Tuesday, April 6, 2010

TONIGHT: The Icing on the Cupcake at BookPeople.

Good morning, do you like cupcakes? Of course you like cupcakes. Silly question.

Tonight, 7pm at BookPeople, author, former Wall Street Journal reporter and fabulous Austinite Jennifer Ross will host a party for her new novel, The Icing on the Cupcake.  Did any of you ever see the movie Waitress, with Keri Russell? (I LOVED THAT MOVIE). The plot premise for Icing reminds me of that one, especially the parts where the main character mixes up pies for various stress-relief situations, i.e. "I Don't Want Earl's Baby Pie."  Teehee.

Anyway, because Icing follows the model of food-centered story plots, like Waitress with pie, and Sideways with wine, Ross spent over a year testing cupcake recipes, interviewing bakery owners and collaborating with a professional baker to help write this book. At the BookPeople party, there will be a live cupcake contest, and complimentary cupcake-inspired cocktails by Tito's Vodka and ModMix.

Jennifer stopped by to do an interview with Eavesdropper, and give us the scoop on her new book!  Check it out below, then tell us what your favorite cupcake is.

My fave? Chocolate. Naturally.

Hey Jennifer! Welcome to Austin Eavesdropper. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I've written in some form professionally for ten years. I worked for the student newspaper in college (and got paid!), the Dallas Morning News, and the Wall Street Journal. Then I started writing books. This is my first novel.

I have three children -- 3, 2 and 1 years old. It's an insane but fun home.

I'm attending acupuncture school and some day I will graduate. I do a little at a time.

Why cupcakes? They are such an alluring, almost iconic piece of culinary culture right now - but what inspired you to write a book?

The book started with my grandmother. She was mean, for good reason. Her mother was a brothel owner in Denver and sent my grandmother to boarding school in New York. My grandmother was Jewish and the school was Catholic. Anyway she wouldn't teach me how to knit because I was left-handed but she would teach me to bake. That was how we connected.

After I had my own children I kept going back to the idea of baking as a way to tie family together. What it means when you make a meal for someone. How it shows love. Cupcakes evoke memories of childhood and love for all of us so choosing them was a great way to heighten the feelings I was tapping into.

Give us a teensy synopsis of the story.

This is the publisher's synopsis. It might be a little cutesy but they do a good job.

In Ansley Waller's world of Southern belles and gentlemen, getting a diamond ring isn't just important--it's the ultimate goal. So when her fiance, Parish, unceremoniously kicks her to the curb and cancels their upcoming wedding, Ansley is so ashamed that she decides to leave Dallas and make a fresh start. In a surprise move, she heads to New York City to live with her recently widowed grandmother, Vivian, whom she's never met. In turn, Vivian gives Ansley a no-nonsense ultimatum: Rather than wallow in misery, either get a job or go home.

The Waller women have a tradition of baking their way out of sorrow. So Ansley mixes batch after batch of creative cupcakes--Black Bottom Heartache, Moving Blues Banana Caramel, Tres Leches Made Small. Before long, she's opening up her own cupcake shop and even trying her hand at dating. But the ways of Manhattan's eligible bachelors are altogether different from their Southern counterparts, and Ansley's nearly fail-safe tactics fall flat. And worse, someone's got a half-baked scheme to sabotage Ansley's new life. It'll take a cup of courage and a dash of Southern charm, plus a few secret ingredients, if Ansley hopes to pull off her recipe for success.

That sounds like a dishy, delicious read. We just have one more question, Jennifer. What is your favorite cupcake? 

Chocolate cupcakes with orange frosting.

All photos (save the book cover) credited to the amazing Cory Ryan at Eye Candy Austin.


Austin Eavesdropper said...

I'd like to comment on my own post here, by saying that the chocolate cupcake with PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING at Quacks Bakery (43rd & Duval) is orgasmic, should anyone be looking for specific cupcake suggestions. That is all!

Anonymous said...

Chocolate chip with espresso icing. Totally.

Breanna said...

Chocolate cupcake, vanilla buttercream frosting. DONE.

Peggy said...

The chocolate with peanut butter icing at Lick It, Bite It, Or Both (Kramer/Burnet) is also amazing. Has mini choc chips & chopped peanuts on it.

I think carrot cake would be my always favorite though. I love trying new flavors but I have yet to try a bad carrot cake variation. (Maybe it's the cream cheese icing.)

Hipstercrite said...

Tolly, great piece! The book sounds delightful. I wish I could make it to Bookpeople tonight! :(
I think my favorite cupcakes are from this bakery in Santa Monica, CA that I can't remember the name of. They had...No! No! Wait!
I know what cupcake it is!
It's the Mr. Natural Vegan Mint Chocolate Cupcake.
Yay Austin!

Austin Eavesdropper said...


Austin Eavesdropper said...

LOL, I accidentally just HTML-wrecked my own comment. What I meant to say was: YOU GUYS ARE MAKING ME DROOL!

Marie said...

I am going to go with the Sweet Potato Cupcakes, with Maple Icing. I tried it at a party The Cupcake Bar was sponsoring. Soooooooo delish!

Seasoned with Words said...

I died laughing when I read "I Don't Want Earl's Baby Pie." Absolutely love that movie. I'm definitely going to check out this book! My favorite cupcake at the moment is Grasshopper.

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@Marie - EEK! I've had those!! So so delicious. Good call.

@Seasoned with Words - Isn't it a wonderful little flick? I adored it, too.

What is this Grasshopper cupcake you speak of?