I started baking when I was barely old enough to wobble on top of my grandmother’s old wooden stool. She used to let me sift flour on the counter for rolling pie out crusts and biscuit dough. I used an old metal ring with a red wooden handle to cut the biscuits. (I still have it!) And though my baking skills have remained somewhat rudimentary, I’ve always found comfort in the measuring, the mixing, and the wonderful scents of freshly baked cookies, cakes, and pies.
So, when I was creating a new series, I knew I wanted two things: a small town with a close knit community, and homey little bakery where the women in these stories would congregate, bake, and share the day to day details of their lives. And from that The Cupcake Club was born. (Or, as 83-year-old character Alva Liles calls it, The Bitchy Bake.)
Naturally, I couldn’t have just any small town set in Anywhere, USA. I wanted something unique, a little different… So I decided on the barrier islands of Georgia, tucking in my own fictional island of Sugarberry at the top of the chain, which is more wilderness oriented and not particularly touristy. I loved combining the feel of a small southern town with the somewhat more eccentric vibe of island living.
In the first book, SUGAR RUSH, we’re introduced to Lani & Baxter, two five star pastry chefs. Lani is the one who comes to Sugarberry and opens her own cupcake shop, Cakes by the Cup. Now, my personal experience in baking was nowhere near pastry chef level, so I jumped quite enthusiastically into that research! So much so, I started my own blog detailing my escapades. And…let’s just say, it turns out I’m far more Lucy Ricardo than Martha Stewart when it comes to elevating this culinary form. You can read all about those adventures (and pick up some truly wonderful cupcake recipes) at http://www.cakesbythecupblog.
In book two, SWEET STUFF, things branch out a little as Baxter and Lani are producing their first joint cookbook, and our heroine, Riley, a food stylist, jumps in to help with production. And let’s just say my connection to being Lucy Ricardo in the kitchen helped me a great deal when creating Riley’s character!
And now book three is finally here, and we find that Cakes by the Cup is branching out, and launching an adjunct business, BABYCAKES, which will focus on catering and shipping out Lani’s custom made cupcake creations. Kit Bellamy, former heiress to Mamie Sue’s Peanut Pie empire, has come to Sugarberry to take on this new business venture after losing her family’s entire generations-old pie business to a ruthless brother-in-law and even more ruthless high-dollar Atlanta law firm.
So, naturally, she’s not all that excited to find out that Morgan, the gorgeous environmental lawyer who has recently taken up residence on Sugarberry, also happens to be a Westlake…from the very same family that ruined her own. Of course, it’s hard to see him as the bad guy when he’s come to Sugarberry to raise his adorable five year old niece, Lilly, after the death of his brother and sister-in-law. And he also gets caught up in the island’s contributions to helping the endangered sea turtles…a plight that also captures the heart of his niece. And Kit’s, too.
The research for this book was truly enlightening, deeply moving, and very motivational for me. All of my books are like my own children, but this one has a bit of an extra glow for me. I hope you give it a try…and fall in love with Morgan, Kit, Lilly….and Paddlefoot & his friends as well!
Warning! Stock your pantry with baking supplies before reading. The recipes at the end of this book are, as Lilly would say, Ah-mazing!
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USA Today bestselling and award winning author of over 50 books, DONNA KAUFFMAN has seen her titles reviewed in venues ranging from Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal to Entertainment Weekly and Cosmopolitan. She lives just outside of DC in the lovely Virginia countryside, where she is presently keeping stock in all things flour, eggs & butter for her hands-on research for her Cupcake Club series. (To date, she’s been far more Lucy than Martha in the kitchen!) To read all about her (mis)adventures in baking—and get some really great cupcake recipes while you’re at it!—visit her alternative website at www.cakesbythecupblog.com. When she’s not covered in powdered sugar or greeting the local firemen at her door (again) she loves to hear from readers! You can contact her through her regular website at www.donnakauffman.com. And look for more delicious fun this October with her SWEETHEART SUGAR COOKIE SWAP Christmas anthology, followed by her brand new BLUEBERRY COVE series launching in November.