Celebrate Election Day with Cake!


election day cake piece

If you are like me, you are eagerly awaiting Tuesday and Election Day. In the past, Election Day was treated as a celebration and they celebrated with cake, of course! I first became aware of election day cakes when I was brainstorming ideas for my Boxcar Children book with an election plot, THE ELECTION DAY DILEMMA.

election day dilemma

Original Election Day cakes were more like a cross between a ginger-spiced bread and a fruitcake, and the recipes called for yeast to make the bread rise. I don’t like cooking with yeast and I’m not crazy about fruitcakes so I decided to do my own, much easier version. This is basically gingerbread with a glaze and it’s perfect for all and Election Day.

So without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Cake Ingredients

1 1/2 cups boiling water

1 cup unsulfured light molasses (not blackstrap)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan

1 cup packed dark-brown sugar (light brown sugar could be substituted)

1 large egg

1/3 cup golden raisins or other dried fruit

Glaze ingredients

2 cups confectioners’ sugar plus ½ cup (set aside)

2 to 4 Tbsp water or milk

¼ tsp vanilla

Whisk together adding liquid slowly until the desired consistency


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees with a rack set in the center. Generously butter two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Boil water in a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl, then stir molasses until molasses has completely dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and salt.
  4. Using an electric mixer, mix butter and brown sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add egg; mix until combined.
  5. When molasses/water mixture is cool, add flour mixture to butter/sugar/egg mixture, alternating with the molasses mixture, scraping down sides as necessary. Stir in raisins or other dried fruit. Batter will be very wet. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

They will look like this:

election day cakes before frosting

6. when cakes have cooled, place one layer on serving plate, cover with glaze, top with second layer, cover with remaining glaze. When ready to serve, sift or sprinkle set aside confectioners’ sugar over the top. (The glaze will soak into the cake as it sits, making it nice and moist, but you won’t be able to see it. That’s why you want the extra sugar for the top.)

election day cake finished


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STAR WARS May the 4th be with you!

Star Wars dessertsSince I love almost all things STAR WARS, I also love Star Wars Day, May 4th. This year I’m planning to watch a few of the movies, so food to go along will just add to the occasion. I’ve got a recipe for the blue fudge below, inspired by one of the early scenes in the first Star Wars movie, A NEW HOPE. As a writer of sci fi, I’m interested in the world building that goes into creating an alternate universe. Food can play a big part of world building. It’s not a huge part of Star Wars, but who can forget the blue milk in that first movie? Seeing it helped make moviegoers aware that Tatooine was a strange place, not just a desert similar to Earth.

Remember Aunt Beru? The scene with the milk is one where Luke first mentions hearing about Obi Wan Kenobi. It’s the smallest of details, but that’s what world building is all about.

aunt beru pous

The blue milk comes from bantha, mammoth-like creatures that the sand people use for transportation.

star wars bantha

It’s never explained who milks a bantha, but that’s just a fun detail we can leave to our imaginations.

So back to desserts to make. If the milk on Tatooine is blue, then desserts can be blue too.

I made a very easy fudge, which actually turned out to not only look interesting but tasted good too. I wanted it to taste unusual (after all we’re talking alternate universe here) so I added cardamon to the recipe, not something normally used with white chocolate.

star wars fudge I used chopped pistachio nuts on top because I hoped the green color of them would show up more than they did, but any sort of nut, dried fruit, or candy could be used.

Blue Bantha Fudge

butter for greasing the pan

3 cups white chocolate chips

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

Blue food coloring

1/2 tsp ground cardamon

chopped nuts or other toppings of your choice.

Grease an 8″ by 8″ square pan with the butter. Mix the white chocolate chips and the sweetened condensed milk in a microwave-safe pan. Heat at 30 second intervals until the chips are melted. Stir until smooth. Stir in the food coloring and the cardamon. Spread the mixture in the pan. Top with nuts. Refrigerate until smooth. Cut into squares or other shapes. Store covered in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

If you want an even easier dessert, there is always blue jello, and jello always tastes better with whipped cream:

Star wars jello

May the Force be With You! And if you are looking for young adult science fiction inspired by Star Wars, check out my Torch World series:



Station Fosaan trilogy cover small for wordpressScientists and their families stationed on the remote planet of Fosaan were promised a tropical vacation-like experience. But Fosaan, devastated from an apocalyptic event nearly 300 years ago, is full of lethal predators and dangerous terrain. Earthers are forbidden to go beyond the safety zone of their settlement and must not engage the remaining reclusive Fosaanians, native to the planet. 16-year-old Quinn Neen is about to do both of those things. During an unsanctioned exploration of the planet, Quinn discovers a beautiful Fosaanian girl named Mira stealing food from his family’s living unit. But before he can convince her to show him around, scientists are taken captive, leaving Quinn and the other young Earthers at the mercy of space raiders. Quinn must go from renegade to leader and convince Mira to become an ally in a fight against an enemy whose very existence threatens their lives and the future of Earthers stuck on Fosaan and at home.


