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Even Karen Krasne's local contemporaries (i.e., competitors) freely admit it — the woman knows her confections and does a hell of a job. Like a plastic bride atop a skyscraper-high wedding cake, she's had her feet planted firmly in the frosting strata of SD's top tier of dessert experts since the late '80s. If you're anything like me, you've walked into her Hillcrest sugar shrine, Extraordinary Desserts, and marveled at the grandiose, colorful and sometimes seemingly gravity-defying decorations adorning her baked goods and wondered, how'd she do that? Well, it looks like questions like that are about to be answered...at least where cakes are concerned.

Krasne, who was once dubbed the "Queen of Cakes" by Gourmet, has penned a cookbook titled Extraordinary Cakes: Recipes for Bold and Sophisticated Desserts. It's slated to be released in early October and will include a wide variety of her notable creations from the past 22 years, including her New York, New York — a devil's food testament to all things cocoa juxtaposed by caramelized apples — or the similarly chocolaty Viking, a chocolate cake and crème brûlée torte spackled with crushed chocolate-almond pralines. Fruity numbers like blackberry cheesecake and the lemon praline help make the book more than the chocoholic equivalent of a porno mag, but they taste just as sinful.

An official release party will be held at Extraordinary Desserts' Little Italy location at 1430 Union Street on October 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. where Krasne will be autographing copies of her book. Further sweetening the celebration is the fact that a portion of proceeds from it will be donated to San Diego's Ronald McDonald House. Nice value added. Ditto for the champagne, wine and Ballast Point beers that will accompany a myriad of selections from the book.

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