|What happens when you mix artistic and culinary talent? Well, if you are Elizabeth Falkner the result is visually tantalizing and amazingly scrumptious desserts. In Demolition Desserts, Falkner shares recipes from her San Francisco bakery, Citizen Cake. Demolition Desserts is a fun cookbook packed with amazing recipes. Throughout the book, Caremi, a pastry obsessed animation entertains us while Falkner presents her recipes and instructs us on how to prepare them. The recipes vary from straight forward desserts that can readily be made by the home cook to more elaborate, challenging and artistic desserts. Along with the recipes and animations, Falkner presents detailed preparation instructions as well as variations and insights into how and why she created these desserts. Lemania Cupcakes, see below, is a great example. The whimsical and artistic presentation, which is reminiscent of a jester, highlights the tone of Demolition Desserts while the recipe and narrative highlights the detailed descriptions that are found in Demolition Desserts.
Photo by Frankie Frankeny (c) 2007
Reprinted with permission from Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake by Elizabeth Falkner, copyright (c) 2007. Published by Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA. www.tenspeed.com
buttermilk cupcakes, eggless lemon curd filling, vanilla meringue frosting,
Makes 12 cupcakes
Inge, the mother of my partner, Sabrina, is one of Citizen Cake's most die-hard Lemaniacs. She will drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to Citizen Cake to buy up every lemon tart in the store, which she takes home and freezes. I created this cupcake for Inge and for all the Lemaniacs who have made our lemon desserts so successful over the years.
The cupcake itself is actually a moist buttermilk, not lemon, cupcake, which means you can fill and frost it just about any way you like. For example, take this same cupcake, fill it with Pastry Cream, drizzle on Dark Chocolate Sauce, and you have Boston cream cupcakes.
- 2 cups (9 ounces) cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (6 1/4 ounces by weight) buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 (3 ounces by weight) large eggs, at room temperature
Vanilla Meringue Frosting
- 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 (2 ounces by weight) large egg whites
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 lemons for grating
To Make the BUTTERMILK CUPCAKES
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 12-cup standard nonstick muffin pan (or two 6-cup pans) with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the salt and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk and vanilla and set aside.
In a large bowl, using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until incorporated. On low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions and the buttermilk mixture in two additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating for about 30 seconds after each addition, or until combined. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin-pan cups.
Bake the cupcakes, rotating the pan after about 12 minutes, for 23 to 25 minutes, or until they are lightly golden and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, gently loosen the cupcakes from the pan, and then let them cool completely in the pan before removing them.
To Fill the Cupcakes with LEMON CURD
Inject the lemon curd into the cooled cupcakes.
To Make the VANILLA MERINGUE FROSTING
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and cream of tartar and stir just to moisten the sugar. Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the syrup registers 280°F on the thermometer. Remove from the heat.
In a medium bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium speed, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. (The volume of egg whites is too small to use a stand mixer.) Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly drizzle the hot sugar syrup into the egg whites (try to keep the hot syrup from hitting the beaters). Turn the mixer to high speed and continue whipping the frosting for 5 to 8 minutes, or until it is at room temperature. Beat in the vanilla (or any other flavoring you like, but err on the side of caution and add no more than 1 teaspoon and then taste before you add more). You should have about 2 cups.
To Frost and Garnish the Cupcakes
You can finish the cupcakes in one of two ways: Frost them with an offset or icing spatula, creating dramatic spikes if you like, and then grate lemon zest directly on top. Or, frost them, fire up your torch, brown the frosting, and then grate lemon zest directly on top.
About Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake
Over the past 10 years, Elizabeth Falkner has transformed her bakery from a tiny space in San Francisco's Mission district to the country's ultimate dessert destination. In DEMOLITION DESSERTS, she presents her favorite creations, from the cookies, brownies, and cupcakes beloved by Citizen Cake regulars to the plated desserts that have made her one of the most dynamic culinary talents of her generation. Beginning with a chapter devoted entirely to chocolate chip cookies, Elizabeth breaks down classic desserts and reconstructs them flavor by flavor, with stunning results. Even her most elaborate desserts have been adapted for the home kitchen, and each recipe is equipped with a detailed make-ahead timeline and a minimalist version for those pressed for time.
Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.
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