Highfell Grimoires by Langley Hyde and Lemon Lavender Cakelets w Lemon Lavender Curd Filling and a Limoncello Spritzer

highfellYou know when you read a book and you KNOW, like deep inside of you that you are in on something amazing? That you are reading something important. That’s how I felt reading this book, like “Wow, I’m one of the first people reading this book, and this book is going to BLOW PEOPLE AWAY.” That’s what I was thinking throughout Highfell Grimoires, from the moment I started reading I knew I was in for something remarkable. Let’s start with the genre, the book is a Steampunk novel, and without exaggerating even a little bit I can say it is the best one I’ve read in this genre, full stop. Second, it channeled some serious Victorian Gothic magic, think Brontë, think Poe, think Dickens…Think BIG, because that is exactly what the writing in this novel was. The excellent world building, the intriguing characters, twisted and fascinating foes, vulnerable and noble heroes, the piercing look at class, inequality, justice, gender biases, misogynistic societal norms, hypocrisy, kindness, love, loyalty, friendship, higher causes, greater good…The whole enchilada my friends. This novel HAS IT ALL…And then THEN, there’s Neil, Leofa and their boys.

Where do I even start? Because seriously if I wasn’t a happily married woman I would have proposed to Langley Hyde about a third into this book. But I digress, let’s talk food and drink, before I dive into the book. Like I said this book is steampunk, and set in a place very reminiscent of Victorian England (with a twist!), given the setting there is a lot of High Teas and such going on in the book. So, I wanted to make something that grooved with that as well as, something the heroes would love. I decided on Lemon Lavender Cakelets with Lemon Curd filling and a Prosecco/Limoncello Spritzer. This was  bit of a labor intensive recipe, I admit, but it paid off beautifully. It’s one of the best things I’ve made. For the cocktail I infused a bottle of limoncello with lavender buds for about 10 days and it gave the spritzer a lovely flavor. I used the Cupcake brand prosecco, which is nice and dry, with lovely hint of lemon, PERFECT for this cocktail, a bottle goes for about $11.

photo 3Now the story…Neil Franklin’s life has been taken away from him. After his parent’s accidental death him and his sister are suddenly faced with a crippling family debt, and to repay it he agrees to leave the city of Herrow and his studies, to become a teacher at his uncle’s charity boarding school for boys. The school is up in an eatherium, estates that float in the air powered by aether. So he will have to leave his sister in the care of his uncle. As much as Neil loves those big floating ship-like structures in the sky, and the excitement of possibly taking part in forming young minds, he is low, because he knows he will never be able to pay the debt he owes, and his sister’a future might be in jeopardy as much as his.

Things get grimmer the moment he arrives at the school, the conditions there are less then optimal, and his students seems to be a group of disreputable urchins…And that’s not not the worst of it, the Nobsnippes, the family who runs the school seem to be pretty shady characters. Neil is not sure what he’s gotten himself into, but the more he learns of the conditions he is to live in the more he despairs. Then he meets Leofa, the “garderner” for the school who he is supposed to be roommates with (the horror), not only is the whole thing unseemly and completely below someone’s Neil social status, but Leofa makes him jumpy. He is all kinds of mysterious and confusing. He is a bit rough with Neil, yet so kind and gentle with the boys. He goes out of his way to feed them and care for them as much as he can…He is also big and beautiful, and that out of everything is the very worst part. Neil cannot have feelings for this man, it is not well regarded for two men to be “involved” and besides he’s not too sure if “gardening” is really what Leofa is getting up to wherever he spends his days…As a matter of fact some of the boys are going in there too and coming back hurt. None of this is Neil’s problem though, he cannot get attached to the boys or Leofa, what he needs is to find a way to get out of the situation he is in, the whole thing is beneath him. Not at all what he signed for, the Nobsnippes give him the creeps, they are nasty people, the boys are barely manageable and then there’s the sleeping arrangement with Leofa…Neil is in over his head, that is for sure!

