Category Archives: publishing

German edition of my Country Living Decorating with White book

A bit of thrill arrived in yesterday’s mail.

New cover for the German edition. I like it.

It’s curious that Busse Collection shortened the title, but didn’t translate it.

Interior page


Author Seeks Tanglewood Picnic Photos for Book

Author Gina Hyams is creating a book titled The Tanglewood Picnic: Music and Outdoor Feasts in the Berkshires. The gift book will celebrate the tradition of picnics held on the Lawn during concerts at Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer campus in Lenox, Massachusetts. The book will be both a charming historic document and inspiration for over-the-top picnic style. It is scheduled for publication summer 2015.

Hyams seeks photos of Tanglewood picnics (both lavish and modest), favorite picnic recipes, outdoor dining tips, and related picnic ephemera (such as invitations and menus) from all eras of the festival’s eight-decade history. Submissions of multiple images are welcome. She is particularly interested to hear from people who have made a beloved tradition of picnicking on the Lawn.

Due to print quality restrictions, only high-resolution images can be considered for inclusion (300dpi+ — either scanned or photographed with an iPhone or digital camera). If you have prints and don’t have access to a scanner, Gina will be happy to scan images and return the originals. Email her at the address below and she’ll send you her snail mail address.

Please note caption information, including as much of the following as is known: date, occasion, names of people in the image, types of foods pictured, the name of the photographer, and estate to credit as necessary.

Please also answer this question: What do you love about Tanglewood picnics?

Include your name, address, and phone number.

Submissions will be considered for both print publication and posting on the project’s blog:

Deadline for submissions: September 30, 2014.

Email submissions to:

Gina Hyams is a Berkshire-based writer and editor who specializes in food, travel, and the arts. She has published eleven books, among them Country Living Decorating with White (Hearst), In a Mexican Garden: Courtyards, Pools, and Open-Air Living Rooms (Chronicle Books), and Pie Contest in a Box: Everything You Need to Host a Pie Contest (Andrews McMeel Publishing). Hyams was a contributing editor to Berkshire Living and a correspondent for Fodor’s Travel Publications. Her essays and articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Newsweek, San Francisco, Organic Style, Ideal Destinations, Healing Lifestyles & Spas, and Salon, as well as broadcast on National Public Radio. For more information, see

Björk: Words to Live By

“When I was asked to do a film about an introverted blind person who thinks heaven is inside a song I said yes, because I was going down that road anyway.”

— Björk (Talk magazine, October 2001)

This quote surfaced when I cleaned my office today. I jotted it down on October 12, 2001 as I thought it mirrored my own career path. It still rings true to me now. For example, this morning somebody contacted me about editing a museum catalogue for an exhibition about cars of the future. Of course my answer is yes.


Praise for Pie Contest in a Box

“Know any competitive bakers? This nifty kit provides everything you need—badges, ribbons, scorecards, and recipes—to find out whose pie really takes the cake.”

–Lindsay Hunt, Real Simple

“a perfect little gift” –Jackie Burrell, San Jose Mercury News

“Pie Contest in a Box offers an incredibly exciting and tasty way to determine pie favorites, while keeping the fun close to home and your heart. There is concise information to guide you through your own contest and essential tools, including pie toppers, scorecards, judge ribbons and four prize ribbons. This is a fun gift and a great way to settle a baking rivalry.” –Anne-Marie Seltzer, Arlington Advocate

“Pie contest glory! Best advice ever…” –Amy Rogers, WFAEats (and here’s a link to Amy’s essay about using the kit.)

“…In this compact little box, you will find a small handbook that packs a big punch, filled with pie-centric chapters, as well as tips and recipes from champion pie bakers (Black Bottom Peanut Butter Mousse Pie anyone?). The box also includes 12 pie toppers, 60 scorecards, five judge ribbons, and four prize ribbons. There are tons of contest theme possibilities: fruit pies, unusual ingredient pies, single flavor pies, meat pies, or pies that use only local ingredients. A pie contest is the perfect activity for your next family-get together, office party, or a night in with friends. Create some new memories—and recipes—and enjoy a slice (or five) of pie!” –Noelle A. DeMarco, Create & Decorate

“Sounds like fun!” –The Cookbook Man, Sarasota Pelican Press

“Pie Contest in a Box: Competitive Baking with a Soul” –Dan Shaw, Rural Intelligence

“…perfect summer cottage activity. Only thing missing is the pie.” –John Tanasychuk, Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel

