Monday, 11 March 2019

This March Break, Balance the Calm and Chaos in your Life with a Sweet Treat and Relaxing Read...

Face it, we all need breaks! A needed holiday a couple of times a year. A long weekend to unwind. A day off to recharge. Even when we’re working, we need to take at least fifteen minutes away from our jobs after we’ve been working non-stop for two or three hours. Hey, we’re not robots, and if our jobs require us to sit, stand, or walk around for any length of time, our bodies will eventually tire, and we lose our focus. And that could cause plenty of headaches for business owners, retail stores, and manufacturers.
Even when I’m writing a book, I make sure I include plenty of sequels between scenes. It’s kind of like a coffee break (or tea if you’re so inclined) for your reader. Scenes include plenty of activity and emotion, at times keeping readers on the edge of their seats. Sequels are devised to break the tension where there’s less activity, letting the readers’ emotions rest. I use this technique in both my young adult book series, The Last Timekeepers and Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls. This way, there’s a balance between the calm and chaos in every tale I write, and doesn’t leave my reader feeling exhausted at the end of the book.

Ready for a break? How about a slice of Gingerbread Coffee Cake? It’s a twist on what you would think of as seasonal baking, and trust me, this cake is great for your anticipated time out, whether you’re at work or at home working on your next novel or artistic endeavor. With a prep time of 15 minutes and a total time of 1 hour, 25 minutes, this cake serves about 24 of your closest colleagues.

What You Need:

3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

3 tbsp (45 mL) cocoa powder, sifted
1 tbsp (15 mL) ground ginger
2 tsp (10 mL) ground cinnamon
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
½ tsp (2 mL) each salt and ground nutmeg
¼ tsp (1 mL) ground cloves
⅔ cup (150 mL) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups (375 mL) sugar
3 eggs
½ (125 mL) molasses
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
2 cups (500 mL) sour cream

What You Do:

PREHEAT oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease 9 or 10 inch (23 or 25 cm) Bundt pan; dust with flour. In a bowl, whisk together 3 cups flour, cocoa, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cloves; set aside.

IN separate bowl, using electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in molasses and vanilla.

USING mixer on low speed, alternately beat in flour mixture and sour cream, making 3 additions of flour mixture and 2 of sour cream and scraping down side of bowl as necessary.

SCRAPE batter into prepared pan, smoothing top. Bake until tester (toothpick) comes out clean when inserted into center of cake, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool completely in pan on wire rack. Invert onto serving plate. Prepare sauce (recipe below) to drizzle over cake.

Coffee Caramel Sauce

1 ½ cups (375 mL) firmly packed brown sugar
¼ cup (60 mL) brewed coffee (brew stronger than package directions)
¼ cup (60 mL) 35% whipping cream, at room temperature
2 tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt

IN medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar and coffee. Cook over medium heat, without stirring, until sugar is fully dissolved and mixture is foamy, about 12 to 15 minutes.

REMOVE from heat; stir in cream, butter and salt. Drizzle over gingerbread cake. Slice and serve.

So, now that you’ve baked to your heart’s content, it’s time for your break! Leave those dirty dishes in the sink, pour yourself a cup of your favorite hot beverage, and go curl up on the couch with one of my books. May I suggest a visit to Fairy Falls, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, a trip back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Just remember to pack lightly.


  1. Breaks are definitely important.

    That cake sounds really delicious!

    1. I agree, Andrew. We authors need to pace ourselves or we'll burnout. And yes, that cake is awesome! Cheers and thanks for stopping by! Have a great week...

  2. Mmm. Sounds yummy. I love gingerbread

  3. Oh yes! AND it's big enough for a family. Can't bear these twittering little recipes that only feed a cat.

    1. LOL! Yup, feeds a family for sure, Vonnie. Makes for a breakfast or dessert too. Now that's an added bonus! Cheers and thanks for stopping by, my Kiwi friend!

  4. Breaks are important in all aspects of life, including in your story! Thanks for the lovely recipe.

    1. You're very welcome, Darlene! Now go be good to yourself and take a break! Wink.

  5. This cake looks soooo good! I'm bookmarking this one so I can keep the recipe! Thanks for sharing!

    1. It's a tasty treat, even for breakfast, Lisa! Hugs and thanks for stopping by! Cheers!