Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake

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Ten Speed Press

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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.


Elizabeth Falkner
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Ten Speed Press
Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake
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Before a long fall into winter's season of traditional pumpkin pie and fruit cake, sugar cookies dripping with sprinkles, Demolition Desserts came as a welcome change to the conventional pastry repertoire. 

More than that, like a breath of fresh air it threw off the conventions of “traditional desserts†and performed CPR breaking down the chocolate chip cookie, improving upon the zing of a brownie, taking things apart and putting them back together again guided by  lightness, humor with  all the intensity and passion of a professional pastry chef on the center of the cutting edge. 

Pastry Chef famed of song and story Elizabeth Falkner together with Anime character / alter ego Caremi (illustrated by her brother Ryan) take you step by step into the creative process of her shop Citizen Cake.  Or is it a laboratory... She must be a mad scientist….  Baking is science… but what about the demolition part… For being a serious pastry arts cook book, Demolition Desserts is delicious fun.

You'll find that though some of the desserts are all about sophisticated elements and complicated parings, Elizabeth takes each dessert and breaks it down into components. For a professional pastry chef this system is the norm, but for the home chef, it's quite radical. Rather than putting that lemon curd into a pastry shell, it is side by side with meringue, mint oil and the crust as a side.  This system is familiar to the professional, sure, but the flavor/texture combinations? Not your usual suspects. With Elizabeth there are no cobwebs by way of flavor profiles, there are jumps from texture to texture, flavor to flavor.  Peanut butter and jelly has taken on new meaning with Concord Grape Tapioca and Peanut Butter Ice Cream.      

For fans of Elizabeth's Citizen Cake, you will be comforted to know that some of her discontinued items are here for you to replicate. Speaking of Citizen Cake, being located in Northern California, Elizabeth has access to beautiful, farm fresh produce and encourages us all to go out and find the finest seasonal produce to work with. Adjust your thinking to utilize your local best of the season produce while it's in season and say good bye when that season comes to an end. 

For the end of summer in Dallas, for instance, where the average temperature is 95, we created the Sour Cream Sorbet found on page 116. This refreshing sorbet is just one component of “Waking up in a City that Never Sleepsâ€, a funky collaboration of cheesecake custard, sour cream sorbet, graham cracker powder and blueberry paper. Yes, blueberry paper-think sophisticated fruit leather, closer to suede!

This tends to be a book that folks read in an upright position, getting ready to race through their kitchen getting mise-en-placed to produce one of the delectable elements featured in the photographs taken by Frankie Frankeny. The glossy pictures reach out and tempt you to throw a dessert party, complete with dessert cocktails.

Demolition Desserts makes the heart dance and taste buds sing. With sections from cookies to beverages and a back section with the principal sweets to make the desserts piece by piece Elizabeth gives you to do lists to make the home baking enthusiasts' presentation look like that of an effortless professional.  

It's a beautiful adventure thanks to Frankie Frankenys' photos, Ann Krueger Spivacks prose and Ryan Falkner's kicky illustrations!

Recipe From The Book: Sour Cream Sorbet


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