From the voice (Neil is our narrator in first person POV), to the world, the characters, the toys, flying machines, intrigue, magic, secrets and romance this book was LUSCIOUS. Visually the world is gorgeous, my mind was working overtime to keep up with flying aetheriums,  victorian dresses a la Tim Burton, and magical books secured with hazardous bloodlocks. Neil, like all the others, is a wonderfully developed character. He is so much a man of his time, but he has an ingrained sense of nobility and fairness, he is attached to his place in society and what it has provided for him, but he understands the injustices that exist in his world. When he is faced with the conditions which the boys he grows to care about are forced to live in, out the carelessness of others he struggles with that. He struggles with the reality that a good man like Leofa is forced to work for pennies by nasty people because of circumstances that were not his doing. It is an unfair world, and it shames him that he has never paid much  attention to it before.

Then of course is what he finds in Leofa and those boys. He finds his heart and his purpose. What had never seemed important before becomes paramount, because soon he realizes that these boys and that man are important, not just to him, but they are important because they ARE. Strange things are happening and he fears they might all be in danger, nothing seems to be like he thought it was. Seems like Neil may have been living in the clouds before he got up on the aetherium, ironically, but he’s never been a coward and now is not the the time to start when his, Leofa’s, the boys and his sister’s fate are in the balance.

I won’t go into the mystery or magic because that was such a wonderful part of this book, that I will leave you to discover it yourselves. This story is nothing but goodness, the heroes are brave and valiant, the villains are twisted and grotesque…The archetypes are done exquisitely. The romance between Neil and Leofa is subtle and understated but no less was powerful and moving. I did not miss the erotica (although there were intimate moments), for me the big payoff  for me came from getting to know them and their world. Not that there is not enough in their love story to make one swoon, because THERE IS! It’s a read like you don’t run across very often.

I cannot say enough good things, if I could I would make reading this novel mandatory. For steampunk and fantasy fans this is required reading. For fans of Victorian novels, also a MUST…And if you are fan of good books with good writing, go buy this book NOW.

Effusively and enthusiastically recommend. I hope beyond all hope there is a lot more from Langley Hyde coming our way in the near future, I especially hope that this one not the last form Neil, Leofa and their gang.

Highfell Grimoires will be released by Blind Eye Books and it is available for pre-order here.

For a free copy of Highfell Grimoires comment below or tweet me @readingtipsy and let me know what your favorite decadent dessert is!

Lemon-Lavender Pound Cakelets, with Lemon-Lavender Curd with Whipped Cream Topping

Adapted from The Bojon Gourmet

Be sure to use organic, culinary lavendar for these cakes. I got 4oz on Amazon for about $8.00.

For the cakes:
1 cup organic sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried lavender buds (ground in coffee grinder or vitamix)
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter (or vegan butter spread), softened
zest of two lemons (preferably Meyers)
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup of almond milk with 1/2 a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350º. Line 10 standard muffin cups with paper liners.

Grind the lavender buds with the sugar in a coffee grinder. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, ground lavender, butter and lemon zest. Beat on medium speed until fluffy and lightened in color, 3-4 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until combined, scraping as needed.

photo 1In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. With the mixer on low, add half the dries, mix until combined. Add the buttermilk (or almond milk mixture), mix to combine, and then add the rest of the dries. Give the batter a final fold with a rubber spatula to make sure it is thoroughly mixed, then divide the batter among the 10 muffin cups. 

Bake the cupcakes, rotating once halfway through the baking time, for 20 – 25 minutes. The tops should spring back when pressed lightly with a finger, and a tester should come out clean. Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Lemon-Lavender Curd

This recipe makes about 1 cup of curd, which is twice what you will need to fill the cakes. .
zest of one lemon
1/3 cup lemon juice (preferably Meyer)
1 1/2 teaspoons lavender buds
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 egg yolks
2 ounces (1/2 a stick) unsalted butter, in 1″ pieces
1 tablespoon heavy cream or half and half
pinch salt

Directions:
In a small saucepan, heat the zest, juice and buds to just below a simmer. Cover and let steep for 10 or 20 minutes, once they have steeped strain out the buds. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg and yolks to combine. Bring the lemon juice mixture back to a bare simmer, and, whisking constantly, slowly pour into the egg mixture to temper. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, scraping the sides, bottom, and corners of the pot.

Cook until thickened to the consistency of gravy, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and immediately whisk in the cold butter, cream and salt until combined. Strain through a fine mesh seive and into a small bowl, lay a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the curd, and chill in the refrigerator until needed. The curd will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.

photo 2Lemon Lavender Whipped Cream

1 cup (6 ounces) heavy cream

1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

zest of 1 lemon

1/4 teaspoon of ground lavender

Directions:

Put the cream and vanilla on mixer and whip on medium for about a minute, once it starts thickening put on high until you see high peaks. Once you are done, fold in the zest and lavender.

