FRIDAY FEAST with Anne Gracie

93 Replies

Hello lovelies, and welcome to another super-tasty edition of Friday Feast. This week, in a not-to-be-missed post, one of my absolute favourite historical romance authors shows off her gorgeous new release, gives you a step-by-step guide to jelly cake bliss, and generously offers a wonderful giveaway. So keep reading!

But first, the sigh-worthy saga that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. At last I’m home from South Australia and have managed to hit a familiar golf course with my own clubs. Author Anne GracieI was more than a bit fretful that some of Dad’s bad golfing juju might have followed me home and curled its sniggery, meddling self around my clubs but fortunately that wasn’t the case. Thank god. Then again, it could be simply biding its time. The curse is sneaky that way.

What is most definitely not sneaky is this week’s Friday Feast guest. She’s a joy! Multi-award winning and best-selling Regency romance author Anne Gracie is an auto-buy author for me. Her stories are charming, fun, emotional and absolute delights to read. If you’ve never tested the Regency romance waters, then Anne’s Chance Sisters series it the perfect place to start. The Autumn Bride and The Winter Bride were completely heart-warming and now book three in the series, The Spring Bride, has hit Australian shelves with US following shortly. It looks another beauty. Check it out.

THE SPRING BRIDE

US Cover of The Spring Bride by Anne GracieOn the eve of the London Season, Jane Chance is about to make her entrance into high society. Haunted by a childhood riddled with poverty and hardship, Jane is determined her own children will never suffer the same; she intends to make a good, safe, sensible marriage. All goes according to plan until a dark, dangerous vagabond helps her rescue a dog.

Zachary Black is all kinds of unsuitable–a former spy, now in disguise, he’s wanted for murder. His instructions: to lie low until his name is cleared. But Zach has never followed the rules, and he wants Jane Chance for his own.

If that means blazing his way into London society, in whatever guise suits him, that’s what he’ll do. Jane knows she shouldn’t fall in love with this unreliable, if devastatingly attractive, rogue. But Zach is determined–and he’s a man accustomed to getting what he wants.

Doesn’t that sound wonderful? I already have The Spring Bride loaded to my e-reader and with a few quick clickety-clicks you could have this charming book too. Try those good people at Booktopia, Bookworld or Angus & Robertson. Or visit Book Depository, Amazon.comAmazon.au, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, JB Hi-Fi, Google Play, Fishpond, Boomerang Books, or your favourite book retailer.

All loaded up with some spring goodness? Great. Now get some jelly in your belly with Anne!

A Retro Wonder

I made these recently to take to a friend’s birthday party. I was going to make something savoury, but I’ve known this woman since she was 15, so I decided to make something fun and yummy and retro. They proved a big hit.

Cup cakes are very fashionable, but for my money these are more delicious and fun. And surprisingly easy to make. The hardest part is getting the jelly at the right texture, and that’s all a matter of timing. And I had to buy a new patty pan tin because Mum’s old one was all rusty.

Jelly Cakes

Makes up to 30 or more little cakes, depending how you fill the patty pans.

Anne Gracie's Jelly Cakes

The cakes:

60g butter, softened

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup caster sugar

1 cup self-raising flour

2/3 cup milk

The coating:

85g packet raspberry jelly crystals (any flavour will work, though)

1 cup boiling water

2/3 cup cold water

3 cups desiccated coconut

The filling:

Lashings of whipped cream (a 300ml container of thickened cream is plenty)

Method:

1) Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 12 hole shallow patty-pan tin (1.5 tablespoon capacity) or a gem-iron pan. (If you don’t have one, a cup cake or small muffin pan might do)

2) Cream butter and sugar with an electric beater until light and fluffy. Add in egg, a little at a time, beating until well combined.

3) With a big spoon, gently fold in half the flour and half the milk. Repeat until remaining flour and milk is used up.

Jelly cake batter

4) Spoon mixture into patty pans. Bake for 10 — 15  minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool cakes on a wire rack. (Cakes can be frozen in this state and kept for coating later.)

