My Blog List

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Holiday Cupcakes--and a dash of romance


Please welcome my guest, author Cheryl Norman, who responded to my call for holiday recipes, with a cupcake delight.

Cheryl grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, where she wrote her first mystery at the age of 13.  She earned a BA in English at Georgia State University in Atlanta. After a career in the telecommunications industry, she returned to fiction writing and won the 2003 EPPIE award for her contemporary romance, Last Resort

Her debut with Medallion Press, Restore My Heart, led to a mention in Publisher's Weekly as one of ten new romance authors to watch. Running Scared, a romantic suspense set in Jacksonville, Florida, and Washington D.C., received a Perfect 10 from Romance Reviews Today. Reviewer Harriet Klausner calls her writing "Mindful of Linda Howard ... " Her latest romantic suspense novel for Medallion is Reclaim My Life, and Cheryl has two novellas in the anthology Romance on Route 66. Rebuild My World, the sequel to Reclaim My Life, will be published by Turquoise Morning Press.

In addition to writing, Cheryl works with breast cancer survivors to raise awareness about early detection and treatment of the disease. She also helps writers with grammar via her Grammar Cop blog, newsletter articles, and workshops. Visit Cheryl at her Web site: , Twitter:
and Facebook:

 Here, in Cheryl’s words, is the story behind her cupcakes.


I recently wrote my first inspirational romance for Highland Press’s Christian Christmas anthology, The Heart of Christmas. My story is “The Christmas Prayer.” Royce Hilliard is a widower with a twelve-year old daughter who bonds with Noelle Barker, who she meets at church. Noelle is alarmed when the girl announces that God has sent Noelle to be her dad’s new wife, but Royce thinks it might be true. Noelle sure seems the answer to his prayers! Unfortunately, Noelle isn’t enthusiastic about Christmas or motherhood. Will she let ghosts of her Christmas past sabotage her happiness?

As you begin your holiday baking, you might enjoy the following cupcake recipe. I’ve made it, and I’m not much of a baker, so it must be easy. In the story, Noelle organizes a cupcake-baking marathon with the preteen church group, and they make holiday cupcakes for the senior center residents. Cupcakes are growing in popularity because they’re easy to serve and equally portioned.

If you’d like to read the anthology (it makes a nice holiday gift, too!), go to ( or your favorite book source.

Happy holidays!

Cheryl Norman
Holiday Cupcakes


·         1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened

·         3 large eggs (room temperature)

·         2 ½ cups cake flour

·         2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

·         ½ teaspoon salt

·         1 ¾ cups sugar

·         1 ¼ cups milk

·         2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


1.      Preheat oven to 375°. Line muffin tins with paper liners while butter and eggs stand at room temperature.

2.      In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3.      In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat butter on medium speed for one minute. Gradually add sugar (about ¼ cup at a time) until all sugar is creamed. Beat on medium speed, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl, for about two minutes total.

4.      Gradually add eggs, one at a time.

5.      Add vanilla extract.

6.      On low speed, add a third of the flour mixture then half the milk, alternately, until all flour and milk are incorporated. Do not overbeat.

7.      Using a scoop, add batter to each cup liner.

8.      Bake for 16 to 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean.

9.      Allow muffins to cool in tins for about 5 minutes.

10.  Carefully remove cupcakes and cool on a wire rack at least 30 minutes before frosting.


Fluffy Cupcake Frosting


·         1 8-oz. package Neufchatel cheese, softened

·         1 stick unsalted butter, softened

·         2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

·         6 cups sifted powdered sugar

·         (optional) food coloring or sprinkles


1.      With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy.

2.      Stir in vanilla extract.

3.      Gradually beat in powdered sugar, about a third at a time, on low speed until all sugar is incorporated and icing reaches spreading consistency.

4.      Add optional food color—carefully, a bit at a time until you get the color you want.

5.      Place frosting in a zippered food storage bag, seal, and then clip the bottom corner to form a piping bag. Decorate cupcakes and add sprinkles if desired.

Yields two dozen






  1. Those cupcakes look delicious. I'm not sure I've ever baked cupcakes from scratch. (I use boxed cake mixes.) But I do have my mom's recipe for Red Velvet cake, which is made from scratch. Haven't tried it in YEARS, though.

  2. Thanks for the invite, Judy, and happy holidays!

  3. Delicious cupcakes and wonderful Christmas stories. What more can anyone ask for?