Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Guest post with Gail Ranstrom (+Giveaway)

Today I'm happy to welcome Gail Ranstrom to the blog, and she is here to share a recipe with us for her upcoming birthday! Happy birthday, Gail!! :)


And I’m having a party!  Crème Brulee is my favorite dessert, but after 12 efforts at the crème and 6 butane cartridges wasted in attempts caramelize the sugar, I’ve given up trying to do that myself.  Now I just order it at restaurants when someone else is paying.

Now that I’ve given up on crème brulee,  I’m looking for a recipe for the perfect chocolate cake.  It has to be adaptable to cupcakes, too, since when it comes to chocolate cake, I don’t know where to stop unless they’re in manageable portions.  I figure 4 cupcakes might be a good serving, but if you leave me with a whole cake and a knife, I’m likely to cut the cake in half.  Half for me, and half for... whoever.

I’ve tried box cakes and grocery store cakes and, while they’re okay, they’re not great.  I do make a yummy Coca Cola Cake, which is rich and dense, and great for picnics.  I’ll share that recipe in exchange for yours for the Best Ever Chocolate Cake.  Or just the Best Ever Birthday Cake.  I’m counting on some really good ones!  Or, if you’ve got something really special that doesn’t include chocolate, I’d like to try it.  (No fruitcake, please.  I’m nutty enough.)

Here’s mine:

Coca Cola Cake

2 c. Flour
½ c. Buttermilk
3 Tbsp cocoa
2 Eggs
2 c. Sugar
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 c. Coke
1tsp. Vanilla

Beat together buttermilk, eggs, soda and vanilla, and set aside.  Combine flour, sugar, cocoa in bowl, heat butter and coke to boiling, pour over flour mixture.  Mix well.  Add buttermilk mixture.  Bake in a 9x13 cake pan at 350 for 30 minutes.  (Batter will be thin.) 
(Never tried this with Diet Coke)


½ c. Butter
1/3 c. Coke
1 1# box Powdered Sugar
3Tbsp. Cocoa

Heat butter and Coke, pour over powdered sugar and cocoa and mix until smooth.  Add 1 c. nuts if desired.  Spread over warm cake.

So please share your best birthday cake recipe—even if it’s a ‘tweaked’ box mix.  I want to celebrate in style!

Blurb: Passion and deadly secrets…

On the run from British troops, American Revolutionary War spy Ryan Straughn forces Emily Nevins to hide him on her English farm. But Emily already keeps secrets that could mean her demise if discovered. Nevertheless as the long night wears on, attraction sizzles and they give in to unexpected passion, sure they’ll never see each other again…

Deception and desire…

A chance encounter in London society stirs heated memories of their sensual night together. They begin a heady dance of suspicion and desire. Though sympathetic to the struggling Colonists, Emily cannot trust a traitorous spy who may expose her dangerous intrigues. And Ryan risks his very life by trusting a woman privy to his true loyalties. But they are unable to deny their need for one another, even as Emily’s secrets are about to be exposed, and the noose around Ryan’s neck grows tighter.

Betrayal and love…

And now someone has discovered both their secrets. The price of silence? Betrayal. Of their causes, their love, their futures. In the end, lives will be lost and sacrifices made. Their choice is impossible. Which will they surrender—their lives…or their hearts?

Excerpt: The stranger lowered his head further to leave a path of soft insistent kisses from her earlobe to the well of her shoulder blade. The sensation was like nothing she’d felt before—intimate, urging, almost desperate. Heaven help her, Emily wanted more. He slipped his hand down her back, molding her against him. The hot, hard bulge pressing against her belly ignited an answering heat in hers. Naughty. Wicked. Exciting…

He asked a question, his voice a deep vibration that reached to her toes. Her very flesh tingled, sending shivers of delight through her. Her breasts ached and became exquisitely tender. She gasped as he drew her even closer, his large hands moving along her spine.

