Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sometimes You Just Need Chocolate--Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Ames

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Daryl Wood Gerber, aka Avery Ames, has the amazing talent of being able to be in two places at once. Make that more than two places at once! How, you ask, does she do it?

Well, she's going to share at least one secret with us. And what could be better at getting us through the mid-week slump than CHOCOLATE! 

DARYL WOOD GERBER aka AVERY AMES: As I prepare for the release of two books in two months, promoting under two names, I need sustenance. (Okay, maybe a glass of wine at the end of the day, too.) You might think that writers simply write, but it’s not true. We wear lots of hats, including a PR hat. We do blog tours; we social network; we talk on the radio. We even cook and share recipes!! Fine, not everyone cooks, but I do. I write culinary mysteries.Often when I post a recipe that includes chocolate on Mystery Lovers Kitchen, a blog that I share with other authors who love to cook up crime, (including one of Jungle Red’s own, Lucy Burdette,) fans tell me about a recipe I should try. I love that.

However, there are times that the recipes include flour and that challenges me, because I need to eat gluten-free (which means no wheat or gluten). When I first found out about my severe allergy (for some it’s a milder version, understood as an intolerance), I thought I’d have to give up all baked goods. Not true. A few minor items can change the recipe to make it gluten-free, and virtually unchanged in taste and texture. Also, there are boxed items on your grocer’s shelves, nowadays, that make some baked goods even easier to make.

Carolyn P. shared this recipe with me over the holidays. She found it in a Women’s World magazine. I have to admit the recipe itself was extremely hard to read. Not just because it was a scanned recipe, but because the text had portions of ingredients set side by side, with one of the portions used and another reserved for later. Argh. On the other hand, it felt sort of like my mysteries, with clues hidden in the text. Read carefully, or you might miss something. So here is the mysterious, yet now clarified (I think ) version of the WW Bailey’s cake, gluten-free! Enjoy while savoring a nice cuppa (tea or coffee) and a good mystery!

Bailey’s Irish Cream Cake


(serves 8-12)

For cake:
1 pkg. dark chocolate cake mix, gluten-free
3 eggs
2/3 cup Bailey’s Irish cream
1/2 cup oil
2/3 cup water

For frosting:
1 ½ cups butter, at room temp
1 cup white chocolate chips, melted
3 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar (more if needed)
1/3 cup Bailey’s Irish cream


For cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 2  8”-round cake pans with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat cake mix, eggs, Bailey’s lrish cream, oil, and water.

Divide the mixture between cake pans.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely (at least 20-30 minutes).

For frosting:

Melt the white chocolate in the microwave for about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, on medium speed, beat butter until smooth and fluffy. Add white chocolate, Beat until blended. Add sugar until combined. Add Irish cream. Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. (You might need more powered sugar. Your call.)

To frost:

Place one cake layer, top down on serving plate. Spread with 1 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer, smooth side up. Spread with remaining frosting on top and along sides.

*If desired, reserve ¾ cup frosting for rosette garnish.

PS This recipe doesn’t include cheese. That might surprise you because I write A Cheese Shop Mystery series, but I also write A Cookbook Nook Mystery series, which means often recipes are included that come from cookbooks, recipe boxes, old friends, and more.  FYI, Charlotte Bessette, the protagonist in the Cheese Shop series, can cook, but Jenna Hart, the protagonist in the Cookbook Nook series, can’t. Jenna is a foodie, but this recipe with the many ingredients and its scattered form would have given her heart palpitations!!

When you read a mystery, do you try to figure out all the clues from the beginning?
Do you like to read mysteries about food?
Have you ever had a recipe give you heart palpitations?

DEBS: Daryl, aka Avery, is going to give away a book to one of our commenters. Whether it's a Cheese Shop mystery or a Cookbook Nook mystery will depend on which hat she happens to be wearing.  Either way, enjoy!


Joan Emerson said...

Congratulations on your two new books . . . .
Although I don’t consciously try to “figure it out” when I read mysteries, I have come to realize that I usually sort of “keep track” in some corner of my mind as I read . . . and I really enjoy it when I think I’ve got it all figured out and the author throws in a “Wow, I never saw that coming” moment that changes everything . . . .

I love “food mysteries” but I often find myself wishing for the recipes! [Heart palpitations for a recent find, a currant cake that is really spectacular.] Thank you, Daryl/Avery, for the yummy-sounding [chocolate always sounds yummy!] cake recipe . . . I can’t wait to try it . . . .

Ramona said...

Is it bad to say, that cake is pretty but wow, I really love the plate!

