Saturday, May 08, 2010

Author Interview: Jennifer Ross (and Giveaway)

Welcome to my first interview and giveaway!!! Giveaway details will be at the bottom of this post.

I recently posted a review of Jennifer Ross's book, The Icing on the Cupcake. If you missed it, you can find it here.

About the Author:
Jennifer Ross is an avid baker. She learned from watching her grandmother's covert business - selling cookies to her friends for the holidays so that they could have "homemade" treats when their families visited.

Thanks to Jennifer for agreeing to this interview.

What inspired you to write this book?
I was pregnant and really into baking for me and my older son. Every time I made something and my son ate it I felt so happy and at peace. I think that's why a lot of people bake -- they want to share with the people they love. All the baking got me thinking about my grandmother, who taught me how to bake. A story evolved around family, the love of baking and change. I was about to give birth, a huge life changing event, so I focused on another huge event -- what do you do when you graduate college.  

Do you have a favorite cupcake topping?
I'm a traditionalist. I love grade school frosting -- powdered sugar and butter, boiled chocolate frosting (an old recipe) or powdered sugar.

Where did you find all the cupcake recipes that are in The Icing on the Cake? Have you tried them all?
A lot of the recipes were my grandmother's. I worked with a professional chef for a year altering her recipes and coming up with new ones that would resonate with readers, i.e. Margarita, Hold the Salt.

What gets you started on a new book? A character or story idea or ...?
For The Icing on the Cupcake it was the feeling of baking, family and crossroads. Those ideas helped me form the main character and who was important in her life.

As a child, did you ever dream that you would be a published author? As a child did you like to read and write and if so, what were your favorite books?
Never dreamed I would become a published writer mainly because my parent said I couldn't be a writer because it wasn't a reliable profession. I loved to read and write as a child. It sounds strange but in grade school I was really into John Steinbeck and Kurt Vonnegut. In fifth grade my teacher had us write a short story every week. I got really into it. I even brought in a doll house to illustrate one story.

What's your writing routine? Do you write every day or just when the mood strikes?
I used to have a writing routine but now I have three children -- 3, 2 and 1 years old -- there is no routine. It's whatever or whenever I can write. Usually I write at night after they've gone to sleep.

What are you reading right now?

Are you currently working on another book?
 I am. It's a young adult one. I've been working on it for a couple years.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Write what you love, not what is trendy or in fashion. Keep writing. You get better as you go.

Spotlight recipe from The Icing on the Cupcake 
3 eggs, room temperature
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 carrots, coarsely grated
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and coarsely grated
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups all purpose flour or 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour and 1/2 cup chestnut flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon finely ground salt
2 tablespoons potato starch
1/2 cup dried Bing cherries, coarsely chopped
1/2 chopped or ground pecans
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

  1. Place a baking stone in the middle of the oven.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place 24 paper liners into cupcake trays.
  3. In a bowl whisk flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and potato starch together Stir pecan meal, chocolate chips and cherries in.
  4. In a separate bowl combine carrots, apple, and sugar.
  5. In another bowl whisk oil, eggs and vanilla together.
  6. Add the egg mixture to the carrot mixture.
  7. Add the flour mixture. Stir until combined.
  8. Pour batter into lined cupcake trays. Fill almost to the top.
  9. Turn the oven down to 350. Bake for 30 minutes.
  10. Cool for five minutes and then place on baking rack. 

1/2 cup unsalted softened butter
4 ounces softened cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 cups powdered sugar (personal preference on sweetness)

  1. Cream butter, cream cheese and vanilla together with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Sift powdered sugar. Add slowly to the mixture. Taste. Stop adding sugar when happy with the taste.
  3. Frost the cupcakes.


Jennifer's publicist has provided one copy of this awesome book for readers of this blog! All you have to do is follow my blog and leave a comment telling me what your favorite cupcake is or what your favorite thing to bake is! Be sure to include your email address in your comment.

  • US  only
  • No PO Boxes please
  • Must be a follower to enter
  • Book will be mailed out by the publicist
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!
AT 6 PM, EST, MAY 22



  1. No need to enter me, but I just wanted to stop by and say that I enjoyed this one. Good luck everyone!

  2. No need to enter me, but I just wanted to stop by and say that I enjoyed this one. Good luck everyone!

  3. Great recipe, I love carrot cake and never thought of using it for cupcakes!! Thanks!! Thank you for the contest! I'd love to read the book!!

    inthehammockblog (at) gmail (d0t) com

  4. This book makes my mouth water!
    I am a new follower. Thank you for this giveaway!

  5. Mmmm I can't wait to read this one.

    I am a follower.

    teresasreadingcorner at gmail dot com

  6. Thanks for the contest...fave cupcake is a simple white cupcake with buttercream frosting...I think the frosting best so don't want to take away from that lol!

    I'm a follower
    Email Address:

  7. Thanks for hosting this! I love anything with carrot cake so a carrot cake cupcake with delicious cream cheese frosting sounds perfect!

    I am a follower

    leenbeen2001(at) yahoo (dot) com

  8. Yum! I'm a new follower - I like strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese icing - but this sounds great.

    Lisa.2713 at gmail dot com

  9. This is a great contest! I love red velvet cupcakes. Yummy!

    Have you read SPRINKLE WITH MURDER by Jenn McKinlay? Very cute mystery.

    I'm a follower.


  10. Hi,
    the recipe looks yummy..would love to read the book. thnx

  11. I would love to read this. Sounds like a good book! I like almost any cupcake but what really makes it a home run is great chocolate frosting. Mmmm.

    I'm a follower :)

    meah56 at gmail dot com

  12. I love a cupcake my nephew makes as he has a little side business of caterin baked goods for parties and such. He makes different flavor cupcakes like vanilla and lemon and then injects lemon curd into the centers before frosting I think the lemon cupcake with the lemon curd topped with an icing of light vanilla with a little lemon peel shaved into it is my am I hungry for one!

    Yes I am a follower and would LOVE to win this book!

    kdhaney at gmail dot com

  13. My favorite cupcake is a strawberry short(cup)cake. It's so yummy but very messy.


  14. Well we tend to like ALL cupcakes around here but my fav thing to bake is called an Ooey Gooey bar....they fly off the table around here.

    Thanks so much for the chance to win...I love the cover to the book!

  15. As a former baking and pastry major... my favorite cupcake is Almond Chiffon with Chocolate Buttercream frosting! It's been years since I've made it but I plan to as soon as I move out (and don't have to fight with my brother who likes cooking for the oven)!



Thank you so much for leaving a comment! I love interacting with other book lovers and appreciate any thoughts or feedback! If you read a book after seeing my review, please let me know. Come back and leave me a link to your review so I can read it. Thank you!!!

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