“Yes…,” she sighed, affirming her suspicion that this man’s arms would be heaven.

“Sweet…” His voice was hoarse with desire as he lifted his head to speak as he brushed across her lips. “Are you the most courageous woman I know…or the most reckless?”

Reckless. Unconscionably reckless…

He nudged her robe open with his chin and lowered his mouth to the slope of one aching breast. She caught her breath and choked back another gasp when he captured one tingling crown with his lips and tugged gently. She tangled her fingers through his dark hair to hold him close. The sensation was so foreign, yet so completely delicious, that she wanted it to go on forever. She sighed. “Tell me your…name, sir, that I…may know who my dreams…”

“You mock me?” he growled.

She gave a soft, husky laugh at his pretended outrage.

The deep vibration of his voice against her skin sent shock waves along her spine.

“By all that is holy…I must be mad! Were it any night but tonight, I’d sweep this desk clear and take you here and now.”

Emily fervently wished it were any other night. She’d have yielded him anything—everything—when he nibbled a greedy path back up her neck and cherished the tender flesh at the hollow of her throat before lifting his head.

He brushed tendrils of hair back from her cheeks with this thumbs. “Now that you’ve seen my face, my only safety—and yours—lies in the fact that you do not know who I am.”

She did not bother to deny his accusation. But betrayal had been the furthest thing from her mind. She caught her breath on a gasp as he slipped his hand up her bare thigh, exposed in the gap of her robe.

She struggled free of his arms and moved away, fighting to regain her composure and recall the true nature of this man.

Blood-red splotches on his shirt sleeve reminded her that this man had murdered someone this very night. She would be fortunate if she escaped with her life. She pushed him away to gather her robe more closely around her. This had to end before she forgot herself again. She was breathless when she spoke. “Your ten minutes are up, sir. If you are a man of your word, you will leave.”

Available for purchase atEntangled Publishing 

Author Bio: Gail has been a seamstress making waitress uniforms for a German Beer Garden, Inventory Clerk at the UofM, an Advertising Account Coordinator and PR writer in a crazy high pressure office, and a Commercial Property Manager in the Los Angeles area. In between, she’s partnered in an Antique business—don’t ask her about Antique Auctions.

Finally, she was tempted by a vocation where she was in control of the next crisis, and could solve it, too—writing.  She is the author of ten novels, three novellas and a brand new release, SWEET TREASON, from Entangled Publishing.

Be sure to visit Gail atWebsite 

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  1. Happy Birthday! Sounds like a great cake. Congrats on your book!

  2. Replies
    1. Hi Nurmawati - This is the Entangled Ignite giveaway. So maybe ENT instead of INT? Not sure.

  3. Happy birthday. Cake sounds interesting and the excerpt was great.I also want to know if it's an International contest as well.

    1. I'm not sure, but I'll find out and get back to you!

  4. Hi Stacey! It is a great cake! But it's very dense, so not suitable for layering. Thanks for the birthday and book wishes.

  5. Happy Birthday. I did manage to learn how to caramelize the sugar for a creme brulee-my all time favourite dessert. A super cheat for chocolate cake- - a cake mix and a can of Diet Coke. Bake as directed.
    Great excerpt.

  6. Thanks for the tweet, Daryl. And is there a trick to the cramelization? And, since I'm all about the 'easy,' what and how much liquid do you replace with the coke?

  7. The answer I'm getting is that this is not an international contest due to the cost of postage.

  8. (1) I want a cupcake, I'm sooooo hungry. And (2) yummy excerpt. Deb P

  9. LOL, Deb! I want a cupcake, too. Frosted, of course. And maybe a slice of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Or that coke cake. But I'm going to hold off until tomorrow. Then I'll eat enough for both days.

  10. So happy to have you today, Gail! Wishing you a wonderful birthday! :) I can't wait to try out the cake.

  11. Thanks for having me, Melissa. It was fun.