by Cate Tayler

Great-Grandma Rose’s Secret Lemon Cake

When I first met my husband, my culinary skills were limited to Hamburger Helper (Tuna Helper, if we wanted to be fancy), chicken breasts covered in Italian dressing, and Chicken Paprikash (my grandmother’s recipe, which is still a favorite in my house). He, on the other hand, had a wealth of kitchen knowledge to draw upon thanks to his mother. And thanks to her, I slowly learned to broaden my repertoire and become more comfortable in the kitchen. Since those early newlywed days, I’ve become much more creative and savvy, and it’s primarily thanks to my mother-in-law. Also Gordon Ramsay.

Writing Juliet and Nate’s story, Love Me Harder, was so much fun because I got to indulge in my foodie-loving side. For research purposes, of course. I also wanted to pay homage to my mother-in-law in a small way. Mom Tayler loved lemons, so when I had to come up with a recipe from Nate’s family to incorporate into the story, I chose a lemon cake.

In the story, it’s Nate’s Great-Grandma Rose’s Secret Lemon Cake. It serves as his brother’s wedding cake and Nate bakes one for Juliet to show her his love. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get to properly present it to her and is forced to leave it cooling in her kitchen. It’s the one thing of his Juliet keeps after their “black moment”. (You’ll have to read for yourself what happens!)

Here is Nate’s Great-Grandma Rose’s Secret Lemon Cake with Lemon Butter Frosting. I’ve adapted the recipe from a couple of different sources, including the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. See if you can guess Grandma Rose’s secret ingredient. And no, it’s not love.

GREAT-GRANDMA ROSE’S SECRET LEMON CAKE

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs limoncello
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • Lemon zest or candied lemon peels for garnish. Can also use sliced almonds or ground nuts, or crushed graham crackers, for a little crunch.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350⁰F
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and whisk together.
  3. Add eggs, oil, lemon juice, and limoncello. Beat until smooth.
  4. Add sour cream and beat until smooth.
  5. Divide and pour batter into two 8-inch pans.
  6. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Cool completely on rack before frosting. Garnish with zest or peels.

Lemon Butter Frosting

  • 6 Tbs butter, brought to room temperature (real butter, no margarine)
  • 4 ½ cups powdered sugar, divided and sifted
  • ¼ lemon juice, plus ¼ more set aside if needed
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. In a mixer, beat butter until fluffy.
  2. Gradually add half the sifted powder sugar, mix well.
  3. Beat in lemon juice, zest, and vanilla.
  4. Gradually add the rest of the powdered sugar, mix well. Add the additional juice, a little at a time, until frosting is of a spreadable consistency.

Bon appétit!

99 Problems but a Book Ain’t One – The Book Fair is Open

Visit the 99@99 BOOK FAIR

NEW GIVEAWAYS DAILY

September 6-12

https://bookwrapt.com/99-99-book-fair/

If your wallet is feeling the pinch, but you’re looking for some awesome new reads, visit our special 99 Books @ 99 Cents Book Fair. Almost 100 books ON SALE in all genres, romance, sci-fi and fantasy, paranormal romance, historical romance, romantic suspense, mysteries, thrillers, and more. All books less than a buck!

Plus, check in daily for a chance to win Amazon gift cards or play instant ebook giveaways for one of 12 books being awarded to lucky winners each day.

Look for Books from Me and More of Your Favorite Authors!

