Tuesday, September 14, 2021

THE CAFE BETWEEN PUMPKIN AND PIE: Guest Post by the Anthology Authors

Best-selling authors Marina Adair (When in Rome, Destiny Bay and Heroes of St. Helena); Kate Angell (Richmond Rogues Baseball and Barefoot William Beach) and Stacy Finz (Nugget Romance, Garner Brothers, Dry Creek Ranch) are popularly known for their individual series. They came together to write a contemporary Halloween anthology - The Cafe Between Pumpkin and Pie - set in small town Moonbright, Maine. Centered around the romantic legend that promises a Moonbright woman will marry the man she sees reflected in a mirror on Halloween, the three single ladies embrace costumed revelers, delicious whoopie pies, and spooky stories as they wait to see if the legend rings true for them. And they find their happily-ever-after husband. 

Here are fun and delicious recipes from each of the authors: 

Stacy Finz - Classic Chocolate Whoopie 

(This recipe is from Whoopie Pies by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell, who I had the pleasure of interviewing when I worked as a food writer for the San Francisco Chronicle about how whoopie pies, once an East Coast treat, were sweeping the nation.) 

Prep Time: 20 minutes 

Cook time: 20 minutes 

Yield: Makes 24 Whoopie Pies 

For the Cakes 

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour 

 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 

4 tablespoons vegetable shortening 

1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar 

1 large egg 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1 cup milk 

For the Marshmallow Filling 

1 1/2 cups Marshmallow Fluff (or other prepared marshmallow cream, which will do in a pinch) 

1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening 

1 cup confectioners' sugar 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 


For the Cakes 

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, shortening and brown sugar on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes. 

Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk to the batter and beat on low until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining flour mixture and 1/2 cup milk and beat until completely combined. 

Using a spoon, drop about 1 tablespoon of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes each, or until the pies spring back when pressed gently. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. 

For the Classic Marshmallow Filling 

In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the Marshmallow Fluff and the vegetable shortening, starting on low and increasing to medium speed until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the confectioners' sugar and the vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes more. 

For the Assembling of the Whoopie Pies 

Spread the filling on to the flat side of one of the cakes, using a knife or spoon. 

Top it with another cake flat side down. Repeat with the remaining cakes and filling. 

Alternately you can use a pastry bag with a rounded tip to pipe the filling onto the cakes, which will give you a smaller, neater presentation. 

Marina Adair - Grannie Stowell’s Pumpkin Custard Pie 

Granny Stowell spent most of her childhood picking what needed picking from farm to farm all over the South. She never missed Wheel of Fortune and prided herself on having the best pie at every potluck. In the 50’s Granny opened Hot Biscuit, a locals-only diner that served homemade blue-plate specials, gravy covered scratch biscuits and three-layer-crust pies, so deep they had to be baked in a lasagna pan. But her signature dessert was her Pumpkin Custard Pie, a family-only treat, which graced our table every holiday season. Even thought Grannie Stowell is no longer with us, I make sure her Pumpkin Custard Pie is the centerpiece of our holidays. 


16 oz. room-temperature cream cheese 

½ cup granulated sugar 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

2 large eggs 

1 (9-inch) graham cracker crust (store-bought or homemade) 

½ cup pumpkin puree 

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 

¼ teaspoon ground ginger 

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 


Preheat oven to 325° F (175° C). 

Combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract and beat until creamed. Add eggs one at a time, beating until smooth. 

Spread 1 cup of the cheesecake batter into the bottom of the graham cracker crust. Set aside. 

In a separate bowl, combine pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Add the remaining cheesecake batter and whisk gently until well combined. Pour the pumpkin batter over the cheesecake layer and smooth evenly over top with a spatula. 

Bake 35 to 40 minutes until center is almost set. Allow to cool for an hour, then refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight. 

Kate Angell - Blueberry Butter Cake 

Recipe yields 12 servings 


 ½ cup butter or margarine 

3/4 cup white sugar plus 1 tablespoon 

¼ teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

2 large egg yolks 

2 large egg whites 

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon 

1 teaspoon baking powder 

⅓ cup milk 

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan. 

Cream butter or margarine and 1/2 cup of the sugar until fluffy. Add salt and vanilla. Separate eggs and reserve the whites. Add egg yolks to the sugar mixture; beat until creamy. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour and baking powder; add alternately with milk to egg yolk mixture. 

Coat berries with 1 tablespoon flour and add to batter. 

In a separate bowl, beat whites until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter. 

Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with final 1 tablespoon sugar. 

Bake for 50 minutes, or until cake tests done.


Kate Angell said...

Thank you for showcasing the anthology! Delicious recipes.

Janet Rudolph said...

And thank you and your partners in crime for the delicious post!