Jelly cakes ready to bake

Baked, un-iced jelly cakes

5) Make the jelly in a big shallow bowl. Stir jelly crystals and boiling water together until crystals are dissolved. Mix in the cold water. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until cold and slightly thick. (*This is the trickiest part. It needs to be the texture of unbeaten egg white.  Too runny and it soaks into the cake, too thick and it won’t coat the cakes at all. Check frequently. If too solid sit the bowl in some hot water to reverse the setting process. Or maybe zap it in the microwave.)

Jelly cakes being coated in jelly

6) Place coconut into a large bowl. Make like lamingtons — coating each cake in jelly, then rolling in coconut. Pop them into the fridge for half an hour or so to let the jelly set.

Jelly cakes being rolled in coconut

You can serve the cakes like this or fill them with cream, which is decadent and delicious and as far as I’m concerned traditional.

7) I put the jelly-and-coconutted cakes in a large plastic container, and keep overnight or until an hour or two before I want to serve them in. (You can freeze them at this point, too, I believe.)

Place jelly cakes into the fridge

8) Whip cream. Carefully slice the top off each cake and place large blob of cream on the inside. Replace top of cake. That’s it.

Anne Gracie's Jelly Cakes

When you’ve finished creaming all the cakes, eat the wonkiest looking one — you owe it to your guests to make sure the cakes are fit to be eaten. 😉 Put the remainder in the fridge. Then resist temptation firmly, or else there will be no cakes left!

A bitten-into jelly cake

Oh, these are brilliant, Anne! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. Jelly cakes were such a favourite growing up and you don’t see then often now, certainly not  home-made ones, which are the only ones to have. Love the step-by-step instructions too. Very helpful.

Now for the bit we all adore. Yes, Feasty lovelies, Anne has offered a…

GIVEAWAY!

But of course you’re going to have to work for it. Not very hard though, I promise. Today your task is to choose which cover of The Spring Bride you prefer most and why. So… does the Australian version do it for you?

1SpringBrideAussieMed

Or the US version?

US Cover of The Spring Bride by Anne Gracie

Me? I love the covers of both. They both sing spring, but I have to admit that the US version is the one I like best. Her dress is stunning!

So what about you? Reveal which cover you prefer and why and we’ll pop you into the draw to win a copy of The Spring BridThe. Just the thing to enjoy with a cuppa and a sweet jelly cake.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 2nd June 2015. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Anne and her gorgeous books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter using @AnneGracie, and the totally fabulous WordWenches blog.

Friday Feast recipe index link.

93 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Anne Gracie

  1. AvatarFi

    Okay. Even I could probably make those scrumptious looking jelly cakes, Anne Gracie. As you said, Cathryn, loved the step by step photos, and instructions.
    Which cover? I’m interested in everyone’s answer to this one. Both covers make me smile and want to buy, as if you needed inducement – huh? How could you not buy the latest Anne Gracie book?
    But I feel like I could lay on my back and make star angels with my arms in the Australian carpet of flowers and I love the lace on the Aus. dress too. So Aus for me
    xxFi

    1. Avataranne gracie

      Thanks, Fi — yes, the jelly cakes are pretty straightforward to make — getting the jelly at the right stage is the trickiest bit. I love your idea of star angels in the blossoms 🙂

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        No inducement needed for this Anne Gracie fan to buy her latest release, Fi! Locked and loaded to go on my ereader.
        Thanks for dropping by.

  2. AvatarCourtney

    The Australian version it is so pretty and makes me want to open the book and find out what the story is about xx

  3. AvatarIngrid

    Australian all the way – Spring is a time of hope and new beginnings. THE Australian cover with its bride and gorgeous flowers is the perfect reflection of spring.
    Going to have to sample these jelly cakes – you’ve got ke intrigued about taste and texture now!

    1. Avataranne gracie

      Ingrid, they’re yummy. And if you pop the cream in a few hours before they’re eaten, they just get yummier. I creamed these ones about an hour before driving to the party — an hour away, and then it was about 3 hours before people started eating the desserts, and they flew off the serving plates.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Yikes, I’m feeling a bit on the outer with everyone so far choosing the Australian cover.
        You’ll have to try Anne’s recipe, Ingrid. I’m sure jelly is healthy…

  4. Avatarmarilyn forsyth

    It’s the US cover for me, Anne and Cathryn. I fell in love with that dress at the first cover reveal. Can’t wait to try out the jelly cakes.