“Now it’s your turn to put your pie where your mouth is with this clever pie book.” –Diane Cowen and Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle

“I admit, I raised my eyebrows when I unpacked a new gift item called Pie Contest In A Box…Second reaction: Oh, so what. This could be fun. I think I’ll actually use the contents of the box — score sheets, pie toppers, and ribbons — to liven up a contest this summer for my pie-baking kids, or maybe bring it along for a summer vacation with friends. But the handbook in the box is the part that seems the most useful…” –Rebekah Denn, Al Dente

“This sounds like a really fun way to spend a summer afternoon…” –Donna Maurillo,Santa Cruz Sentinel

“Ooohh one of my FAVORITE new items! Hot off the presses…Pie Contest in a Box! It includes everything you need to host a pie contest — what a fun tradition to start for summer!” –Ann Lopatin Cantrell of Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store in Brooklyn, New York

“Gina Hyams has put together a fabulous fun book/gift: Pie Contest in a Box: Everything You Need to Host a Pie Contest. There’s a great book inside, with recipes, pie history, and plenty of inspiration for gathering your friends together to see who can make the best pie. Plus, ribbons! And scorecards! This would be a great party.” –Shauna James Ahern, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef

“So fun! …So, if you love pie…and parties…and contests…I think this is a fabulous kit to get you started.” –Heather,

“Let’s have ribbons fluttering from the sky to all the great pies out there!…This is a truly fun-filled package, and includes the essential tools such as scorecards, flags to i.d. the pies, ribbons to identify judges, and ribbons to award. It would make a great gift for a baker, or a kid – what fun it would be for kids to hold a pie contest this summer! Or how about a pie contest as a neighborhood block party?” –Dorothy Reinhold,

“…could be incredibly useful wherever food markets, block parties, and 4-H fairs thrive.” –Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

“Invite me! To be a judge. My favorite is strawberry-rhubarb. You win.” –Jane Feltes, The Hairpin


Chili Cook-off in a Box Mention in Women’s World

It’s exciting to see Chili Cook-off in a Box start making its way into the world. My husband is amused by the ambiguous grammar of the magazine deeming me an “entertaining expert.”



Interview with Amy “Poor Girl Gourmet” McCoy

Cookbook Author Amy McCoy

As a successful freelance producer for network and cable television, Amy McCoy once enjoyed gourmet food with little concern for price. Then the recession hit and the freelance work all but disappeared. But in the economic downturn, she found her mission: to eat the best food she could while spending as little as possible. To that end, she created her blog, which led to her book, Poor Girl Gourmet. Amy and her husband live on a gentleman’s farm in southeastern Massachusetts.


Gina: Do you have any formal culinary training in your background? How did you develop your recipes?

Amy: I’m a home cook, so all of my training comes from family, reading about food, and from a desire to learn more and improve my technique as I grew older.

When I was a child, my mother’s mother owned an Italian restaurant in Rhode Island, which she and her husband later relocated to my hometown in Massachusetts. My Nana’s recipes were the recipes on the menu, and that was an accomplishment that I really admired as a child. My mother raised four children as a single mother, so eating well on a budget was always a focus in our home, and, because my mother was influenced by her mother, she was also a fabulous cook and baker. The torch – or gas burner flame – was passed on to me, and I started cooking and creating recipes during high school, the first recipe being a recreation of my Nana’s red sauce. I still remember how proud I was when I tasted it and realized that it tasted just like hers.

Throughout college and into adult life, I continued creating recipes. They started out simply–oftentimes more an assemblage of items than a proper recipe, like a favorite dish from my early 20s, tortellini with pesto, broccoli, and shrimp, which used frozen tortellini and jarred pesto–and as my technique improved, so did my recipes.

Some recipes, such as that first recreation of my Nana’s red sauce, are inspired by dishes my family makes, while others are inspired by meals that I’ve eaten at restaurants, or are centered around a particular flavor that I’m craving, or a vegetable in my garden, or the season.

So I may start thinking, ‘you know, that butternut squash that’s in the cold cellar would be good with Italian sausage. Oh, and I still have sage from the garden, too.’ Which leads me to Rigatoni with Roasted Butternut Squash with Italian Sausage and Fried Sage.

Or I crave my mother’s meatballs, and update them with my own touches for Mom’s Meatballs and Not My Nana’s Red Sauce. Or after eating pea puree as a side dish in a restaurant, it inspires me to think of other uses for pea puree–and that leads to Pea Puree Lasagnette. I think inspiration can come from anywhere, really, and that’s one of the most exciting things about developing recipes–it’s a creative process, so it satisfies that desire to create (which I always seem to be carrying around with me), and then you get to share it with your friends and family for them to enjoy, too. What could be better?

