by Kathleen Costa
& Kim Davis
This week we have a review of another fun food mystery-Sprinkles of Suspicion by Kim Davis, and a fun Father’s Day guest post and recipe from Kim. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from from Amazon.
Sprinkles of Suspicion: A Cupcake Catering Mystery by Kim Davis
Review by Kathleen Costa
Cupcakes and Detectives!
It’s Huntington Beach, California. Emory Martinez is a “9 to 5” number cruncher, but her passion is cake decorating. With several “you’re so talented” comments and blue ribbons at the Orange County fair, she dreams of opening her own bakery one day specializing in cupcakes with unique designs and flavors. Now, on weekends, she works with her twin sister Carrie with her party planning and catering business. Carrie is older by only a few minutes, married, and has twin girls herself, but she has a meticulous, detail-oriented, and frustratingly self-absorbed manner. There’s her mother Addie with whom she has a challenging relationship, step-father Lars to whom it took years to adjust, Piper a Labradoodle mix for comfort, and for the past seven years she’s been married to Officer Phillip Martinez. However, lately her marriage has been a struggle with arguments, conflicts, and suspicions making her think it’s not going to last. Karma just might be entering the picture and sending Em and her life into another direction…good or bad? Time will tell.
Sprinkles of Suspicion earns 5/5 Cowgirl Cupcakes…Totally Engaging Karma!
What do you do when you find yourself hugging the porcelain with no memory of the night before? There’s the massive headache, roller coaster stomach, and “love bite” shadow on your neck as evidence something happened, but a vague recollection of only one maybe two glasses of wine. Emory Martinez’s husband Phillip is oddly not home, her BFF Tori, with whom she spent last night, is oddly not answering her phone. Could something be wrong? Oddly…yes! Em travels to Tori’s house to check on her friend, but instead finds Tori on the couch “in flagrante” with her husband. Em may regret the subsequent “cat fight,” but it’s the viral photo uploaded to Facebook, a password change keeping her from taking it down, and her mother’s frantic admonishments that sends her back to, now ex-BFF, Tori’s; she’s the only one to fix this mess. However, Em finds Tori dead.
With all the kerfuffle, indiscretions, and the photo prominently on Facebook, the police had no choice: “Emory Martinez, you are under arrest for…” Captain Frank Newman knows better, but he has no choice. Neither does Em; she needs to find out who killed Tori or she’ll be making Cowgirl Cupcakes in a prison kitchen. Assistance appears from an odd source, but is it a welcomed partnership or should Em call the police?
Brilliant, Karma! This very well-written first-in-a-series from Kim Davis is a great read, hard to put down, and filled with intense “comeuppances” and realistic family dynamics. The drama is extremely well-developed, well-paced, and well…engaging. Her sensory-laden language does well to illustrate the characters, predicaments, and the cupcakes (Oh, the cupcakes!). She has a clear picture of the nuances of her characters and presents their personalities and style through effective dialogue. Ok, technically the writing story is excellent, and beyond that…it’s even better!
The murder mystery and subsequent arrest of our protagonist is very clever. It seemed that Emory might just get railroaded right to jail. Readers, like myself, find Emory a sympathetic character, and Kim paints Em’s mother and sister so well, I literally cringed every time they showed up…and don’t get me started on her husband. It becomes clear that Karma definitely targeted the right victim revealing so many secrets that turn the suspect pool into a lake. Of course, Em is going to sneak around and ask questions…past relationships? a cold case murder? other felonies? It just gets better and better, complex and more complex. Kim has a personal passion to inform readers and fan about Rett Syndrome, and including a young character with the diagnosis is done with respect.
Bonus! Recipes? Of course, Kim Davis is known for often providing recipes on her blog. In this book she includes the easy-to-follow recipes from the western themed birthday party…so, put on your pink cowgirl boots and saddle up to the table! Enjoy Potluck Rootin’ Tootin’ Beans, Cowgirl Cookies, Cowgirl Caviar, Baked Jalapeño Poppers, Mama’s Cornbread Muffins with Honey Butter, Cowgirl Quencher Cocktail (Mocktail version, too), Cowgirl Quencher Cocktail Cupcakes (Mocktail version, too), Gimlet Cocktail, and Gimlet Cupcakes. Yahoo!
Be a Big Kim Davis Fan!
A book reviewer and blogger at Cinnamon, Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder, Kim Davis, aka K.A. Davis, is also a writer. In 2017, she wrote the thriller A Game of Deceit (reviewed HERE) to rave reviews, and now is venturing into the popular cozy mystery genre.
Father’s Day Musings and Cupcake Recipe
By Kim Davis
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads! I have great admiration for men who step in and provide care and nurturing for children. My own father was not a good role model, so when I met my husband, I was in awe that he had raised his daughter on his own from the time she was six until she left for college. My lovely step-daughter is a strong, independent woman, and I was thrilled when she married and started her family. I could go on and on about her strengths as she is both mother and father to her two daughters while her husband, their father, travels (or used to travel before the shutdown) extensively for business. But this is about fathers, so it’s only right that I focus on my son-in-law, Danny. Despite Danny’s tough work schedule to provide for his family, when he is home, he is actively involved in the care and nurture of both his daughters’ lives.
