Lemon Curd Cupcakes Biscotti and Cake

Lemon Curd Cupcakes

Adapted from Kerry Barnett-Amundson

Yields: 12 cupcakes

BATTER:

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1-1/2 cups cake flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup buttermilk

½ cup lemon curd (available at most grocery stores)

FROSTING:

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch salt

2 cups confectioners' sugar

2 to 4 tablespoons milk

Additional grated lemon zest, optional

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add vanilla and lemon zest. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry or plastic bag; insert a small round pastry tip. Fill bag with lemon curd. Insert tip 1 in. into center of each cupcake; fill with curd just until tops of cupcakes begin to crack.

In a small bowl, combine the butter, vanilla, salt, confectioners' sugar and enough milk to achieve frosting consistency. Frost cupcakes. Store in the refrigerator. Garnish lemon zest if desired.

Chocolate-Orange Biscotti

Bon Appetit

Yields: 1 ½ dozen

1 cups plus 1 tablespoons all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

1 large egg

1 tablespoon orange liqueur

1 ½ teaspoons grated orange peel

1/2 cup pecans, lightly toasted, coarsely chopped

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl to blend. Beat in egg, then orange liqueur and orange peel. Add flour mixture and beat until blended. Stir in pecans and chocolate.

Gather dough together. Wrap in plastic and freeze 20 minutes to firm.

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Using floured hands, form dough into 14-inch-long, 2 1/2-inch-wide log. Transfer log to prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer parchment with log to rack. Cool 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

Place log on cutting board. Using serrated knife, cut log on diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Stand slices upright on baking sheet.

Bake biscotti until dry to touch and pale golden, about 30 minutes. Cool completely on rack. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Store in airtight container.)

Warm Chocolate Cakes with Mascarpone Cream

Adapted From Hosea Rosenberg

Yields: 10 servings

16 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped, plus shavings for garnish (optional)

3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter

6 large eggs, plus 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup cake flour

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

2 cups mascarpone (8 ounces)

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 375°. Coat 10 8-ounce ramekins with butter, and dust lightly with flour. Set the ramekins on a sturdy baking sheet. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate with the butter; let cool.

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the eggs, yolks and sugar on high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the chocolate, then fold in the cake flour just until no streaks remain.

Spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins and bake for 15 minutes, until the cakes have risen, the tops are dry and the centers are slightly jiggly. Let stand for 5 minutes.

In a bowl, beat the cream with the vanilla seeds, brown sugar and lemon zest until soft peaks form. Add the mascarpone and lemon juice and beat until blended.

Run the tip of a small knife around each cake to loosen it, then unmold onto plates. Spoon the mascarpone cream onto the cakes and garnish with chocolate shavings.

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