Alexa Aston • Alexia Adams • Alicia Dean • Alina K. Field • Allyson R Abbott • Alyssa Breck • Amanda Tyler • Angel Lawson • Angela Sanders • Anna Hub • Anna Santos • Anne McClane • Anne Stone • Aubrey Wynne • Aurora Springer • C L McGrath • Caitlyn Lynch • Candace Blevins • Cara Marsi • Carlyle Labuschagne • Casi McLean • Cecelia Mecca • Charmaine Ross • Cherie Claire • Christi Barth • Colleen L Donnelly • Constance Phillips • Crystal Dawn • Debbie White • Debra Jess • EG Manetti • Elizabeth Rose • Emily Selby • Erica Ridley • Gemma Snow • Grace White • Heather Hambel Curley • Iris Blobel • J. Rose Allister • Jacqueline Diamond • Jacquie Biggar • Jayelle Morgan • Jeanne St. James • Jennifer Allis Provost • Joan Reeves • Joanne Dannon • Jody A Kessler • Kallysten • Karen Michelle Nutt • Kathryn Knight • Kayelle Allen • Keke Renee • Kim Carmichael • Kristy Tate • L.E. Harrison • Lara Ward Cosio • Laura Scott • Laurel Black • Leeann Betts • Lindsey R. Loucks • Liz Long • LJ Swallow • Lori L. Robinett • M.C. Cerny • Marianne Rice • Marlow Kelly • Mary Abshire • Meg Ripley • Mila Young • Morgan K Wyatt • MV Ellis • N.D. Jones • Naomi Bellina • Natalie Ann • Rachell Nichole • Rose Pearson • S K Gregory • Sherrie Lea Morgan • Siera London • Sotia Lazu • Stephany Tullis • Susan Jean Ricci • Suzanne Jenkins • Tamara Ferguson • Tina Fausett • Tracey Cramer-Kelly • Tracy Krimmer • Victoria Saccenti • Aileen Harkwood

Cate Reads – August 20, 2018

It’s been a hot and sticky summer, and I’ve spent a lot of time at the pool! Since it’s not wise to have electronics so near where children splash water, it’s been a sort of forced relaxation for me. Which means I’ve been working steadily through my to-be-read pile of paperbooks. So some of my recommendations will consist of older titles I’ve finally had the opportunity to enjoy!

In this week’s edition of Cate Reads, I’m also offering a giveaway… read through for details!

*Please note I use Amazon affiliate links to display the books I recommend. But most of these are available at other retailers*

Pretending He’s Mine by Mia Sosa

Mia Sosa had me hooked with Book 1 of her Love on Cue series, Acting on Impulse. But as much as I loved watching Carter and Tori fall for each other, following Carter’s agent, Julian, as he finds love with Carter’s salty sister Ashley has been even more sexy, sweet, and satisfying.

 

Take the Lead by Alexis Daria

This is Alexis Daria’s debut novel, winner of the 2018 RITA (The Romance Writers of America’s award) for Best First Book… and it was well-deserved! Set on a reality dance show and featuring a spicy Latina heroine (yay!) and a sexy Alaskan hero, I recommend keeping an ice cool drink and a fan next to you when you read it. In fact, plan on re-reading it in January when the temp outside hits the single digits and lower — you won’t need to use your furnace to keep you warm!

 

Heroes are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Deepest winter. An isolated island off the coast of Maine. A man. A woman. Puppets. (Yes, puppets .  .) And . . .A mysterious house looming over the sea . . .  How can you resist a blurb that begins like that? Especially when it’s from SEP, who is an expert at creating characters with layers of complexity, depth, and emotion. In other words, you can’t help but fall in love with them, especially the strong, quirky heroine and the brooding, mysterious hero.

 

Breaking Creed by Alex Kava

This one isn’t a romance, but it’s a terrific procedural thriller with strong romantic elements in it. I love Alex Kava’s Maggie O’Dell series, starring a fierce though flawed FBI agent heroine who tracks down the worst of the worst. In Book 1 of her Ryder Creed series, we not only get Maggie, we get Ryder Creed, a former Marine who trains rescue dogs to be law enforcement K-9s. He’s got his own dark past and demons to contend with, and has a special kinship with Maggie. Together, they track down a serial killer and break up a human trafficking ring. It’s a thrilling ride from page one to the end.

