Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Interview with Ingrid Sundberg and her recipe for Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes!

I am very excited to share this interview with Ingrid Sundberg! Ingrid and I met in film school, and from the beginning I was impressed by her insane writing skills. When I was still writing screenplays instead of novels we were in a crit group together, and I gained so much from her feedback. And I am still learning from her, whether I'm reading her information packed writing blog or drooling over her deliciously detailed baking blog.

So keep reading to learn more about Ingrid - and to get the recipe for the amazing cupcakes pictured at the top of this post!

Bio: INGRID SUNDBERG writes young adult novels and picture books and is currently attending the Vermont College of Fine Arts’ MFA program in writing for children. She bakes and decorates cakes as a hobby and blogs about both writing and baking. Learn about writing craft at: Ingrids Notes ( and see her fantastic confectionary creations at: Ingrid’s Cakes ( 

Q: Is there a link for you between the creative processes of cooking and writing/drawing? Has a meal ever inspired a specific story or image or vice versa?

A: Absolutely! My love of baking finds its way into my writing all the time. I have two picture book manuscripts inspired by my baking hobby. One is about an adorable cupcake shop and the other is the adventures of a zombie squirrel who wants to be a chef. I even have a whole young adult book idea percolating because of my love of cake decorating. I think whatever is happening in my life finds a way to inspire my writing, be it a metaphor about frosting or an entire novel of a dare-devil teen chef.

Q: Share your favorite literary feast or treat. What makes this food and/or writing so memorable?

A: One of my favorite writers is Jeanette Winterson. She doesn’t write about food, but the way she uses language is like eating a chocolate desert. It’s rich, whimsical, dense, and delectably fills your imagination with texture and sorrow. I’ve skimmed through a couple of her books to find a particularly tasty bit to share:

“At the end of a row of jars coloured like dreams was an opaque jar with a heart drawn on it and a dagger through the heart. I put up my hand to touch it, and in that second my hand was grabbed from behind. It was my father. He put his face close to mine, and I could smell the sulphur on him. “Never touch that jar. Never. If that ever gets loose we’re finished.” “What is it?” “Love,” said my father. “There’s love in that jar.” And so I discovered that love is a hazardous liquid.” – Jeanette Winterson (The Powerbook, Page 165).

**Interviewer's note. OOOH! That is a great excerpt - totally gave me tingles. Must find and devour some of this author's books ASAP.

Q: Let's say a couple of your characters are raiding your fridge right now, what are they most likely to eat? Are they disappointed or excited about what they find?

A: They’d be disappointed to find there aren’t any baked goods in my fridge right now. But they might be curious about the crate of eggs that takes up my whole bottom shelf (a baker is always prepared!). Zombie Squirrel might mistake those eggs for brains and start whipping up some fluffy brain meringue, Yum!

Q: If you were marooned on an island and Pots & Pens granted your wish for only one book and one food, what would you choose?

A: For food I’d have to request one of Willy Wonka’s Everlasting Gobstoppers, because it will last forever and I’m a sugar nut! I’ll pair that with the complete works of William Shakespeare, because after I get my sugar high I’ll want to do a one-woman show of all of Shakespeare’s plays for the seagulls and hermit crabs. I am marooned on an island after all, so I’ll have to entertain myself somehow!

For a recipe I thought I’d share my favorite crowd pleaser (and number 1 requested cupcake) the Chocolate Guinness Cupcake!

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes
Makes approximately 20-24 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
4 oz (1/2 cup) unsalted softened butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 bottle (12 fl. oz) Guinness Stout (1 1/2 cups)

Cupcake Directions:
1) Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
2) Line cupcake tins with paper liners
3) In a large bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
4) In a bowl or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter until light and fluffy.
5) Add eggs and sour cream and beat in.
6) With the mixer running slowly, pour in the Guinness.
7) Sift the dry ingredients into the batter and slowly stir until it is evenly mixed. Be sure to scrape down the sides so everything is mixed in.
8) Divide the batter up into cupcake liners.
9) Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Bailey's Cream Cheese Frosting
(It takes aprox. 1 and 1/2 batches of the following recipe to cover 24 cupcakes generously.)

Frosting Ingredients:
1 8 oz. bar of cream cheese, softened
1 4 oz. stick of unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioner's sugar
4-6 tablespoons of Bailey's Irish Cream

Frosting Directions:
1) Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, put cream cheese, butter, and sugar into the bowl and beat until fully. Slowly drizzle in the Bailey's. More Bailey's will add more flavor but will also make the frosting more watery. Beat until the Bailey's is completely incorporated into the frosting.

Thank you so much Ingrid!  


  1. Yum, these sound amazing! And I love Winterson's prose, too! Thanks, Kate and Ingrid.

  2. Okay, I'm now going to have to hit the liquor store. ;) "No, no, my loves, this is MOMMY's cupcake!"

  3. Lol! I love the idea of "Mommy cupcakes"!

  4. Oh my GAWD those look like the best things EVER!!!

  5. Oh. My. God. I know what I'm making for my birthday treat on Monday!

    Also, I think a YA book with a cake decorating element would be hella fun to read and write.