Book Break in Whitcomb Springs - Spiced Pumpkin Cakes - Writer in the Kitchen
Set in post-Civil War Montana Territory, in the mountain valley town of Whitcomb Springs, is a community of strong men and women who have worked to overcome individual struggles faced during and after the war. Escape to Whitcomb Springs with tales of adventure, danger, romance, and hope in this special collection of short stories and novelettes. Each story is written to stand alone.
Did you know: "During the dark days of the Civil War, Lincoln looked away from the fighting momentarily and decided the area now known as Montana needed governing. But violent clashes were to occur in the new territory before it became the 41st state in the Union on November 8, 1889." (americaslibrary.gov)
About the town of Whitcomb Springs
Founded in 1860 by Daniel and Evelyn Whitcomb, in what was then the Nebraska Territory, the mountain town of Whitcomb Springs started with a trading post (now the general store) and two cabins. Daniel and two friends from Pennsylvania, James Bair and Charles Carroll, founded the Whitcomb Timber Company in 1860. James Bair died the first winter after arriving in Montana, caught in a blizzard unawares. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Daniel and Charles returned east to fight for the Union, believing it their duty to their country and their home state of Pennsylvania. Read more of the abridged history >
Enjoy an Excerpt from "Forsaken Trail"
Abigail knew the animal was aware of her location. It landed back on all fours and approached the base of the tree. The heavy breathing and snorting filled the silence.
“I don’t suppose we can work something out?” she called down to the bear, feeling foolish but not knowing what else to do. “Why don’t you go your way and I’ll go mine?”
Abigail covered her ears and pulled herself as close to the tree trunk as possible. The bear turned its head toward the sound of the gunfire before dropping on all fours. Another bullet hit the tree near the bear's head. The bear snorted again and after the third shot hit the ground a few feet away, the animal turned away from the tree and headed across the clearing to the forest. Abigail kept her tight hold on the branches and didn't look down when she heard the sound of a horse beneath her.
"If you can manage to climb back down, he's gone."
"Yes, but now you're here." Abigail thought she heard a chuckle. She dared a glance but couldn't see much of the man's face, shadowed by his hat.
"I can ride away if you prefer, ma'am, but there isn't another soul likely to come by today." After a minute of silence, she heard a loud sigh. "If you aren't coming down, the least you can do is explain what happened to Tuttle."
"You know—knew—Mr. Tuttle?"
The man below her didn't answer right away. She heard movement and saw he was no longer on his horse.
"I did. Looks like a broken neck."
She squeezed her eyes shut and asked, "Did the bear . . . make it worse?" She dared not ask if the bear tore the poor man apart.
Another chuckle. "No one calls me sir, ma'am. The bear probably figured Tuttle wasn't going anywhere. He was more interested in finding out what crawled up the tree."
"I didn't crawl!" Abigail realized the ridiculousness of her situation and studied the branches beneath her. The climb down wasn't too far. One of her petticoats was caught on a protruding branch. She shifted and the delicate fabric ripped even more. "I don't suppose you'll tell me the truth, but if I come down, will you promise not to harm me?"
"Interesting question seeing as how if I wanted to harm you, I'd've come up after you by now or shot you out of the tree straight away. The bear was more dangerous, and I gallantly, if I may add, chased the bear away."
Excerpt from "Forsaken Trail" copyright © MK McClintock
I hope you make time every now and then to escape into a good book and relax with a pot of tea, or your beverage of choice, and a tasty treat.
The Beverage: Hot cocoa with cinnamon stick
The Treat: Pumpkin Spice Mini Cakes (see below)
The Books: View all currently available stories in the Whitcomb Springs series.
Pumpkin Spice Mini Cakes
Pumpkin, spice, and everything nice fills the air . . . My mother loves setting up tablescapes—big or small—and she has a lot of fun putting these spreads together, and even does some of the baking when I'm busy writing, so this is all her handy work.
This delicious Pumpkin Spice Mini Cake recipe is courtesy of Victoria Magazine's Fall Baking 2020 issue. Their Special Issues are among my favorites, especially the holiday and baking editions.
The cakes are moist and carry plenty of flavor, without overpowering. There's a nice balance of pumpkin and spice in this recipe. Of course, there's an added touch of allspice for an extra little "punch."
These tasty treats need no embellishment beyond a simple dusting of confectioner's sugar.
Every bite manages to be both light and rich. The cake turned out nice and moist, and other than the additional of 1/2 tsp of allspice, we didn't modify the recipe.
I highly recommend ordering Victoria Magazine's Fall Baking 2020 issue for this and a variety of other recipes. They also have a digital edition.