Gina: What surprised you about the process of adapting your blog posts to book form?

Amy: Because I knew that I wasn’t writing a memoir with recipes from the outset, there wasn’t a lot of surprise in writing the book. On the blog, I tend to write long, storytelling posts that are followed by a recipe. For the book, I knew that an involved introduction to a recipe wasn’t what the reader would expect, so the headnotes were greatly whittled down–rather than reading two pages of story, there are maybe two paragraphs–and because the majority of the recipes were developed for the book, they hadn’t appeared on the blog, so it was easy to adjust my writing style to be more along the lines of the expected cookbook format–a brief (or as brief as I can muster!) introduction, followed by the recipe.

One really wonderful aspect of writing the book was that my editor at Andrews McMeel, Lane Butler, gave me the freedom to keep the conversational style I use in the recipe methods on the blog for the recipe methods in the book. This also allowed me to keep my personality in the writing without having those long, storytelling introductions. And ending up with a 500 page, 82-recipe cookbook.

Gina: It’s challenging to eat well on a budget during winter in New England. What sorts of dishes do you focus on when the farmers’ markets aren’t in season?

Amy: We are really, really, really fortunate to have a fabulous wintertime farmers’ market nearby in Rhode Island, so we are able to get excellent quality, locally-grown, inexpensive produce throughout the winter. The Providence Wintertime Farmers Market is held in an old factory building in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, which is just 15 minutes from our house, and every type of root vegetable is available, along with other good winter keepers, so I’m able to get not-so-perfect apples from the local orchard for $1.00 per pound, or a head of cabbage for a dollar, and winter greens for $2.50 to $3.00 per bunch. My husband and I also grow a lot of food in our garden, so we have enough potatoes to get through the winter, along with winter squashes, though if we were to buy those items at the wintertime farmers market, they’re still inexpensive.

I know that there are skeptics who feel that shopping at the farmers’ market is more expensive than the grocery store, but even in the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City, I found the prices to be reasonable: apples for $1.00 to $1.49 per pound, bunches of fresh herbs for a dollar, and winter greens for $2.49 a bunch.

The key to shopping at the farmers’ market on a budget is to know that you won’t be buying specialty items, like morels, or ramps, or asparagus. Instead, stay focused on the basics, like onions, apples, cabbage, winter squash, and kale during the winter, and summer squash, zucchini, corn, and tomatoes (just be sure to select a variety that works for your budget) during the summer. And definitely try to grow something on your own, even just one potted herb. This winter, our rosemary plant is working wonders for us by adding flavor to roasts and soups, and because we paid less than $3.00 for the baby plant last spring, we’ve more than made our money back. Treated properly, this rosemary plant will keep on giving for years to come.

Gina: What are your favorite cookbooks?

Amy: I love Donna Hay’s cookbooks and magazine. Her approach to cooking is simple, with clean flavors, and I love that she comes up with work-arounds for dishes that are considered time-consuming or difficult, such as oven-baked risotto and blender Bearnaise sauce. Her food styling is also stunning, and makes for a great, end of a long day, soothing and inspiring glance.

Sicilian cooking fascinates me, and I really enjoy British food writer Clarissa Hyman’s Cucina Siciliana. Her recipes are easy to follow and the photography is lush. The whole book makes me want to spend many, many months in Sicily, cooking and taking photographs.

Gina: What are you working on now?

Amy: It’s been a whirlwind since Poor Girl Gourmet came out last summer, and I’m still doing events in support of the book, which I love. It’s so much fun to get out into different places and chat about food with other people who love good food. I do hope to follow up with another cookbook soon, and am currently exploring freelance writing and recipe development work, all while working on the blog, and eating well, of course!

Pie Author Headshots: You Be the Judge

My daughter’s pal Peter Boyce snapped these photos yesterday. Which one of these shots says “pie”?

with glasses

no glasses

sideways glance


Interview with Daniel May, Author of “Chemo Honeymoon”

Author Daniel May has enjoyed a broad range of life experiences–college football kicking specialist, indoor rowing competitor, martial artist, wine expert, restaurateur, and truck driver, to name just a few. In January of 2008, he drove six hundred miles to make dinner for Andrea, his high school sweetheart with whom he’d recently reconnected via the Internet after more than 30 years. A week later, she asked him to marry her. And then they found out that he had Hodgkin Lymphoma. His new memoir, Chemo Honeymoon: A Romantic Medical Odyssey, recounts their whirlwind rekindled romance, PET-scans, CT-scans, biopsies, exploratory surgery, wedding, and Berkshires honeymoon tucked in between medical procedures.

