Tiramisu Cake

This Tiramisu Cake is THE BEST. Layers of light sponge cake, espresso and rum, and decadent mascarpone frosting!

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 is THE BEST. Layers of light sponge cake, espresso and rum, and decadent mascarpone frosting!


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.

(Cake problem? What cake problem? I don’t have a cake problem!)

It’s bad.

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.

Tiramisu Cake - I Say Nomato Nightshade Free Food Blog

Using a clean bowl and a whisk attachment, beat your egg whites and cream of tartar until they form stiff peaks.

Tiramisu Cake - I Say Nomato Nightshade Free Food Blog

Fold your two mixtures together, GENTLY. Sponge cake can be real finicky if you mishandle those egg whites!

Tiramisu Cake - I Say Nomato Nightshade Free Food Blog

Stick some parchment paper in your cake pans. This will make your clean-up much easier later on!

Tiramisu Cake - I Say Nomato Nightshade Free Food Blog

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!

Tiramisu Cake - I Say Nomato Nightshade Free Food Blog

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…

Tiramisu Cake - I Say Nomato Nightshade Free Food Blog

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!

Perfection!

Tiramisu Cake - I Say Nomato Nightshade Free Food Blog

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.

Tiramisu Cake - I Say Nomato Nightshade Free Food Blog

Repeat for every luscious layer…. Mmmmm drip!

Tiramisu Cake - I Say Nomato Nightshade Free Food Blog

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.

Ever.

Tiramisu Cake - I Say Nomato Nightshade Free Food Blog

Yes, even better than that.

Tiramisu Cake - I Say Nomato Nightshade Free Food Blog

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.

Tiramisu Cake - I Say Nomato Nightshade Free Food Blog

If I were on death row, this…. This would be it.

Tiramisu Cake - I Say Nomato Nightshade Free Food Blog

If I had to choose between never eating chocolate again, or never eating this again… I … I might pick tiramisu cake.

Tiramisu Cake - I Say Nomato Nightshade Free Food Blog
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.

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Tiramisu Cake
A twist on a traditional Italian recipe, tiramisu translates to 'pick me up', and you'll soon feel your mood lift with these towering layers of sponge cake, espresso and rum, and sweet mascarpone frosting.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 1 4-layer, 8" Round Cake
Author: Cristina
Ingredients
Sponge Cake (Makes 4 8" Round Layers)
  • 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
Espresso Reduction
  • 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)
Mascarpone Frosting (in order to get a fluffy frosting, make sure all ingredients are at the same temperature!)
  • 20 oz . (~550g.) mascarpone, room temperature
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream , room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
Instructions
Sponge Cake (Please be warned that sponge cake can be finicky, so if making this for special company, I suggest you test it out first!)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks for 1 minute at medium speed.
  3. Continuing to mix, pour in sugar, then beat for another 3 minutes.
  4. Slowly mix in boiling water and vanilla.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt, and then slowly add to the liquid mixture at a low speed.
  6. In a clean mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, whip your egg whites and cream of tartar until it forms stiff peaks.
  7. Fold your egg whites into the rest of the batter gently with a spatula.
  8. Line your cake pans with parchment paper for an easy clean-up, and spread the batter evenly between the pans.
  9. Bake for 25-30 mins, or until a toothpick comes out clean and it springs back to the touch.
  10. Let cool on a wire rack.
Espresso Reduction
  1. In a small pot on the stove, mix your espresso, rum and sugar, stirring until you can't feel any sugar granules left.
  2. 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!
  3. Set aside to cool.
Mascarpone Frosting
  1. In a bowl, mix mascarpone, icing sugar, heavy cream, salt and vanilla, scraping the sides occasionally.
  2. 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.
  3. *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!
Assembly
  1. 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.
  2. Plop some of the frosting between each layer, and spread out from the centre.
  3. Repeat for each layer, and then frost the outside.
  4. 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!
  5. Add some cocoa powder on the top for the real tiramisu experience!

 

 

About the author

Cristina

An avid lover of all things East Coast and delicious, Cristina blogs at I Say Nomato, a site dedicated to exploring and inventing allergy-friendly food. When she's not experimenting in the kitchen, she can be found curled up with a good book or planning her next adventure.

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