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Lemon Dream Cake
1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix
1 small box lemon Jell-O
1 (3.1-ounce) box instant lemon pudding mix
1 cup milk
1 envelope Dream Whip
1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
Bake white cake (in two 9-inch round cake pans) according to package directions. Allow the cake to cool completely. Mix Jell-O according to package directions. Poke holes in the cake using a fork or wooden skewer. Pour Jell-O over cake and into the holes, allowing the liquid to soak in. Mix together pudding, milk and Dream Whip, beating together until whipped and fluffy – about 2 minutes. Remove Jell-O soaked cakes from pan and place first layer on cake stand. Top with a thin layer of the pudding mixture, spreading to the edges. Top with second layer. Spread the remaining pudding mixture over the cake. Put in the refrigerator and let set for an hour. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and “ice” with whipped topping. Let set in the refrigerator for an hour before serving.
Laura J. Gardner | The Journal Gazette

Chapter 19

“Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man. Bake me a cake as fast as you can. Pat it and roll it and mark it with an ‘M.’ And put it in the oven for Mirabelle and me.”

Mirabelle lifted the whisk attachment from the mixer as she hummed the nursery rhyme that her grandma sang to her when she was a toddler first learning to bake.

“Hey, hey, rock my little baby. Snuggle and wait for the cake to rise.”

Mirabelle took her finger and swiped the rim of the bowl. “Mmm,” she murmured as she tasted the blond batter before pouring it into prepared cake pans.

“Hey, hey if you’re gettin’ sleepy. Settle in my arms and close your eyes.”

She whirled around, her open fuchsia chef’s coat nearly dancing as she spun, and put the pans in the oven.

“As a matter of fact, I am getting sleepy.”

Mirabelle felt her cheeks turn flush and she turned toward the stainless doors separating the kitchen and bakery.

“Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone that there’s a show in the kitchen,” April said with a smirk. “I’m just glad to see you so … so happy. Anyway, what are we making here?”

The ovens shut with a clunk and Mirabelle sauntered over to her friend, who was leaning up against the marble table.

“Lemon dream cake.”

“Lemon dream cake?”

“Yep, when life hands you lemons, you make dream cake.”

“Or you grab a rolling pin and attack it,” April said matter-of-factly.

“Or that,” Mirabelle said, her face beaming.

“So how many of those are you making?”

“I have two in the oven right now,” Mirabelle said.

“You might want to make more,” April said, grabbing the Queen Pin owner’s hand and pulling her out to the front of the bakery.

Excited conversation filled the air and a line of people snaked around the acrylic tables of Queen Pin. A pair of boys had hands and faces pressed up against the glass of the display case, staring at the cookies. The front door was propped open as more potential customers tried to make their way in.

“What’s going on?” Mirabelle whispered to April.

“I’ll tell you what’s going on,” a deep voice said behind her. Mirabelle shivered as the speaker’s cool peppermint breath kissed the back of her neck.

“They saw that the Queen Pin girls nabbed the vandal,” Harrison said, “and they just had to say thank you. Thank you by buying lots and lots of cupcakes.”

“Are you serious?” she asked with nervous excitement.

“Don’t act so surprised,” Harrison said. “You are quoted in today’s Journal Gazette story about the guy.”

Mirabelle bounced up and down and ripped the paper from Harrison’s hands.

“ ‘Anyway you slice it, it was a trip to the Dumpster and a keen eye that ended a string of crimes terrorizing downtown Fort Wayne,’ ” Mirabelle read aloud. “ ‘The owner and manager of Queen Pin Bakery on Calhoun Street was responsible for subduing the suspect, Shane Griffith. Griffith, an officer with the Fort Wayne Police Department, admitted to his role …’

“Wait,” Mirabelle said, tossing the paper aside. “A police officer did this?”

April and Harrison nodded their heads.

“Can you believe it?” the redhead shrieked.

Harrison looked at April with a hint of disapproval. In a hushed voice, he said, “Between the three of us and one of my friends on the force, he was a rookie looking to make a break. He figured if he solved a case like this – he was going to frame an old friend – that he could move up on the force.”

“That’s insane,” Mirabelle said, leaning up against the wall. “But you know he was at the bar when we were planning the meeting of business owners … .

“Anyway, I’m glad they got him. And I’m even more glad to see this bakery the way I envisioned it – busy.”

Mirabelle adjusted her coat and flipped her signature braid so it hung down her back as she walked to the case.

Bending down, she said, “Hey, guys! What’s catching your eye today?”

The two boys who had been busy leaving fingerprints and breath marks on the glass stood up and gazed up at her with big blue eyes. Their mouths hung open but they said nothing.

“Ahh, Mirabelle. I hope you don’t mind. It seems my grandsons drool over your treats just as much as I do.”

Eugene, in a signature tropical print short-sleeve shirt, offered a wide grin as he patted the two boys on the back.

“I just had to bring them down to meet the gal who saved the city,” he said.

“Oh,” Mirabelle said, swatting her hand in front of her face in an effort to discount the compliment. “It wasn’t me.”

“That’s not what she said,” the old man said nodding toward April. “You’ve got a good friend there.”

“I do. I really do,” she said, with a sigh. “So … what are we having?”

“Well these boys are nothing like their dad – Wade, ya know, so they are sure to love anything you give them. Surprise us!”

“Wade? Where is he?” Mirabelle asked unable to hide her curiosity.

“Car troubles. A part he ordered finally came in so he’s taking care of that,” Eugene said.

“Oh,” Mirabelle murmured. “Oh.” She shook her head, trying to shake off the heavy guilt of believing Wade was the vandal.

She clapped her hands. “Well guys … I have something very dreamy in store for you. Wait right here.”

Mirabelle winked at the guys and turned around. As she pressed her hand to the kitchen door, she looked back at her bakery. April was busy taking orders, and Harrison had thrown on an apron and was helping to fill requests. Mirabelle grinned wide.

“Definitely a day for dream cake,” she said to herself before disappearing into the kitchen.

kdupps@jg.net

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