Danny and Andrea on their wedding day.

Gina: What’s your writing background previous to this book?

Danny: I wrote two wine books and several years’ worth of monthly wine articles for Berkshire HomeStyle magazine. Wine really lends itself to writing—we can transcribe music and chemical reactions for posterity, and record events with photos and film; however, we are limited to language when it comes to memorializing the taste of a particular wine.

Gina: Did you keep a journal during your cancer treatments? When did you decide to write the memoir and why?

Danny: No, I didn’t keep a journal, per se, but I started writing the actual book early on. My family insisted that I do so after I described to them the particulars of my bone marrow biopsy. I have a compulsive need to understand the underlying science of everything around me, and so I read as much as I could understand about cancer treatments. My doctors were very helpful with this. And after going to such lengths to explain cancer to myself, I wanted to share what I had learned with my fellow patients and their families. When it comes to things like cancer, knowledge often displaces fear.

Gina: Why did you decide to self-publish and how has the experience been for you so far? What company did you work with?

Danny: As you know, literary agents have long been the gatekeepers. They are also scared to death, I have reason to suspect, about the potential implications of e-publishing. Perhaps because of this, I couldn’t get even one agent to read a single page of Chemo Honeymoon. And when I have worked with agents and editors in the past, I’ve seen my work manipulated beyond recognition. An old girlfriend who works in the publishing industry suggested Amazon’s new Createspace program to me… “the wave of the future,” she called it. And so I am selling my actual words in their raw, unedited state, printed to order by Amazon. They’ve been terrific to work with!

Gina: You decided to stay in the Berkshires for your cancer treatments rather than go to Boston or New York. It does seem that a lot of people here are under the impression that they have to go to a city for quality care when faced with catastrophic illness. Please tell me about your decision and medical experience here.

Danny: Being treated in the Berkshires wasn’t completely by choice. Simply put, I couldn’t afford to miss the time at work that commuting to Boston or New York would have required. But I soon realized that decades of research and high-speed e-communication has made it possible for oncologists in outlying regions like the Berkshires to offer a level of treatment identical to that offered in the big cities. I also figured out that my doctors were highly respected in their specialties. I had a lot of confidence in them.

Gina: You write about Guido’s customers’ sometimes-inappropriate comments when you lost your hair during chemo. I remember seeing you behind the fish counter during that time and registering your illness and, since we don’t know each other well, not knowing what, if anything, to say. I also remember seeing you in line at Fuel Coffee Shop, after your hair started growing back, and feeling compelled to speak up and tell you that you looked good. Great Barrington is a small town. What is the proper cancer etiquette?

Danny: When in doubt, don’t say anything unless you have cancer yourself and perhaps recognize someone from the chemo salon. If you are close enough friends that you should know, they will have told you already. By the way, I once tried to commiserate with a bald man who turned out to be just bald.

Danny undergoing a cancer treatment.

Gina: You mention in the book that pink champagne is your favorite wine. Please tell me about the kind you like best and what it tastes like. When did you first experience it? (I love, by the way, your sommelier description of barium sulfate.)

Danny: I’ll never forget my first sip of Domaine Chandon “Blanc de Noirs” in 1981. 100% Pinot Noir… Varietally-correct Californian fruitiness with bubbles imparted by the traditional French methode champenoise. Now they also bottle a pinker-yet “Brut Rosé.” I also love Mumm Cuvée Napa Blanc de Noir and Gruet’s New Mexico bottlings. It seems that these French champagne houses operating in the US have the upper hand in this category.

Gina: You served “Rebecca’s Breads” at your wedding reception, calling her “the pre-eminent guerilla baker in the Berkshires.” What does it mean to be a guerilla baker and where can I find her?

Danny: Rebecca baked drop-dead fabulous breads in her home oven… very unofficial vis-à-vis the governmental authorities that regulate such things. She did all her business by email, personal delivery, and cash. From what I hear, she no longer bakes. It’s the Berkshires’ loss.

Gina: If the movie rights sell to Chemo Honeymoon, who should play you and Andrea?

