In Mrs. Claus and the Halloween Homicide, April Claus knows being married to the real Santa makes every day feel like Christmas. But when a different holiday arrives at the North Pole, so does murder…
For the first time ever, Christmastown is celebrating a strange new tradition—Halloween. But not everyone is willing to watch their dependable winter wonderland get overrun by carved pumpkins and costume parties. As a series of scary happenings hit Santaland, each one more intense than the last, April realizes having a role in the festivities could cost her family, friends—even her own life.
April isn’t the only unlucky target. Outspoken elf Tiny Sparkletoe is found dead in the snow outside his cottage, crushed in the middle of what appears to be a monstrous footprint. With mayhem descending like reindeer on rooftops, April must stop the Halloween killer before the fate of Mrs. Claus becomes another creepy tale to tell in the dark. Enjoy this engaging book in your favorite cozy seat with a cup of tea and a slice of decadent Chocolate Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Ganache Icing!
- 2⅔ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups canned pumpkin
- ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
- 4 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ⅔ cup cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.
- In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in pumpkin, applesauce, and ½ cup cream. Beat in flour mixture until batter looks smooth.
- Lightly grease a 9-inch Bundt pan* and dust with remaining 1 tablespoon cocoa powder. Spoon batter to prepared pan and spread it evenly.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, 50 to 65 minutes. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning cake out onto a wire rack to let cool completely.
- In a small saucepan, heat remaining ½ cup cream until steaming hot but not boiling. Add chocolate to hot cream and let sit for 1 minute for chocolate to melt before mixing vigorously with a fork or a whisk until smooth. Let cool to desired consistency—you can either drizzle the icing on the cake when it’s still warm and pourable or wait, like we did, until the icing has cooled and can be spread on the cake.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Liz Ireland is the author of many works of women’s fiction, romance, and mystery. She also writes under the names Elizabeth Bass and Liz Freeland. Like her character April Claus, Liz spends too much time in concert bands. Originally from the United States, she now lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. She’s currently working on the next Mrs. Claus mystery. Visit her at LizIreland.Wordpress.com.