Thursday, 23 November 2017

Choffee Cake Recipe

I have had a request to publish the Choffee Cake Recipe from my book 'The Cosy Teashop in the Castle'. I had great fun creating this cake, with the help of my lovely friend Julie - who really did run a castle tea rooms! So here it is. Happy Baking!



Choffee Cake Recipe
14oz (400g) self-raising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
16oz (450g) caster sugar
2oz (50g) cocoa powder – good quality
16oz (450g) soft margarine
8 eggs
2 tbsp coffee essence

Frostings: (See below)
16oz (450g) icing sugar
1.25 oz (30g) cocoa powder
6.5oz (165g) butter
1.5 tbsp coffee essence
For decoration:  Dark and white chocolate curls. (Plus, chocolate coated coffee beans, if you like them.)

You will also need 4 x 20cm (8”) round cake baking pans preferably non-stick, well-greased. With a circle of baking paper popped into the greased base.
Turn oven on to 180C or (160C Fan).

For all-in-one chocolate sponge:

Put 6oz (175g)self-raising flour (sifted), 2oz (50g)cocoa powder (sifted), 1 teaspoon baking powder, 8oz (225g) caster sugar, 8oz (225g) soft margarine, and 4 eggs into a mixing bowl. Beat thoroughly with an electric hand whisk for about 3 minutes, until all the ingredients are fluffy and nicely blended. Pour equally into 2 of your prepared cake tins. Flatten mix a little with a pallet knife.

For all-in-one coffee sponge:

Put 8oz (225g) self-raising flour (sifted), 1 teaspoon baking powder, 8oz (225g )caster sugar, 8oz (225g) soft margarine, and 4 eggs into a mixing bowl. Beat thoroughly with an electric hand whisk for about 3 minutes, until all the ingredients are fluffy and nicely blended. Add 2 tablespoons coffee essence. Pour into the other 2 of your prepared cake tins. Flatten mix a little with a pallet knife.

Bake cakes for 30 – 35mins until nicely risen. Allow to cool slightly then turn out onto wire rack to cool totally.
If they are a little uneven, don’t panic, once turned out  just carefully slice any lumps or bumps away, so they will be able to lie nicely on top of each other!

Chocolate fudge frosting:

2.5 oz (65g) butter
1.2 oz (30g) cocoa powder
3 tbsp  milk
8oz (225g)icing sugar, sifted

Melt the butter in a pan, add the cocoa powder, and cook stirring for one minute. Stir in the milk and icing sugar. Beat well until smooth. Leave to cool until thickened.

Coffee Frosting:

4oz (100g)butter
8oz  (225g) icing sugar
1.5 tablespoons coffee essence

Make sure the butter is softened, beat through the icing sugar and coffee essence (an electric hand whisk ideal for this again), until light and fluffy and well blended.

Layering the cake:

Place a chocolate sponge on a circular cake base or stand. Take half the coffee frosting and spread carefully with a knife over the sponge, checking it reaches to the sides evenly.
* Julie’s star tip - If the frosting is difficult to work with, lifting sponge and sticking to knife, have a mug of boiling water to hand, dip knife in every now and again and hey presto the frosting becomes easy to work with!
Place a coffee sponge on top of that. Then spread with half the chocolate frosting.
Layer another chocolate sponge. Spread with the second half of the coffee frosting.
Top with a coffee sponge. Spread carefully with the remaining chocolate frosting.
DO NOT COVER THE SIDES OF THE CAKE! We should see the layering.

Top with chocolate curls made of both dark and white chocolate, and if you like them about 10 chocolate coffee beans dotted around the edge. Enjoy with friends!




Thursday, 2 November 2017

Come on in to The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop!

Today is publication day for my fifth book - how wonderful is that! And I'm taking you to a fabulous chocolate shop in a fictional Northumberland harbour village, inspired by Craster and Warkworth. 



I had great fun researching all things chocolate for this novel, and the taste testings were just the best! The Chocolate Shop is inspired by the most wonderful chocolate shop/patisserie called Cabosse in the quaint village of Warkworth in my home county of Northumberland. It’s such a cosy, pretty stone-cottage building. Louise Frederique, the owner and chocolatiere was extremely friendly and helpful, answering all my chocolate-making and business questions. 



I also teamed up with a wonderful lady called June, who I met at one of my library talks a while ago for ‘The Cosy Teashop in the Castle’. She mentioned that she used to have a chocolate-making business, and we half-joked that a chocolate shop might be good to write about. I re-contacted her when I was working on ideas for this book. She kindly invited me back to her home, showing me how to temper chocolate and make truffles, as well as seeing some of the chocolate creations she had made, such as the filled ‘hat boxes'.



