The best birthday present ever. Who wouldn’t want to dive into this cloud of mascarpone cream, flavored with Marsala wine, Tia Maria and Coffee on their special day.
I usually serve this dessert in a large glass bowl, so that my guests can serve themselves with a spoon. But “Taste” magazine asked me to create a birthday cake version of this mouth-watering dessert. So I baked a genoise sponge instead of using store-bought ladyfinger biscuits. I have to say that the result is divine. The genoise absorbs the coffee syrup so much better and has that melt-in-your-mouth texture.
A lot of “Tiramisu” recipes suggest using cream cheese (philedaphia type) for the filling, but believe me when I say that nothing beats mascarpone when making Tiramisu. Anything else is just a poor substitute. I made the cream without eggs for ease and used it to fill and cover the sponge.
A light sprinkling of dark cocoa powder adds to presentation and taste. I’m in love with this cake now! Will be making it again and again (starting this Friday).
For the genoise sponge
- 50 grams unsalted butter, melted
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Tsp vanilla extract
For the coffee syrup
- 1 1/3 cup strong coffee (if you are using instant coffee granules, you will need to dissolve 2 Tbs coffee in 1 1/3 cup boiling water)
- 2 Tbs sugar
- 3 Tbs coffee liqueur like Tia Maria
For the cream
- 500 grams mascarpone
- 1/3 cup Marsala wine
- 1 ½ cup double cream
- ½ cup icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbs cocoa powder for sprinkling
Prepare the genoise. Preheat oven to 175 C. Cover the base of a 23 cm (9 inch) with greaseproof paper. Butter the paper.
Melt the butter in a small pot and leave to cool a bit. In a bowl of a stand mixer add the eggs and sugar. Beat until almost triple in volume, about 10 minutes. Don’t be tempted to stop the beating sooner, otherwise your sponge might not rise properly. Take the bowl from the mixer stand and sift the flour, in two parts, directly into the egg/sugar mixture. Fold flour softly with a spatula, taking care not to deflate the eggs too much. Fold in the melted butter and vanilla. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake sponge for 30-35 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Run a small metal spatula around the genoise to loosen it from the pan. Invert sponge on a rack and cool completely. When cold you can wrap the genoise in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours. In fact, if refrigerated, it will be easier to split it in half.
Make the syrup and brush the cake. Mix all the ingredients for the syrup in a small saucepan. Put on high heat and as soon as it boils remove from the heat and set aside. Split the genoise in half horizontally into two disks. Put disks on kitchen counter, cut side up. Brush half the the syrup evenly on the disks, starting from the perimetre towards the centre. Crefully flip the cakes over and brush with the remaining syrup. Make sure you brush the sides too. The syrup might look too much but its not. The cakes will be fragile after you apply the syrup. If they break when you lift them up, don’t sweat. They won’t show once you assemble the cake. For best results, cover the cakes in plastic wrap and let them stand for an hour to distribute the syrup, before assembling the cake.
Make the mascarpone cream. In a bowl, mix the mascarpone with the Marsala wine, using a spatula. In a bowl of a stand mixer beat the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla until slightly thickened (don’t overdo it, the cream will thicken further once its mixed with the mascarpone). Fold the mascarpone into the cream with a spatula.
Assemble the cake. Place one cake disk on a serving platter. Spread with about 1/3 of the mascarpone cream. Top with the second disk. Cover the top and sides with the remaining mascarpone cream. Sprinkle with the cocoa. Chill cake for at least 4 hours before serving. Tiramisu cake can be kept in the fridge for 2 days.