To assemble the cakes:

Remove the paper lining once the cakes are cook. Carefully cut the cakelets across the center, spoon the lemon curd onto the bottom half then cover with the top. Put a dollop of the cream on top of each cakelet.

photo 5For the cocktail:

If you infused the limoncello, make sure you use a strainer to pour it onto a bowl or glass. Pour about one tablespoon of limoncello on a champagne flute and top with chilled prosecco.

I really do hope you give this book a try, I completely loved and think Langley Hyde is one of the most promising new voices in the genre. The cakes were kind of a special project, so I wouldn’t be offended if the challenge to make them is not taken up!

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Laura

 

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Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane, Chocolate Tamales and some Bubbly…

ChristmasKitsch_500x750Logically I know that Amy doesn’t  ACTUALLY write her books for ONLY me…But she MIGHT AS WELL!  I loved this story. Totally and Completely. It’s a simple story really, and a familiar story to be sure. But it was so loving, and it was so warm. Rusty Baker is our narrator who tells us his story in the first person. Rusty is a high school senior, a jock, he’s not super deep, he’s got a kind heart, he was taught to be polite by his parents, he’s supposed to go to UC Berkeley in the fall to study something (pre-law has been “suggested” since his dad is a lawyer, and he’s meant to be his old man’s clone)…These are all facts, things that just happen to BE in Rusty’s life, not things he’s responsible for. He’s self-aware enough to understand his privileged life, to understand that all the stuff he has is supposed to make his life so much better than others who don’t live huge house or drive new cars. The thing is that stuff really doesn’t make anything better …The thing about his life he actually likes the most, the BEST thing, the one thing he got all on his own, it’s his friend Oliver. Oliver is different (brown, little, and from a very NOT privileged Latin family), not at all like his upper middle class friends who take everything for granted. Oliver is SO SMART, and funny. There is no frowning, EVER, when Oliver is around. Also, Oliver is gay, which you’d think would bother Rusty, but he doesn’t care! He’s never had someone like Oliver in his life.

These boys were so sweet, and THAT love. That all encompassing, grounding thing they had. I really had to think hard about what to make for this review…I toyed with the idea of cookies (you will know why when you read the book!), but I HAD to go with tamales. I’m LATIN! And the ritual that is tamale making during the holidays where a pivotal thing for Rusty, and his understanding of the kind of love he’d have with Oliver. SO! Tamales, Chocolate Tamales, that is…With a Vanilla Bourbon Pecan Crumble Filling that will make you want to cry, they are so DELICIOUS. For all this holiday goodness the only choice for a wine pairing was a bottle of BUBBLY…Jaume Serra Cristalino Extra Dry Cava Brut from Spain. It is my favorite affordable sparkling wine for drinking with extra luscious dessert. This wine is dry and fresh, so it cuts through the sweetness of the chocolate and buttery crumble. Delightful, and at $8.00 a bottle, a WINNER.

photo 3 (1)

Back to our  guys…Things are progressing fast for Rusty, high school is ending and he is doubled over by his parents expectations of him…They don’t SEE him. They want him to be someone he simply cannot be. College is like this impending doom looming in the horizon, and it’s scary. He knows in his heart his happiness lies in other things. He wishes he could tell his parents that the summer construction job with Oliver’s dad was like a revelation, that he wants simpler thing, maybe a job where he uses his hands and his body. A little house with dogs and people in it that love each other, that sounds like the best dream. Oliver too, he has to be in that life. Oliver is solid and there, and he makes Rusty feel grounded…He’s the best friend he’s ever had, until the day that Oliver challenges everything about their relationship and kisses him. And then, that’s when Rusty Baker starts to make sense to himself.

