Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spring Decadence: Salad Cancels Cupcakes, Right? :-) By Shirley Jump

Around Easter, almost every year, I have a little brunch with my friends. I like to pair something light with something decadent, which is where this combination came from. It’s the Diet Coke and fries theory—one cancels the other, right?

Years ago, I had come across a recipe for Insalata Rustica in Bon Appetit–on that page where people write in about their favorite place they ate at, and ask for the recipe. Long story short, the reviews were right. The Insalata Rustica was AWESOME. The only change I made was adding chunks of fresh mozzarella cheese (not the soft white kind, the firmer kind you buy in a hunk). I like cheese and I like cheese with my prosciutto. So I added extra. It’s a really good entertaining recipe, too. Looks GORGEOUS on the plate (my pic doesn’t do it justice) and is just the right combo of sweet and savory.

Now for my ALL TIME EVER FAVORITE CUPCAKES. And that’s saying a lot, given that I will drive an hour out of my way for a good chocolate or salted caramel cupcake. These are Ina Garten’s recipe (the Barefoot Contessa) and they are DIVINE.

These carrot cupcakes…I can’t even begin to say enough good about them. They were worth every step. Even the little decorative carrot shavings on top (which get cooked in maple syrup!) were worth it. If you like carrot cupcakes or carrot cake, you MUST try these. I know my picture there is a bit blurry, but that’s because I was in such a hurry to eat them ;-)

The review for the cupcakes on Better Homes and Gardens said that person had burning issues with their stove. I had no such trouble, so I wonder if it was their stove, or what. Mine turned out perfectly, with just the teeniest bit of crunchiness on top. Perfection. Link to the recipe here.

FYI, the recipe says it makes 22. I got 24 out of the batter, and had extra frosting leftover. Yeah, I know, real bummer on the frosting. Really had to force myself to eat it ;-)

I think I can pretend these are good breakfast foods. I mean, they have raisins and carrots in them. Cream cheese is a dairy. That’s good, right? :-)

Hope your spring is awesome and wonderful! And if you’re looking for a decadent read, check out the next book in my Sweetheart Sisters series: THE SWEETHEART RULES (warning: shameless plug to follow):

The Sweetheart Sisters are ready to give some old-school lessons in love…

Rescue Bay veterinarian Diana Tuttle is a great single mom, but she has a harder time taking care of herself. Having been burned in the past by her son’s noncommittal father, the last thing she wants is a man who isn’t in it for the long haul—until a foolish one-night stand from her past walks back into her life.

Coast Guard Lieutenant Mike Stark has never wanted to settle down. But when his ex-wife leaves their two small children on his doorstep, he is forced to become a family man in a hurry. His return to Rescue Bay, Florida and fatherhood isn’t easy, but reconnecting with Diana makes the challenge all the more worthwhile. Except becoming the long-term lover she has in mind may be one commitment too many…

Luckily, when Diana’s and Mike’s pasts begin to threaten their future, the Sweetheart Sisters have the perfect scheme to make this second chance last a lifetime.

Buy it here or in a bookstore near you! And read an awesome review here, if you’re so inclined :-)

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway. Tell me, what’s your favorite spring recipe? Anything decadent? Or do you go healthy with that eek-it’s-almost-swimsuit-season attitude?


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump spends her days writing romance and women's fiction to feed her shoe addiction and avoid cleaning the toilets. She cleverly finds writing time by feeding her kids junk food, allowing them to dress in the clothes they find on the floor and encouraging the dogs to double as vacuum cleaners.

Look for her Sweet and Savory Romance series, including the USA Today bestselling book, THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE, on Amazon and Nook, and the debut of her Sweetheart Club series for Berkley, starting with THE SWEETHEART BARGAIN in September 2013.

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Visit her website at or read recipes and life adventures at


donna L said...

Love those cupcakes. Sound delicious. Used to make them when in my 20's.

Shirley Jump said...

Thank you, Donna!