A month back, Susan asked me to help her with her boyfriend's birthday cake. The thing is, he's not much of a cake person (or a anything sweet person). When she told me that he likes tiramisu, I started looking for recipes that will hold up in a cake.
Most recipes i found online for Tiramisu cakes use sponge cake layers instead of lady fingers but i really wanted to have lady fingers in the cake, plus I wanted a simpler recipe for Susan to follow. Then i remembered this wonderful recipe from Chef Dennis that i used last year when i made tiramisu in cups.
Cheese is not really my thing. I don't eat cheese cakes but the first time i tried tiramisu, i was pleasantly surprised by how non-cheesy it tasted. Creamy, yes, but not cheesy. This recipe has great flavour, a great balance of cake and cream - definitely one of the best i've tasted. It also held up very well as a cake.
The original recipe makes a 8 x 8 or 6 x 9 inch cake. The first time we made this using the original recipe, it got us 2 6-inch cakes and a couple of smaller servings. I also found that it was much too sweet. The second time, i scaled the recipe down to make a 6-inch version.
When we were done with the second cake, we had just enough left to make another one. Since i only had one cake ring, we had to remove it from the second cake before it had time to fully set. BIG mistake. Before we could secure the sides with the ribbon, it collapsed into a huge creamy mess. I managed to save some of the lady fingers but we had to eat the rest of the 'cake'.
Yes, i got a little overzealous with the cocoa powder and got them all over the tops of the fingers. Don't be like me.
Yields: 1 6-inch cake and approximately 3 smaller servings
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3 egg yolks
84g caster sugar
141g mascarpone cheese
210g heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 package of lady fingers (14 pieces for the sides + more for the layers)
60ml espresso or strong coffee
35ml coffee flavoured liquor (I used 45ml original Baileys Irish Cream)
cocoa powder for dusting and chocolate curls for garnish
1. Combine yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. This is your sabayon, remove it from heat and whip yolks until thick and lemon coloured.
2. Add mascarpone to whipped yolks, beat until combined.
In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks.
Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone sabayon mixture and set aside.
3. Place a cake board inside the cake ring. Arrange 14 lady fingers (or more) inside the cake ring. Mix the cold espresso with the coffee liquor and dip the lady fingers into the mixture just long enough to get them wet (do not soak!) Arrange the lady fingers at the bottom of the cake board. Spoon the mascarpone filling over the lady fingers. Repeat process with another layer. (I did 3 layers)
4. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Dust the cake with cocoa powder and add chocolate curls if desired before serving.
Do not, i repeat, do not, remove the cake ring from the cake until it has had enough time to firm up (at least an hour).
Sabayon is the French name for zabaglione, a light, mousse-like Italian dessert that's made by whisking eggs, sugar and white wine over gently boiling water until the eggs thicken but do not scramble.
(Bake & Bait // Adapted from Ask Chef Dennis)