 

Her Lucky Cowboy by Jennifer Ryan

I love a sexy cowboy story and Jennifer Ryan delivers with this one. A PBR rodeo champion, the brilliant doctor who saves him, and the mentally unstable ex-friend who stalks them all collide in a story that’s both smart and steamy, with a touch of danger thrown in.

GIVEAWAY: Comment below with the last paperback you read and recommend and be entered to win a signed copy of Jennifer Ryan’s Her Lucky Cowboy! I’ll choose at random one person who comments on September 1st at 0800 (EST). 

 

Cate Reads: Wedding Edition

Cate Reads: Wedding Edition

My oldest stepson is getting married in a year and that has me in a wedding mood. A wedding is the perfect sort of romantic set-up, don’t you think? Except when it’s not… and those stories in which the wedding goes all wrong (jilted at the altar, runaway brides, bridesmaid knocked up by commitment-phobic best man) are my favorite.

Here without further “I do” (ha ha, see what I did there?) is a list of my recommended wedding-related reads, in no particular order:

The Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Part of her Wynette, Texas series, SEP hits is out of the park with this fun, emotional read about a bride (who happens to be the daughter of a former US President) leaving the town’s golden boy at the altar and find adventure and love on the back of a sexy stranger’s motorcycle. Don’t worry about the jilted groom… in fact, you should read his story (which technically comes before this one in the series): Call Me Irresistible.

The Art of Running in High Heels by Rachel Gibson

It’s a runaway bride-hockey romance. Loved the tension between the main characters!

The Best Man’s Baby by Victoria James

This is one in which the inciting incident (I’m sure you can figure out what that is!) happens at a wedding. So maybe not technically a wedding-themed book, but I really enjoyed this one. It has a not-so-secret baby and everything!

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

It’s nice to read a story where it’s the HERO who needs a date for his ex’s wedding. This won multiple awards and was on several lists of best reads, and for good reason.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

“Mah-widge. Mah-widge is what bwings us togethah today.” Okay, maybe it’s not a romance, but it’s one of the funniest, sweetest stories ever told. You’ve probably seen the movie (and if you haven’t, WHAT?! Drop what you’re doing and watch it NOW!), which is awesome on its own. But the book has more and Goldman’s sunny, snarky side shines through.

The Bad Luck Bride by Janna MacGregor

I’m not normally one for regency romance, but Janna is such a wonderful writer. It’s a pleasure to get immersed in the world of dukes and ladies and glorious ballgowns.

The Wedding Promise by Melinda Curtis

A chocolate heiress with a penchant for being a runaway bride meets a gorgeous, flawed man. Two fractured souls drawn together to complete each other. Nothing sweeter. Oh, and it has a trio of funny meddling nuns! This is also a very short story, perfect for reading in a waiting room or those precious few moments when the kids give you peace.

A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

A great kick off to the Reluctant Royals series. It’s a classic trope (prince pretending to be a commoner) with a bit of a twist (the woman he’s after doesn’t know she’s supposed to be betrothed to him). Swoony!

I Only Have Eyes for You by Bella Andre

Another bridesmaid-knocked-up-by-groomsmen premise that I absolutely loved! Your heart will break with Sophie and you’ll want to throttle Jake, until you get to know him and understand his motivations. Then you’ll fall in love with him and his fierce devotion to Sophie.

Love Will Always Remember by Tracey Livesay

The bride-to-be ends up with amnesia after an accident and doesn’t remember anybody, including her fiance. Ah, but there’s a twist… one you’ll have to read to find out!

Add your recommended reads in the comments!

Happy Reading! 

*I do use Amazon affiliate links when linking to my recommendations on Amazon*

Cate Reads – June 18, 2018

You may or may not have heard about #Cockygate. In a nutshell, an author trademarked the word “Cocky” and then threatened other authors with lawsuits if they used the common word “Cocky” in their book titles. She even went so far as to have Amazon take the other books down, thus costing those authors revenue and threatening their livelihood. In protest, a group of authors contributed to this anthology. Forgive the editing issues in some of the stories… this was done very quickly so that all proceeds could benefit the legal funds of the authors fighting the trademark. Not all the stories were my cuppa tea, but I did enjoy the variety and it’s all for a good cause: protecting artistic freedom.