Danny: Laura Leighton (of Melrose Place) should play Andrea; they are actually  second cousins. Me? I can’t say. I’m not much of a film or TV buff, so anyone I could think of would be too big a star to play an “everyman.” Brad Pitt would definitely be overkill.

Drums Girls & Dangerous Pie (Brilliant Title and Book Cover)

I don’t know anything about this young adult novel beyond the fact that I love its title and cover. Here’s a review.

Interview with “Booze Cakes” Authors Krystina Castella and Terry Lee Stone

This interview may be considered treasonous by pie people, but please forgive me because I’m not talking just any cakes–I’m talking Booze Cakes. Mint Julep Cupcakes! Salty-sweet Honey Spice Beer Cake! Piña Colada Cake! Jägermeister-powered Deutsch German Chocolate Cake! This new Quirk Books cookbook by Krystina Castella and Terry Lee Stone is a good time.

Krystina Castella

Krystina Castella enjoys creating books and products that inspire play. She is especially obsessed with playing in the kitchen and sharing recipes with others that are tasty and beautiful. Krystina is the author of Crazy about Cupcakes (Sterling 2006), Crazy about Cookies (Sterling 2010), Pops! Icy Treats for Everyone (Quirk Books, 2008) A World of Cake (Storey Publishing, 2010) and co-author of Booze Cakes (Quirk Books, 2010). She is also co-author/ photographer of the children’s book Discovering Nature’s Alphabet (Heyday 2006). She lives and works near Los Angeles as a writer, industrial designer, and professor at Art Center College of Design.

Terry Lee Stone

Terry Lee Stone is a design management consultant and writer who loves all aspects of design — whether the delivery media is paper, screens, cake, or yarn. She has worked with top U.S. design firms. For over 12 years she taught the business of design at the California Institute of the Arts, Art Center College of Design, and Otis College of Art and Design. She is the author of several books on graphic design, but Booze Cakes is her first cookbook. Active in the graphic design industry, she has written for design magazines; served on the Board of Directors of the AIGA; and has presented lectures and workshops for numerous creative organizations. She also blogs daily about her knitting obsession at Terry lives with her husband and their pugs in the Studio City section of Los Angeles, in the Brady Bunch’s old neighborhood.


Gina:  Whose idea was Booze Cakes? Can you pinpoint the moment of inspiration?

Terry: Krystina and I both were both teaching at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena CA, and she was a consistent guest lecturer in my class. After several terms of hearing her talk about her cool cookbook projects, I knew I wanted to work with her. So while making my mom’s 1970s-era Harvey Wallbanger Cake one night, it hit me that the world really needed was a Renaissance in boozy baking. And I knew Krystina and I were just the people to kick it off with a book.

Krystina: When I wrote Crazy About Cupcakes (Sterling Publishing), I developed “Cocktail Cupcakes” and did a lot of experimenting with booze and cake recipes. My inspiration was thinking about a dessert party like a cocktail party. I was learning tons more about the history of alcohol infused cakes and baking while writing my soon to be released book A World of Cake (Storey Publishing). I expanded on this experimentation with Booze Cakes.

Gina:  How did the two of you come to collaborate on the book?

Krystina: As Terry said, we met teaching at Art Center College of Design. I have been a professor of there for 18 years. I teach Industrial design and materials explorations. Terry is a graphic designer and had been teaching creative business for many years both at Art Center and CalArts. Terry knew I was a cookbook author and approached me with the idea to do a cookbook called Booze Cakes. I told her I loved the title and we began collaborating.

Terry: I knew it was a “go” when she broke out laughing at the title!

Jelly Cake Shots

Gina:  What was your creative process like?

Terry: One of the interesting things about our development process was that we linked up new combinations of alcohol type + baking style + physical structure of the cakes. Since we’re both designers and very visual people, we sort of instinctively combined tastes and shapes first.

Krystina: We created an outline for the book including the chapter topics and then had frequent meetings at my house to brainstorm recipe ideas. We each chose recipes to test and expand on and reported back to each other with the results. Our favorites were chosen for the book.

Terry: We each had our “To-Do List” in terms of the cakes. When we swapped recipes, I think it really inspired us on to push our ideas further. It was always a bit of a surprise to see how the other person took the concept and ran with it. Very fun.

Gina:  You don’t mention professional culinary training in your bios. How did you each learn to bake?

