Friday, April 20, 2012

Tiramisu Layer Cake

Last weekend I got to celebrate my birthday a little early with a group of friends. We went out to dinner and I made this tiramisu layer cake for dessert. I loved the classic tiramisu cake I made for Christmas but wanted to make something a little different this time and more "birthday cake"-like. A tiramisu layer cake fit the bill perfectly!

Here I am with my cake. It was such a fun night! Funny thing is we all said the same thing afterwards...."We need to do this more often!"

I've decided to do step-by-step decorating instructions for this cake because I know a lot of you are looking at this cake and thinking "My cakes don't look like THAT!" The great thing about this cake is that it is very doable!

It has five basic components: 1. Vanilla cake (2 or 3 layers) 2. Cold coffee (strong brewed, with Kahlua mixed in if desired :)) 3. Mascarpone cream filling 4. Swiss meringue buttercream and 5. Garnishes (cocoa powder, ladyfingers, chocolate covered caramel balls or espresso beans, ribbon).

Let's get started!

1. Vanilla cake

This is going to make some of you cring, but yes, I used a boxed cake mix for this cake. This french vanilla worked perefectly. However, feel free to use your favorite from scratch vaniila cake recipe for this. Bake the cake in 2 or 3 (6" or 8") cake pans according to dircetions and depending on how many layers you would like.
Make sure baked cakes have cooled completely before assembling.

2. Cold coffee

Brew a cup of very strong black coffee. Add 2 tablespoons of Kahlua if desired. Refrigerate the coffee until ready to use. The coffee will be brushed on the cake layers, add to the marscapone filling and the buttercream.

3. Mascarpone Filling

8 oz Mascarpone cheese or Cream Cheese –softened
6 Tbsp sugar (divided)
1 1/2 cups fresh whipped cream (see how HERE) (Cool Whip may be used as an instant alternative)
3 Egg Yolks
Strong coffee (see above)

1. In a large mixing bowl, mix softened mascarpone or cream Cheese with 3 Tbsp of sugar until sugar is completely dissolved.
2. In a separate bowl, mix 3 egg yolks with remaining 3 Tbsp of sugar and whisk continuously in a double boiler until eggs are cooked (approx 3-4 minutes). The color of the yolks will turn a lemon yellow when done.
3. Immediately mix the egg mixture into the cream cheese mixture and gently stir.
4. Add 2 Tbsp of the coffee into the mixture and Kaluha (if using) mix.
5. Fold in the whipped cream into the mascarpone/cream cheese mix.
6. Refrigerate until ready to assemble cake.

4. Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I know SMBC may scare a lot of you but I really recommend it for this cake.  There is a great video in this post that will show you exactly how to make it.

5 egg whites
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups of butter (4 sticks)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp strong cold coffeeBrown food coloring (if desired) I use a tiny amount to give the buttercream a warm caramel color.
Follow directions in this post.

5.  Garnishes
To decorate this cake I used:
cocoa powder
chocolate covered caramel balls- I found these at Starbuck's but chocolate covered espresso beans would work perfectly too.

Now let's assemble the cake and decorate it.  You'll need to have all the components at hand.  Put the marscapone filling in a large pastry bag fitted.  Snip the end of the bag.  Place the buttercream in another large pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.

Step 1: Start by leveling off the tops of your cakes.  Then place one cake layer on a cake board or cake plate.

Step 2:  Next Brush the coffee mixture over the cake.

Step 3:  Pipe a ring of buttercream around the outside of the cake layer.  This will keep the filling in place.

Step 4:  Add mascarpone filling.

Step 5:  Repeat with the remaining layer.

Step 6:  Add a "crumb coat" layer of frosting and refrigerate the cake for 15-20 minutes to harden up the frosting a bit.  Then add a second layer of frosting all over the cake.

Step 7:  Gently press lady finger cookies all around the cake.

Step 8:  Add some cocoa powder to the top of cake.  Go easy on the cocoa powder b/c I added a bit too much.

Step 9:  Pipe decorative swirls on top of the cake with buttercream and top with the chocolate beans.

Step 10:  Add a ribbon and tie it into a bow.  Pretty!  I also added some additional chocolate decoration.

Step 11:  Slice, Eat, Enjoy....heavenly!!

Source: Chef Mommy Original