Friday 31 January 2014

Sweet Celebrations with Dorie Greenspan's Tiramisu Cake

 A cake is what is served on the happiest days of your life.”  
                                                                       ― Jeanne RayEat Cake

My year ends with a celebration and begins with one!!
Seriously, we hardly recuperate from our Anniversary celebrations (in late December) and before you know its time again to gear up to celebrate hubby's birthday (in early January), not to forget the exhausting New Year Celebrations in between.
But it is fun. After all, life is one long party to share and enjoy with your loved ones. 
This year, for the first time ever, I didn't bake a cake for our Anniversary. As hubby and I had plans to go out  to celebrate our anniversary, so, a day prior to the actual day we had a kind of pre-Anniv celebrations with both our parents (who stay a stone throw's distance from our house) for which mom insisted that she would arrange the cake. 
Having already cut and eaten cake a day before, I somehow felt too lazy to bake one for the actual day. Afterall, how much cake can have one have (Though of course don't ever put this 'silly' question across to my kids). 
So, 10 days later, when it was time for my husband's birthday I felt totally refreshed and raring to go. (Also I felt the need to put in some extra effort as I felt terribly guilty for not making a cake on our Anniversary.) 
Thinking hard of what he would really like, I ended my quest with Dorie Greenspan's book "From My Home to Yours" (which lately seems to be solution to all my problems). Having tried a few recipes from her book earlier, I was quite confident that I would not err on this one too. Check out my recipes for Mango Bread and Walnut Mocha cake, both of which turned out incredible.) 
A person who is extremely fond of his espresso shots, I was quite sure  that this recipe of "Tiramisu Cake" was made just for him and was sure to bring a smile on his face. 
The cake was light and creamy and tasted just like the classic dessert.  Two layers of cake soaked with the espresso syrup and covered with creamy mascarpone frosting -  can it get any better than that for a die hard coffee lover?
While this cake did have great flavor, I felt I could have soaked it a bit more with the syrup - one thing to remember for next time. Also being a butter cake, it felt a little dense especially being winter time now (maybe the extra soaking would have helped here.)
 But probably I was the only one to notice this. Everyone else absolutely loved the cake and by the smile on the Birthday boy's face I could tell he was a very happy man.

For the Cake:
2 cups (225 gms)flour
2 tsp (10gms) baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
10 tbsp (140 gms) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup (200 gms) sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
11/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup (175 ml) buttermilk
For the espresso extract:
2 tbsp instant espresso powder
2 tbsp boiling powder
For the espresso syrup:
1/2 cup (120 ml) water 
1/3 cup (65 gms) sugar
1 tbsp amaretto(15 ml), kahlua or brandy
For the filling and frosting:
225 gms mascarpone cheese (to learn how to make mascarpone at home see my Tiramisu post)
1/2 cup (60 gms)icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp (15 ml) amaretto, kahlua or brandy
11/2 tsp (8 ml) pure vanilla extract
1 cup (235) ml cold heavy cream
70 gms bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 180 C.
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. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To make the cake: Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
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. 
Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. 
Add the eggs one by one, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. 
Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. 
Reduce the mixer speed to low  and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in three additions and the buttermilk in two (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.
Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
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. 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. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
To make the extractStir the espresso powder and boiling water together in a small cup until blended. Set aside.
To make the syrup: Stir the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. Pour the syrup into a small heatproof bowl and stir 1 tablespoon of the espresso extract and the liqueur or brandy; set aside.
To make the filling and frosting: Put the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla and liqueur in a large bowl and whisk just until blended and smooth. Working with the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir about one quarter of the whipped cream into the mascarpone. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream with a light touch.
To assemble the cake: If the tops of the cake layers have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. Place one layer right-side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate protected with strips of wax or parchment paper. 
Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, soak the layer with about one third of the espresso syrup. Smooth some of the mascarpone cream over the layer – user about 1 1/4 cups – and gently press the chopped chocolate into the filling. 
Put the second cake layer on the counter and soak the top of it with half the remaining espresso syrup, 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, whisk 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons 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 as if 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.
With a long metal icing spatula, smooth the frosting around the sides of the cake and over the top. 
Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours (or for up to 1 day) before serving – the elements need time to meld. Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with cocoa, or top with shaved chocolate.
I had been wanting to try out icing Rosettes for long time, which I believe can only be piped out with Wilton 1M nozzle. As I did not have the required Wilton nozzle I just used a big star nozzle and covered the top entirely with swirls. 
Did not get the same swirled rosettes effect but it still looked quite pretty.


  1. You know I am yet to have that perfect Tiramisu cake. I have tried so many bakeries, but none of them just seem to get it right. May be I will try this recipe :)

    1. DI would love to know how it turned out Ritika.

  2. That looks amazing! My mom used to make a cake quite similar to that one! Thanks for bringing back those memories!

    1. Thanks for your sweet comments. Its really nice of you.

  3. Hi Mukta, Your cake sure looks yum...btw, where do you buy heavy cream here in Gurgaon ? Runa

    1. Thanks Runa. I usually get my whipped cream from the local bakery in my vicinity.