Krystina: I have been cooking, baking and developing recipes all of my life. When I sold my manufacturing company in 2000 I had much more free time on my hands and immersed myself into educating myself through reading about baking technique, fine tuning and developing new recipes. I took a great class at UCLA on writing cookbooks and took several other non-fiction writing classes. I developed a process and approach to baking and cooking that is very much like how I approach to design giving my recipes an easy to approach attitude and playful personalities. I have since written 5 cookbooks and when you are testing recipes to include in a cookbook you fine-tune each recipe by baking it over and over.  That is the best culinary training you can get. I have made thousands of cakes, cupcakes, popsicles and cookies over the last few years.

Terry: I’m really just a designer who loves to cook. Initially I learned baking from my mother and Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook For Boys and Girls. A seminal work, right?

From there, I indulged my sweet tooth and refined my skills by reading many books, practicing, and lots and lots of trial and error! Happily, even my mistakes and cake wrecks are usually pretty yummy. My philosophy is basically: “Have fun, it’s just cake.”

Gina:  Did you call on recipe testers to fact check your boozy creations to ensure they’d work for readers?

Krystina: We each did our own testing. I had my students taste test them after class.  I teach grad students so they are all over 21. After the final recipes were selected Quirk had a recipe tester make sure they were AOK.

Terry: My friends ate lots of cake and rated each one, plus I had some of them try making the recipes as well. Our editor, Margaret McGuire, also made and tested cakes, then shared her baking experiences.

Gina:  Who took the photos and where? The art direction is beautiful.

Krystina: Thank you. Quirk Books designer Jenny Kraemer designed and art directed the book. Our editor collaborated with us, Jenny, and photographer Daniel Kukla (who happens to be a dedicated home baker himself). Together, they managed to shoot pictures of more than forty boozy cakes within a few days.

The photographs have a very cozy, homey quality because they were actually taken in the homes of Jenny and Margaret (and their generous friends’ homes) in Philadelphia and New York. They found lovely vintage cake plates, cocktail glasses, tablecloths, and linens that matched the book’s color scheme at the flea market in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In fact, the book’s color scheme is inspired by the retro palette of Mad Men and the fashionable era of classic booze cakes that Betty Draper might’ve baked. And they didn’t fake it: All the confections in the photographs were baked from scratch.

German Black Forest Cupcakes

Gina:  I was surprised to read that it’s a misconception that alcohol burns off entirely when cooked. Can you talk about the techniques that give cakes more or less kick?

Krystina: The kick comes from adding the alcohol to the batter before baking. More kick comes from soaking the cake in alcohol after it is baked- and adding alcohol to the frosting or topping. The cake is like a sponge and soaks it all up.

Terry: You’ll find a “Booze Meter” indication on each of our recipes. Then you can always add more hootch if you are into it.

Gina:  The book is laced with lots of fun cocktail trivia. What did you find to be the best historic cocktail resources?

Krystina: For me, my father in law Olaf was the best resource.  He was a bartender before during ww1 and through prohibition and he always talked about it with his fondest memories. He passed away at 101 last year and left me with some great bartending stories and trivia.

Terry: I’m not gonna lie: I come from a long line of booze lovers. However, I did do quite a bit of research. There is a lot of history and lore about drinking— lots of interesting stuff there.

Gina:  I was especially amused by the cakes inspired by 80s cocktails. Please tell my readers about your recipe for Peachy Keen Fuzzy Navel Cupcakes with its many Regan era variations.

Peachy Keen Fuzzy Navel Cupcakes

Krystina: The cocktail cakes are really fun to create because essentially you are mixing multiple ingredients in the batter in a similar fashion that you mix a cocktail. There are more elements to play with and create with then with cocktails. Plus garnishing cakes is just as fun as garnishing drinks!

Where did the name came from? In 1994-95 I owned one of the first designer shopping sites on line called where I sold products by young designers. I’ve always loved the term “peachy keen,” and it fit so well with fuzzy navel, I named the cupcakes after that.

Terry: You’re definitely going to make people happy by just telling them the names of the variations on that cake. Who doesn’t want Sex-On-The-Beach?

Tequila Sunrise Cake

Gina:  Is “Booze Pies” next?

Krystina: Sounds like a good idea. I have already made a Kahula cream pie, a Margarita pie and a black cherry kirsch pie. I love pie as much as cake. Besides A World of Cake, I also Crazy About Cookies (sterling 2010) coming out soon.

Terry: “Booze Pies”— that’s wacky. Stay tuned! In addition to Booze Cakes, I’ve got a new design book series: Managing the Design Process: Concept Development (Rockport 2010) and Managing the Design Process: Implementing Design (Rockport 2010) being published this year.

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