Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie—Tiramisu Cake

Tiramisu Cake
What makes tirami-su, tiramisu?

Tiramisu usually contains lady finger biscuits, mascarpone cheese, a coffee flavored liqueur and is dusted with cocoa. My version doesn't contain any of these ingredients. Dorie's riff on tiramisu uses a sponge cake instead of lady finger biscuits. I was forced to do a couple of riffs myself. Since I didn't have mascarpone, I used some long neglected cream cheese that was soon going to expire. As well, I didn't have the recommended Kahlúa or brandy so I used crème de cacao. Finally, I forgot to put the chopped chocolate in between the layers so I sprinkled it on top which meant my cake wasn't dusted with cocoa.
(n) tiramisu (an Italian dessert consisting of layers of sponge cake soaked with coffee and brandy or liqueur layered with mascarpone cheese and topped with grated chocolate) — Link
Whatever you call it, it's a treat in the middle of the afternoon guaranteed to pick you up and get you to the 5 o'clock whistle.


Makes 10 servings (I halved the recipe.)

Ingredients for Tiramisu Cake
For the Cake:
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1¼ sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk

For the Espresso Extract:
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons boiling water

For the Espresso Syrup:
½ cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlúa, or brandy (Deb note: I used brandy)

For the Filling and Frosting:
1 8-ounce container mascarpone
½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlúa, or brandy (Deb note: I used brandy)
1 cup cold heavy cream
2½ ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, or about 1/2 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

Chocolate-covered espresso beans, for decoration (optional)
Cocoa powder, for dusting

You can find the recipe for Tiramisu Cake in the book Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or here. To see how the rest of the TWD group fared with this week's recipe, click here and then click on each blogger! Thanks to Megan of My Baking Adventures who chose the recipe for this week.

Tulip Festival, Ottawa & My Favorite Espresso Cup
Tulip Festival, Ottawa & My Favorite Espresso Cup

Tasting Notes
After sitting in the refrigerator overnight, I pulled out a piece to nibble on while writing this post. I found the cake moist, with a slight coffee flavor, followed by the stronger taste of cream cheese with a touch of chocolate. Overall, it had a subtle mocha taste that was perfect with an espresso. To get more coffee flavor, next time I would soak more espresso extract in the sponge cake and use Kahlúa. I'd also try making it with mascarpone and compare it with the cream cheese. But I liked my tiramisu-inspired cake.
Sam Baldwin: What is "tiramisu"?
Jay: You'll find out.
Sam Baldwin: Well, what is it?
Jay: You'll see!
Sam Baldwin: Some woman is gonna want me to do it to her and I'm not gonna know what it is!
Sleepless in Seattle
Links to Other Posts and Articles on Tiramisu
• Cooking for Engineers: Simple Tiramisu
• Smitten Kitchen: Tiramisu Cake
• The Washington Post: The Trail of Tiramisu

Recipe for Next Week (May 12)
Babette of Babette Feasts has chosen Tartest Lemon Tart on page 336.
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    Anne said...

    Your cake looks gorgeous and I love the shot of the tulips- my favorite!

    Audrey said...

    OK, first of all, I had forgotten how tiramisu was featured in SiS, so you gave me a laugh! I thought this was delicious, and since it was my first time using mascarpone, it was an especial treat. (Cream cheese was a good idea - now I have to go check how old mine is! - but mascarpone is lovely. Hope you get a chance to work with it.)

    Jennifer said...

    Love the quote!

    I also had to vary mine, but it was still really good. I used leftover brandy (from the armagnac cake, I think) and added a dash of almond extract and I had to use ground up instant coffee (blech) instead of espresso powder.

    vibi said...

    Wonderful cake, impressive tulip colours, very whimsical cup... nice shade of lipstick! lol

    Redundantly... lovely.

    Megan said...

    Great "riffs" on the recipe - as usual, yours looks perfect and delicious!

    La Bella Cooks said...

    I am loving your version! I think any new take on the traditional tiramisu is always worth a try. Beautiful job!

    Kara said...

    Oh I like your variations .. and your cake looks so pretty. I definitely thought mine could have used more syrup. The cake was a little dry otherwise. Still, it was pretty yummy!

    Anonymous said...

    the best Tiramisu I've had was in Boston at Mike's Pastry. Heaven on a plate!!!

    I don't have patience to make this, but if I did your recipe sounds great.

    Soy*Baby said...

    Gorgeous photos. The little square cake looks so pretty. I don't think you missed out in not dusting the cake with cocoa.