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REYET TRAP is out! Book 2 of the Torch World series, Young Adult Science Fiction

Reyet Trap medium I’m delighted to announce that REYET TRAP is now out in the world. I had a terrific time writing it and adding to the Torch World universe:

Quinn Neen and his friends have survived the uprising and the ruthless Fosaanian leader’s attempt to kill them, but the galaxy is still hurtling toward war. With just a few days before Quinn starts his mandatory military training, he plans to spend the time with Mira, the Fosaanian girl he’s in love with. When a mysterious message forces them on a journey to an isolated planet of Reyet, Quinn’s plans quickly change. A coup on Reyet throws everything into chaos, leaving Quinn and Mira evading enemies they know, and some they don’t, including the planet itself. Now, time is running out for Earth, Fosaan, and Reyet, and there may be no place left in the galaxy that’s safe.

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Crayon Halloween Pumpkin – Impressionist Art?

So this didn’t turn out quite like the pictures I’d seen, but it was fun to try. Like many craft projects you find on the internet, the instructions l read left out a few details.  They made it seem easy-melt crayons with a hairdryer and Viola! Pretty Pumpkin!

Okay, first problem -crayons don’t melt all that easily. I put some on a plate and microwaved them for 20 seconds at a time until they were starting to melt but not too soft that I couldn’t pick them up. They were microwaved for about two minutes all together. I used Crayola brand crayons. I wonder if cheaper ones would have melted faster.


Second problem- a hair dryer just blows the crayons off the pumpkin, even soft melty ones. If I was going to do this again, I’d glue down the pumpkins with a hot glue gun, but if you do this, you’ll have to work fast, because your softened crayons won’t stay soft for long.

Third problem- We have an old hair dryer. It was obviously going to take a long time to get the crayons to melt. For some reason, my husband just happened to have a heat gun and that went much faster. You just have to be careful not to char the pumpkin.


Worth it? Yes, at least with the heat gun. If we hadn’t had that, I might have given up or just melted the crayons and smeared them all over the pumpkin for a different look.

Finished project:

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World Building and Food in Science Fiction: EASY Star Trek Desserts

No matter what worlds we explore in science fiction, if there are humans involved, food will be important. While different cultures’ diets and food availability affect people’s views of what is a special occasion food, I’m sticking with sweets for these Star Trek desserts. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that even on present-day Earth, there is an immense variety of what are labeled desserts, so when you are writing science fiction, you can move way beyond your own cultural standards.

My previous post, linked at the bottom of this one,  was a menu and recipes for a Star Trek-themed dinner, but the post was so long,  I decided to put the desserts in a separate post.

The desserts are based on two desserts show in the “Liaisons” episode from THE NEXT GENERATION.

Tarvokian Powder Cake:

and Ktarian Chocolate Puff

I decided it would be fun to make individual servings of desserts that looked somewhat like these, all the better to eat while watching STAR TREK. My main criterium is that they would be very, very easy to make, or better yet, buy and put together. What I came up with actually involves no cooking.

First, and easiest of the two is a copycat Tarvokian Powder Cake.

The whitest cake I could think of is angel food cake, which also cuts very easily. I bought your standard cake and then trimmed off the outer layer.


I could have frosted it, but angel food cake is good unfrosted. Another possibility would be to dust it with confectioners sugar, but that would add to the sweetness. Not necessarily a bad thing, just something to be aware of. I cut it into a wedge shape, but you could get creative

The Ktarian Chocolate Puff took a little more work. They supposedly had seventeen different kinds of chocolate in them, but we can still get something that tastes good with less variety of chocolate. Here are the ingredients:

Chocolate brownies from the grocery store bakery. If your grocery store doesn’t sell these, Entenmann’s Little Bites chocolate muffins might work, though they’d be small.

Chocolate-covered marshmallow cookies. You want something dome-shaped.

Chocolate sauce that forms a hard shell when refrigerated.

A chocolate bar or small chocolates that can be cut into triangles. I used a Lindt chocolate bar which was a bit difficult to cut because it was too thick. I’m thinking Andes Mints would work better.

Parchment paper or waxed paper to make them on.

