Please help me welcome today’s guest, Zelda Benjamin…
Trial and error, time and a good reason are all you need to perfect your baking. Research for Shortbread Cookie Princess, the first book in my Highland Falls series was my reason to perfect my haphazard baking skills. Baking research was tasty as well as the most rewarding of all my fact-finding adventures.
Trial and error means that sometimes your recipe will fail. I watch a lot of baking shows and see professional bakers make amateur mistakes that often have me talking to the TV. They should know that cake is not cool enough to frost. Of course, time is often not on the bakers’ side in a competition. I once gave myself a time limit to bake a batch of cookies and failed miserably.
Tip-don’t rush the process you’ll have a better chance of succeeding.
My cakes are most often semi-home sponges that I make ahead of time and put in the freezer. I make everything from log rolls to multi-layers with a simple recipe I found while doing my research.
Tip-Always preheat before starting
Preheat oven to 350
Tip – Have all your ingredients ready to go – butter needs to be softened and eggs may need to be at room temperature.
Sometimes I’m all set to go and realize I don’t have enough sugar or eggs. My husband’s a good sport about going to the supermarket for anything I forgot, but he’s not always available. I also prepare my pans by spraying with a non-stick spray then cover the bottom with parchment paper.
1 BOX ANY FLAVOR CAKE MIX All commercial brands work for this recipe, but my favorites are Duncan Hines yellow, white or devil’s food.
These companies have been making these mixes for decades and have it down pat. However, this recipe doesn’t follow the list of added ingredients on the box. Instead, I add the following.
6 eggs beat on high until lemon color (if using a yellow cake mix)
add 1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup oil I like the hint of olive oil in chocolate cakes
For yellow and white I use canola oil
Add cake mix
The recipe states-bake for 15-20 min until the center springs back.
Depending on your oven, the type of pan and altitude, baking time is definitely a trial and error moment.
Hope you enjoy the recipe. Thanks for taking time to read the blog.
Leave a comment for a chance to win an amazon gift card. Winners will be picked randomly from the mixing bowl.
A Whisk is a Baker’s Paint Brush
Modern day meeting of Cinderella and a handsome Highlander
“Who knows how many scraps of plaid have been preserved in mothballs and hidden away in family attics?”
His low voice held an edge of seduction. Sophia stepped closer. The underlying sensuality of his tone captivated her. In all the times she had dusted over the fabric, she never got close enough to inhale the faint scent of mothballs. She wrinkled her nose.
“You’re very lucky to have it.” Ian ran an index finger over a thin red line woven vertically down the plaid. “Highland dyers and weavers were highly skilled. It’s evident in pieces like this. Run your fingers along this line. Do you feel the thickness? The fabric was mended many times, perhaps torn by a sword or knife thrust.”
“Or it could have been caught on a rock.” Sophia reached out and touched the coarse wool.
“It’s possible.” Ian laughed. “If we settle for the simple explanations, we might never learn the history of the people who owned these valuable pieces. He placed a hand over her fingers, guiding her touch along the uneven weave. “This can likely date back before the British banned the wearing of kilts.”
Zelda Benjamin. “Shortbread Cookie Princess.”
Buy link https://tinyurl.com/47pxj2ap
I write sweet sassy stories where there’s always a Happily Ever After.
For more information follow me.
Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?
Thirty years ago I moved from NY to S. Florida. My children are grown. I live with my husband and a very active two-year old Lab mix.
Any questions you’d like to answer that are specific to the book you’re promoting
The idea for Shortbread Cookie Princess came to me when I was watching a show on ancestry. What if someone doesn’t want to know about their past?
What is the most difficult thing about writing a book? Organizing my time is usually the most difficult for me when I start a book. Once the story takes shape I schedule writing time.
What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular? Doing research was difficult when writing Shortbread Cookie Princess. Ancestry research is very interesting. I spend too much time reading people’s experiences. Also, I had a craving for shortbread all the time.
Are there any tricks, habits or superstitions you have when creating a story? I’m usually busy in the morning so I set a schedule to write by 2pm. I’m not a prolific writer and I set a goal to write a minimum of 1-2 new pages a day.
Do you collect anything? I collect yarn for crocheting projects and odds and ends for a shabby-chic dollhouse I’m working on.
What do you want readers to come away with after they read [your book]? I want readers to come away with a good feeling.
What is your favorite quote? “Perfection comes in little moments.” John Dutton on Yellowstone
What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author? For years I worked as an ER nurse and developed a tough skin. I take criticism and turn it into something constructive. What has been the best compliment? A reader told me that while reading one of my books she felt like she was talking to my characters over a cup of tea. I loved hearing how she was drawn into their lives.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination? My characters are a combination of real people and my imagination.
What character in your book are you least likely to get along with? In Shortbread Cookie Princess, Sophia has an evil stepmother. I would never be her friend. I don’t like mean, unkind people. I try to avoid them in real life but villains are necessary to a story. I give them some redeeming quality.