Tiramisù means “pick-me-up” in Italian. I have taken the idea of sponge, liqueur, mascarpone, coffee and cocoa beans and created a delicious, rich (strictly for adults) cake perfect for a birthday celebration. Make the cake and filling ahead (even the day before), assembling it a couple of hours before it is served. Please make sure you use very strong coffee for this recipe; brew it twice as strong as usual. This tiramisu cake recipe serves 10.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, really soft and diced, plus more for the pans
- 1 2/3 cups (scant) self-rising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/8 cups unrefined superfine sugar
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons very strong black coffee (espresso or instant), cooled
- 1 cup (generous) mascarpone
- 3/4 cup (generous) heavy cream, very lightly whipped
- 1/4 cup light muscovado sugar or light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons very strong black coffee (espresso or instant), cooled
- 3 tablespoons Tia Maria, dark rum, or Kahlúa
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
- 1 ounce 70% cocoa solids chocolate, finely grated
- 15 to 20 chocolate-covered coffee beans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8" round cake pans and line the bottoms with baking parchment.
You can use an electric mixer with a beater attachment, a food processor, or a bowl and an electric whisk. First, sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl, then add the butter, sugar, eggs, and coffee. Beat together until well blended, but be very careful not to overmix, as you want a light cake. Divide the batter evenly between the pans and level the tops.
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a skewer emerges clean. Remove from the oven and leave for a couple of minutes. Run a knife around the rims to loosen the cakes from the pans and turn out onto a wire rack. Remove the papers and let cool completely.
To make the filling, tip the mascarpone into a bowl and lightly beat. Fold in the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla. Chill until you are ready to assemble the cake.
Split the two cakes in half horizontally, to make four layers. In a little bowl, mix together the coffee and Tia Maria.
To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake on a plate. Sprinkle the coffee mixture over all four layers.
Take about a quarter of the mascarpone filling and spread it over the base cake, dust with cocoa, and place the second layer on top. Repeat until you have a four-layer cake, topped with the mascarpone filling. Sprinkle the grated chocolate over the top and decorate with the chocolate-covered coffee beans. Chill for an hour or two until ready to serve.
This tiramisu cake recipe is excerpted with permission from "Birthday Cakes: Festive Cakes for Celebrating that Special Day" by Fiona Cairns and published by Rizzoli.