The love story in this new book touches on grief, with the main character Emma, who has been hurt so badly, she is afraid to love again. I’ll not give too much away, but I really enjoyed writing Emma’s story. And of course, there's the lovely Max, who's a bit of a mash-up of Gerard Butler and Tom Hardy - are you with me on this?!

It's festive, fun, heartwarming, and an ideal book to curl up with on a chilly winter's evening. 

Enjoy and happy reading!

Best wishes,

Caroline x


Monday, 16 October 2017

Date for the Diary - The Berwick Literary Festival 21st Oct 2017

One of the loveliest things about becoming a published author is the chance to meet with readers at events and be able to chat about books and writing.

I am very proud to be have been asked to take part in this year’s Berwick Literary Festival, which as a local author living in Northumberland is particularly special. This is my first literary festival as a writer (on the professional side of the fence!) and I am really looking forward to my joint author event, talking about ‘How to get Published’ and our writing journeys with fellow novelist Stephanie Butland. The talk is to be chaired by Vic Watson - who’s certain to come up with lots of interesting questions and keep us on our toes.

Berwick-upon-Tweed, where the festival is held, is a quaint border town with a dramatic and historic past. Come along and wander its Elizabethan walls, stroll down by the scenic River Tweed and quayside, spend a while in the Slightly Foxed bookshop, or treat yourself to tasty fish and chips or a good cup of coffee and slice of cake. There’s lots to do here as well as the festival. 



My four published novels are all set in Northumberland and I love the vistas, the golden sandy beaches, the castles, rivers, the rolling hills. These inspire my writing and settings. The fantastic Royal Border Railway Bridge and Berwick town centre with its Christmas market feature in my third novel, The Cosy Christmas Teashop.



There have been some great blog features on the lead up to the festival, so take a look at the sites below for more information on what’s on locally and all about the Berwick Literary Festival . There are some fabulous and varied events to come along to, in fact something for everyone:

https://www.berwickliteraryfestival.com/

https://www.berwickliteraryfestival.com/quirks-fate-hard-work-sheer-bloody-mindedness-get-published/

https://www.berwickliteraryfestival.com/wandering-in-berwick/


The ‘How to Get Published’ author event with myself and the lovely Stephanie Butland - I have just finished her latest book 'Lost for Words' which is an absolute gem - is at 10:30am at The Holy Trinity Parish Centre, Berwick-upon-Tweed. See the website above for ticket information.

Come along for a friendly and informative author event. We look forward to meeting you there!

Best wishes,

Caroline x



Thursday, 1 June 2017

Magic Moments!

It's here! Happy Publication Day to 'My Summer of Magic Moments'!



My fourth novel ‘My Summer of Magic Moments’is out today, and this book has a special place in my heart. It’s set on wonderful Bamburgh beach in Northumberland - one of my all-time favourite places, and where I often walk my dog, Meg.



‘My Summer of Magic Moments' is about love, life, loss, family, friends, scars, healing and appreciating those magic moments in life that everyone can experience. It is a heart-warming read, with a very poignant love story at its centre. The main character, Claire, escapes to a seaside cottage having just battled breast cancer. 

A lovely and inspiring friend, Heidi, has helped inform the book, having been through breast cancer herself and she now works for a cancer charity. Her open and honest answers to my questions as I was writing the story and her feedback on the more sensitive scenes has been invaluable, helping me to understand the emotions Claire might feel. Thank you so much, Heidi!



The book is also about making the most of those simple beautiful moments in life. I enjoyed asking friends and family about their magic moments – which were often those special things that money can’t buy. These appear in each chapter of the book. So, what are your magic moments?

One of mine was holding my first ever copy of my debut novel, after over ten years writing, trying to get published and receiving many rejections. It was tough, but I held on to that dream of becoming a published author, I worked hard, learnt along the way, and finally I did it. What a truly magic moment that was!

Thank you to my family and friends for all their ongoing support, my fabulous team at HarperCollins, my agent the lovely Hannah Ferguson, and of course to all my readers and the fabulous book bloggers who are supporting me with the ‘My Summer of Magic Moments’ Blog Tour starting today. There are Q&As, reviews, some pretty muddy charity event photos and more. Full details are on my twitter and Facebook pages: @_caroroberts and www.facebook.com/CarolineRobertsAuthor

I hope you enjoy reading the book! Cheers!


