Friday, February 1, 2008

A birthday pick me up - tiramisu cake

Sam - What is tiramisu?
Jay - You'll find out.
(From the movie Sleepless in Seattle, 1993)

We have two Andrews in my section at work, and Andrew No 2 celebrates his birthday on Monday. I thought it was on Saturday due to an error in our birthday list, so I baked his birthday cake for today.

I acquired Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From my home to yours last year. Many US bloggers had written in praise of this book, so with the Aussie dollar doing quite well at the moment, I acquired my own copy from Amazon. For Andrew, I chose to make Dorie's tiramisu cake. In the introduction to the recipe, Dorie credits the movie Sleepless in Seattle with making tiramisu a popular dessert in the US (hence the quote above). Although I like this movie and have seen it several times, I cannot even recall the tiramisu quote; however, it obviously captured the attention of others.

This cake is absolutely delicious - it is awash with smooth, creamy coffee flavour offset by chocolate. If you are not a fan of coffee, this is not the cake for you, but tiramisu lovers everywhere will adore this recipe by Dorie.

The recipe is as follows:


2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
145g butter, cubed and softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence
3/4 cup buttermilk (or 3/4 cup milk mixed with 3/4 tablespoon lemon juice)

Coffee extract

2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons boiling water

Coffee syrup

1/2 cup cold water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon brandy

Filling and frosting

225g marscapone
1/2 cup sifted icing sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 tablespoon brandy
1 cup whipping cream
60g dark chocolate, finely chopped

Cocoa powder for serving

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line 2 x 18cm cake tins.

Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, then add the sugar and beat until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the egg yolk. With the mixer on low speed (so the powder doesn't go flying everywhere!), add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, starting and finishing with the dry ingredients. Put equal portions of the batter into each cake tin and smooth over, and bake the cakes in the oven for about half an hour. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to coool completely.

Once the cakes have cooled, make the coffee extract by blending the coffee into the boiling water in a cup.

To make the syrup, stir the cold water and sugar together in a suacepan over medium heat until the mixture just boils, then remove from the heat and stir through 1 tablespoon of the coffee extract and the brandy.

To make the filling/frosting, beat the marscapone, sugar, vanilla and brandy in a large bowl until just blended. In a separate bowl, whip the cream to stiff peak stage, then stir one quarter of the whipped cream into the marscapone. Finally, gently fold the remainder of the cream through the marscapone mixture.


Soak one of the cakes with one third of the coffee syrup using a pastry brush to brush the syrup over the top of the cake:

Cover the syrup-soaked side of the cake with one third of the marscapone filling, and press the chocolate evenly over the top of the filling. Soak the top of the second cake with half of the remaining coffee syrup, and place it, syrup side down, on top of the marscapone topped cake:

Soak the top of the cake with the last of the coffee syrup.
Stir the remainder of the coffee extract through the remaining marscapone filling. Smooth the filling-come-frosting over the sides and top of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for a minimum of 3 hours before serving. Prior to serving, remove the cake from the fridge and sprinkle the top of the cake with cocoa powder so that it resembles a cappucino. Leave the cake to sit for 20 minutes at room temperature before serving. Enjoy!


Peter M said...

I could have a whole tiramisu as a meal replacement...seriously.

Peter M said...

I could have tiramisu as a meal replacement - seriously.

Cakelaw said...

Hi Peter, I highly recommend this one! It has dairy and carbohydrate - and I'm sure it tastes much better than those hideous shake things or strange energy bars that they market as meal replacements.

Pixie said...

Wonderful looking tiramasu! I wasn't quite happy with my last one, and was thinking of following a Nigella recipe if/when I make one again. This one looks great, were you pleased with the results?

Cakelaw said...

Hi Pixie, This recipe is good. I only had a tiny piece because I had two cakes at work that day, but it had a really smooth mellow texture. Also, one of my colleagues remarked that she liked it because it was not overly sweet.

Rosie said...

Hi Cakelaw, I have heard great reviews of Dorie Greenspan's book! Viewing this gorgeous looking tiramasu it speaks volumes for Dorie's book!

Your colleagues are SO very lucky to have you bake these wonderful cakes for them :)

Rosie x

Brilynn said...

I made this one last year and loved it! Of course, I love all things Dorie, so that's no surprise...

Cakelaw said...

Hi Rosie, Thanks! Dorie's book is great, so if you get a chance to grab a copy, you won't be sorry.

Hi Brilynn, your great looking Dorie projects were one of the main drivers behind me buying her book - thanks for the tip!

Cham said...

First time i am passing by. I am drooling over the Tiramisu :) I love the coffee flavor. Wonderful bakery items.

Cakelaw said...

Thanks for dropping by Cham.

Emiline said...

I am so jealous. I want tiramisu cake! I'm hungry.
I love this book. I'm going to buy it on Amazon, too.

Cakelaw said...

Hi Emiline, it's a great book - well worth buying.