Joanne Fluke’s sleuth, Hannah Swenson, whips up a batch of these muffins as an alibi for her grandmother, who is snooping around a suspect who becomes the victim in her latest murder with recipes – Devil’s Food Cake Murder (see review at ncbookbunch.com)
I’ve simplified Fluke’s three page instructions, substituted chopped pecans for raisins, and added nutmeg. The batter was so good, I had a hard time making it to 12 for the muffin tin.
Carrot Oatmeal Muffins
Combine dry ingredients: 1 1/3 cup flour. 1 cup dry oatmeal, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar.
Add 3/4 cup shredded carrots and 1/2 cup pecans.
Combine with wet ingredients: 1/2 cup milk, 1 beaten egg, 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, until top springs back. Cool on wire rack, or eat warm with a pat of butter.
Apology Cake was Ava Cooper’s best cake in Alice Hoffman’s The Red Garden.
Ava also baked Gluttony Cake (devil’s food with chocolate pudding and chocolate chips), Seven Deadly Sins Cake (large and gooey); Lust Cake (lemon poppy seed triple layer with sugary frosting; Gratitude Cake (angel food with vanilla icing).
Hoffman described her character as “an amazing baker,” but never provided recipes.
Apology Cake sounds like a red velvet cake, so here is a recipe from my mother’s secret stash – but she never apologized to anyone.
Red Velvet Cake with Frosting
My parents’ honeymoon was at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City and this cake is sometimes called the Waldorf Astoria Cake; my mother usually made it on their anniversary.
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 oz. red food coloring – yes, that’s 2 bottles
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
Cream shortening and sugar; beat in eggs. Make a paste of the cocoa and small amount of food coloring. Add to the creamed mixture. Then add the remaining food coloring. Alternating, add buttermilk and the mixture of salt, flour and baking powder. Add vanilla, vinegar and baking soda. Mix well. Pour into two 8 inch greased and floured pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Frost when cooled, with cream cheese icing. For the icing, beat together until smooth – 1 cup of milk, 3 tablespoons of flour, 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 cup of butter, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
I haven’t made it in awhile; red food coloring is supposedly not as lethal as it used to be, and I’ve heard that canned red beet juice is a good substitute.
Let me know if you try it.