December 2, 2010

Tiramisu Cake

A very famous Italian dessert; ‘Tiramisu’ means pick me up.  This coffee lover’s favorite is made up of biscuits dipped in an espresso and liquor syrup, then layered and frosted with mascarpone, a creamy sour cheese. I find the cake version more appetizing. So here it is. The filling and frosting is high in fat, so I have made a fatless cake (That way I feel less guilty biting into an extra piece!)

What I used: Serves 8-10. Makes a 4 layered 8 inch round cake
For the cake:
1 and ½ cup all purpose flour
1 and ½ cup white sugar
1 and ½ tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
3 tsp vanilla extract
8 eggs
2 tsp instant coffee powder
Espresso Syrup:
3 tsp instant coffee powder dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
5 tsp coffee liquor/ Kahlua/brandy
Coffee liquor frosting and Frosting:
2 cups / 1 pint heavy cream
16 oz mascarpone cheese OR 16oz/ 2-8oz packs of cream cheese and 2tsp sour cream
1/2 to 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
4 tsp espresso syrup
Topping:
1 tsp Cocoa powder for dusting
A small chocolate bar grated or shaved using a peeler

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and dust two 8 inch round cake pans. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt.
Add eggs, sugar and vanilla essence and beat in an electric mixer. When light and fluffy, slowly mix in the flour mixture. Pour half of it into one greased pan. This is the white/yellow cake.
Mix 2tsp of instant coffee powder in 2tsp water and dissolve in a microwave. Gently mix this into the remaining batter. Add it into the second pan. This is the coffee cake
Bake it for 18-22 minutes until the cake leaves the sides of the pan and a knife or skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. I hate to use a toothpick, as it has burnt my fingers most of the time. Cool completely. 

Making the espresso syrup:
Stir the instant coffee powder, sugar, vanilla and boiling water together in a saucepan and bring just to a boil. Mix the liquor and set aside.
Making the Filling and Coffee liquor Frosting:
On medium to high speed, using an electric or stand mixer, add the mascarpone (or the cream cheese and sour cream), confectioner’s sugar, and heavy cream until the mixture gets light and fluffy. Now, on low speed, add in the espresso syrup and whisk just until blended and smooth. 

Layering:
 If the tops of the cake layers have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. You may make a 2 layer cake or a 4 layer cake by cutting both cakes horizontally into 2 layers each. I made a 4 layer cake, just so I could use all the frosting.
Starting with the dark coffee cake, Put some cream on the base board or plate that will hold the cake. Place the 1st layer. Prick the cake top with a fork, so it better absorbs the syrup. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, soak the layer with a couple of spoons of espresso syrup. Top it with a layer of cream.
Put the second cake layer of white/yellow cake. Repeat the process until all layers are assembled. You may chill the cake a bit and then frost, or frost it right away and then chill the entire cake.
Using a spatula or butter knife, first frost the sides of the cake, that way you can rotate or maneuver the cake with ease. Then frost the top. You may dust it with cocoa and decorate it with chocolate shavings. Chill a couple of hours or a day before serving. Enjoy!