  5. AvatarTrish Morey

    Jelly cakes, mmmmm. It’s been way too long, so I might have to fix that.

    But as to which cover… Ooher, they’re both gorgeous. I love Fi’s idea of making star angels in all those flowers, but I think I’m in love with that dress on the US cover, so I think that’s my winner – but difficult choice!

    Can’t wait to read!

    1. Avataranne gracie

      Thanks, Trish — yes both pics are lovely and what a gorgeous idea to make star angels — though you’d probably get covered in brown smudges And yes, you owe it to yourself and your family to make jelly cakes !

  6. AvatarKathryn@Book Date

    It’s hard to choose which cover. I love the trees in the Australian one, and the USA one looks more intriguing and dreamy. Probably slightly more pro for the USA purple tones. But its what’s inside that really counts!

    1. Avataranne gracie

      Thanks, Kathryn I do hope you enjoy the story. The trees are lovely, I think. I can’t decide on one or the other — I love them both for different reasons.

  7. AvatarSarah

    I love the background on the Australian cover and the purples on the US cover. So…both, I guess? Perfectly lovely either way!

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Ooh, a nifty bit of fence-sitting there, Sarah. Although, they’re both so lovely it IS hard to choose and I can’t blame you!

  8. AvatarJulie

    It’s hard, but I’ll go with the US version–the colors and material just come together better, for me.

    Those jelly cakes look amaaaaaazing. I love anything that involves a creamy center!

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Men weeping over jelly cakes, Anne? Now there’s a vision!

        I agree with you on the cover, Julie. They’re both beautiful but that dress on the US one. It’s a little-girl fairy tale wedding dress I reckon.

  9. AvatarGlenda

    I have to go with the Australian cover — I love the wide view of the field of flowers, Anne!

    The Jelly Cakes look and sound amazing! I’m going to have to do some conversion on some things to make it here in the US though. I’ve never seen jelly crystals…. would real jelly work at all?

    1. Avataranne gracie

      Glenda — jelly is exactly the same as Jello. You know when you pour the jello out of the packet and add water — the dry jello powder is what we call jelly crystals. Basically these are just small cakes, dipped in half set jello — that’s the trickiest bit, getting the jello not too set, because it won’t coat the cakes, and nt too runny because then it will just soak into the cake. But other than that, it’s easy. And yummy.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Problem easily solved for you, Glenda. Now you’ll really have to try Anne’s jelly cakes. One thing’s for sure, they’re worth it!

  10. AvatarShelley Russell Nolan

    I have to go with the US one, mainly because it shows more of the gorgeous dress, and the vibrant purple background is so eye catching it make me want to read The Spring Bride even more. It is a must read anyway, but the beautiful dress and pretty purple means it will jump to the top of the TBR pile.

  11. AvatarMolly Kate McGinn

    I preordered The Spring Bride US edition from Amazon even though the cover didn’t convey anything to me at all, based on my enjoyment of all the Anne Gracie books I’ve already read. Then, I read the little excerpt, and wondered how the cover connected with the feel that gave me. Seeing the Australian cover today, I said to myself – aha! now THERE’s an artist who read the book (or at least the excerpts!) Just my personal reaction – I don’t usually buy based on cover designs, but they do affect me, of course, just like all those enticing pictures of jelly rolls, which now I must try to make. Thanks for a fun half hour 😉 I can hardly wait for the US release date.

    1. Avataranne gracie

      Thank you for that lovely comment Molly. I don’t think either artist read any of the book — and often I think publishers choose covers they think will sell the story, rather than covers that fit the story. I’ve been pretty lucky I think.
      Wish I could send you a jelly cake. They’re not the same as US Jelly rolls — what you call jelly we call jam So these are jello cakes.

  12. AvatarAndrea Johns

    I love the Aussie cover best, with the sea of spring blossoms and the ‘old-worldy’ looking bride!

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        She is very old-worldy, isn’t she, Andrea? Gorgeous, of course with all that lace but I’m loving everyone’s comments about the sea of flowers. That’s really interesting, not to mention poetic.

