One of my best friends, Ellen, is also a new blogger and writes my favorite (and not at all in a biased way ;) blog, Bookspired. Last week she announced that she would be doing a monthly LinkUp through her blog. When she first mentioned linkups, I had to ask her what that even was...thank goodness I have a blog mentor in Ellen, or I would be totally lost in this blog world! Basically, linkups are a way to connect blogs to each other and to each other's readers. But at a friend level, it's also just a fun way of sharing our stories and continuing to encourage each other to keep writing!
.One of the many things that I love about Ellen is that she would probably find something positive and encouraging to say about any one of my blog posts. Even if the product of that post looked like this...
Disaster! ! Those were supposed to be cupcakes! But they turned out to be exploding/molten piles of batter mess. The thing is though, the batter tasted so very good before I tried to bake it. So I just had to figure out how to make the flavorful batter into an edible cake. It was just too tasty to toss and forget.
Now let me tell you the whole story behind this baking fail and how it relates to the Bookspired linkup, because I promise you that it does! And then I'll share the recipe for the delicious cakes that eventually came out of it. It's a recipe that I will be using again and again. That is, the new recipe that resulted in this yummy cake (not the one above)....
On her blog, Ellen posts witty and insightful thoughts about the books that she reads and other fun (and good) things that she does. So for the linkup, I wanted to connect my love of baking with books too. Of course there are cookbooks, but that seemed too obvious. So I kept brainstorming how to make my linkup post special and inspired by books. And finally, I remembered this novel that I had read a while ago that was filled with recipes.
The novel (see photo below) is written as a series of letters between childhood friends who then grow apart in adulthood and become close again later on in life. It was a good story and fun to read, especially because at the end of each letter, the characters share a recipe that they had used or created recently. It was almost like an old-fashioned blog! And although I honestly don't remember all of the details of the story, I definitely remember looking at each of the recipes and thinking that I should try them myself someday. And now I finally had an excuse to dig out that book and use a recipe from it!
I flipped through all of the recipes and landed on the book's "Golden Honey Cake" recipe. I've been toying with the idea of making honey and/or tea inspired cupcakes lately, and this recipe had both of those ingredients! Done! So I followed the recipe from the book, only changing the pan (used cupcake-sized pans instead of a 9-inch round pan). And well...you've seen the results of that endeavor...
Now, I'm not blaming my baking disaster on this book. I very well could have measured something wrong or mis-read something. But it's also possible that novels are not the most reliable source of baking recipes...?
Even if that's true, the flavors in the batter were just delicious, and I really wanted to have a fun book-related post for Ellen's linkup. So I decided to try it again. I started with my favorite Vanilla Cupcake recipe (basic recipe is in my Tiramisu cupcakes post). And then I did a bunch of substitutions and add-ins to try to match the flavors of the book's recipe. I'm so excited that it worked! There were lots of changes but somehow it turned into a real and decidedly tasty cake. I added the spices from the novel's recipe, substituted brandy for the vanilla extract and brown sugar for the white, adjusted the dry ingredients a bit, and then substituted a mixture of honey and brewed black tea for the milk. And voila! Delicious Honey Tea Cakes that I can't wait to make again! So glad that Bookspired gave me the inspiration and excuse to make these cakes!