There are things in life that have a simple majesty.
A cake, for example is how we mark a special occasion. This January, I’m celebrating the new year; I’m also celebrating my birthday, but most importantly, I’m celebrating 15 years of cooking with my newly designed web site and a new cookbook on the way! After a decade of Brazilian oriented cooking, a new era of recipes seethes with the needs of our current times.
Tirami- who? Tiramisu Birthday Cake! if you’d like to celebrate anything in your life, I highly recommend this recipe! Inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s Baking book (love her!), this cake is absolutely delicious; a detour from the classic Tiramisu, but with all the authentic flavors of the beloved Italian dessert. Go ahead cake! This is your moment to be beautiful! Make a wish Leticia! The possibility of my wish coming true is actually very exciting!
Tiramisu Birthday Cake
Adapted by Dorie Greenspan’s Baking, From My Home to Yours
Makes 12 servings
For the Cake:
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk
For the Expresso Extract:
2 tablespoons instant expresso powder
2 tablespoons boiling water
For the expresso syrup:
½ cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoons amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy
For the Filling and Frosting:
one 8-oz mascarpone cheese
½ cup confectioner’s sugar sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon amaretto, kahlua, or brandy
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 ½ oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter two 9 X 2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper.
1- Make the Cake: Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and baking soda and salt.
2- Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, 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 speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternatively with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions (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 an off-set spatula.
3- Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers 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 up.
4- Make the Extract: stir the expresso powder and boiling water together in a small cup until blended. Set aside.
5- Make the Syrup: Stir the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. Pour the syrup into a small heatproof bowl and stir in 1 tablespoons of the expresso extract and the liqueur or brandy. Set aside.
6- To make the Filling and Frosting: Put the mascarpone, sugar vanilla and liqueur in a large bowl and whisk just until blended and smooth. Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream until firm peaks. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir about one quarter of the whipped cream into the mascarpone. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream with a light touch.
7- Assemble the Cake: of the tops of the cake layers have crowned, use a long, serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. Place one layer right side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate protected with strips of parchment paper. Using a pastry brush, soak the layer with about one third of the expresso syrup. Smooth some of the mascarpone cream over the layer- use about 1 ¼ cups, and gently press and chopped chocolate into the filling. Put the second cake layer on the counter and soak the top of it with half the remaining expresso syrup, then turn the layer over and position it, soaked side down, over the filling. Soak the top of the cake with the remaining syrup.
8- For the frosting, whisk 1 tablespoons of the remaining expresso extract into the remaining mascarpone filling. Taste the frosting as you go to decide how much extract you want to add. If the frosting looks a bit too soft to spread over the cake, refrigerate it for 15 minutes or so. Refrigerate the cake too.
9- With a long metal icing spatula, smooth the frosting around the sides of the cake and over the top. I decorated my cake with chocolate shavings; but you can choose expresso beans, cocoa nibs, chocolate sprinkles, or just about any kind of pastry decoration you wish. Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours, or up to 2 days, before serving.
10- Remove the cake from the fridge 30 minutes to take out the chill; serve and enjoy!
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