Cake-Popped Off By Kim Davis: Review/Giveaway/Halloween Recipe

Oct 17, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Food Fun, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Kathleen Costa
& Kim Davis

This week we have a review of another Halloween mystery, the latest Cupcake Catering Mystery by Kim Davis, and Kim has shared with us a fun recipe for your Halloween celebrations. 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 Amazon.

Cake-Popped Off: A Cupcake Catering Mystery By Kim Davis
Review by Kathleen Costa

Cupcakes…Good and Bad?

One’s passions can lead into many directions; some paths are rewarding, others can be dangerous. For Emory Martinez, her passion for cake decorating and creating unique cupcake flavors has been both. After being plied with high praise and blue ribbons for her sweet culinary talent, she thought herself good enough to do it on a more professional capacity. Joining her “only a few minutes” older sister Carrie part-time on catering gigs, she specializes in cupcakes with “boozy” flavors (Fireball Whiskey). But, dangers have popped up when she gets entangled in a few pesky murders leaving her unemployed and homeless. However, her mother has a long-ago history with David Skylar, local wealthy businessman, and gets Em a job dealing with his accounting matters along with acting cook and companion for octogenarian Tillie, Mr. Skylar’s mother. She gets to live in a nice pool house with Piper, a Labradoodle mix companion, and have access to an industrial-sized, chef’s dream of kitchen. It seems a gig with which she can easily combine keeping up with a budding “word of mouth” cupcake business.

food mysteryCake-Popped Off Earns 5/5 Apple Pops…Engaging Treat!
Emory’s life is more hectic than busy, but getting embroiled in a family squabble could be dangerous. Experimenting with a new cupcake flavor she plans to showcase at Tillie’s upcoming pre-Halloween party, she nearly flambés the kitchen. This doesn’t go well with Tillie’s eldest, and pretentious, grandson Theodore, but the youngest grandson Brian is a lot more helpful. Emotions, however, go ballistic when, only weeks after the unsolved hit and run death of wife number three, Skylar Senior introduces his fourth trophy wife whose age, manner, and details of their whirlwind romance solicit questions about background, motives, and prenups. Worse, yet, Skylar Senior is quite presumptuous by making Em the new social secretary for Mrs. Skylar Senior. This may just be too much for a 24-hour day.

Karma has a different idea than sorting out familial disagreements, at least on the surface. With Skylar Senior and his gold digger bride off on a tropical honeymoon, Tillie’s Halloween costume party takes center stage. However, the buxom waitress’s overt flirting that entices many, disturbs other, annoys wives, and causes threats to spew and an argument that just might implicate Em’s brother-in-law. The waitress appears flustered and runs off. The party resumes its festivities, but when a body is found with Em’s signature cake pops stuffed in their mouth, being a problem is an understatement. Wait for it! Karma is just getting started…

Brilliant! Kim Davis has “baked up” another great cozy with her second book in the Cupcake Catering Mystery: a compelling drama, wonderfully drawn characters, twists, cringes, a surprise of a reveal, and cupcakes…cupcakes…cupcakes! The drama is filled with questions of motives, secrets, and identity, but when a second death occurs, questions of how the two victims might be connected and the possibility of a crime of opportunity are deftly raised. Slowly, yet deliberately, suspects mount and secrets exposed making this book quite a page turner. The drama, written from Emory’s first-person perspective, is engaging. I enjoyed the inner thoughts and theories presented, the various settings, cupcakes, and personalities were well illustrated with descriptive language and dialogue, and my mouth was watering with all the cupcake talk causing me to pull out my cupcake cookbook. I was intrigued throughout, and gasped at the final solution…brilliant! The book is a longer length at 295 pages offering readers a more in depth look into Emory’s family, interactions with friends outside the investigation, and hints of romantic entanglements, but each chapter is concise making it easy to manage my “gotta finish this chapter” OCD. Highly recommend!

Bonus! Recipes?
Of course, Kim Davis includes easy-to-follow recipes with a “Note” or “Tip” for success. So, don your vampire cape or witchy hat for a Halloween-themed party! Enjoy Bloodshot Deviled-Egg Eye, Double Dip Jack-O’-Lanterns, Graveyard Taco Dip, Chicken Cordon Boo Casserole, Yummy Mummy Calzones, Poison Apple Cake, Poison Apple Cake Pops, Poison Apple Cocktails (Party-size, too), Cranberry Liquor, Smashed Pumpkin Cupcakes, Smashed Pumpkin Cocktail, Halloween Black Cat Chocolate Cookies, and Chai Cupcakes.

