Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wild Cinnamon and Cup Cakes

Once upon a time, my good friend Gina (who co-stars in my culinary mystery “Dinner is Served” series) and I started a food mixes company. Hey, why not? How hard can it be to start up a company, develop recipes, sell product, and provide full-time income for two women?

Right! I see you got it immediately. While we were long on energy and ideas, we were not so much into marketing strategies. Those were two words we didn’t seem to know the English translation for. Marketing? Strategies?

Add to that our somewhat different styles. If you read my bio, you see that I think “measurement” is a four-letter word. Gina was a math teacher. So, great as my ideas for recipes might be, putting that to paper so we could replicate the recipe hundreds of times was ummm, challenging for me. But I did get the hang of it. I’m not stupid after all, just lazy and impulsive.

A tip indicating our longevity prospects should have been sales. Our biggest bucks came from selling at friend’s craft and yard sales. Right! You get the picture. We had vague plans for selling on the Internet, but we didn’t have a clue how one went about such a thing. We did talk to someone about putting up a website for us, but he was going to charge us $$$.

What was the name of this great incipient company, you ask? What did you sell?

Picking the name was a cinch. We were at a meeting for teachers, waiting in the entryway for the doors to open, when someone complimented me on my most recent hair color. I was known for ranging from “Hisbiscus” (a shade of purple) to “Lucious Mango (an orange-y red). I used to say (actually, I still do) “So many reds, so little time.” But back to the story. I had just become “Wild Cinnamon” and one of our friends said, “That would be a great name for you company.”

Indeed! I loved it! The name implied we were spicy, untamed, yet traditional. Perfect.

So we registered “Wild Cinnamon” with the AZ business folks downtown and we were official. We created easy-to-prepare mixes for soups, dips, salad dressings, cookies, and other things.

One of our best sellers (now this is all relative, you understand, when I use the term “best seller”) was our ingeniously named “Cup Cakes”. These were mixes one added water and oil to and then put into the microwave to bake in a 12-ounce glass mug. Add water to the frosting packet, and dessert was ready in a couple of minutes. One could purchase the mugs from us as well. We had a range of flavors from “Tropical Paradise” to “Spice” to the most popular of all, “Chocolate”.

And it was pretty good, but this recipe is better! I follow @EthanAdelande on Twitter, and he has created a great 5-Minute Chocolate Cake for the microwave. You can find it and more on his “Tastes Better with Friends” blog on at Visit his blog and see for yourself what other yummy things he has concocted.

From Ethan Adelande’s

Revised and Better than Ever 5 Minute Chocolate Cake

4 tablespoons of flour

4 tablespoons of sugar

2 tablespoons of cocoa

1 egg

3 tablespoons of milk

3 tablespoons of oil

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

A handful of chocolate chips

1 – Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

2 – Add the egg and mix well.

3 – Pour in the milk, oil & vanilla and mix well.

4 – Place the mixture in a tall glass or mug and into the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at “high”.

The cake may rise over the top, but it will settle, don’t be alarmed! Let it cool and eat out of the mug or tip it out onto a plate.

Sharon’s Note: I like to make a little cocoa/sour cream/confectioner’s sugar glaze for the top or put some more chocolate chips on top and let them ooze over the sides of the hot cake. Yummers!


  1. I'm doing a Fancy Nancy Valentine's Day Tea for my little granddaughters. Any idea how I could use a box of red velvet cake mix and make it richer and yummier for, you guessed it - cupcakes? Anybody have a boa I could borrow?

  2. Add 1/2 c each chocolate chips and cinnamon chips (get at Albertson's) to the cake mix. Also, add small package of instant chocolate pudding to cake mix. For frosting,blend block of cream cheese with enough sour cream to make it spreadable. Stir in brown sugar to sweeten along with cinnamon for flavor. Use your taste-o-meter. Spread on cupcakes then add on more cinnamon and choc chips for decoration.