Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tiramisu Cake

While I am not a coffee fan, I AM a fan of tiramisu! The creamy & slightly sweet mascarpone cheese embedded between layers of coffee-liquor soaked ladyfingers, chopped chocolate, and real whipping cream…. Mmmm good. I had purchased mascarpone cheese specifically for Dorie’s Tiramisu cake, and since we are having a guest over tomorrow, I thought it’d be a great time to make it (since my DB and I can not get through an entire cake solo).

I let this cake sit in my fridge overnight. When I served it the following evening, I felt the cake layers were a little dry- I could have possibly baked it too long or the time in the fridge reduced the moisture from the cake. I baked the cake layers in a 9" pan, but I'd like to try baking it in 8" pans next time. Because the cake layers were somewhat thin, they were breaking apart when being soaked with the espresso syrup... though it didn't take away from the flavor, which was fantastic.

Since this is a cake, it doesn’t include the ladyfingers, but the concept is quite similar. I soaked the spongy and light cake layers with a coffee liquor and placed mascarpone cheese and chocolate in between for the filling. Then I whipped up a whipped cream frosting, dusted it with some cocoa, and voila! The cake was so light and spongy, and soaked the Espresso syrup wonderfully. While this appears to be difficult, most ingredients are what you can find in your pantry, and the process is fairly quick and effortless. I promise you- the effort is worth it. A big thanks to My Baking Adventures for posting this recipe and wonderful step-by-step assembly methods (which I mimicked!).

For the Cake
2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1-1/4 sticks (10 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk (or ¾ cup milk + ¾ Tbsp vinegar), room temperature

For the Espresso extract
2 Tbsp instant espresso powder (I used 3 instant coffee single-serving packets)
2 Tbsp boiling water

For the Espresso syrup
½ cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp Amaretto, Kahlua, or Brandy (I used Kahlua)

For the Filling and Frosting
8-oz. container mascarpone cheese
½ cup confectioners sugar, sifted
1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp Amaretto, Kahlua, or Brandy (I used Kahlua)
1 cup cold heavy cream
2-1/2 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, or about ½ cup store bought mini chocolate chips
Chocolate covered espresso beans, for decoration (optional)
Cocoa powder, for dusting

Getting ready
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment or wax paper. (I used Crisco spray with Flour, and omitted parchment paper)
3. Put the pans on a baking sheet. (Omitted this step)

To make the Cake:
1. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy.
3. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes.
4. Add the eggs one by one, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition.
5. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled.
6. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter.
7. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
8. Bake for 28-30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean.
9. Transfer the cakes to a rack and cool then for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners.
10. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

To make the Espresso extract
1. Stir the espresso powder and boiling water together in a small cup until blended. Set aside.

To make the Espresso syrup
1. Stir the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil.
2. Pour the syrup into a small heatproof bowl and stir 1 Tbsp of the espresso extract and the liqueur or brandy; set aside.

To make the Filling and Frosting
1. Put the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla and liqueur in a large bowl and whisk just until blended and smooth.
2. Working with the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks.
3. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir about one quarter of the whipped cream into the mascarpone.
4. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream with a light touch.

To assemble the Cake
1. If the tops of the cake layers have crowned, use a cake leveler or a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. This will also help to have the Espresso syrup soak into the cake layers.

2. Place one layer right side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate protected with strips of wax or parchment paper.
3. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, soak the layer with about 1/3 of the Espresso syrup.

4. Smooth some of the mascarpone cream over the layer – use about 1-1/4 cups – and gently press the chopped chocolate into the filling.
5. Put the second cake layer on the counter and soak the top of it with half the remaining Espresso syrup:

6. Then turn the layer over and position it, soaked side down, over the filling. Soak the top of the cake with the remaining syrup.

For the Frosting
1. Whisk 1 to ½ Tbsp of the remaining Espresso extract into the remaining mascarpone filling. Taste the frosting as you go to decide how much extract you want to add. If the frosting looks like it might be a little too soft to spread over the cake, press a piece of plastic wrap against its surface and refrigerate it for 15 minutes or so. Refrigerate the cake, too.
2. With a long metal icing spatula, smooth the frosting around the sides of the cake and over the top.

3. If you want to decorate the cake with chocolate covered espresso beans, press them into the frosting, making concentric circles of beans or just putting some beans in the center of the cake.

4. Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours (or up to 1 day) before serving – the elements need time to meld.
5. Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with cocoa.

And serve:

Source: As found on My Baking Adventures, originally from Baking: From my Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan


Anonymous said...

awesome tiramisu! I love it loads too!

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