Saturday, October 9, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake

By Orlando Erwin as told to Denise Swanson

Hi! My name is Orlando Erwin and my wife and I have recently moved to Scumble River and opened Tales and Treats. My wife handles the bookstore side of the business and I handle the café. We decided to settle in Scumble River because an old army buddy of mine lives here. He and I went through a lot while we were in Vietnam together, but we’re going through even more now.

I was really shocked that some of the townspeople objected to our business. Who in their right mind doesn’t want a wonderful bookstore and terrific café in their community? Well, as it turns out, more than you would ever think. But what I really found unbelievable was that someone would commit murder to get rid of us. Or was that their real motive? I sure don’t know.

Still, there are some nice people around here. Skye Denison and her fiancé Police Chief Boyd seem to be trying their darnedest to find the killer. Skye’s friend Trixie is also a real sweetie and she just loves my butter pecan cake with penuche icing. And although I usually don’t share my recipes, I promised it to Trixie, so here it is:

3 tbsp. butter
1 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup softened butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
Melt 3 tbsp. butter and stir in pecans. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes. Cool.

Cream 2/3 cup butter; gradually add sugar and beat until and sugar is dissolved and light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat well after each.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt and add to creamed mixture alternating with milk, but beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in vanilla and pecans.

Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 9 " cake pans. Bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Watch carefully as this cake over bakes easily. Cool layers in pans 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely before frosting.

Penuche Frosting
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

In a 2 qt saucepan melt butter, then added brown sugar. Bring to boil, stirring constantly, and boil for 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Bring back to boil stirring constantly. Cool for 20 minutes. By hand, beat in powdered sugar, a little at a time. Add vanilla. Frost cake immediately.

---Murder of a Bookstore Babe, Orlando’s adventure, will be out March 1, 2011


  1. A bookstore and cafe? How delicious! Just like your cake recipe... Thank you, Orlando!

  2. This cake recipe sounds delicious! Thanks so much, Orlando!

  3. My husband and I always wanted to open a combination bookstore/coffee shop. I can't wait to read all about yours!

  4. The recipe sounds wonderful. That may be my Sunday event. The book sounds good. I like the characters story. Every city needs a bookstore and a cafe. I hope they stay!

  5. Oh, wow, Orlando, I must try this recipe! Hope you'll take a peek at some of mine, too. This sounds too yummy.

    Mystery Lovers' Kitchen

  6. Oh, this is a wonderful idea! Getting to enjoy lucious treats while selecting books, what could be better?
    Watch out, Border's and Barnes & Noble!

  7. Owning a bookstore/cafe sounds like the perfect occupation. And the recipe looks yummy. I'm going to have it try it.

  8. A bookstore/coffee shop sounds heavenly! And that cake recipe..yum!

  9. Looks like a great recipe Orlando.

    Lynn Farris

  10. Recipe looks yummy! Bookstore and cafe - not sure if there is a better combo store out there :)

  11. Orlando we care about you already.!!!.That didn't take long..In My Small town,in the real world in Vt we have our Bookstore/Cafe''The Hub of our town,,Will look for your Book.and mention it to My Bookstore "Psst..Northshire Bookstore Manchester Center,Vt..Susan

  12. Orlando, you may--or may not--know of a woman called Denise Swanson. I think (don't get all freaked out here) that she may exist in an alternate dimension. As a dimensional traveler myself, I just wanted to warn you about her. Why? For starters, I think she stole your cake recipe and is passing it off as her own. Watch out if you meet her--you never know what is up her sleeve! Best of luck with your new ventre. And I'll be sure to stop by next time I'm in Scumble River!

  13. I'm looking forward to reading this book. I can't understand why the town wouldn't want a bookstore and a cafe. In March we'll find out.

  14. Avery, I'm always up for trading recipes.

    Janet, Riley, Lisa, Keena, Lynn, Mary, and LC, let me know how your cakes turn out.

    Gabrielle, Tales and Treats was a dream for my wife and I, too. Maybe someday your and your guy will give it a whirl.

    Sherry and Dru, thank you!

    Susan, I love visiting other small town bookstore. Hope I get to stop by yours sometime.

    Kelle, who is this Denise person and how did she get my recipe?

  15. Oh boy! If I lived in Scumble River, I'd be in your cafe and bookshop every day! Probably a good thing on my bank account and waistline I don't.....
    The recipe sounds superb, thank you for sharing. I hope you don't get in trouble.

  16. Oh my gosh. I love butter pecan. Going to definitely try this recipe!

    Can't wait to read more about Tales and Treats!

  17. Both the book and the cake sound awesome!