As I’ll be heading to Italy over Easter, it’s only fitting that the next bake pays tribute to the country who’s cuisine I fell in love with at a very young age. Tiramisu is a classic, (stereotypical, even) Italian dessert, but you’ll come across many variations, some will stick in your taste buds’ memory more than others; this recipe is one of them.
There’s no skimping on the taste of coffee: a strong espresso is mixed with coffee liqueur to soak the layers of soft ladyfingers. The cream that accompanies these layers is a rich, mascarpone-based cream that has refreshing notes of lemon to it and as there are no raw eggs involved with the cream, the cake can keep for longer. But let’s be honest, you won’t have to worry about that.
This will be the last bake until after Easter, so tuck in!
Part 1: Sponge base
This can be made a couple days in advance and kept in the fridge, wrapped in saran wrap/cling film.
1 Egg yolk
56g AP flour
15g Ground almond
5g Melted butter, cooled.
Vanilla flavouring, a few drops
- Set oven at 175C⁰F/325⁰C
- Grease a 9” tin, then lightly coat with flour. Shake any excess out.
- In a bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolk and sugar with a hand mixer until the mixture doubles in volume, and forms a thick mixture. The more air that is beat into the eggs will help make the sponge rise.
- In a separate bowl, mix the flour and ground almond. Slowly fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until just incorporated. Careful of over mixing here as it could deflate the eggs.
- Take the melted butter and slowly pour it in, while folding, add vanilla flavouring and keep folding until incorporated in.
- Pour mixture into your greased tin and place within centre of oven to bake for 20-30 minutes.
- You may need to turn the tin halfway through (15 mins) depending how even the baking is. To check if the sponge is ready, use a sharp knife, or toothpick, and stick it in the middle of the sponge. If it comes out clean it’s ready.
- Set aside and cool.
Part 2: Ladyfingers
You can prepare this recipe up to a week in advance and store in an airtight container.
6 Egg whites
6 Egg yolks
1 ½ tsp Lemon juice
Vanilla to taste
138g Flour, sifted
Icing sugar for dusting
- In a medium sized bowl, beat egg whites and first amount of sugar until firm peaks
- In a separate bowl, mix egg yolks, remaining sugar, lemon juice and vanilla until it turns to a pale colour.
- Mix half of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture, then mix back in with the remaining egg whites – careful not to deflate the mix.
- Slowly and carefully sift flour into the mixture and fold in.
- Using a circular nozzle, pipe the mixture into 9” round disks onto a tray lined with baking paper. Alternatively, pipe into 2.5” long “fingers”.
- Dust lightly with icing sugar and bake at 190℃/375℉ for 10-12 minutes until they start to colour.
Part 3: Coffee Mascarpone cream
80g Egg yolk
½ Lemon, juice and zest
1 Tbsp Coffee liqueur
350g Mascarpone cheese
10g Gelatin powder
800mL Whipping cream (or half and half with fresh double cream)
- Bring lemon juice, zest, sugar and water to a boil in a medium sized aluminum pot.
- Place egg yolks in a medium sized bowl and mix half the lemon mixture in to temper.
- Pour the yolk mixture back into the pot and mix well.
- Mix remaining sugar in, and continue whisking until the mixture thickens and add the coffee liqueur, mix well.
- Dissolve gelatin powder with ¼ cup of water in a small bowl, and whisk into the egg yolk mixture. Add the mascarpone cheese and whisk until smooth, set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl and electric hand mixer, whisk the whipping cream until soft peaks.
- Take one spoon of the whipped cream and fold into the mascarpone mixture to temper before folding in the remaining whipped cream. Set aside.
Part 4: Assembly
½ cup Sugar
1 cup Water
1 cup Strong, good quality espresso
1 tbsp Brandy
35mL Coffee liqueur
- In a small pot, boil down the sugar with water to create a sugar syrup – about 5 minutes.
- In a shallow pan, combine the sugar syrup with the espresso, brandy, and coffee liqueur. Set aside to cool; you can also make this ahead and store in the fridge until use.
- On a large, flat plate, place a 9” ring down with the sponge as the base. Brush lightly with the coffee syrup to moisten the surface.
- Spoon the cream mixture on top, spreading it evenly. It should be around 0.75” thick.
- Soak a ladyfinger disc in the coffee syrup – careful to not oversaturate – and place on top of the cream.
- Repeat steps 4-5 until you finish with a layer of cream on top. Cover with saran wrap and place in the fridge to chill and set – an hour is best.
- Remove the cake from the ring by scraping a knife around the inside edges, as close to the ring as possible. Lift the ring slowly.
- Cover the top and sides of the cake with remaining cream – it should be 0.5cm thick.
- Pipe buttons on the top of the cake, round the perimeter.
- Dust chocolate shavings on the surface to give it a “cocoa” look.
Optional: Create some chocolate walls on the side of the cake using a brush to paint melted chocolate on strips of parchment paper (it’s easier to manage with 2-3 strips), letting it to harden slightly before fixing it onto the cake for an added finish. Let it chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes so it hardens completely before slowly removing the strip of parchment paper.Voila!