Cupcake Catering Mystery

Sprinkles of Suspicion (2020) KRL Review HERE
Cake-Popped Off (2020)

Be a Big Kim Davis Fan!
A favorite 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 with her two-book Cupcake Catering Mystery series.

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On the Web: Kim Davis, Author
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Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.

Graveyard Taco Dip
From Kim Davis

1 can refried beans
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar jack cheese
1-1/2 cups sour cream mixed with a half package taco seasoning
1-1/2 cups guacamole, your own favorite recipe or pre made
1 to 1-1/2 cups salsa, enough to cover the surface
4 green onions, chopped
7 black olives
1 large flour tortilla
Tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) for the graveyard scene cutouts.
In a small glass casserole dish (I used 7 x 10-inch), layer the given order: refried beans, shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

To make the graveyard scene, cut desired shapes out of the flour tortilla. Place the shapes on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees (F) until browned, 12 – 18 minutes. Keep a close watch so pieces don’t burn.
Remove the shapes to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, use edible markers to write text and/or decorate the shapes.

Slice the black olives in half lengthwise. One half of the olive will be the body. Use the remaining half to slice thin crosswise pieces to create “legs” for the spider.

Right before serving, place the tortilla shapes in the dip, carefully pushing down to secure in place.
Arrange the olive spiders and sprinkle with green onions.

Serve with tortilla chips.

To enter to win a copy of Cake-Popped Off, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, with the subject line “popped,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 24, 2020. Only US entries and you must be at least 18 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.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode goes up next week!

You can use this link to purchase these book from Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Kim Davis lives in Southern California with her husband. When not chasing her two granddaughters, she can be found at her computer writing the Cupcake Catering Mystery series, or blogging at Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder, or in the kitchen baking up new treats to share. Kim Davis is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me on Kings River Life Magazine and for the terrific review! I truly appreciate the opportunity to introduce your readers to Cake Popped Off!

  2. This looks like a book I would really enjoy. The Graveyard Taco Dip would be fun to serve with dinner on Oct. 31.

    • Thanks for stopping by Nancy! I hope you enjoy the dip and good luck in the contest!

  3. Great plot I can’t wait to read. Happy Halloween!

    • Thanks and happy Halloween to you too! Good luck in the contest!

  4. I’m eager to read your latest!

    • Thanks so much, Karen, and good luck!

  5. The books looks terrific, Thanks for your amazing generosity.

    • You’re welcome, May, and good luck in the contest!

  6. thanks for the chance. cute cover.

    • You’re welcome, Lynn, and good luck! I had so much fun working with my cover designer and loved that she was able to use a photo of my grand-puppy!

  7. I made the Graveyard Taco Dip today. So fun.
    I stuck a few gummy worms into the mixture when cool.
    I love reading Holiday stories and would love to win Cake-Popped-Off. Boo-Cocoa is whipped cream ghosts on hot
    chocolate ( a favorite in our house). Happy Halloween!!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the Graveyard Taco Dip, Rosemary, and I LOVE your idea of adding gummy worms to the top too! I’m going to have to try the Boo-Cocoa for a Halloween treat 🙂 Good luck in the contest!

  8. The book sounds so good! I would love to read it! And I love that recipe! Usually the “graveyard” recipes are desserts. This one is so different and sounds yummy! Thanks for the chance to win!

    • Thanks so much, Dawn, and good luck in the contest!

  9. I’ve been hearing a lot about this one, sounds good! Love the recipe, thanks for sharing! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

    • You’re very welcome, Teresa, and good luck in the contest!

  10. I loved the first book in the series. Can’t wait to read “Cake Popped Off.

  11. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  12. I would very much love to get this book. It has a super cover and I love mysterys for holidays. I can not wait to start to read it.

  13. Sounds like a great read! Thanks for the chance!

  14. The dip sounds delicious ? thank you for the chance the book sounds amazing. and fun to read..??

  15. Thank you for the recipe and such great pictures. I wish we could all get together to celebrate – I would probably have to eat all that by myself! I will save it for future Halloweens.

    I used to teach cake decorating for Wilton. I absolutely love cupcakes. Too difficult to resist them.

    Karen94066 at

  16. Lots of twists to this one.
    Would be a new series for me.
    Looking forward to reading it.

  17. I love Halloween recipes! aydiniak (at) gmail (dot) com.

  18. We have a winner!


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