Tiramisu means ‘pick me up’ in Italian which is just what The Cake Slice Bakers and I needed after all the heavy food over the Christmas period. This cake looks creamy, and it is, but it’s also surprisingly light. A hit of strong espresso syrup and a dash of rum help give it a wake-up boost that’s very welcome during this cold and dreary January.
Tiramisu is usually served in a large serving dish with diners being given a scoop, but here it has been made just that little bit daintier by layering light and fluffy genoise sponge with coffee syrup and a velvety smooth mascarpone cream to create a sliceable cake.
It’s a little sweet, a little bitter and a little boozy, making for one satisfying dessert. There are quite a few steps involved but they are all relatively easy and once the components are made, it came be put together in a matter of moments. It also benefits from being made in advance which can be a bonus when you’re trying to organise a meal or get-together and don’t want too much to do last minute.
My only criticism is that I didn’t soak my top layer of sponge in enough espresso syrup, so it stayed pale rather than coffee brown. However, that’s my own fault and it did make the cake a little easier to slice as it wasn’t so soft. It still tasted delicious, so no harm done.
(Recipe adapted from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle)
100g plain flour (I used Doves GF flour)
150g caster sugar
½ tsp grated lemon zest
1½ tsp vanilla extract
85g butter, melted and cooled
240ml hot espresso or strong syrup
50g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tbsp dark rum (my addition)
6 egg yolks
1 tbsp water
450g mascarpone cheese
3 tbsp dark rum (I only used 1½)
1½ tsp powdered gelatine (I didn’t use this)
180ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease the base and sides of two 9inch tins. (I used one tin and cut the cake in half after it was cooked)
In a glass bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar to combine, then set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly until the eggs are warm. Remove from the heat and beat with an electric mixer until the eggs are thick, foaming and tripled in volume, about 8 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest.
Sift a third of the flour over the eggs and fold in gently using a spatula or metal spoon. Sift in the remaining flour, in two batches, folding in gently between each addition.
Drizzle the melted butter around the edge of the bowl and fold in gently.
Divide the batter between the two tins and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly golden and springy to the touch. (Bake for 25 minutes if using only 1 tin)
Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes before removing from the tins and leaving to cool completely.
While the cakes are baking, prepare the cream and syrup.
In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir together until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool.
In a glass bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and water. Place the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and becomes hot to the touch, around 5-7 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat, scrape into a small clean bowl and leave to cool.
Beat the mascarpone cheese until creamy and smooth, using an electric whisk. Gradually beat in the cooled egg yolk mixture, mixing until combined.
Place the rum in a small bowl, sprinkle over the gelatine and leave for 5 minutes. Place the bowl in hot water and stir constantly until the gelatine has dissolved. Whisk this mixture into the mascarpone. (I just added the rum without the gelatine and it worked fine).
In a separate bowl, whisk the cream and vanilla together until just starting to form soft peaks. Fold this through the mascarpone mixture and place in the fridge until required.
Trim the cake layers until you have removed all the outer rim of the darker crust from the sides. Brush the top side well with the espresso syrup and place, top side down, inside a 9 inch cake ring that has been placed on a serving plate. Brush the other side with more espresso syrup.
Use half the cream to over the top of the soaked cake, allowing it to go down the sides too until completely coated.
Brush the second cake layer with more syrup, place in the ring mould and brush with any remaining syrup.
Cover the cake with the remainder of the cream. Place in the fridge to chill for 4 hours or overnight.
Run a knife that has been dipped in hot water around the rim of the cake and carefully remove the ring mould.
Dust the top with cocoa powder and a little grated chocolate before serving.
Store any leftover cake in the fridge.