 

I love Whitney G. She’s a seriously underrated author! This one actually had be choked up. And wanting to knock some heads together. A sexy best friends-to-lovers story.

 

I was lucky enough to read an ARC while this one is on pre-order. It’s sexy and adorable, with a little danger thrown in. Preorder now so it’ll be in your hot little hands on July 24th!

This is the next book in Alyssa’s Reluctant Royals series. It’s the perfect dreamy read for those hot summer nights!

Previous Recommendations:

5/7/18 – Andie Christopher, Kerri Carpenter, Judy Blume, Robyn Neeley

4/2/18 – Alyssa Cole, Darcy Burke, Tracey Livesay, Maisey Yates

3/12/18 – James Rollins, JL Lora, Damon Suede, Sha Renee

2/27/18 – Bella Andre, Sherry Thomas, Adriana Anders, James Rollins, Stoni Alexander

Happy Reading!

Cate Reads – May 7, 2018

*Please note I use Amazon affiliate links to display the books I recommend. But most of these are available at other retailers*

Week of May 7, 2018

I’ve been super busy trying to juggle two writing projects and a writing contest all at the same time. So I haven’t had as much time to read as I’d like. But I did manage to sneak in a couple of awesome reads:

Virgin hockey player. Need I say more?

Heart-tugging spin on best-friend’s-baby-sister trope, starring a hot former soldier, a feisty redhead, and an adorable preschooler. Swoon-worthy!

Not technically a romance. It’s actually Women’s Fiction (a term that annoys me, but I’ll digress for now) by a beloved author we probably all know and love. I reread this almost every year. The tempestuous and complicated friendship between the two main characters will have you bawling by the end. I definitely didn’t see that ending coming, but it made sense.

This just came up for prerelease and I haven’t read it yet, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE all of her previous Bachelors of Buttermilk Falls stories. It releases June 4th. I’ve already preordered it!

Previous Recommendations:

4/2/18 – Alyssa Cole, Darcy Burke, Tracey Livesay, Maisey Yates

3/12/18 – James Rollins, JL Lora, Damon Suede, Sha Renee

2/27/18 – Bella Andre, Sherry Thomas, Adriana Anders, James Rollins, Stoni Alexander

Happy Reading!

Cate Reads – April 2, 2018

Week of April 2, 2018

It’s Spring Break at my house this week, which means a lot of spring cleaning and organizing, but also more time to read. Here’s what’s on my Nook this week:

I’m a sucker for anything royalty (hello… already making plans for Harry and Meghan’s wedding!). This is the first in Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royal series and I cannot wait for the next!

I love Darcy Burke’s Ribbon Ridge series! This one was really special because the hero has Asperger’s and I just love how sensitively and realistically she portrayed him.

Two words: Secret. Baby.

Maisey Yates’s cowboy romances are always good for a some deep swooning.

 


Previous Recommendations:

3/12/18 – James Rollins, JL Lora, Damon Suede, Sha Renee

2/27/18 – Bella Andre, Sherry Thomas, Adriana Anders, James Rollins, Stoni Alexander

Happy Reading!

Cate Reads – March 14, 2018

Week of March 12, 2018

*Bonus Recommendations for March 14 – Pi Day!

This is one of my favorite of James Rollins’s adventures. It features a baldheaded parrot name Igor who can recite Pi to hundreds of decimal points. Perfect choice for Pi Day!

This week, I have two steamy reads — one long, one short — and a book for writers.

Steel is the final in JL Lora’s The Trinity trilogy. I think it might be my favorite. Heroine Mel is just so badass…. on the oustide, at least. And Leandro… *swoon*  You get caught up in their push-pull, the danger and sexual tension, and forget that they do bad things.

