Category: blog

Christmas fruitcake cupcakes

This is my fantastic old recipe for the Best Christmas Fruitcake Ever, but in a new form. Fruitcake cupcakes!

It’s always so popular, so sweet and moist, that even though the recipe makes 5 small loaves, it’s never enough to give a nice looking piece to the number of people I want to share it with.

So this year I tried baking it in muffin cups–with some success.  I immediately discovered that if it’s not a loaf, you’ll want to cut the cherries into smaller pieces. (When you slice the loaf the cherries automatically get sliced.) That left me digging the cherries out of the batter–well, you get the picture. The alternative would be to put in a lot more cherries! I’ll leave that decision to you.

I started with the tiny muffin/ cupcake tins, 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and saw right away that the fruit mix was too coarse for that size–and that you’d want to do something about that before mixing into the batter. (see above) Also, they baked too fast and got very crispy on the top. Basically little rocks. Most of those went into the compost. 🙁

Regular sized muffin tins worked well though, but I would still recommend cutting up the cherries. I tried putting a half a candied cherry on top but most of them sank into the mix.

Other than that, they were very successful! 🙂

This recipe is so moist (it’s the jam and pineapple) that you really don’t have to wrap the cakes cloths soaked in brandy, or fruit juice, or, my favorite, Fireball. So I’m not planning on wrapping the cupcakes. (Although I will wrap the loaves in brandy soaked cloths, and foil, and put them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until Christmas.)

But I would suggest baking them in paper or, even better, foil lined muffin cups (they might stick to paper) since they get slightly candied on top and stick to the tins. I didn’t do that and had to cut them out of the tins.

And only bake for one hour thirty minutes, checking occasionally from one hour on.

Get The Best Christmas Fruitcake Ever recipe HERE.

It’s a great recipe, nothing like the dry cakes you buy in the supermarket. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

PS _ The winner of the print copy of The Good Neighbor in November’s Facebook sweepstakes was Teresa Byrd! Congratulations Teresa!

Watch for next month’s contest when you’ll be able to enter in comments on the blog post too.

 

Cherry Cake

I had a house full this week, my niece, her partner and their 5 children visiting and, it being cherry season here in BC, I took the opportunity to make my favorite Cherry Cake. It’s sort of like the French Clafoutis but the beaten egg whites make it more of a cake, less pie. And the almond extract makes it smell amazing!

We’ve been lucky to have a prolific cherry tree for many years and I make this cake form either fresh or frozen cherries.  Best eaten the first day – as if you could resist!

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Print Recipe
Cherry Cake
A light un-iced cherry cake bursting with juicy cherries.
Cuisine Sweet Treats
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
pieces
Ingredients
Cuisine Sweet Treats
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
pieces
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Wash and pit cherries.
  2. Separate eggs and set yolks aside. Beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside in another bowl.
  3. Cream butter. Add the sugar. Add egg yolks and almond extract and beat vigorously.
  4. Mix in flour and salt.
  5. Butter mixture will be quite stiff. Add a bit of the egg whites to soften, then fold egg whites into butter mixture. Do not over blend.
  6. Butter 9" X 9" baking pan (or slightly larger) and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Pour in batter and stud with drained cherries.
  7. Bake at 375° F. for 30 minutes. Cool and sprinkle with icing sugar to decorate if you wish.
  8. Enjoy.

Family Matters

I’m publishing Family Matters, a new Fortune Bay Novella, on all online platforms this weekend!

It’s the sequel to The Good Neighbor and, if you’ve read that and have posted a review on the online bookseller of your choice, let me know (by email) and

I’ll send you a free VIP Readers copy of Family Matters.

Reviews don’t have to be long, just tell other readers how you felt about the story.

I love this one by the husband of a reader! It made me laugh.

And here’s s another example.

Thanks Sarleigh!

Here’s the Blurb for Family Matters.

 

Welcome back to Fortune Bay
Spoiler Alert!
Be sure to read The Good Neighbor before reading this novella!

Hi Everyone!
When I finished writing Home for Christmas, Louise and Blue’s story, I sat back and thought about where everyone in Fortune Bay was in their lives at this point. Louise and Blue were fine, all lovey-dovely, Louise moving into Blue’s new log house, both of them ecstatic about the possibility of twins.

But what about Frankie and Sean? By spring, it had been five months since they found Amber—or rather, since she found Sean. Now he and Amber were living with his mom Stephanie, and Frankie was living alone—not the best situation for Sean and Frankie – or for Stephanie and Max.

