Kahlua Chocolate Cupcakes With Kahlua Frosting
The beginning of my friendship with Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan, the powerhouse behind wildly successful culinary blog The Kitchn, was steeped in Kahlua. She was probably in the fifth grade. It’s a fun story.
My boutique PR firm had Kahlua as a client for many years. Pretty yummy work; our best PR efforts were culinary-focused. Over time, our library of Kahlua food recipes grew to more than 500. I still have the whole collection (and promise to share plenty), but I wasn’t the person who developed them. Part of my job included dreaming up Kahlua recipe concepts and themes. I then hired the incredibly talented and calm Karen Gillingham, Sara Kate’s mommy, to bring the ideas to life. And she had lots of ideas herself.
Before freelancing, Karen was a food editor with the LA Times. We are both home economists, so I knew her from that circle of food pros. Karen was perfect to work with after I first endured a nut case of a recipe developer and stylist inherited with the account. Quickly, I disinherited that whack job and landed Karen because I was in awe of her ability and style. Did I mention she was calm?
Long hours together results in lots of family talk. Little Sara Kate was an engaging, freckle faced cutie patootie. Seeing her now as a businesswoman and mother, Karen should probably write a parenting book.
Besides creating recipes, Karen and I shot volumes of food photos together. On occasion, Sara Kate was there; her mom claims I gave her a straw hat prop which she hung on the wall in their family cabin. If she still has that hat, I won’t tell the Kahlua people.
Time to think about baking oooey chocolaty Kahlua things. Here is a Karen-created recipe, great for grownup fun like a Hollywood Bowl picnic.