Saturday, May 08, 2010

Review: The Icing on the Cupcake by Jennifer Ross

First line: For Vivian death was a social event.

From the back cover: In Ansley Waller's world of Southern belles and gentlemen, getting a diamond ring isn't just important - it's the ultimate goal. So when her fiance, Parish, unceremoniously kicks her to the curb and cancels their upcoming wedding. Ansley is so ashamed that she decides to leave Dallas and make a fresh start. In a surprising move, she heads to New York City to live with her recently widowed grandmother, Vivian, whom she's never met. In turn, Vivian gives Ansley a no-nonsense ultimatum: Rather than wallow in misery, either get a job or go home.

The Waller women have a tradition of baking their way out of sorrow. So Ansley mixes batch after batch of creative cupcakes - Black Bottom Heartache, Moving Blues Banana Caramel, Tres Leches Made Small. Before long, she's opening up her own cupcake shop and even trying her hand at dating. But the ways of Manhattan's eligible bachelors are altogether different from their Southern counterparts, and Ansley's nearly fail-safe tactics fall flat. And worse, someone's got a half-baked scheme to sabotage Ansley's new life. It'll take a cup of courage and a dash of Southern charm, plus a few secret ingredients, if Ansley hopes to pull off her recipe for success.

My thoughts: This was such a fun, light read, yet filled with substance. First off, the cover is beautiful and pulls you in. Then there is the story - a coming-of-age tale of a Southern belle who's life is turned upside-down and then is forced to grow up when her grandmother doesn't allow her to wallow in her misery. Within that story, there is the side story of Vivian and what happened to her when her husband died. Added to this, we come to find out that Vivian has no relationship with Ansley's mother, so Ansley didn't even know her grandmother. It is a rich story filled with many characters and subplots. Sprinkled within are recipes for cupcakes, each tied to the previous chapter. There were even baking tips that appeared throughout the book, such as placing the cupcake tray on a baking stone in the oven and using an ice cream scooper to make sure cupcakes are uniform. So many of the cupcake recipes sound delicious, but this is the one I think I will try first!

Margarita, Hold the Salt

1/4 cup lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest (1 lime)
1 cup soy milk (plain or vanilla)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons tequila
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons potato starch
1/2 teaspoon finely ground salt, either sea or iodized
1 pint fresh raspberries

To Make the Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 12 paper lines into cupcake trays.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together lime juice, lime zest, soy milk, oil, tequila, vanilla, potato starch and sugar.
  3. In a bowl, measure flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk or sift together to ensure they are thoroughly combined.
  4. Add dry ingredients to lime mixture and stir until just combined.
  5. Gently fold fresh raspberries into the batter with a rubber spatula.
  6. Pour into paper liners. Fill three-quarters of the way to the top.
  7. Bake for 20 to 24 minutes, or until a toothpick placed in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  8. Let cool for 5 minutes and then place on baking racks.
Yield: 12 cupcakes

Tequila Lime Frosting

1/4 cup salted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon soy milk
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon tequila
2 cups, plus more if needed, of powdered sugar.

To Make the Frosting:
  1. Beat together butter, milk, lime juice, tequila, and 2 cups of powdered sugar until smooth and creamy.
  2. If the frosting is too thin, wait 5 minutes. It will thicken. If it's still too thin after 5 minutes, add more sugar very slowly. The frosting should be stiff, but spreadable. If the frosting becomes too thick, add more lime juice or milk.
  3. Spread the frosting on cupcakes.

Thank you to the author for sending me a copy of this book to review - it was delectable!!!


  1. Sounds fun and like a good light read! I have this book to review too so hopefully I'll get to it soon.

  2. OMG. Thank you for this review! I've wanted to get my hands on this and now I REALLY have to have this book! I'm a former baking and pastry major who wants to open a cupcakery :) hehe.

  3. Jenny: I look forward to seeing your review.

    Marie: Make sure to enter my giveaway for this book!

  4. What a yummy review! I am off to try and win this one. There surely are a lot of books coming out now that have recipes and cooking involved. I think they are great and so is your review..and blog as I just signed up to follow!

  5. Thanks Karen...I have noticed more books out there with recipes - I've picked up a few new ones to make myself!


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