Best wishes,
Caroline x

Saturday, 18 March 2017

My Summer of Magic Moments coming soon

Hi everyone!

I've been busy writing my next novel - a poignant love story set in a cottage on beautiful Bamburgh beach, Northumberland. This is one of my all-time favourite places - a stunning golden sandy beach with a stone castle that dominates the skyline in the dunes. And I'm lucky enough to live just twenty minutes away, so I'm often there walking my dog. It's a place that's very close to my heart.



The page proofs for this novel have just arrived, so this weekend I'll be spending several hours checking them over to make sure it's all ship-shape for publication. The book is to be released on 1st June 2017, and is available on Amazon, and hopefully at several other outlets too. I'll keep you posted.



It's a story that's close to my heart in subject matter as well, about a lady who's had a tough time and been through breast cancer, and is making the most of her seaside escape. I'll not give too much away, but there just happens to be a very gorgeous man in the cottage next door who has hurts and secrets of his own. But the book is very much about the good things in life and those special happy moments - precious times with family, friends and so much more.

I'll be posting the cover image here soon!

Best wishes,

Caroline x

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Cosy Christmas Mint-choc Brownies

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and a very Happy New Year to everyone - hope 2017 is happy and healthy!

Thanks for all the lovely comments on The Cosy Christmas Teashop. I wanted to share the recipe for Ellie's mint-choc brownies (as featured in the book) as they are especially scrummy this time of year with a warming hot chocolate or cuppa.


Ellie’s Mint-Choc Brownies
(Makes 12-16)
170g dark chocolate
170g butter
200g caster sugar
120g light brown sugar
3 eggs
85g plain flour, sifted
55g high quality cocoa powder, sifted
Approx. 12 thin after dinner mints, depending on size. (After Eights are ideal)

Preheat oven to 180C/Gas mark 4. Line a 20x30cm baking time with baking parchment.
Gently melt the chocolate and butter in a pan on a low heat. Set aside to cool.
Whisk the sugars and eggs together, beat vigorously until the mixture is thick, glossy and about three times its volume. Add the butter mix until smooth. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder. Be careful not to overmix.
Spoon half your mixture into the pan, making sure it spreads to the corners. Lay out your after dinner mints on top of the mixture in neat rows. Add the remaining mixture on top, spreading it so the mints are totally covered.
Pop in oven for about 30-35 minutes until the top is firm and just starting to crack - that’s when they’re ready to take out. Test with a skewer to see if comes out almost clean – a couple of times, in case you’ve hit an after dinner mint!
Leave to go cold before cutting into squares, as these are a very gooey brownie. Sorry, you’ll just have to wait! Enjoy!
Best wishes and happy baking!

Caroline x

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Festive fun – The Cosy Christmas Tea Shop is here!

My third novel, The Cosy Christmas Tea Shop, is now released both in paperback and e-books. It’s been a hectic summer writing this book in four months flat, but I’ve had such a lovely response to it so far, with many reviewers saying it’s even better than The Cosy Teashop in the Castle – so that’s just wonderful. Thank you.



And yesterday, the Kindle book actually got to No1 in the Amazon UK Contemporary Fiction Charts. How amazing is that! Really quite incredible if you look back to my posts on the Submission Rollercoaster and Riding the Rejections from just a few years ago. So, it really does go to show, you should never give up on your dreams. Work hard, learn along the way, enjoy what you do (I’ve always loved the actual writing, that’s what kept me going!) and persevere. Like Ellie in the Cosy Teashop stories, keep striving for your dreams – you never quite know where they will lead you.




The Cosy Christmas Tea Shop stays with Claverham Castle. It’s a gorgeous Christmassy love story, with some great new characters for you to meet as well as the old favourites. There are festive cakes and bakes, a Christmas Craft Fayre, a beautiful Christmas Wedding, and lots more happening. It’s the sort of book to curl up with on a cold winter’s night with a hot chocolate and the fire on. And it will certainly put you in the mood for Christmas.



The good news is that there will be more novels from me next year as I’m about to sign a further two book deal with HarperCollins. So you can look forward to a poignant, heart-warming love story set in the stunning village of Bamburgh on the Northumberland coast, with its beautiful golden-sand beach and castle backdrop, and there’s also going to be a further “Cosy” book for the autumn. I have a feeling chocolate will be featuring in this one - I’m really looking forward to doing the research on this book!!

Thanks for reading this blog, enjoying my books, and for all the wonderful support I have received on my writing journey so far!

Best wishes,
Caroline x