I’m a proud Air Force veteran and when I first began writing romance, I was happily surprised to find a whole community of romance writing veterans –RomVets. Sha is one of my fellow RomVets and her story about the illicit romance between an enlisted and an officer will have you swooning and saluting.

I’ve been waiting forever for Damon to publish this! If you’re a writer and you haven’t heard Damon speak or read one of his posts or books on craft, you must rectify that oversight right now. Trust me. Your readers will thank you!

Happy Reading!

Celebrate Pi Day with Nora Ephron’s Key Lime Pie

Here is Nora’s Key Lime Pie taken from her book, Heartburn (1983, Knopf). 

My list of top five favorite movies includes the underrated romantic comedy-drama, Heartburn. It’s Nora Ephron’s adapation of her novel of the same name, which was a thinly disguised adaptation of her marriage with (and subsequent divorce from) Carl Bernstein. (Yes, that Carl Bernstein)

The film, directed by Mike Nichols (who also directed the fabulous The Graduate and Charlie Wilson’s War), stars Meryl Streep as Rachel, a food writer, who marries the philandering political reporter, Mark. She is what we’d call a “foodie” nowadays, and like Ephron in real-life, she is known for her skills in the kitchen. But unlike the novel, the movie doesn’t really highlight her culinary prowess.

I didn’t get any good “action” shots while making the pie. So here’s Meryl Streep making it on screen in “Heartburn”.

And that’s where the novel has an edge over the movie. Because it’s not just a typical novel. Interspersed within the story are Ephron’s own recipes. I have made almost everything she writes about in the book; her linguine a la cecca is a summer staple in my home, and her famous vinaigrette is my go-to recipe when I need a tart, homemade dressing. I keep my copy of the novel with my cookbooks.

But my favorite recipe is her Key Lime Pie. If you’ve seen the movie, then you’ll remember the pie that Rachel throws in Mark’s face as her character finally realizes she has to make the hardest decision of her life. This is that pie.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iY68ovrzfXc]
And this is Nora’s recipe. I only made two slight adjustments: the original calls for 1 cup of lime juice and 1 TBS lime zest. I used ¾ cup lime juice and 2TBS zest.

Nora Ephron’s Key Lime Pie
a.k.a. “Dream Another Dream Key Lime Pie” 

A microplane grater and juicer will make your life easier!

Ingredients

6 large egg yolks*
¾ cup lime juice (Bottled is fine, but fresh is best. You’ll need about 20 depending on how efficient you are at juicing them.)
2TBS lime zest (zest before you juice)
2 14oz cans sweetened condensed milk (use full fat; it will set better)
9”-10” graham cracker crust (I used Keebler’s extra large)
A few slices of lime for garnish
Whipped Cream (optional: I only like Cool Whip, and I was all out, so we went without)

  1. Beat the 6 large egg yolks in a large bowl. Add lime juice, zest, and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until well blended.
  2. Pour into prepared graham cracker crust pie shell.
  3. Freeze 6 to 8 hours, until firm.
  4. When ready to serve, allow pie to thaw for a few minutes on counter. Add whipped cream (if you’d like) and lime slices for garnish.
  5. Cut and serve. Throwing at your husband is optional.

Serves 8. Enjoy!


*Since this recipe calls for raw eggs to be used, it is best to use pasteurized eggs. These are pricier and a little harder to find than your regular store-bought eggs. The chances of contracting salmonella are about 1 in 20,000, so relatively small (.005%).  But, I advise you to get the pasteurized eggs in any event. Or, if you are up to it, pasteurize your own eggs!

Cate Reads – February 27, 2018


Here are my picks for the week of February 27, 2018! Note there is a non-romance book listed. That is not a mistake! I just love James Rollins so much. And he’s very good with the romantic elements he adds in his action-adventure-thrillers.