While there’s nothing unusual about that with today’s generation of fathers (as opposed to my dad’s generation), the fact that my oldest granddaughter has Rett Syndrome and requires 24/7 care and is completely dependent upon assistance in all aspects of her life, Danny has not been daunted. It’s not unusual for him to step into the role as both father and mother in order to give my step-daughter a chance to take a recuperative trip a few times a year to relax, away from daily responsibilities. I admire that he recognizes the strain raising a special needs child can take. It not only gives his wife a chance to refresh and catch up on sleep but allows him to immerse himself and bond with his daughters as he becomes the sole caretaker.
With a demanding, full-time job, raising two daughters (along with the special needs aspect), keeping up with household chores, and finding time to connect with friends and family, you’d think Danny would have more than enough on his plate to keep him busy. However, he’s gone above and beyond trying to give back to the community. When we first received my granddaughter’s diagnosis of Rett Syndrome thirteen years ago, rettsyndrome.org provided practical and emotional support to teach our family to live with her condition. This worthy organization also funds research for finding a cure in the millions of dollars. My son-in-law decided to get involved to raise funds by pushing himself to new limits of endurance. While he’s not a runner, he trained and ran in the Boston Marathon twice to raise funds and promote awareness. (And yes, he and his family was there during the bombing! Fortunately, although very close to the location, they were uninjured.) He also continues to serve as a Family Empowerment Team Representative for the State of California for rettsyndrome.org.
Danny has also participated twice in the charity bike ride benefiting USARC (U.S. Adaptive Recreational Center) riding 335 miles from Big Bear to Mammoth (and Mammoth back to Big Bear)! Not only that, he is a trained adaptive ski instructor that helps people with disabilities experience the ski slopes of Big Bear. He donates multiple days a year to benefit the participants such as special needs children, wounded warriors, and other organizations. On family holidays, he takes our granddaughter in her own hot pink bi-ski (gifted to her by Make-A-Wish Foundation) down the snowy slopes. She loves being involved in family vacations and the faster they go, the happier she is!
Danny also gives of his time and energy closer at home by volunteering for the PTA President position at our granddaughter’s special needs school for two years running, and now attending (prior to shutdown) meetings to help further the goals of educating these precious children. And not to leave out his involvement in his second daughter’s life, Danny was actively involved with her in the YMCA Indian Princesses program from her kindergarten through sixth grade years. They spent many, many weekends camping and participating in a variety of memorable activities together. He even served as “Chief” one year which meant he was in charge of organizing all the events. I think it says a lot about the character of a man, a father, who gives his all in helping not only his own daughters but help other kids benefit from these wonderful organizations!
I was asked to develop a Father’s Day cupcake recipe to go along with my post. My son-in-law LOVES bacon! I came across the flavors of maple bacon combined with some bourbon and it sounded like a match made in heaven so I got busy mixing up ingredients and experimenting. First off, I didn’t want to make a huge batch since these should not be consumed by kids. Second, with social distancing, there are a lot less people to share treats with these days so I scaled down the batch to make a reasonable 6 cupcakes. Rest assured if you need a large batch, simply double the ingredients. I decided to include a bourbon glaze after removing the cupcakes from the oven which soaks into the cupcakes to keep them moist on the inside and impart extra flavor. I hope you enjoy this as much as my family did and Happy Father’s Day!
Father’s Day Maple Bacon Bourbon Cupcakes
(small batch – makes 6)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon maple extract
3/4 cup (3.6 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon
2 strips thick-cut bacon, diced into small pieces
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon bourbon
1/4 teaspoon maple extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F). Line a cupcake tin with 6 liners. If using a 12-cup cupcake tin, fill the empty slots with an ice cube.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg until pale and a little bit fluffy. Whisk in the vegetable oil, bourbon, maple syrup, and maple extract until completely incorporated.
Stir in the baking powder and salt until incorporated. Gently stir in the flour until batter is smooth.
Divide the batter between 6 cupcake liners and bake for 20 – 24 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out mostly clean. A few moist crumbs clinging to skewer is okay, just make sure it’s not undercooked batter.
Remove from oven and pierce the tops of the cupcakes several times with a fork. Immediately brush the bourbon glaze over the cupcakes, allowing the glaze to absorb. Use all the glaze. Cool cupcakes in the tin for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.
A few minutes before cupcakes are finished baking, mix the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave for 30 – 45 seconds until mixture bubbles. Stir to completely dissolve the sugar.
Tip: Place a plate beneath the glaze mixture when heating in case it bubbles over in the microwave.
While the cupcakes bake, prepare the maple bacon by cooking the diced bacon until mostly crispy (but not dark brown). Drain the grease and return the bacon to the frying pan.
Drizzle 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup over the bacon. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the syrup caramelizes.
Immediately remove from heat and transfer the maple bacon to a plate to cool completely.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter until fluffy. Slowly add in the confectioners’ sugar and beat until incorporated. The mixture will be very stiff.
With the mixer on low, add the salt then drizzle in the maple syrup, bourbon, and maple extract.
Once ingredients are incorporated, beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes until frosting is light and fluffy.
If the frosting is too soft, add additional confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too stiff, add additional bourbon or maple syrup (your choice!) 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached, then beat an additional 2 minutes.
Place the frosting in a piping bag fitted with a wide star tip. Pipe generous swirls of frosting onto the tops of the completely cooled cupcakes.
If desired, drizzle a 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup over the tops of the frosting swirls. With or without the extra maple syrup, garnish frosting with the bits of maple bacon and enjoy!
Recipe can be doubled.?
To enter to win a copy of Sprinkles of Suspicion, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “sprinkles,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 20, 2020. US only, and must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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