Once at Berkeley things go from bad to worse, the only thing keeping Rusty from totally losing it is the prospect of Thanksgiving break and seeing Oliver. He can barely keep his head above water with his studies, he’s so done with everything. He makes his decision when he gets home, he is going to come clean to his parents about who he really is, in all ways. Things come out (pun intended here) a lot more abruptly than he intends and he ends up getting kicked out of his home, and staying with Oliver’s family for the holidays. Rusty is adrift, cut off from his family so drastically, like he meant nothing to them, it hurts him deeply. He is not sure what will be of his life, but at the same time…It’s also what he’s always known to expect from his parents…What shakes him to the core though is  the brazen warmth with which Oliver’s family embraces him. To them this boy that their Oliver loves, MUST be OK, they will make sure of that. Rusty feels so undeserving of all this love and support, he just can’t accept it, they are too valuable and worthy, and he is to insignificant for even his parents to miss…Rusty struggles to let himself accept all that he is being offered…Even when his reluctance hurts Oliver, he hesitates. Oliver is a treasure, and Rusty has nothing to offer him , how can he possibly be enough? Oliver takes all that doubt Rusty has and fights it. Makes him see, that the ONLY thing that Oliver cannot live with, is not having Rusty in his life.

Amy Lane really outdoes herself with the interracial heroes, she has a real understanding of the things that are different about couples who come from such different cultural backgrounds.  The warmth that exists at the center of Latin families, but also the truth and honesty in all colors of families who ultimately, as much as they fuck up, still do want to see their children happy. The core of this story for me was the idea that there is not anything anyone can learn, know, or earn, to be deserving of the open love someone offers up to them…Rusty had to finally understand that the only thing he ever has to give Oliver was himself. All that other stuff they can take care of together.

Everything about this story was warmth, and I enjoyed it from beginning to end. The families and friends were wonderful. I loved Nicole, Rusty sister and Rex his college roommate HAS GOT TO HAVE his own story. What a wonderful character. Again, Amy Lane writes a story that to reads like something I know personally. Straight to my heart.

I cannot recommend this story enough, it is out today from Riptide publishing, and can be purchased here.

Chocolate Tamales with a Vanilla Bourbon Pecan Crumble Filling

For the masa:

  • 2 cups corn flour for tamales
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons (heaping) non-hydrogenated vegetable spread
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk, more if needed
  • 1 (6-ounce) package dry corn husks, moistened according to package directions
  • 1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup of raw pecans
  • 4 tablespoons of vegan buttery spread
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar or sucanat
  • 2 tablespoons on bourbon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of organic vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips

Directions:

For the masa:

In a standing mixer with paddle attachment, place corn flour, salt and water and mix at high speed to prepare the batter. Scrape bowl halfway through and continue mixing until well combined. Remove batter from bowl, form it into a ball, divide it in three parts and set aside. Wipe out the mixer bowl. Add the butter and vegetable spread to the bowl and mix at high speed until fluffy and light, stopping a few times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Separately put the chocolate chips in the microwave for 1 minute, stir it at 30 seconds and add to the mix  once its cool. Add vanilla, cinnamon and sugar, then add the reserved corn flour batter in three parts with a third of the milk and the chocolate following each addition. Continue mixing well for another 3 minutes.Add some extra milk if the batter seems dry. It will be very sticky when it is ready.

photo 3

For the filling:

In a skillet put in the pecans and heat for about five minutes at medium heat, moving them around, so they don’t burn. Put the pecans aside and then add the buttery spread to the pan, sautee for a minute until melted then add the sugar, vanilla and bourbon, stir until it looks like caramel and then add the pecans. Cook for another 3-4 minutes stirring constantly. When the mix is thick like caramel remove from heat and let cool for 15-20 minutes. Once its cooled scrape the mix of the pan and place in the food processor, add the maple syrup and pulse until the mixture is coarsely ground uniformly.

photo 2 (1)

photo 1 (1)

Making the tamales:

Fill the bottom of a steamer with a few inches of water and bring to a boil. To assemble the tamales, place one moistened triangular-shaped corn husk on a work surface with the base of the triangle closest to you. Using a soup spoon, scoop about 2 ounces of batter and place it on the bottom center of the husk (close to the base but about half an inch away from the edge). With the back of your spoon, make a small flat indentation in the middle of the batter and place about two teaspoons of the crumble and a pinch of the mini chocolate chips in the indentation. Now it is ready to be folded (you do not need to cover the chocolate chips with more batter). Fold the right side of the husk over the filling, then fold the left side up and over, enclosing the filling but without pressing too much. Now flip the top of the triangle over to close the tamale. Tie both ends of the tamale with string. Place the the steamer rack standing up. Repeat with the rest of the filling and stack all tamales together on the steamer rack so they stay together. This will keep them from opening up while cooking. Once they are all in the steamer bring water to a boil, cover and steam for 45 minutes.

photo 2 (2)

Check the steamer occasionally to make sure there is enough water in it. To check if the tamales are cooked through, open one to see if the filling is fluffy and no longer stick to the sides of the husk. Serve the tamales with vanilla ice cream and a bit of hot fudge and ENJOY.