Step 1: Line a plate or a tray with parchment paper. Stack the marshmallow cookie on top of the brownie. The marshmallow cookie in the photo doesn’t look very appetizing because the cookie package got too hot and the cookies sort of merged together. It won’t matter because the chocolate sauce will cover it.

Step 2: Cut the chocolate bar into triangles and place around the brownie, overlapping them.


Step 3: Cover it all with chocolate shell sauce. It’s going to look messy. That’s why you need the parchment paper/waxed paper.

Step 4: Put in freezer until chocolate shell sauce has hardened, then using a sharp knife, trim out excess around the base. Place on a serving tray or storage container. Refrigerate until time to serve. These need to be served cold, because the chocolate shell coating with soften too much at room temperature.


If you want a complete dinner menu, check out this post:




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World Building and Food in Science Fiction: Star Trek Menu

Worldbuilding when writing science fiction has to include food, right? It wouldn’t be a real world without it, and besides, it’s fun to think up what kind of food a particular culture in a particular environment would eat. My characters in the Torch World series have to deal with food shortages, which is a plot point that starts off the first book. If Mira hadn’t been stealing food for her younger sister, she would not have met Quinn.

Anyway, because I like to cook and eat, I’m having a bit of fun investigating Star Trek food in preparation for watching the new Star Trek: Discovery series. I wanted things that were very easy to make or which I could buy something similar, and of course tasted good.  To find what to serve, I used the Star Trek Encyclopedia, which lists all the food mentioned in the shows and movies. So here’s the menu with explanations below and desserts to follow in a separate blog post:

Trellan mushroom crepes

Mapa bread

Oskoid leaf salad

The main course, Trellan mushroom crepes, comes from Star Trek: Voyager, Episode: VOY 140 – Tuvix

The recipe is very flexible. You can add all sorts of ingredients to the mushrooms depending on your tastes. I like lots of flavors so I added lots of extras. You can buy ready-made crepes but they are actually easy to make if you have a nonstick skillet that’s between 8” to 11” inches. Serves 2


Crepes (can be made up to a day in advance)

1 large egg

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled

½ cup all purpose flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

Vegetable oil for pan (also have a plate and some paper towels on hand to put between the cooked crepes)

Directions: beat egg with fork, add other ingredients. Add small amount of oil to nonstick skillet, when heated add enough batter to make what looks like a very thin pancake. It will spread to fill the entire bottom of the skillet. Cook until bottom of crepe is lightly browned, flip and cook the other side, remove from pan and cover with a paper towel. The recipe will make between 3 to 6 crepes depending on the size of the skillet.

Crepe Filling:

Mushrooms (sliced-about a cup)

1 Tablespoon Butter

Additions if desired:

Cooked brown rice

Cooked spinach – can cook with the mushrooms

Chopped cooked chicken

Cheese (I used cubes of Havarti dill but any soft cheese that melts easily would work)


Parmesan cheese

Chopped herbs – I used garlic chives


Cook mushrooms in butter until soft over medium heat, being careful not to burn the butter, add your choice of additional filling ingredients, roll up in crepe, top with parmesan and herbs of your choice, heat in microwave until warmed through.

Mapa Bread –type of Bajoran food, from DS 9: “You are Cordially Invited”

Here’s an image from the episode.

I am not good at making bread so I bought a round rye loaf:

Oskoid leaf salad

Described as a leaf-like Betazoid food with purple veins,  from TNG 324: “Ménage a Troi”

Since it was red, I bought red leaf lettuce, topped it with feta cheese and used an Italian dressing. Feta cheese has always seemed a little strange-looking to me, but I’m sure there are other fruits and vegetables you could add as well. Odd-colored heirloom tomatoes might be a good choice. or various kinds of nuts or seeds.

That’s it. It’s easy! Desserts are going to be:

Tarvokian powder cake and Ktarian chocolate puff, recipes and pictures soon.


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For true STAR TREK fans: vinyl story recordings

Star Trek Album

Star Trek was my first science fiction love. I watched reruns of it every day after school, imagining myself as a crew member of the Enterprise. While waiting for the release of the new Star Trek: Discovery, I’m immersing myself in all things Star Trek. One of my more unusual possessions is a 1975 vinyl recording of three STAR TREK stories. It is the first of a series of story records produced in the 70s, many written by well-known comic book artists.

Much like old radio shows, these stories are fun to listen to, complete with sound effects and very dramatic renditions of the dialogue. The voice actors are not the original actors, which is a little weird, though at least the actor voicing Dr. McCoy does try to imitate DeForest Kelley. All in all, an interesting find for fans.

For more details about these records, this site has a very detailed description:


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