  13. AvatarJessy

    The Australian version is best. It is the most beautiful time of the year and the bed of flowers bring that spring feeling to the novel .Lovely Cover and Hope to be lucky to read this one. Best season of the year to get married.

    1. Avataranne gracie

      Hi Jessie, yes Spring is a gorgeous time of year to get married, I agree. Jane (my heroine) was lucky that way. Best of luck in the draw.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Wow, lots of votes for the Australian version. Makes a girl feel proud, even if it wasn’t my choice! But yes, Jessy, a beautiful time of the year.
        Good luck with the giveaway!

  14. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

    Hi Anne and Cathryn,

    Ooh, it’s definitely the Australian cover for me, the bed of pink flowers, the gorgeous colour and the intricate lace dress is stunning, the hairstyle, the trees… WOW! WOW! The cover matches the title so well! The cover just jumps out at you. It makes me want to enlarge it and hang it on my wall.

    Can’t wait to try these jelly cakes, don’t think I’ve tasted anything like that before and it will be a great challenge to make.

    1. Avataranne gracie

      Sue, they’re not all that hard, and you know — there is a cheat’s jellycake you can make. Buy some plain cake at the supermarket, cut it into cubes and then dip in the jelly/jello and roll in coconut. Later slice top off and plop in the cream. But shhh, don’t tell anyone. 😉

      1. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

        Lol Anne, no, I could never make it the cheats way, from scratch all the way for me. I might try it with a different type of flour though. And I might even try to make my own jelly with fresh juice and gelatine.

          1. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

            Thanks Cathryn. I’ve made my own jelly before and it turns out the same as the bought one just minus the additives.

              1. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

                Ooh Cathryn, that pink champagne jelly looks yum but it does seem a bit fiddly to make. Might try it out though after our return from America. But there’s still so many Friday Feast recipes I need to make, gosh, the list is growing and it will get longer while I’m away.

        1. AvatarAnne Gracie

          Now making the jelly from scratch is just making it hard on yourself. Also, I don’t think it’d work so well, Sue, because part of the charm of these little cakes is the color of the jelly. I’ve made jelly from natural juice before and often the color isn’t quite as bright as the jelly-with-chemicals is. Though maybe a dark berry would work. If you do attempt it, I would love you to keep us posted.

          1. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

            I’m intrigued now myself to see how the colour turns out making them with natural juice. Won’t be able to give them a go for another couple of months though. Will definitely let you know, Anne, how it turned out.

  15. AvatarDB Tait

    i love the American cover white that gorgeous white dress, bit I also like her hair in the Oz cover. Makes her look mysterious. Congrats on the release Anne!

    1. Avataranne gracie

      Thanks, Deb. Yes I do like the hair in the Aussie cover. And the lace is gorgeous, too, isn’t it? But you can’t beat a white bride dress — even though it wasn’t all that common during the regency era.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Is okay, DB. We understood. Luuuurve that dress too. It’s the off the shoulder thing. Sort of sexy and demure at the same time.

  16. AvatarLynne

    JELLY CAKES and the Aussie cover, althought it is a tough decision. The lace dress hints history and the meandering glade shouts of a story to be told as it leads the reader across the cover and into another fabulous Anne Gracie read. So the Aus cover wins me over! If there had been Butterfly Cakes served possibly the American version would have got my vote! Or if you had served BCs dipped in jelly and coconut, giving us the best of two traditional pattie cakes. I could still be in a state of indecision.
    Thank you ladies for the recipe and the read,
    Lynne

    1. Avataranne gracie

      LOL Lynne — so you want to have your cake and eat it too! (I’ve always thought that was such a crazy saying — of course if you want cake you’re going to want to eat it? What else would you do with cake — dust it?) But I digress. . . I’ve heard of jelly cakes make a la fairy cakes, but never made them. But pretty much any cake is a good cake IMO. Thanks for joining in the conversation.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        LOL from me also on your indecision, Lynne! So hard to choose when the covers are both so beautiful.
        Fairy cakes… now there’s another blast from the past.

