A moist and tasty coffee-infused cake, filled and covered with a traditional Marsala cream, grated dark chocolate and a dusting of cocoa powder…
I love tiramisu and can confidently say that nothing beats a ‘proper’ tiramisu from a little hidden away Bistro in the backstreets of Italy. Dating from the 1960s, in the Veneto region of Italy, tiramisu is the popular coffee-based dessert that literally translates as ‘pick me up’ and I think I love it so much because it uses real coffee (which I love) rather than coffee flavouring (which I do not love – at all). The tasty blend of the coffee, with rich dark chocolate and sweet Marsala remains as recognisable and as popular as it ever was and, quite honestly, it is my favourite dessert to experiment with for dinner parties. Previously, I’ve re-imagined its unique blend of flavours as individual ice cream desserts, but recently I got to thinking, I wonder if I could make it work as a full-size cake…
As with many desserts, tiramisu contains ingredients that need to be refrigerated and normally when translating them into cake form, I’ll try and replace them with longer lasting alternatives – such as the alternative to fresh cream in my Black Forest Cake. However, I don’t feel that a buttercream or similar would do a tiramisu justice, so my tiramisu cake uses a blend of fresh cream and mascarpone, which will need to be refrigerated to store.
This recipe makes a four layer 8″ cake.
For the cake:
- 450g butter or margarine
- 450g golden caster sugar
- 7 large eggs
- 450g self-raising flour
- 3 tbsp instant coffee
- 2 tbsp boiling water
For cream filling:
- 600ml pot double cream
- 250g mascarpone
- 75ml marsala
- 5 tbsp golden caster sugar
- 50g dark chocolate (grated)
- Tbsp cocoa powder
Start by preheating your oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3 and grease and line two deep 8″ cake pans.
Cream together the butter and sugar until fully incorporated and pale in colour.
In a separate bowl, combine two tablespoons of boiling water with three tablespoons of good quality instant coffee and stir to combine. Then beat in the eggs, before slowly combining with the butter/sugar mixture. If the mixture starts to curdle, add a tablespoon of flour.
Sieve the flour into the bowl and mix until just combined – be careful not to over-beat the mixture.
Separate the mixture between the two tins and bake in the oven for around one hour and forty minutes, until a skewer comes out clean and the mixture has stopped ‘singing’.
TIP: When baking deeper or larger cakes, it is better to bake at a lower temperature for longer, as this will ensure an even bake with little-to-no doming.
When your cakes are ready, take them from the oven and leave them to stand in the tins for about 5 minutes. Then invert on to a wire rack to cool upside down entirely.
To make the creamy filling, place the cream, mascarpone, marsala and sugar in a large bowl. Use an electric whisk to combine until the cream and mascarpone have the consistency of thickly whipped cream.
When you are ready to assemble your cake, begin by torting* your cakes with a cake leveller.
*Torting a cake is the process of cutting a layer of cake horizontally to split it into two layers.
At this point, if you want to really punch up the coffee flavour, make up a cup of espresso and use a pastry brush to apply it liberally to your layers of cake.
Place the first layer of cake on your serving dish and cover with a layer of your creamy filling. Sprinkle on a quarter of the grated chocolate before adding the next layer of cake. Repeat until you have added all the layers of the cake.
Cover the rest of the cake with the remaining cream mixture and smooth with an edge scraper.
Dust the top of the cake with your cocoa powder and the last of your grated chocolate (if you have any cream mixture left and haven’t eaten it all with a spoon, you can pipe some swirls on top too).
Please note, your cake will need to be stored in the fridge. For best results, remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving.