Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tiramisu Cake

Tiramisu is probably my all time favourite dessert, with strawberry shortcake and trifle coming in at a close second. A few years ago I came across a recipe for a Tiramisu Cake in a magazine. Instead of layering the tiramisu with lady fingers and mascarpone cream, you use layers of a plain yellow cake. I was so intrigued with this new method that I just had to make it. That was a few years ago but it had been on my mind so I thought I would make it again for my husband Randy’s birthday.

The recipe calls for a cake mix (what’s a cake mix? – sounds like a compilation of music my daughter would burn on a CD to bake my cake by). I baked my own cake from a recipe that I found in The Good Housekeeping Cookbook many years ago for Yellow Cake, which is an exceptionally easy cake to make and tastes pretty good as well. You certainly could use a gĂ©noise for this recipe – as a matter of fact it would probably be ideal for this cake. It is also advisable to bake the cake a day before, otherwise you’ll be in the kitchen most of the day baking and assembling the cake.

The cake is baked in two 8” round pans and once they are baked you use only one of the cakes and put the other away for another use. The cake is then sliced in half so that you have two layers.
The cream mixture is mixed as any other tiramisu recipe: beat the egg yolks with sugar over simmering water until very light and when cooled add the mascarpone and whipped cream.
You need lady fingers to decorate the sides of the cake and you can buy them at the bakery if you can find the soft kind but I decided to make my own. I used the recipe from the Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Making lady fingers is pretty easy — you need a piping bag and parchment with lines three inches apart penciled in to keep the ladyfingers uniform. Just flip the parchment so you aren’t piping on the pencil marks.

The cake is brushed with a coffee-liqueur mixture (I used cognac), layered with mascarpone, another cake layer, again brushing with coffee-liqueur mixture and another layer of mascarpone. Then you grate chocolate curls and generously sprinkle them on the top. The ladyfingers are placed on the sides of the cake as a finishing touch and voila, you have a Tiramisu Cake.

I refrigerated the cake overnight and brought it over to my parent’s house so that we could celebrate Randy’s birthday with everyone and celebrate Father’s Day as well. The cake was delicious and was enjoyed by all.
A few days later I made a strawberry shortcake with the remaining cake layer.

I’ll be in Italy for the next couple of weeks but I look forward to reading your comments on my return.

Tiramisu Cake

1 box (18.25 oz.) yellow cake mix or make your own from scratch
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar, divided
¾ cup chilled heavy cream
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 containers (8 oz. each) mascarpone, softened
1 cup cold espresso or strong coffee with 2 tbsp. cognac or favourite liquor.
1 cup grated dark chocolate
1 pkg. Store-bought ladyfingers (about 24) or make your own from scratch (recipe below)

In small bowl with electric beater, beat egg yolks and 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar until mixture is thick and pale yellow, about 2 minutes.
Place bowl with egg and sugar mixture over saucepan of simmering water, and whisk until mixture reaches 160 F. Remove from heat and cool.
In a small bowl with electric beater, beat heavy cream until frothy. Add vanilla and remaining 1 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar, and continue beating until soft peaks form.
Place mascarpone in a large bowl, then fold in egg and sugar mixture to incorporate completely. Follow by gently folding in freshly whipped cream.
Slice one of the cooled cakes into two layers horizontally. (Freeze remaining cake to use later.)
Place first cake layer on cake plate. Brush layer with 1/2 cup espresso and cognac. Spread ½ of the whipped cream mixture over that. Place the second layer of cake over the cream and brush with remaining coffee and top with remaining cream. Sprinkle top with grated chocolate.
Press ladyfingers gently into side of cake so that they stand upright and are evenly spaced around its perimeter. Cover cake with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 8 hours or, if possible, overnight

Yellow Cake
Good Housekeeping Cookbook

2-1/4 cups cake flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
¾ cup shortening
¾ cup milk
3 large eggs
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Combine all ingredients in large bowl of electric mixer. Mix for 1 minute at low speed then for 5 minutes at high speed. Place in a bundt, tube or 2 9-inch round cake pans. Bake large cake 35 – 45 minutes; round cakes 30 minutes.
Note: This is a good all purpose cake. It makes a delicious strawberry shortcake.

Biscuit a la Cuilliere - Lady Fingers
The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
6 large eaggs, separated
¾ cup sugar
2-1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1 tbsp. warm water
1-1/2 cups sifted cake flour
¾ tsp. Cream of tartar
Two large baking sheet, lined with parchment and lined with piping guides (parallel lines 3 inches apart).

Preheat oven to 400 F.
In a large mixing bowl beat the yolks and ½ cup sugar on high speed for 5 minutes or until the mixture is very thick and ribbons when dropped from the beater. Lower the speed and beat in the vanilla and water. Increase to high speed and beat for 30 seconds or until thick again. Sift the flour over the yolk mixture without mixing in and set aside.
In another large mixing bowl beat the whites until foamy, add the cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised. Gradually beat in the remaining ¼ cup sugar, beating until very stiff peaks form when the beater is raised slowly. Add 1/3 of the whites to the yolk mixture and with a skimmer or rubber spatula fold until all the flour is incorporated. Gently fold in the remaining white.
Scoop batter into the pastry bag and pipe out 3-inch by 1-1/2 inch side-by-side “fingers.” Be sure to hold the pastry tube high enough above the surface of the sheet so that the batter can fall feely from the tube and not get flattened by the edge of the tube. There should be a ¼-icnh space between the “fingers” as they spread sideways as they are piped. Sift the powered sugar completely over the fingers. After a few seconds the batter will dissolve and absorb some of the sugar. For a pearled effect, sprinkle with a second coat. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown and springy to the touch. Remove the sheets to racks and cool slightly. To prevent cracking, remove from the sheets while still warm with a long, thin spatula or pancake turner.