  17. AvatarLaura Boon

    Hi Anne and Catherine, my mouth is watering! The jelly cakes sound divine. I like the Australian cover. I’m a sucker for old lace and fields of flowers.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Ooh, another vote for the Oz cover. I think it might be in the lead!
      Perhaps Anne’s jelly cakes could be a weekend baking project,. Laura? If they are, I’ll put my hand up for a taste. Just to check, you know…

  18. AvatarDeborah Gates

    I like the Australian cover the best. The scene is so pretty and looks like spring.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        It does look very spring, doesn’t it, Deborah? The US cover could be anytime really, but the Australian one shouts it out. Great reason!

  19. AvatarDonna Burton

    I have to say I’m leaning toward the US cover version. I’d love to read it with a coconut macaroon cupcake that was made by a bakery in Delaware when I was a kid. They don’t make them anymore and don’t even seem to have the recipe (I emailed and asked). Barring that–brownies are always good. Love your books, Anne!

    1. Avataranne gracie

      Yum, Donna, a coconut macaroon cupcake does sound yummy. But yes, you can’t go wrong with a good brownie. And thanks for your very kind words about my books. 🙂

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        How amazing that the bakery seems to have lost the recipe, Donna. Or maybe they’re being mean and just don’t want to share. Nevermind, as you say, a brownie does the job too!

  20. AvatarKaren Feist

    Having now seen both covers, I think I prefer the Australian one…..while the dress is more visible in the US one, the overall background color does not resonate as strongly with me on the concept of spring. I like the new greens so much!

    1. Avataranne gracie

      Thanks, Karen — yes, the US cover does look a bit chilly still — no doubt designed by people in the heart of a NY winter 🙂 I must say, I did expect the cover to be pinks and greens, but I do like the mauvy color.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Karen, thanks so much for dropping by and adding to the debate. I was sure the US cover would be most people’s favourite but it seems the Australian one touches people more. Kinda makes this Aussie girl proud!!

  21. AvatarRebecca Bond

    Oh those look so yummy. Those jelly cakes look similar to whoppie pie that my mom to make when I was kid, except we did use jelly but the jelly looks like it just would them so much better. I am going to have to make these soon as a treat for my mom.

    1. Avataranne gracie

      Rebecca, I’ve never heard of whoppie pie — sounds fabulous. My mum used to make a cake that my older sibs and their friends called her “slushy cake” and it was hugely popular. It was sponge cake with layers of jelly and cream — a bit like a trifle, only it stood upright as a cake. It was always a request for teenage parties, so, being the baby of the family by 10 years, I used to watch wistfully as cake after cake would be carefully walked out the door, on the way to be eaten by others, so I never actually got to taste it!!! 🙁

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        Anne’s cakes would be a wonderful treat for your mum, Rebecca. I’m sure she’ll enjoy them very much and with Anne’s step-by-step recipe you can’t go wrong.
        Thanks for visiting and adding to the fun.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Yay! A vote for The Dress! Maybe what we need, Arlene, is a mash-up of the two covers. Australian background combined with the US dress = cover perfection!

  22. AvatarPatricia Franks

    I really like the Australian cover best. It is warm and inviting. I think the other one has cool colours that make it look sterile. The colours of the flowers and the dress on the Aussie one are more appealing and make me think that the story will have a happy ending so I would be more likely to buy the book with that cover.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Another vote for the Aussies. Thanks, Patricia. I never looked at the US cover that way – too distracted by The Dress – but I think you’re right about the coolness of it compared to the warmth of the Australian version. Interesting!

    2. Avataranne gracie

      Thanks, Patricia — yes, I do think the US one is a bit chilly-seeming. But OTOH this is England we’re talking about and Spring there is apt to be a trifle chilly. 😉 But you’re right, the Aussie one looks happier. Thanks for dropping by.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        I wish you could too, Anne. I’d be sticking my hand up for a delivery.
        Thanks for dropping by, Carla. Lovely to see you here.

  23. AvatarPhyllisC

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. I will have to try it. I love both covers but if I have to pick one it would be the US cover. Can’t wait to read this story.

  24. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

    Thanks to everyone who joined in The Spring Bride fun and shared your opinion on the covers. So interesting!
    The giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Shelley who has won a copy of Anne’s gorgeous new book. She has some delightful reading ahead.

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