Thursday, April 13, 2017

Falling in love is a lot like icing the perfect cake

I love to bake and have since I graduated college and moved out, taking my mom’s old mixer with me. Growing up in an Italian household, everything was homemade. There wasn’t a boxed caked mix or slice and bake cookies in my house growing up. Ever. Over the past few months I’ve taken a few cake decorating classes with my teenage son, who aspires to own a bakery one day. I figured it would be fun for him to learn the correct way to do things, my kitchen wouldn’t get messy, and we’d get to eat the end product. A win-win for all involved!

So far, we’ve learned the perfect way to ice a cake (which involves lots of icing, practice, and patience), how to personalize party cakes, and piping techniques. In many ways, it’s a lot like learning how to be a writer and falling in love! There’s lots of trial and error. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!

Later this month we’re taking classes on cupcake decorating and how to decorate a cake (putting all the elements together). I’ve learned a few good tips, one of which is that bakers are perfectionists. I’ve also learned there’s a lot of improvising in baking, much like cooking. I’ve had to modify pretty much every baked good recipe since my son has multiple food allergies, one of which is to milk. Substituting soy or rice milk for cow’s milk can change the consistency of a recipe. Even using a dairy-free butter has its challenges. I’ve also been experimenting with vegan recipes with mixed results. But we’re having fun…and eating cake.

Taking these classes has given me a greater appreciation for what a full
-time baker goes through. I’ve bought more baking accessories the past few months than I’ve ever had. From multiple sized icing bags, to many icing tips, tip holder, couplers, turntable, cake circles, cake leveler (who knew?), proper icing colors, spatulas, and probably more.

What do you think?

The heroine from my contemporary romance, FOREVER IN MY HEART, is a pastry chef. Vicky owns a hot new bakery and café in Northeast Philadelphia and has cornered the market on baked goods. Now, I imagine if I baked hours a day six or seven days a week, it would all become super easy, but right now, it takes time to do things the right way. It was fun writing Vicky’s character because I got to channel my love of sweets into her bakery. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll open that bakery with my son. That would be my dream come true! I could bake in the early morning and then write. Now that I think about it, I better make sure we open a location near a gym!

***
EXCERPT:

She pulled at the same moment he did, which resulted in the top box flying off and landing with a plop on the concrete.
Time stood still, and he was about to let out a nervous laugh. That is, until he caught the shocked expression on her face quickly turning to pissed off and ready to boil over.
“Dammit. I told you I had them,” she yelled.
So much for trying to help.
After releasing his grasp, she stored the boxes in the trunk.
“I’m sorry. If you would have just let me—”
“Next time mind your own business,” she said, placing her hands on her hips.
When did she get those glorious hips? And how about the sexy gleam of anger in her eyes?
With the smartass comeback he’d been ready to fire back at her forgotten, he stopped to take in her attire. She’d curled her long brown hair, which ran down past her shoulders. The green sundress was cut low, revealing a magnificent pair of breasts. Clearly she hadn’t finished developing the summer before he enlisted. The dress hugged a slim waist, ending at the middle of her thigh.
Jamie’s heart thudded with lust. Disgusted by his pure male reaction to this gorgeous woman, he’d crossed his arms over his stomach and hoped he appeared cooler than he felt.
He reached down, picked up the fallen box, and handed it to her. “If I minded my own business, you’d be scraping up the contents of all these boxes off the cement instead of only one. So maybe you should show the teensiest bit of gratitude.”
She opened the lid to reveal cannolis, half of which were broken.
What was it with him and broken cannolis?

***
About Forever in My Heart:

Vicky DiFrancesco is ready to put the past behind her. After a humiliating divorce, she’s determined to make her new café a success. The last thing she needs is her first love around, reminding her of what they’d lost. But when her life is threatened, could he be the very man she needs?

Jamie DiSilva’s homecoming after retiring from the army isn’t the one he’d been hoping for. Now, he’s trying to start a home improvement business in a town settled on holding him accountable for the sins of his late brothers. Redeeming himself to the girl he never stopped loving and her family is difficult when his brothers’ secrets come back to haunt him.

Untangling themselves from the past means righting several wrongs and deciding if their love is meant to last forever.

From now through April 21st, Forever in My Heart is on sale for only $1.99! You can pick it up at:

Amazon: http://bit.ly/15L7L3x
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1zs7kSU
The Wild Rose Press: http://bit.ly/2nNZvJs
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1BmdBUc
iBookstore: http://bit.ly/1AGh4i6
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1xe0ZAH


Maria K. Alexander
Award-winning Contemporary Romance
http://mariakalexander.com



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