I always try to figure it out. I like food mysteries. I don't know about palpitations, but Jane Smiley wrote a mystery a long time ago and included a scene where the characters made chicken breasts in lemon cream sauce. It didn't really fit the rest of the book, so I assumed she loved the recipe so much, she included it for her readers. Good citizen that I am, I tried it. It was delish.

Best of luck with the new works, Daryl/Avery!

Deb Romano said...

When I was younger (as in When I was a child and young adult), I tried to keep close track of all the clues in a mystery. If I guessed "who done it", I was happy, because I had solved a puzzle! If I did NOT guess, I was also happy, because I had fun trying to figure out the answer. In recent years, I've not bothered much with trying to guess who the villain is; I mainly just enjoy getting to see the personalities of the characters unfolding. Some people I know stop reading a particular author if they feel the mystery was too easy to figure out. That doesn't bother me at all, unless it's obvious that the author was stretching things a bit - which we've all seen at one time or another. (But I frequently give those authors another chance to try to fool me!)

I often make copies of recipes from mysteries, and I've tried out a few. (I DO love telling people who like something I've baked or cooked that "I got the recipe from a mystery. And no, nobody was poisoned!)

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

Hearty congratulations on the two new books!

In regard to trying to solve mysteries, I do try to "figure it out" as I go, but generally just enjoy the ride...

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

Deb and Joan, I'm in your camp--mostly read for the characters and try not too think too hard.

Ramona, love the story about the chicken in lemon cream sauce coming out of nowhere!

and Daryl, congrats on two books in two months--hope you have all the success you so richly deserve!

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Joan, lovely to hear from you! I'm with you. I like to go along for the ride and if I figure it out, great. I do love the "wow" didn't see that coming. That happened in a recent movie for me. Big shock and fun!

Daryl aka Avery

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Ramona, that's funny. Yes, one of my favorite plates. Thanks for the compliment. :)

A recipe that comes out of the blue? That's interesting. Glad it was good. :)

Daryl / Avery

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Deb, LOL. My editor for the longest time didn't want me to "use" poison as a method because I was working with food in my mysteries. She wanted me to use other methods…which made me think outside the box. In the 4th Cheese Shop (not a spoiler alert) but someone gets bashed in the head with a vat of Brie Blueberry ice cream.

Daryl / Avery

Kim said...

Dear Daryl,
Congratulations on the 2 new books coming out!

When I read a mystery, I find myself gathering up potential clues as I go along. I don't feel the need to solve the mystery, but I do feel the need to understand it once it is solved. Like Susan said, so much of the pleasure is going along for the ride.

As for food, I love any kind of writing that contains food, and especially mysteries. Meals are where we come together, and how we eat defines our personalities, so when a mystery writer such as yourself uses food so expertly, it adds such a wonderful dimension to the story and character.

While this isn't a dish, I remember reading MFK Fisher's Borderlands, about heating tangerines on the radiator one freezing winter in France and the satisfaction of eating them. That image remains with me.

I wish you the best of luck with your new books!!

Mark Baker said...

I do try to figure things out as I go along. Occasionally, I succeed. Usually, I talk myself into and out of so many theories that I don't have a working theory at the end.

Food mysteries? So far, I'm on my third mystery for 2013, and it's the first non-food mystery I've read. I really need to catch up on the Cheeseshop mysteries, but I am up to date on the Cookbook Nook series and plan to stay that way. (I know, I know, it's only one book. I'll take my victories where I can get them.)

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Susan, thanks for stopping in!

Daryl / Avery

Kathy Reel said...

Wow, Daryl/Avery! Congratulations on two new books at once. You have given me much to devour in this post. Two more mystery series to check out, another blog to peruse, and a recipe that has me salivating. My daughter has the gluten problem, so I am delighted to find such a yummy recipe to fix that she can eat.

Keeping track of the clues is not something I consciously do. Like others here have noted, I'm more character driven in my reading of mysteries. However, I have found myself going back to look up a clue that I want to connect with something I'm reading later in the book. I think that's more of a "oops, I should have remembered that" sort of exercise.

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Lucy (Roberta),

Thanks so much. You have been a joy in my life. So glad you're a part of Mystery Lovers Kitchen. :)

Daryl / Avery

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

YAy, Daryl!

Always, always try to figure it out! Always.

On TV, too.

My husband--not at all. "THAT guy!" I'll holler at 15 minutes in. Jonathan says--can't you just WATCH it?


Our oven just died so I will be regrouping this recipes for me except trips to the appliance store. Good news and the bad news. The stove guy just told me--do you know your oven is from 1978?

