Icing

2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 teaspoon lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1 ½ cups sifted icing sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter together. Stir in lemon zest and juice. Add icing sugar and mix until smooth and creamy.

Raspberry Lemon Cupcakes

Raspberry Lemon Cupcakes3

Pinwheels & Whirligigs

Pinwheels and whirligigs provide a fun combination of colour and motion. They make a great accent for scrapbook pages, a design element for quilts, and add whimsy to the garden.

I wanted to do a bright, colourful page for the beginning of spring, and remembered a tip I had seen in a scrapbooking magazine a while ago on how to make pinwheels. They are easy to make. All you need to do to make one pinwheel is cut out two each of three different size circles. Then cut each circle in half. Layer them together with the spinners all facing the same way. Then add a colourful button or brad to the centre. You can make small pinwheels from leftover paper scraps.

Products used: K & Company green vine embossed vellum, cardstock, Bella Felt Frame, Tim Coffey Die-cut stickers, buttons, paper scraps

A couple of years ago, I made a quilt with a whirligig design, in my favourite colours of purple and green. The design is called End of the Day and came from the book, More Quilts from The Quiltmaker’s Gift.

Whirligigs make a fun addition to the garden, adding a splash of colour on a still day, or spinning cheerfully in the breeze. Whirligigs likely originated from weather vanes, used by farmers and sailors to indicate wind speed and direction. They soon became popular as wind toys, and early whirligigs often depicted figures that moved as the propeller twirled. I love walking through graveyards and seeing colourful whirligigs brightening the graves.

In Scrappy Cupcake Angels, a row of whirligigs twirl in the breeze from the narrow strip of garden along the front of Mr. Thomas’s cottage.

Jodi’s Jaffa Cupcakes

While I was writing Scrappy Cupcake Angels I had fun trying out different recipes for cupcakes. I visited a local shop called Cake Stuff and was amazed at the range of accessories they had, from decorative paper cases, various coloured ready-to-use icings, edible flowers and sugar decorations, to all the different decorating tools. In Scrappy Cupcake Angels, Jodi finds comfort through baking. I, too, love to bake, and the fun thing with cupcakes is that anything goes! They can be as plain or as fancy as you like.

For a dairy-free version, replace the butter with a dairy-free spread.

Jaffa Cupcakes

150g butter
150g caster sugar
3 eggs
150g flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 Tblsp cocoa
Pinch of salt
Zest of an orange
1 Tblsp orange juice
1/3 cup chocolate drops

Line patty pans with paper cupcake cases.

Cream butter and sugar. Mix in eggs one at a time. Add sifted flour, baking powder, cocoa & salt. Mix to combine. Stir in orange zest, orange juice and chocolate drops. Divide mixture between paper cases. Bake at 180ºC for 20 minutes. Ice with frosting & decorate as desired.

Chocolate Orange Buttercream Frosting

60g butter
250g icing sugar
1 Tblsp cocoa
2 Tblsp orange juice
1 tsp orange zest

Soften butter. Mix with other ingredients to spreadable consistency. Pipe in swirls on top of cooled cupcakes.

Makes 18 small cupcakes

Enjoy!

Chasing A Dream

For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of making a living as a novelist, of working from home and creating stories that people might want to read. As I dreamed, I worked as a supermarket deli assistant, a fiber tester, a data entry operator, an apple picker, a cider bottler, a home help, and a despatch worker. Eventually I sold a novella to a magazine in Scotland. Then I sold a few more. But I realised that this would never provide me with the means to give up my day job and write full-time. So I started writing novels. But several novels and a pile of rejection letters later, I decided that if I was ever going to achieve my dream, I would have to take control of my career and be proactive.

Last year I set myself some goals. I would write a novel, publish it, and promote it myself. Then any success or failure would be down to me. So I wrote a novel about a subject I love—a scrapbook novel, I bought a self-publishing package, I set up a website and blog, and I chased my dream.

I chose Abbott Press to publish my book. As a division of Writer’s Digest, whom I have found to be a valuable source of information and resources over the years, I knew that they were all about helping authors realise their dreams. Abbott Press have been wonderful, helping me to produce a book I can be proud of. With their guidance, I felt in complete control every step of the way. I learned a lot about my writing and about the whole publishing process, from formatting to editing and design.

These are exciting times for writers, with so many opportunities to take control of your own career, and not have to wait around forever to be noticed by an agent or publisher. With self-publishing and e-publishing, and the great opportunities available for self-promotion through social media and blogging etc., it has become easier than ever for a writer to turn their dream into reality. With a little imagination and a lot of hard work, the possibilities are limitless.

Last week was an exciting time for me when I got to hold my book for the very first time. Although it was incredibly exciting to have my first story published in My Weekly all those years ago, there is nothing quite as special as seeing your name on an actual book.

What the future holds, nobody knows. Although I am not yet making a living from writing, at least for now I have been given the chance to live my dream, to stay at home and write stories—and hope that they bring people enjoyment. I have many more stories to tell about Wattle Lane Keepsakes and the people who gather there to explore their creativity and embellish life’s magic moments. I look forward to sharing more of their stories with you, my readers.

Scrappy Cupcake Angels

Nothing can quell Angeline Dunwich’s excitement as she stands before Wattle Lane Keepsakes. As she opens the door to her scrapbooking shop for the first time, Angeline hopes to encourage the residents of her small New Zealand town to explore their creativity and capture memories. Little does she know that Wattle Lane Keepsakes will very soon become the weekly destination for four women drawn to scrapbooking for widely different reasons.

Every Thursday Angeline teaches the Scrappy Cupcake Angels how to find joy through scrapbooking, and each of the four learns to confront her fears and to understand what is important in life. As Grace works on a scrapbook for her mother who has dementia, she wonders if it will help her mother cling to her last memories. Tegan scraps her travel photos with an insatiable wanderlust while contemplating where her heart really belongs. As Jodi creates beautiful layouts of her daughter, she questions whether any of her efforts will help mend her broken family. Kayla finds it easiest to express herself through her art, but secretly speculates whether she will ever gain the confidence to realise her dreams.

As Angeline opens her home and her heart to her new friends, only time will tell if the Scrappy Cupcake Angels can help her overcome her own greatest fear and fulfil a lifelong dream.

Scrappy Cupcake Angels is available as a paperback, hardback and eBook from:

Abbott Press

Amazon 

Barnes & Noble

Amazon UK

Fishpond (New Zealand)