And what about Amber? It was hard to believe everything was just smooth sailing for her after such a huge upheaval in her life.
By now you have probably figured out how real these characters are to me! Lol. I couldn’t leave them in this situation. The story started to grow and turned into this sequel novella, written specially for my most loyal readers who have been reading all the Murphy family Fortune Bay books.

If you haven’t read the other books, do yourself a favor and put this book aside until you have.
I hope you enjoy Family Matters as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Judy Hudson

 

One reader obviously felt the same way when they finished The Good Neighbor.

I hope she finds this book now. If she is on my mailing list she’ll know by now.

Thanks for reading,

Available at:

AMAZON

KOBO

AND MOST OTHER ONLINE BOOKSELLERS

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About writing Lake of Dreams

I wrote Lake of Dreams to give away. I imagined it as a fun little book – could see Colleen dancing on the dock in her cowboy boots – and was surprised at the personal, poignant themes that emerged as I wrote.

Our cottage for many years, my inspiration for Alex Porter’s cottage on Majestic Lake.

As a child, I went to cottages belonging to family and friends and always envied the kids whose families had cottages of their own.  Eventually, I was lucky enough to marry into one of those families.

My husband’s family cottage was on a lake in Muskoka, in rugged, rocky northern Ontario. From the stories I heard, he and his four brothers and sisters ran wild there for two months every summer throughout their childhood and teens. Later, our own children got to experience the fishing and boating too for a few weeks every summer.

On the long weekend in the middle of the summer, the whole active, extended family would meet there for the annual regatta. (Watch for a regatta book to show up in the Fortune Bay series.) The cottage would groan but accepted us all in the grouping of small sleeping cabins around the central cabin. Our favourite place to congregate was on the screened-in porch, called a Muskoka room, a must at dusk to hold back the mosquitoes.

My father-in-law, the patriarch of the family, was a lawyer and eventually a judge, but up at the lake he was more like Alex’s grandfather than his father. There was a dock with a boathouse and a couple of boats, including canoes hung in slings against the far wall and a rowboat that we used daily. Early morning paddles on lake to the sound of loons were particularly magical.

An picture clipped from an old cottage movie – could be Alex’s Queen of the Lake.

The cabin on Fortune Bay is an amalgam of one of the cottages in the compound (the one with the washroom outside at the end of the porch), a cute white cottage down the lake that always seemed empty, and a cabin on the lake here on Vancouver Island. Like everything else I write, there is a touchstone of truth, although it is usually unrecognizable by the time it hits the page.

Eventually my in-laws could no longer manage the hill, and when the grandfather died, we were not as lucky as Alex and were not able to keep the cottage. A few years later I wrote Lake of Dreams, channeling fond memories of summers on that Ontario lake.

A weird thing happened after I published Lake of Dreams. I was checking the listing, I think it was iTunes, and although the cover said LOD was set in the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state, right beside the book on the online page was a listing for the Logging Chain Lodge. Looking closer, I saw that the lodge was set in the tiny village not 5 miles away from our cottage in Ontario. Coincidence? I think not.

Is there a place that is near and dear to your heart, where you can get away from your regular life and kick back? Or a place you remember where you’d love to return? I’d love to hear about it. Also any questions or comments on the book.

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Raspberry & White Chocolate Macarons

Last week I was channeling Louise, the pastry chef in Home for Christmas as I made a ridiculously fancy but really quite easy to make batch of Raspberry and White Chocolate Macarons. People often ask if my characters are like me, or me them, and I always say no but, the truth is, there is a bit of me in most of them.

My editor Stephanie Webb is hosting a tea the next day (she’s a Brit) to celebrate the birthday of a mutual friend. “A good excuse to air out the linen,” she said. She’s done it before and it’s lots of fun. She made fancy party sandwiches and little cakes – scones last time if I remember correctly. But when I saw her last week I heard myself say, “I’ll bring a plate of fancy cookies.”

Fancy, because anything she made for this event was bound to be fancy, but any one who knows me well knows that Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, or Children’s Delight is my normal baking style. Something hearty with a little food value. I  used to cut the amount of sugar in half and until my kids refused to eat my cookies. Now I rarely make cookies at all, but these macarons caught my eye in a flier in the paper and strangely, I had just cleaned out the baking cupboard and knew I had all the ingredients: white chocolate, ground almonds, raspberry freezer jam (the best!).

The macarons were much easier than I anticipated. Not really  a trick at all. I made the macarons the day before while watching the World Figure Skating Championships on TV (Yay Canada!) and made the filling Sunday morning before the party.

They were such a hit, I thought I’d put the recipe here to give you time to make them for a special Easter dinner treat.

Louise would be proud.

Get the recipe HERE

Let me know how they turn out.

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