    Madam Chow said...

    This looks delicious, adaptations and all. I really soaked mine in the coffee, so that flavor came through. And I love your quote from Sleepless in Seattle.

    katie said...


    This look really inviting. I went to a dinner the othe rnight where the chef made marscapone from scratch (on a large scale).

    Apparently it s a gallon of cream, 1 c buttermilk, 1/8 rennet tablet left to sit for a day. Not sure if there is heat involved... Anyways, it would be great with this luscious dessert!

    Michele said...

    I'm glad you like the cake; it looks fabulius. Your photography is gorgeous!

    Teanna said...

    Hahah that is the best part of Sleepless in Seattle! The cake looks absolutely stunning.

    Aimée said...

    I can't decide which is more stunning, this cake or the vibrant tulips!
    Both are lovely and the tulips are a reminder that we should buzz up to Ottawa sometime to see those tulips.

    Marthe said...

    I love your square tiramisu, it looks so cute!

    chocolatechic said...

    Beautiful cake.

    Anonymous said...

    Your tiramisu looks gorgeous. I love the chocolate on top. YUM.

    Unknown said...

    I love the square cake! Great job. Those tulips are so pretty. I really need to plant some bulbs in my yard for next spring.

    Anonymous said...

    i should make this for work to get us to the end of the day... i've been eating raspberry pastries all afternoon but they're making me fee sluggish!

    steph- whisk/spoon said...

    you gotta do what you gotta do... looks pretty darn good!

    Monica H said...

    I'm making tiramisu for Mother's Day brunch- I can't wait!

    bellaguinness said...

    Love that espresso cup - how perfect! I haven't made tiramisu in forever. I should do that soon!

    Sippity Sup said...

    Wow, I do not really go in for this Tuesdays with Dorie thing! But this so so gorgeous! GREG

    Anonymous said...

    I love what you've done with it.

    Katrina said...

    Great looking lil square cake!
    Tulips are my favorite flower.

    Babette said...

    Mmm. Your tasting notes make me want to raid my fridge.

    Jude said...

    I think it looks better with the chopped chocolate on top. I always crave tiramisu around 3 pm, just when I feel like heading home from work and take a nap.

    Rebecca said...

    Lovely photo. When I'm making tiramisu for myself, I usually do half cream cheese and half mascarpone. Any excuse for more cream cheese!

    The Food Librarian said...

    Lovely! Just lovely! Love this post. The flowers and the movie! :)

    Welcome to our crazy blessed life said...

    Beautiful photos!! Glad you were able to make a few adjustments and still have this turn out great!

    angela@spinachtiger said...

    I love the blue/brown combo and the cup of course. You will LOVE mascarpone in this, and yes it does need a bit more soaking. The square/square looks really good too.

    Asha at beFOODled said...

    This looks delicious! I had a tiramisu cake for the first time last month. It was very good, and from Loblaws of all places. Nothing beats homemade, though.

    Michelle {lovely little things} said...

    One of my fave desserts in a cake? I'm in heaven!

    Love your blog!

    Mermaid Sews said...

    Great photos, I made some adjustments too, I will make the full version someday.

    Anonymous said...

    Thank gawd for riffs...'coz the cake looks ultimately delish!

    pam said...

    Hmmm...which is a prettier pink, the tulips or your lipstick???

    grace said...

    glorious. creme de cacao sounds even better than brandy, and i personally prefer a chopped chocolate to a dusting of cocoa that just hangs in your throat anyway. gorgeous cake, shari!

    Jules Someone said...

    Your cake sounds amazing. I'm sorry that I didn't make it this week.

    Unknown said...

    As always, lovely!

    Hindy said...

    A versatile recipe. Everyone seems to have found a way to make it a success.

    Kayte said...

    Lovely photo of the cake...and the flowers! Your version sounds wonderful, and looks delightfully so. The guys inhaled this cake...literally, I think. They loved it. Top 5....of course they say that any number of weeks...they are a very appreciative audience.

    Di said...

    I love all of your pictures, but the tulip one is my favorite this week. It sounds like you were quite successful with your improvising. =)

    Eliana said...

    I think your rift on a classic tiramisu is fantastic. Great job with this.

    Engineer Baker said...

    Absolutely gorgeous! Halving the recipe was probably safer - this cake is dangerous to have around.

    TeaLady said...

    Beautiful cake. The tulip is beautiful. Wish I had some n the garden.