Unmasking Maya takes place in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, so I knew at least one of these cupcakes must qualify as “California cuisine”. A relatively new style of cuisine, it’s often mistaken for “fusion” because both styles tend to focus on combining unusual flavors and ingredients.
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
¾ cup persimmon pulp (the insides of 1 to 2 seeded over-ripe persimmons)
½ cup orange juice
Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice and baking soda. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar, then mix in eggs, persimmon pulp and orange juice until thoroughly combined. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until fully incorporated. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full with batter. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Makes 12 cupcakes.
Persimmon Icing Recipe
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp. ground ginger
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups persimmon pulp (the inside of 2 to 3 over-ripe seeded persimmons)
12 oz. evaporated milk
Directions: Place all ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously until the mixture comes to a boil. Allow to boil for approximately 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Pipe icing onto cooled cupcakes using a pastry bag with a star tip.
I knew the moment I came across the following recipe that I wanted it to be my second cupcake. The San Francisco Bay Area has such a large Asian American population and as such, there are quite a few Asian American characters in Unmasking Maya – most notably Lin, Maya’s quirky friend. Green tea originally comes from China, so I thought including this green tea cupcake would be a great way to highlight Unmasking Maya’s multicultural aspect.
Green Tea Cupcakes
½ cup whole milk
3 green tea bags
¾ cup + 1 T all-purpose flour
1 ½ T unsweetened cocoa powder
a scant ¾ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
3 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg, room temperature
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
Directions: Put milk and tea bags in a liquid measuring cup, cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 325F. Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder salt and butter and beat on slow speed until everything is combined and you get a sandy consistency. Remove green tea bags from the infused milk and strain into the measuring cup. Combine milk with the egg and vanilla. Whisk together. Slowly combine half the milk mixture with other ingredients. Beat well on high speed. Turn mixer to medium-slow and slowly add the rest of the milk. Continue mixing until batter is smooth. Fill cupcake lines 2/3 of the way and bake for 20-25 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely. Wait until they are completely cooled to ice them. Makes 10-12 cupcakes.
Green Tea Buttercream Icing
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
5 T unsalted butter, room temperature
2 ½ T matcha green tea powder
2 T whole milk
Directions: Beat together confectioners’ sugar, butter and green tea powder on medium-slow speed until well mixed. Turn mixer down to slower speed and slowly add milk. When milk is completely incorporated, turn mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until icing is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.
And there you have it. I hope I’ve inspired you to try out one or both of these recipes, and perhaps even my book. Before I sign off, here’s the a short blurb for Unmasking Maya, a quirky kind of love story:
Defamed, Disgraced and Displaced…
Fresh from a career-killing scandal, New York fashion girl, Maya Kirkwood, arrives in San Francisco to reinvent herself as a fine artist. She’s offered the opportunity to create an installation at the Silicon Valley headquarters of a hot new tech company. Fabulous, right?
Not so much.
She can’t stand Derek Whitley – wunderkind software genius and CEO of the company. Hot as he may be on the outside, inside the man is a cold, unemotional, robotic type. Way too left-brained for her right-brained self.
As Maya and Derek get to know each other, however, their facades begin to crack. She catches her first glimpse of the man behind the superhuman tech prodigy, and he starts to see her as the woman she used to be. But is this a good thing? Once that last secret is revealed, will it bring them closer together or will it tear them apart?
Bio and links:
Born and raised in the Midwest, Libby Mercer’s adventurous spirit kicked in after graduating from high school, and she’s since lived in Boston, NYC and London. San Francisco is the city she currently calls home. For several years, Libby worked in fashion – first as a journalist and then as a shopkeeper. She also dabbled in design for a while. Even through the crazy fashion years, Libby never let go of her dream of being a published author, and has since developed her signature writing style, crafting quirky chick lit/romance hybrids. Fashioning a Romance was her first published novel, and Unmasking Maya will be her second. Libby has a third novel, The Karmic Connection, scheduled for release in 2013.