Saturday, 21 May 2011

Baking Sunday: Tiramisu cake

This recipe is from a blog I have admired for a long time, Smitten Kitchen. Deb has been blogging and taking beautiful photos of her food since 2006 and her blog is an amazing resource of hundreds of interesting recipes, with a New York influence. A lot of Smitten Kitchen's recipes have become my favourites such as thick chewy granola bars, potato pancakes, apple and cheddar scones (one of my favourite flavour combinations - is that weird?), and lighter than air chocolate cake

I happened to have some mascarpone leftover from my red velvet cake and whilst tiramisu is one of my favourite desserts, I wanted to make something that I already had the ingredients for (not being in the habit of keeping savoiardi biscuits at a regular supply). I remembered that Smitten Kitchen had a recipe for tiramisu cake and decided to go for it.


One of the advantages of making something that has already been blogged about is that I was able to read all of the comments and suggestions. Some people mentioned that the cake was a bit dry and suggested doubling the amaretto espresso syrup which the cakes are brushed with. The cakes are quite dense, acting as the 'biscuit' element of the tiramisu and they certainly benefited from the extra syrup.

The mascarpone icing was creamy and delicious but the consistency was a bit wet - commenters had noted this but there were not suggestions on how to bring it back to a thicker consistency and sadly even refrigerating the icing and adding extra stiff whipped cream didn't help that much. It was a minor quibble though, the icing and filling still spread perfectly. It was just a tinier bit messier than I would have liked however at least it didn't curdle like some reported back!

I copied the gorgeous star pattern from Smitten Kitchen, using grated chocolate instead of cocoa powder and it was a beautiful cake indeed, deliciously rich, moist and creamy. I'd prefer a stronger coffee flavour myself so would alter this slightly but otherwise I really enjoyed it and so did everyone who tried it.

This recipe is entirely in US measurements. I have recently reading about the differences with measurements between the UK and US cup sizes. The difference is negligible but for cakes I've never made before I'm far more confident with weight measurements and so my converted recipe is as below. I didn't convert the tablespoons and teaspoons as the amounts were so very small there didn't seem to be much point. I use this website for conversions, it's fantastic and has conversions for most of my cooking needs.

Tiramisu Cake (see Smitten Kitchen blog for full recipe)

For the sponge layers:
220g / 2 cups cake flour / Take 1 tablespoon from plain flour and replace with cornflour to make cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
141g / 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature / 141g or 5oz
225g / 1 cup sugar / 225g
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
177mL / 3/4 cup buttermilk / 177ml
Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celcius and grease and line two 9 inch cake pans. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking sode and salt. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centres will come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them, and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side

For the filling and frosting:
226g / 8 ounces marscarpone
60g / 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlua or brandy
236 mL / 1 cup cold heavy cream
70g / 2 1/2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped or about 1/2 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips / I used dark cooking chocolate
Method:
Put the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla and liqueur in a large bowl and whisk just until blended and smooth. Working with the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir about 1 quarter of the whipped cream into the mascarpone. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream with a light touch.

2 comments:

Victoria said...

Katey...I am a huge fan of smitten kitchen too!! your tiramisu looks awesome! I moved to the UK from Canada 6 years ago and made sure to bring my US measuring cups with me. (not as easy when converting butter weights though...in North America cups and half cups are measured out on the butter packs already!) I totally think that it is worth the investment for situations like this....I saw some really sweet looking russian stacking doll ones in Lakeland yesterday :) Anyway...love your blog!!

Katey said...

Thank you! That's really kind of you - I'm glad the tiramisu turned out and I always love trying Smitten Kitchen recipes. It's definitely my go-to blog when I want to try out some new cakes! It is a good investment indeed - I only really noticed the difference when I bought a great US book called "Little Cakes" and hardly any of the recipes turned out - my cups were all wrong, and at that size, the difference was actually pretty noticeable. Anyway, thanks for the Lakeland tip and commenting :-)

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