Enjoy the flavours of Italy with this delicious Tiramisu Cake. Layers of light sponge cake infused with espresso and rum reduction, and topped with a beautiful, fluffy mascarpone frosting, it should not be missed!
*AUTHOR’S NOTE: I have recently done some major troubleshooting to this recipe, as some people were finding that the icing separated and was lumpy, and weren’t getting the same results I was. The secret seems to be the temperature! Make sure everything is the same temperature (room temp is easiest!) and it should all whip together and be wonderfully smooth and fluffy. If that doesn’t work, pop the whole mixture in the fridge for 20 minutes or so and give it another go. It needs to emulsify, which can be an issue if the fats and liquids are different temperatures. The recipe has been changed to reflect this!*
This tiramisu cake (unlike the white chocolate one), is entirely MY FAULT.
You heard me. I take full responsibility for my actions this time. They say the first step in getting help is admitting you have a problem right?
Well, I have a tiramisu problem.
If Tiramisu is on the menu at a restaurant, I will eat it. I could tell you how Tiramisu means ‘pick me up’ in Italian, and even that doesn’t do it justice.
Let me just say that once… in a fit of desperation when we lived on Saba, (Island of Once-A-Week Grocery Boats) I cobbled one together with ‘Nilla wafers, whipped cream and drip coffee, so powerful was my craving for tiramisu.
It was an abomination; my Frankenstein’s Monster.
And it was DELICIOUS.
So if I’m really to blame this time for decadent layers of light-as-air sponge cake, sweetly bitter espresso and rum, and tangy, creamy mascarpone frosting, then so be it. It’s my fault. I’m going down.
But I’m bringing you with me. And you’re going to like it.
First of all, we need to start with our sponge cake. I’m slightly modifying the recipe for 3-Egg Sponge Cake from my pals Rombauer, Rombauer Becker and Becker and their aptly named Joy of Cooking. I find it makes a fantastic base for the cake and replacement for the pavisini (ladyfingers) in normal tiramisu.
Preheat the oven, of course. In your mixing bowl, beat your 6 egg yolks (SAVE THOSE WHITES!) for about a minute, then slowly add the sugar while it keeps mixing. Continue to mix and add your boiling water and vanilla.
In a different bowl, sift together your flour, baking powder and salt, and then mix those into your egg mixture at a low speed.
Using a clean bowl and a whisk attachment, beat your egg whites and cream of tartar until they form stiff peaks.
Fold your two mixtures together, GENTLY. Sponge cake can be real finicky if you mishandle those egg whites!
Stick some parchment paper in your cake pans. This will make your clean-up much easier later on!
Pop those babies in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, and it springs back when touched.
Once they’re cool, you can gently pull the cake away from the parchment, no problem!
In a pot on the stove, mix your espresso (which you conveniently brewed already), rum and sugar until all the sugar granules are gone, and slowly bring it to a boil. If you want to boil the rum away, or have a thicker reduction, it will take at least 15-20 minutes on a good simmer. I never have that much patience! Ummmm pro-tip… once it’s hot, don’t add more sugar… you will end up with a boiled over, sticky mess. I might or might not know this from experience… oops…
In a bowl, mix your mascarpone and icing sugar, slowly adding in the cream, pinch of salt and vanilla. Adjust accordingly. You want a very soft, easily spreadable frosting here, so it will just glide over the sponge cake. I adapted this delicious frosting recipe from Just Jenn Recipes. It’s seriously the best one out there!
Now it’s time to layer this s**t, Player, Tiramisu, Tiramisu. (Darn you, Macklemore!)
With your spoon, dribble the espresso over the cake until it’s completely soaked. Try to leave at least a ring of non-soaked cake on the edge for structural integrity, and then slap some of that frosting right in the middle, spreading it out gently.
Repeat for every luscious layer…. Mmmmm drip!
And then the outsides of course. I love the rustic look of the cake, the unevenness of it, so I didn’t want to try and trim it too much.
This cake is…. unBELIEVEABLE. It’s so good. I don’t know if I can adequately express how much I love this cake. It might be my favourite thing I’ve ever made.
Yes, even better than that.
You can eat it right away, OR I recommend you let it sit in the fridge overnight for that real tiramisu experience. The flavours will all mingle together. And of course you need to spread cocoa powder on the top!
All I know is that if I were ever in a physical comedy show, and they told me I had to faceplant in a cake, I’d pick this one. Just leave me there.
If I had to choose between never eating chocolate again, or never eating this again… I … I might pick tiramisu cake.
It’s sweet, but not too sweet. Tangy, but not too tangy. Smooth and sweet and a little bitter and heavenly…. ooooooohhhh mannnnnn. Brb. Gone to make more. Don’t send help.
- 6 eggs , separated into whites and yolks
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups sifted cake flour for best results (White flour will do in a pinch.)
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 cup of brewed espresso
- OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup dark rum (or to taste - can be made without it for non-alcoholic option)
- 3-4 Tbsp white sugar (to taste)
- 20 oz . (~550g.) mascarpone, room temperature
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream , room temperature
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°.
In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks for 1 minute at medium speed.
Continuing to mix, pour in sugar, then beat for another 3 minutes.
Slowly mix in boiling water and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt, and then slowly add to the liquid mixture at a low speed.
In a clean mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, whip your egg whites and cream of tartar until it forms stiff peaks.
Fold your egg whites into the rest of the batter gently with a spatula.
Line your cake pans with parchment paper for an easy clean-up, and spread the batter evenly between the pans.
Bake for 25-30 mins, or until a toothpick comes out clean and it springs back to the touch.
Let cool on a wire rack.
In a small pot on the stove, mix your espresso, rum and sugar, stirring until you can't feel any sugar granules left.
Slowly bring it to a boil, and then let it simmer. The longer you leave it, the thicker it will be. This part is personal preference, but I would let it go no longer than 20 mins. Usually I can only wait 5!
Set aside to cool.
In a bowl, mix mascarpone, icing sugar, heavy cream, salt and vanilla, scraping the sides occasionally.
Turn the speed up to medium-high and let it mix for another 2 minutes. You want it to be nice and fluffy and light so it doesn't stick too much to the sponge cake. If it is too stiff or hard, you may need to add a little more cream.
*Note* I have recently done some troubleshooting on the frosting as some people who have tried this recipe found that it separated and was lumpy. The key is in the temperature of the ingredients, which should all be the same in order for the fats and liquids to emulsify and create the beautifully fluffy frosting I was getting in my own kitchen. If it seems to be separating, pop it in the fridge for 20 minutes or so, and give it another go!
With a spoon, gently soak the top of each cake layer with the rum/espresso reduction. Add as much as you want, but leave a ring unsoaked around the outside so that the cake keeps some structural integrity. It's usually about 6-10 teaspoons per layer. You will probably have some reduction left over.
Plop some of the frosting between each layer, and spread out from the centre.
Repeat for each layer, and then frost the outside.
You can eat it immediately, or I highly recommend you let it sit in the fridge for the night before serving it so all the flavours can meld together!
Add some cocoa powder on the top for the real tiramisu experience!