Cakes, Christmas

Tiramisu Cake

December 26, 2008

I thought this dessert would be very fitting for Christmas Eve, as I’m Italian and TIramisu “Pick Me Up” is a delicious Italian dessert! As tradition goes, Italians don’t eat any meat on Christmas Eve ( much like good friday) so we have a delicious feast of all things Seafood! Prawns, Mussels, Clams, Baccalà, Salmon and much more! (I’ll post some pictures of that too!) I had seen Tiramisu cakes before and thought it would be fun to try it as an alternative to the regular Tiramisu. Of course I found an excellent recipe in one of my favorite books, Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. I made a few adaptations which made it very delicious!

Recipe: Adapted from Dorie Greenspan Baking: From My Home to Yours

For the Cake:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • Cocoa Powder, for Dusting
  • ADAPTATION: Lady Fingers ( Optional for the Middle Layer)

For the Filling and Frosting:

  • 1 8-ounce container Marscapone
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp kahlua, amaretto or brandy
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • Strong Cup of Espresso or Coffee for the Syrup

My Version of Tiramisu Cheese Filling and Frosting:

  • 1 pkg Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 tub Cool Whip, unthawed
  • 1/2 pkg vanilla pudding ( 4 servings )
  • 1-2 tbs Milk
  • Vanilla 

Getting Ready:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9×2 inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess, and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To make the cake:

Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, 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 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 Syrup:

Brew a strong pot of coffee or espresso, add some sugar to it and let it cool. 

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.


My Version of Filling:

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add Cool Whip slowly and mix until blended. Add Vanilla, about 2 tsp. 

In seperate bowl, stir Jell-O powder and 2 Tbs Milk until dissolved. Add mixture to the cream cheese and cool whip and continue to beat on medium until smooth. You can add more milk if needed. 

Stir until desired consistency. Set aside. 


To assemble the cake:

Place the First 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 frosting over the layer – user about 1 1/4 cups – Dust with Cocoa using a sifter.

Adaptation*** For the Middle Layer, I added Lady FIngers ontop of the 1st layer of cake, and brushed them with the coffee mixture, then spoon over top the frosting/filling and dust with cocoa powder. 

Put the Third 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.
With a long metal icing spatula, smooth the frosting ontop of the cake, and around the sides. Dust the top of the cake with cocoa using a sifter. 

Adaptation** I placed lady fingers around the outside of the cake. Measure one and cut all of them the same size so they fit nicely against the cake. 

Refrigerate the cake for a couple of hours (or for up to 1 day) before serving – the elements need time to meld.

This seems like it would be a long process but believe me it isn’t! And my version of the filling is just as yummy and easier to make. Don’t be intimidated by the recipe, the results are delicious!

Enjoy! Hope you all had a delicious holiday!! Here are some pictures from our Italian Christmas Eve Feast!

Nonna Serving Up Something Delicious!

My Favorite!! Prawns! 
Clams and Mussels! 

It was all very delicioius! Thanks Zia!

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  • Reply ingrid December 30, 2008 at 10:15 AM

    I love the Italian tradition of the feast of seven fishes for Christmas Eve! Yum, I must prefer seafood over meat or chicken.

    You cake is beautiful! The ladyfingers and ribbon around it were a terrific idea!

    Hope you had the merriest of Christmases! Happy 2009!

  • Reply Alicia December 30, 2008 at 10:44 AM

    Thanks Ingrid! Yes I do absolutely love seafood as well! It’s a nice change to the heavy Christmas feast (which we do on Christmas day)

    Yes I was quite happy about the cake, I was a little unsure of how it was going to turn out! But for a first try I think it was good.

    Hope you had a wonderful holiday! and Happy New Years!

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