Friday, December 04, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake

Oh, my! Sorry it has been so long. I've been meaning to sit down and post but have just be otherwise occupied with a new wards again, which brings along with it call every 4th night and a stint of six days with three calls at Christmas. Then I get six days off in a row!!! I will still be cooking and posting, so be prepared. Last week I was able to go home for Thanksgiving to spend some time with my family...I had forgotten how much I like having time off until I had 5 days in a, awesome! Anyway, I had a great time. We had our typical tacos on Wednesday, followed by Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, and gumbo on Friday. Our Thanksgiving menu was turkey (smoked and baked), cornbread dressing, squash casserole, broccoli casserole, sweet potato casserole (see a pattern!), fruit salad, green beans with mushrooms, and rolls. We had an array of desserts as well: pecan pie, chocolate pecan pie, cranberry bliss bars (I think a copycat of Starbucks' version...I'll try and find a recipe to share), apple cheesecake, and tiramisu cake. I decided to make the cake because I love my brother and wanted to make something he'd like...though I'm not sure if he actually ate any! His (and his fiance's) favorite dessert is tiramisu but I didn't want to make that, so I compromised. The version I used (after debating between this one and this one) was Dorie's version. It was actually pretty simple to make. I baked the cakes the night before, so that the oven would be available for other use on Thursday. The only problem here was that the cake stuck a bit to the pan. However, it just place the stuck on pieces back on the cake and it didn't really matter. I didn't have espresso powder, so I used leftover brewed coffee for the syrup (ended up using about 4 T coffee) and the flavor was good. I think it would have been better if I had remembered to put the syrup on the TOP of the top layer but I forgot. Oh, well! Let me just say that the cake was a success! By the end of the day on Thursday there was only 1/4 of the cake left! One of my cousins even told me that she doesn't like sweets but that I had "made" her eat cake AND cookies. Great compliment. Though, I must admit, I think the favorite part of the cake was the chocolate covered coffee beans! :-) The frosting is a nice, mild flavor. I used cream cheese because marscapone is just too rich ($) for my blood! It is a little clumpier but can be worked with. I think another called the icing "divine." So, as we come into a season of family, food, fellowship, and celebration...try this cake! I think you will be pleased. Tiramisu Cake
Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

For the cake layers:
2 cups cake flour (I used 1 3/4 cups AP flour + 1/4 cup corn starch)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk (I didn't use this extra yolk)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

For the espresso extract: (I used brewed coffee)
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons boiling water

For the espresso syrup:
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy (I didn't use this)
1 T espresso extract (or about 4 T brewed coffee...just tasted as you go for strength you want)

For the filling and frosting:
1 8-ounce container mascarpone (I used 8-oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy (I didn't use this)
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 1/2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, or about 1/2 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

Chocolate-covered espresso beans, for decoration (optional - but apparently a must in my family!)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 9×2 inch round with baking spray. Dorie suggests lining with parchment or wax paper...maybe I should try this!

To make the cake:
Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Working with you mixer, 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 if using, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled (mine wasn't). 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 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.

To make the extract: (I just used brewed coffee - probably not as strong as this would be)
Stir the espresso powder and boiling water together in a small cup until blended. Set aside.

To 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 tablespoon of the espresso extract and the liqueur or brandy; set aside. (I used 4 T coffee and no liquere, though I was told later that I should have!)

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 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 one quarter of the whipped cream into the mascarpone. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream with a light touch.

To assemble the cake:
If 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 wax or parchment paper. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, soak the layer with about one third of the espresso syrup. Smooth some of the mascarpone cream over the layer - user about 1 1/4 cups - and gently press the chopped chocolate into the filling. Put the second cake layer on the counter and soak the top of it with half the remaining espresso 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 (Oops...forgot this!).

For the frosting, whisk 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining espresso extract into the remaining mascarpone filling (I TOTALLY didn't see this...this would have made it even better!). Taste the frosting as you go to decide how much extract you want to add. If the frosting looks as if it might be a little too soft to spread over the cake, press a piece of plastic wrap against its surface and refrigerate it for 15 minutes or so. Refrigerate the cake too.

With a long metal icing spatula, smooth the frosting around the sides of the cake and over the top. If you want to decorate the cake with chocolate-covered espresso beans, press them into the filling, making concentric circles of beans or just putting some beans in the center of the cake.

Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours (or for up to 1 day) before serving - the elements need time to meld.


Kate said...

The cake looks wonderful. I love chocolate espresso beans- buzz beans, as I knew them to be when I worked in a coffee house. And those cranberry bliss bars sound delicious. I may have to search out that recipe. Glad to hear you could enjoy some family time for the holiday.

Maryanna said...

Yum... tiramisu in cake form. The best!

In Definition said...

aww. fun family pic! lori and robert go to church with us...and i discovered she was a nettles when we had a book club together:)