Bake the Book: Pastiera di Grano Cupcakes


[Photograph: Eric Isaac]

Pastiera di Grano is an Easter pie that combines chewy, nutty grains with light, fluffy ricotta in a citrus-flavored pastry crust. Robicelli's: A Love Story, With Cupcakes refuses to relegate it to a yearly treat, and so, these cupcakes were invented. The base is a lemon and orange citrus cake, topped with a heavy-duty buttercream with wheat berries and ricotta whipped in. The texture is delightful, the perfect foil for the soft, zesty cake.

Tips: A quick scan of the ingredients reveals a recipe for pie dough. It's used to garnish the cupcakes; two "batons" of scored dough are laid atop each cake in a criss-cross. If you feel up to making a cake, a buttercream, and preparing pie dough, be our guest, but we don't think the extra effort is necessary. The spiced wheat berry- and orange flower water-flavored buttercream is a more than adequate topping.

Tweaks: Some of us love orange zest but hate lemon; sometimes, it's the other way around. This recipe uses both, in the citrus cake base and the buttercream. If lemon is your thing, omit the orange flower water from the buttercream, and the orange zest from the citrus cake. Add a teaspoon of lemon zest to the buttercream. Don't like lemon? Leave the buttercream as-is, and just skip the lemon zest when you're making the citrus cake.

As always with our Bake the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Robicelli's: A Love Story, with Cupcakes to give away.