Monday, June 7, 2010

Tiramisu Cake

Myself being a small town girl I have marveled at the various flavoured pastries offered by Parijatha Bakery, Kundapura. When Ria, Divya and Maria announced a baking challenge called “A Sweet Punch”, I was thrilled big time. I have been an avid reader of their blogs and have been intimated by their baking expertise. Learning from them meant I could create all those yummy goodies I have been drooling over. After registering myself in the event, I was eagerly waiting for my first challenge. It came earlier than expected.

Tiramisu… the name sounded exotic but certainly alien to me in all respects. First thing I did was reading about it in Wikipedia. Reading about it gave me a cold feet coz Wiki had declared it as one of the most popular Italian cakes. My god, was I gonna attempt something foreign while I am still an amateur at anything Indian for that matter? Glancing through the lengthy recipe added to my nervousness and I was almost planning to chicken out at that moment. But luckily when I reached the end of the recipe, I saw a paragraph in which Ria had simplified the recipe and penned down words of encouragement which I badly needed to stay in the game.

The cake sure was a breeze to make and a delight to nibble upon. Only thing I wish I could do better was the decoration. When I had to sprinkle the cocoa powder on top I should’ve perhaps used a sieve to evenly spread it. I sprinkled it just like that (so foolish of me). After that I was very upset with the uneven cocoa layer that I simply tuck some Gems on its top and sides to give it the final touch. Despite the appearance, the taste was unmatched. I’m glad I acted a brave sport and didn’t quit the challenge.

Thanks Ria, Divya and Maria for hosting such a beautiful event. Looking forward to the next challenge.

My first home made Mascarpone cheese... Yay I loved making it and eating it too. 

The cake that came out of the oven

After cutting into layers

I didn't have choco chips and hence added choclate strands.

That was a badly cut piece of cake but I was in a hurry...

Here goes the recipe:

Tiramisu Cake

For the cake layers:
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

For the espresso extract:
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons boiling water

For the espresso syrup:
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy

For the filling and frosting:
1 8-ounce container mascarpone (store-bought or homemade)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 1/2 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

Getting ready:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9×2 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 3 additions and the milk 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. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
  • Bake for 28 to 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 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 extract:
  • Stir 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 in 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. If you want to decorate the cake with chocolate-covered espresso beans, press them into the filling, making concentric circles of beans or just putting some beans in the center of the cake.

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.
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  1. Hi - Nice to see that you took all the effort to make this even though it was intimidating. The cake sure looks good! Hope you enjoyed eating it!

  2. Seema, first time on your blog. The cake has come out so wonderfully. I love the shape of your cake. Beautiful :)

  3. Beautiful and the finished one is gorgeous.. which is making me drool and have again...


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