I do hope you guys try this recipe it is delicious and a holiday treat, with the bubbly and this wonderful Christmas story, I guarantee an amazing evening!

Cheers, Happy Reading and A Lovely Holiday Season!

Laura

Review: Forever Promised by Amy Lane and a Sparkling Spanish Rosé…Saying goodbye to The Pulpit with Crick and Deacon’s Champagne Cupcakes

ForeverPromisedI am so excited for this post!  There is just so much goodness for me to talk about that I could barely figure out where to begin…First of all could Amy Lane have possibly planned a more perfect week for the release of the final installment in her Promises series?!?!?!?!…The Defense of Marriage Act was declared unsconstituional by the Supreme Court of the United States  two days ago, making ALL couples legally married in this country absolutely equal under the law. ALL MARRIAGES, and  for me there is no other set of characters in M/M Romance that evoke well earned and hard fought happy married life more than The Pulpit Crew…Sooooo I had to go BIG for this review, I mean just a nice bottle of wine and some thoughts was not enough…This is a celebration!!!!!! When I celebrate, I pop a bottle of bubbly and make sure I have something delicious to bite into. So for my goodbye to the people of Promise Rock I went for one of my favorites, Jaume Serra Cristalino Rose Brut, a delicious Spanish cava with raspberry and very light creamy overtones that just compels one to raise a glass and toast to life. Cristalino has 60% Pinot Noir 40% Trepat grapes that go perfectly with lightly sweet treats, and for the amazing value of $8-$10 a bottle, this wine could not have been a better choice for my review of Forever Promised.…I  am not done though, because damn it, IT’S AMY LANE!!

I got creative and came up with a dessert worthy of celebrating births,  weddings, anniversaries, departures, homecomings and even the solemnity of grieving a loss…Crick and Deacon’s Champagne and Raspberry Vegan Cupcakes, a recipe created by yours truly are moist, just lightly boozy and a sweet, perfect combination for this beautiful story, to be enjoyed while sipping on some pink bubbly and smiling (sometimes a bit weepily) through what might be the best ending to a series I’ve read in this genre.

cristalino and cupcake pic jpeg

A glass of Cristalino and Crick and Deacon’s Cupcakes

But more on wine and cupcakes later…On to the story.

Amy Lane is a fucking CLASSY LADY, I mean finesse and elegance in telling a story, this lady HAZ GOT IT, no florid writing, no cheap outs of happy sappy walking into the sunset. Nope, the last installment in The Promises Series was true to itself  and to its characters from the first page to the last.

This was, Promise Rock: The Self-Actualized Edition…This book begins two and half years after we left our guys, Collin and Jeff are just married, things are getting along, they are all a little older and whole lot wiser, mostly though they are tightly knit as they ever have been. But keeping this family that they have has always  come at a cost. Jon and Amy have an amazing professional opportunity and will be moving to Washington DC to work as LGBT rights advocates. Drew and Benny are finally ready to get on with their lives as a couple, but the ties that Benny has to Deacon might prove to be too intimidating an act to follow and even though Drew loves The Pulpit  starting their life as a family might mean being away from their people.

Deacon as the patriarch is feeling a little adrift, even though him and Crick are finally feeling like they are whole. So when Benny offers the ultimate gift, to be a surrogate to Deacon and Crick, it is such an absolute act of selflessness and complete love that it’s almost too terrifying to consider despite how much they want a child. A child that would have a little bit of each of them, borne from Benny the little girl that  arrived in The Pulpit so that things could be held together at the lowest moment in Crick and Deacon’s lives, it was too much of a miracle to turn down, specially once Deacon understood that it was as much a gift for them to recieve as it would be for Benny to give it.

There is so much to this story, but what I loved the most about  is that we get to visit with every single one of the gang, each one gets to tell us a part of the story, and it’s like we get a chance to have a private final chat and a hug goodbye with each one before we have to see them go.

