Friday, November 17, 2017

Last Friday of the Month Recipe ~ Billie's Gingerbread Cake and Kathleen Kaska's Latest Book

It's not quite the last Friday, but we thought you'd might not want to think about this the day after Thanksgiving.  And this is worth thinking about.

The recipe and why you love making it:
Hi, L.A., thanks for having me as a return guest. I have a collection of foodie books, including books by Julia Child, MFK Fisher, Anthony Bourdain, and Ruth Reichl. Last year when I discovered that Ruth Reichl had written her first novel, Delicious!, I ordered it immediately. Not only was this heartwarming story about love and loss and food history, it featured a Bundt cake recipe called “Billie’s (her main character) Gingerbread Cake.”

I’d never made a Bundt cake in my life. I didn’t even own a Bundt pan. But I was up for a challenge. I bought a pan, all the ingredients, and plowed ahead. After reading the ingredient list and preparing instructions, I was tempted to take short cuts, especially in preparation of all the spices. But I followed Billie’s advice and ground the peppercorns, cloves, and cardamom, and grated the fresh ginger root, a lot of ginger root. I also grated zest from three oranges. Imagine the aroma in my kitchen that afternoon! 

The recipe called for ½ cup of bourbon, which I don’t drink. Again, I was tempted to buy bourbon flavoring, but I sprung for the real stuff. It took me a couple of hours to put the cake together (and I still have lots of bourbon left), but it was well worth the trouble. This is not the type of cake you throw together for a bake sale. It’s labor intensive and best saved for a holiday or special occasion.

Billie’s Gingerbread Cake
    • Butter (for the pan)
    • Flour (for the pan)
    • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
    • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
    • 1 tablespoon whole cardamom seeds
    • 1 stick cinnamon
    • 2 cups flour
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 3 eggs plus 1 extra yolk
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 3 inches (2 large pieces) fresh ginger, grated
    • Grated rind of 2 to 3 oranges (enough to make 1½ teaspoons



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 6-cup Bundt pan.

2. Separately grind the peppercorns, cloves, and cardamom. Measure ¼ teaspoon of each. Grind the cinnamon stick and measure 1 teaspoon.

3. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, pepper, cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon.

4. In another bowl whisk the eggs, extra yolk, and sour cream.

5. In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 3 minutes or until light, fluffy, and almost white. Beat in the ginger and orange rind.

6. Beat the flour mixture into the batter alternately with the sour cream mixture.

7. Spoon the batter into the pan. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

8. Set the cake on a rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. SOAK ½ cup bourbon 1½ tablespoons granulated sugar

9. In a small saucepan, combine the bourbon and sugar. Simmer for 4 minutes. It should reduce to about cup.

10. While the cake is still in the pan, brush half of the bourbon mixture onto the bottom. Let the syrup soak in for a few minutes.

11. Turn the cake out onto a rack. Gently brush the remaining mixture all over the cake. GLAZE 5 teaspoons orange juice ¾ cup confectioners' sugar, sifted into a bowl 12. Stir the orange juice into the sugar until sugar until smooth.
Drizzle the glaze all over the cake. 

Here is the link to the book Delicious!: A Novel.

Short Book Blurb:
When I’m not reading foodie book and trying new recipes, I write mysteries and blog posts for Cave Art Press. Do You Have a Catharsis Handy? Five Minute Writing Tips is my latest release.

These five-minute writing tips had their origins as Cave Art Press blog posts. The tips include writing styles, grammar and punctuation rules, and tips on the down and dirty of publishing and marketing. 

To keep these tips short and humorous, references and stories about egg-laying chickens and how dogs think, The Three Bears and The Seven Dwarfs, Contrary Mary and Goldilocks, my high-school English teachers and the United States Post Office, 77 Sunset Strip and Breaking Bad, Pope Francis and Michelle Obama, and a prairie dog who walked into a bar were used.

To Buy:

Kathleen Kaska writes the award-winning Sydney Lockhart mysteries set in the 1950s and the award-winning Classic Triviography Mystery Series, which includes The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz Book. Her nonfiction book, The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert Porter Allen Story (University Press of Florida) was published in 2012. 

When she is not writing, Kathleen, a native Texan, spends much of her time traveling the backroads and byways with her husband, looking for new venues for her mysteries and bird watching along the Texas coast and beyond. It was her passion for birds that led to the publication The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane. Kathleen is also the marketing director for Cave Art Press. Her collections of Cave Art Press blog posts, Do You Have a Catharsis Handy? Five-Minute Writing Tips, was just released.

Find Kathleen:
Website | Twitter  Facebook

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Take Five and Meet Author Leeann Betts and Her Novel ~ Hidden Assets

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Leeann Betts.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book Hidden Assets?

I’d recently been to eastern Wyoming, and love the area, and thought what a great place to build a town and have a murder. And I had a friend who recently traveled from Denver to San Francisco on the train, so I just knew I had to involve a train in the story.

Have you been a lifelong reader of cozy mysteries?  What are some the first books you remember reading?

I have loved mysteries ever since I was a kid. And as I got a little older, I devoured Agatha Christie and Conan Doyle mysteries. I went through a phase of Dorothy Sayers and Dick Francis, then started in on American Authors such as Lillian Jackson Braun, Mary Daheim, and Diane Mott Anderson, among others. I love series, and I MUST read them in order.

What do you do to rev your creative juices?

I read lots, I watch lots of mystery movies, and I often go on an Agatha binge, or a Donald Bain (Murder She Wrote) binge.

To you what makes a great romance hero or heroine?

I think the answer is the same for both – they must be strong and capable, smarter than the bad guy, and willing to accept help from someone else – even if they don’t know it yet.

You’re having a dinner party.  What character from your novel do you hope doesn’t show up?     Why?

I hope the object of the Romers’ search doesn’t show up. That would be too creepy :) (You’ll have to read the book to find out why)

Give us a brief summary of Hidden Assets:
Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant, responds to a call from her friend, Anne, who is in the middle of a nasty divorce, and travels to Wyoming to help find assets Anne thinks her husband has stolen. But the mystery begins before Carly even arrives when she sees a man thrown off a train. Except there’s no body. 

Husband Mike uncovers an illegal scam in a computer program he has been asked to upgrade, and then Anne is arrested for her ex’s murder. 

Can Carly figure out what’s going on, and why a strange couple is digging in Anne’s basement? Or will she disappear along with the artwork, coins, and money?
To Buy: 

Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. She has released six titles in her cozy mystery series, By the Numbers, with Hidden Assets released in June. In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk, Counting the Days, and with her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, has published a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold, a compilation of essays, articles, and exercises on the craft. 

She publishes a free quarterly newsletter that includes a book review and articles on writing and books of interest to readers and writers. You can subscribe at or follow Leeann at 

All books are available on in digital and print, and at in digital format.

Find Leeann:
Facebook | Twitter