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Mark, LOL. I'll take my victories where they come, as well. It's getting harder and harder in this busy world to be "victorious." :)


Daryl / Avery

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Wow, Kim, what a great image. I'm assuming that was a war novel. Heated tangerines….

I remember reading (forgive me, brain freeze), was it Lawrence Block, who wrote about a detective with the fabulous sandwiches! He would make them and I'd salivate.

Daryl / Avery

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Kathy, so glad to meet you! Isn't it fun to find new series about themes you love?

Wishing your daughter good health. It's not easy, but now that I am gluten-free, at least I understand why I was always so "icky" feeling growing up. (It wasn't just growing pains and I wasn't as sensitive as doctors tried to tell me.)

Daryl / Avery

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Hank, too funny. Your husband mine will like each other. Though I almost have my husband trained in a movie. When he figures it out, he raises his hand. LOL (I, of course, had raised my hand 15 minutes earlier!)

Good luck with the oven. 1978! A relic.

Daryl / Avery

Deb said...

I don't consciously try to solve mysteries. I like "the ride" and the characters and the setting. But if the "who done it" is obvious to me in the first couple of chapters, I have to like everything else about the book a LOT before I'll keep reading.

I love good plotting. The late Reginald Hill was great at slipping in misdirection. You'd be clueless (excuse the pun) and then when he revealed things at the end, it all made perfect sense and you couldn't believe you hadn't seen it all along.

Reading about food gives me heart palpitations. My favorite food book? Julia Childs' My Life in France.

Libby Dodd said...

I can't imagine keeping track of "who" you are on a given day (or hour) like you do. Most of us find one identity quite enough to cope with!
I love to read recipes and think about how they will taste and how I might modify them. (For example, a little powdered coffee in the cake to boost the chocolate taste?) Although he doesn't have the same ability to taste a recipe while reading it, I can share ones that really excite me with my husband and he "gets" it.
I try to figure out the mysteries as I read them. Some times I succeed, some times I don't. But I like a mystery that gives the information you need to solve it without relying on a last minute discovery of some critical information. (That is my complaint about Agatha Christie. Yes, blasphemy. I feel she often revealed critical information at the last minute as the answer was being presented.)

Karen in Ohio said...

Hi, Daryl!

Sometimes I try to figure out whodunnit, and sometimes I just read for fun. But I love food and cooking mysteries, and I would love to have a cookbook with nothing but recipes from favorite books.

Thank you for the Bailey's cake recipe; I'm going to share it with my daughter, who recently decided to go gluten-free, too. Her husband is a big fan of that Bailey's cake (and anything with Bailey's in it, really), and she will love trying your version.

By the way, when my son-in-law was in Afghanistan last year my daughter figured out how to bake Irish Car Bomb cakes in glass pint jars to send to him. They were a huge hit.

Laura said...

Yum! Bailey's is my favourite "drink" drink (alcoholic drink) so I will definitely have to try this cake.

I always read just for fun, but when reading mysteries (or anything, really), I just can't turn off the inquisitive part of my mind and so I always try to figure out whodunnit. I'm a happy camper when I do. (Of course, plot twists/surprises are welcome, too.)

Pat D said...

Yes! Lawrence Sanders wrote about a cop, Edward Delaney, who constructed fabulous sandwiches and ate them over the kitchen sink. I think he always picked a beer to pair with his creation.
I am a go with the flow reader when it comes to mysteries. I guess I would be the observer, watching it all unfold. However, when I watch a movie or TV show I am trying to figure out who dunnit. Just as well since my husband is too and isn't shy about it. I'll have to look for your books, Daryl/Avery. I have been known to copy down recipes from mystery books if they looked yummy.

Lisa Alber said...

Bailey's. Irish. Cream. Oh my. That right there gives me palpitations. Yum!

Promoting two books at the same time -- my god. That seems like a Herculean feat to me. Congratulations on the double launches!

I don't try to figure out the puzzles as I read mysteries. I just enjoy the ride. When I set my mind to it, I'm pretty good at not thinking. :-)

I like foodie mysteries -- I love the extra sensory detail. I grew up around food (dad, restaurant owner), so they comfort me.

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Deb, great choice of books. Julia Child, one of my idols. :)

Libby, I like late reveals, but only if they've been set up early (not the butler did it) LOL

Okay, Karen, I'm hooked. I MUST have the recipe for an Irish car bomb cake. Must. Send it to me, okay???

Daryl l/ Avery

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Laura, it's my husband's favorite after dinner drink and he LOVED this cake.

