Tuesday, August 24, 2010


The fabulous Cupcake Courier website, which offers many gorgeous things, has some fantastic bargains right now. I covet almost everything they sell, but a Cupcake Courier for $25 and a Jessie Steele apron for $22 are steals! Might make for some great Chrissie pressies for my fellow cooks also...

Check it out here

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tiramisu Cake

So I've been away, but that's not to say I haven't been continuing my cooking odyssey - I most certainly have! I've done lots of stuff like tiramisu cake, dark chewy gingerbread biscuits, chocolate cherry cheesecakes, double baked souffles, banoffee pie and hot cross buns to name a few. I've also been busy buying up cookbooks, experimenting with various pancake recipes, lamenting that Tupperware have discontinued lacquer blue lids, filling my shopping cart to bursting at Peters of Kensington and coveting the entire Robert Gordon range.

OK so goign back quite a few months I (stupidly some might say) vounteered to make a dessert for Father's Day with the Outlaws. As they are Italian and love coffee flavours, I thought 'Tiramisu'. I quickly thought better of it, given MIL does her own version Red and his dad fawn over. However, I thought I could do a twist on it, an Tir-a-miseqsue of sorts... a lemon-misu?? a choc-a-misu?? But finally decided to go for a tiramisu cake.

Back then, finding a recipe was. Mucho Googling brought me loads of pictures but not much in the way of recipes. I finally found someone's rendition of Dorie Greenspan's recipe.

I found this cake hard work.. there are lots of different components. It is, however, delicious and not too rich. MIL thought it was OK too - although she thought there could have been more syrup soaking the cake, but that's because she likes the (her) pudding version where its all soggy as heck - and this is not meant to be like that - it is a cake afterall. That said, that was high priase from her!

This process taught me three things:

1. I am absolutely hopeless at cutting cakes into layers.
2. Never trasnport a layer cake on a sloping back seat. You know, sometimes the layers slide around! Who knew.
3. I absolutely had to have Dorie Greenspan's cook book.

Are you ready?? Here goes:

Dorie Greenspan's Tiramisu Cake


For the cake:
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
150g 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 or Kahlua

For the filling and icing:
230 grams mascarpone
1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon amaretto or Kahlua
1 cup cold thickened cream
70 grams bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Cocoa powder, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Butter two x 23 cm round cake tins, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess, and line the bottoms of the tins. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To make the cake:

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

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 icing:

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 board or plate protected with wax 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 icing, whisk 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining espresso extract into the remaining mascarpone filling. Taste the icing as you go to decide how much extract you want to add. If it 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 icing 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.

Hmmm, thought I had pictures of this somewhere, but maybe not - sorry!