Amy Lane’s books affect me deeply, always they resonate with me, because they are so HUMAN so harsh so times, but it’s what always makes the good moments so joyful. These guys are special and I was scared that this last chapter would be a soft ball, a light happily ever after, nothing too upsetting or hard. I should have known that Amy Lane was not going to cut us any slack AT ALL, because what has made this series the special thing that it is, is precisely that we’ve seen these characters hurt and struggling so that when the good moments come, when the lightness and laughter hits they are seen and embraced as the gift that they are.

This book is about absolution and reflection. It’s about moving on soberly, being able to let go of the past with a clear understanding of just what a fucking miracle it is that even after the valiant efforts at self-destruction they all made, they got their bright future anyway. Many are not so lucky, so many people never get a second chance, but those who do they need to look at that miracle in the face and be nothing thankful.

I probably could talk about this book for 12 pages, but I can’t really go on forever, so I will talk briefly about the things that I loved the most.

Mikhail…He was the catalyst for the most powerful emotions in this book, he was mighty, in good ways, in terrible ways…He was atonement.

Benny and Crick, looking back on their lives and the good fortune that they had to have found a home and love in Deacon, it was wonderful to see them look back, to see what they had arrived to, after such a difficult beginning.

Jeff and Collin still in love, and still against all odds daring to be hopeful, and telling the world that they were brave enough  to want more out of life than people would probably allow them to.

Deacon and Crick…These guys. So wonderful after so much hardship, such heartache, such fear…They made it. They were together and whole (even if baring the scars of harder times) they were still in love and still saw in each other’s eyes that there was always something to hold on to, something to live for…Something to try to be happy about.

“Sometimes you just got to be happy, and worry could happen tomorrow”

This book could have been too easy, or too hard, or too angsty or too long or TOO MUCH. But it wasn’t, it was just right. There were moments that cut to the bone, followed by momenst of unapologetic lightness and absurd humor that could only make me laugh and shake my head. Like life. Like people. We are sad and we are bad, but then we turn to the people that can still see the best in us, and let them try to coax it out of us with a joke or a hug…or an emergency knitting project.

So many sad things happen in this life, every day to good people, but so many good things happen too. People move away, and people come back and people stay…But when there is love and goodwill every day brings what it must, and we can face it because we know that there will someone there to walk with us through whatever we must to do.

Fantastic final installment, I was left smiling, and weepy and secure in the bright future of my guys and gals in Promise Rock. What a joyful journey this has been. Thank you, thank you, thank you Amy.

Completely recommend this book and this series. I will miss my guys.

Forever Promised is out today on Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3980&osCsid=lrdsnsmg0lfg5oap2t3fuk85d2

So for those of you want to give Crick and Deacon’s cupcakes a try here is the recipe…I recommend that you only eat them once you’ve secured the bubbly for drinking while eating them and that you’ve secured a few hours free of distraction to immerse yourself in  Forever Promised.

Crick and Deacon’s Champagne and Raspberry Vegan Cupcakes (makes 10 cupcakes)

½ cup and two tablespoons of pink sparkling wine (I used Jaume Serra Cristalino)

½ cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

1 ¼ cups cake flour

2 Tablespoons of cornstarch

¾ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup canola oil

¾ cup organic cane sugar

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon of almond extract (you can substitute for vanilla)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners. Mix all ingredients in a bowl adding the champagne last, mix until smooth but not too much or too vigorously. Fill cupcake liners halfway with the batter. Cook for 13 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean from center of the cupcake.

Raspberry and Champagne Buttercream Frosting

½ cup of shortening

½ cup of margarine (Earth Balance)

3 ½ cups of powdered sugar

2 tablespoons of Pink Champagne

2 tablespoons of vanilla almond milk (add a bit more if frosting is too lumpy)

2  tablespoons of raspberry puree (put 1 cup of fresh raspberries in the food processor and then run through a sifter to get rid of seeds)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

For garnish leave out 10 raspberries to decorate the cupcakes.

Separately put margarine, shortening and raspberry puree in an electric mixing bowl and mix until smooth, add sifted sugar, vanilla extract and champagne and mix again, add almond milk as needed.

Frost the cupcakes as you prefer and top with a fresh raspberry and enjoy with a glass of chilled pink bubbly! Make sure to make a toast to Crick and Deacon and The Pulpit gang!

CHEERS AND HAPPY READING!

Laura