Pat D. - Thank you. That's it. Loved that detective!!
So glad you've found a new series (or 2) to check out.

Lisa, steady, girl. No palpitations over a blog post! Unacceptable. LOL

Daryl / Avery

Karen in Ohio said...

Daryl, I've sent my daughter a request for the recipe. As soon as she sends it to me I'll forward it to you.

As well as having Bailey's in the recipe, it also uses Jameson's and Guinness. Truly a bomb! I've not had them, but I have tasted the drink they're named for: pour some Bailey's into a shot glass and float some Jameson's over top. Then drop the shot glass into a half glass of Guinness stout. It's sweet, and powerful. (And a taste was as much as I could ever handle!)

FChurch said...

Daryl/Avery--Congratulations! And like some others have mentioned--two new series to look for! Love cooking and love mysteries--but prefer mysteries where the cooking takes second place to the plot and characters. Like Deborah Crombie noted, it takes a lot to keep me reading if I figure out a plot early. And I won't go back for seconds if an author throws in some surprise at the end that comes out of nowhere.

traveler said...

Congratulations and best wishes on your two new books. I enjoy mysteries and think about the revelations as I read onward and sometimes figure it out and other times enjoy the plot. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Debbie S said...

I love to try and figure out the mysteries, I do the same thing with tv, my family just shakes their heads at me. Food mysteries are what really go me hooked on cozies, especially love when they have the recipes in them. The recipe for the Bailey's cake had me melting, it's got to be good if it has Bailey's.

petite said...

Congratulations. I become immersed within the pages of the mystery and especially so when food is involved. What a combination. Ideal. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

Hallie Ephron said...

Chocolate and cheese - my two favorite foods in the world! Throw in some Prosecco and I'm ready to party.

Congratulations Avery/Daryl. I am in awe of anyone who can put out one, never mind two books in a year.

kiki w said...

Congrats on your new book. The picture of the cake look soooo good.

Sue Farrell said...

Mmmmm--I just bought a bottle of Bailey's yesterday. I think I should try that recipe---and sip on some more Bailey's while I'm making it.
I always have to try to figure out when I'm reading a mystery---usually I can, but once in a while I'm really surprised.

Heather said...

This cake looks tasty! Since going g-free, I'm ALWAYS looking for good recipes!
THANKS, Daryl! And thanks for all the great reads!

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Wow, Karen, definitely must try. Sounds powerful. :)

Daryl /Avery

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

FChurch, nice to see you here. I'm pretty sure you'll like the plot and characters, first and foremost, and I do my best not to throw in surprises that weren't laid out carefully in the book. I don't think I'd keep my audience if I did. Here's hoping!

BTW, to all - getting some nice reviews for INHERIT THE WORD, which comes out in March. Check out Goodreads.

Daryl / Avery

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Traveler, nice to see you here! Thanks for the congrats. It's a busy time for me.

Debbie S, I agree. Bailey's, yum. What could be bad!!

Petite, we love hearing from culinary mystery lovers. That keeps us in business. :)

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...


Get this, I actually have yet another book coming out in October! It's the third in the Cookbook Nook series, but i didn't want to overwhelm readers at this time. LOL

In a new series, Berkley often likes books to come out 7-9 months apart. This will be a quick turnaround. Luckily the book is brewing well. Title: STIRRING THE PLOT. (Yes, there might be a witchy THOUGH NOT PARANORMAL theme.)

Daryl / Avery

Barbara T. said...

Looks and sounds as if it is yummy. Thanks for writing yummy books, too.

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Kiki, thanks!

Sue F: LOL. Was it WC Fields who said I cook with wine. Sometimes I put it in the dish. LOL Yes, sip Bailey's while baking this. A good combo.

Daryl / Avery

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Heather and Barb,

You are welcome. I love writing yummy books. Who knew when I started out writing that I'd have to be a cook, too? Luckily, I love to cook!

Daryl / Avery

Carrie P said...

So the only thing you had to change was the cake mix? That's great. I know it's a favorite in our house, and asked for a lot. Hubby who really doesn't like sweets, and chocolate cake was never his favorite, LOVES this cake :)

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Carrie, yes, isn't that amazing? The best chocolate cake mix I've found for gluten-free is made by Pamela's. Just FYI.

Daryl / Avery

Tammy McNabb said...

3i can't say that i've ever read a book that had to do with food. I love to eat when i read though and I tell you what, I'll be making your Bailey's cake for my favorite group of gals the next time they come over. Good luck on your book! @tammylynnmcnabb Tammy-Lynn McNabb