I am over the moon to welcome Daisy James to My Chestnut Reading Tree today especially as it is publication day for the e-book of When Only Cupcakes Will Do! Now, my Nana was the most wonderful baker of cakes and pastries but unfortunately she did not hand this skill down to me! I have tried my best but apart from my amazing Tunnocks Teacake traybake (no baking required but a weeks calories per square!) I have to admit I’m never going to be on The Great British Bakeoff. Thankfully Daisy seems much more at ease with a food mixer than I am and has written me a lovely guest post about her baking adventures!
Guest post by Daisy James…
When life gives you lemons, make lemon drizzle cake!”
I’m an avid baker. One of the best parts of researching my brand new novel – When Only Cupcakes Will Do – was experimenting with new recipes and exotic ingredients. A rainy afternoon spent in the kitchen, elbows deep in flour and sugar, brings back many happy childhood memories of doing exactly the same thing with my grandma during the school holidays. My sister and I would stand on a little wooden stool mixing, stirring and beating – and then came the best bit – being allowed to lick the bowl. Are we even allowed to do that nowadays?
Whenever I indulge in a baking session in my own kitchen now, the fragrance of warm caramel and melted chocolate sends my thoughts zooming back to those carefree times of butterfly buns and jam tarts made from left-over pastry from my grandma’s apple pies that she made with fruit from the garden.
For When Only Cupcakes Will Do I tested out a more contemporary selection of cupcakes such as coconut flavoured sponge with chunks of dried pineapple topped with rum-infused buttercream, raspberry cakes with prosecco icing and edible petals and blackcurrant sponges with vodka-tinged toppings. I also experimented with a twist on the carrot cake recipe and made beetroot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting – a sort of red velvet version. I wasn’t sure about those, but they still disappeared within minutes of coming out of the oven. There’s never a shortage of willing samplers in my house!
As the main character, Lucie Bradshaw, is an Italian pastry chef by profession I also had to create a number of Italian desserts, so I called in the experts – my friends Gino and Kate. My favourite was Cannoli – a thin, crispy shell made by wrapping the biscuit around a broom handle – crammed to bursting with sweetened ricotta cheese which can be flavoured with whatever takes your fancy. I added fresh cherries and white chocolate chips to mine.
If I haven’t already whet your appetite here’s a lemon drizzle cake that’s just come out of the oven.
Fancy a slice?
About this book…
The delightfully heartwarming romantic comedy from Daisy James!
When life gives you lemons, make lemon-drizzle cupcakes…
Lucie thought that proposing to her boyfriend in Tiffany’s would be the best day of her life. Until he said no. In just a few seconds, her whole world is turned upside-down! And when she accidentally switches cocoa powder for chilli powder at work, she finds herself out of a job, too…
Baking has always made life better in the past, but can Lucie really bake her way to happiness? Starting her own company, selling cupcakes out of an old ice cream van might just be the second chance that Lucie needs!
Of course, she never expected to find love along the way…
Oh my days! Daisy James is fast becoming my favourite “go to” author when I want an uplifting, feel good read and I have to tell you that this one is my favourite so far! And it contains the most amazing cakes!!! What more could a girl ask for?? I honestly think I put half a stone on just reading this book, I want Lucie to be running her cupcake business right here, right now!! In fact this book contains all the ingredients for your summer holiday beach read with a strong willed female chef, a gorgeous food critic with an adventurous streak, cakes, families and Tiffanys!! Actually, one of those little blue boxes containing a diamond encrusted cupcake would be my idea of heaven!
All of the characters were well written but I loved Lucie the best. Her journey of self discovery starts after she loses her job due to a rather uncharacteristic loss of temper with a food critic in the Italian restaurant where she works. As is the norm nowadays, every word and gesture is captured and spreads like wildfire on social media sites and so Lucie returns to her hometown to lick her wounds (and lots of flavoured buttercreams!!) Her decision to start her own cupcake business leads to an inspired choice of name and transportation. And I found this to be my favourite part as she investigates further the type of cupcakes she will sell and the parties she plans to hold where those cupcakes will be the star attractions! Having worked for a children’s cookery school for a few years, I have to say that Daisy got the reactions of the children to their baking experiences spot on! Kids and cakes are a match made in heaven and now we are back in a salmonella free egg world, the next generation are also able to experience the best bit of baking….licking the spoon and scraping that mixing bowl!
And then added to the mixture are the usual romantic misunderstandings and family dramas which all combine to make this a sweet and deliciously understated romance. For me, the icing on the top is the wonderful epilogue which is set in one of my most favourite places in the whole wide world!
I just loved this book from page one and haven’t stopped smiling since I finished it! I couldn’t have put it down even if I wanted to…not even for my favourite lemon meringue cupcake. More please Ms James!
I received a copy of this book via netgalley in return for an unbiased review.
When Only Cupcakes Will Do is published by Carina UK on 4th August 2016 and is available to buy from Amazon UK.