V and I are both down with stomach cramps, me more than him. Thankfully, I can say that it is not because of my cooking. Its a result of eating out (even though at other people’s houses) every day over the weekend. Some thing just did not sit right with both of us. So for lunch today I made khichdi, a light Indian dish made of rice and lentil. Its easy to put together and to digest as well. Have it with curd and a little ghee, and you have comfort food at its best.
Talking about comfort food. It’s been raining here like crazy. And what’s more comforting than hot coffee- well, actually there is- cake soaked in espresso topped with coffee infused mascarpone cheese. Ahh! Tiramisu! Yes, I know- given my condition, I can not afford to have such a delicatessen! So, instead I chose to relive the memory of the time I did make a Tiramisu cake- the weekend we had our first house guests.
Dorie Greenspan yet again came to my rescue with this awesome recipe for a Tiramisu cake. I was glad to find a recipe that did not call for store bought lady fingers. I did end up making a lot of blunders. I forgot to read the instructions properly and instead of mixing all of the whipped cream for the filling, I mixed in only 1/4 th. I also had to double the amounts of the syrup, as the stated amount was just not sufficient for soaking both the cakes. I used ricotta cheese as I could not find mascarpone cheese anywhere:(! But, besides the filling being a little gritty, the taste wasn’t amiss. Also, I almost ended up burning one of the cakes as it baked in less than half the time mentioned in the book. But, fortunately, I checked and took the cake out. The cake in the other pan took the mentioned amount of time to bake. And, even though I bought Kahlua, the store clerk forgot to remove the alarm and I had to do with brandy! Just one of those days!
In spite of all the mishaps though, I got rave reviews for the cake. The coffee flavour was right on target- the frosting and filling weren’t too overly sweet- just the right amount of sweetness. I have realised Dorie and my palate for sweetness is quite similar. The cake was moist- thanks to the doubling of the syrup. Everyone loved it!
source: Baking from My Home to Yours
For the Cake
2 cups cake flour (I used all-purpose)
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk (I accidentally added the whole egg!Yikes!)
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
For the Espresso Extract (I increased the amounts 1.5 times)
2 tbsp instant espresso powder
2 tbsp boiling water
For the Espresso Syrup (I doubled the amounts)
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp amarettos, Kahlua or brandy
For the Filling and Frosting
1 8 ounce container mascarpone
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp amaretto, Kahlua or brandy
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 1/2 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped, or about 1/2 cup store bought mini chocolate chips
1. 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 or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.
2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the mil 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.
6. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. (Keep checking, with some pans it might take lesser time). When fully baked, the cakes would be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean.
7. 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
8. Stir the espresso powder and boiling water together in a small cup until blended. Set aside.
To Make the Syrup
9. 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 tbsp of the espresso extract and the liqueur or brandy; set aside.
To Make the Filling and Frosting
10. Put the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla and liqueur in a large bowl and whisk just until blended and smooth.
11. 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
12. 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- use about 1 1/4 cups- and gently press the chopped chocolate into the filling. Put the second 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 it with the remaining syrup.
For the frosting, whisk 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp of the remaining espresso extract into the remaining mascarpone filling. Taste the frosting as you go to decide how much extra 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 fillling, 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 upto 1 day) before serving- the elements need time to meld.
Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with cocoa.
Note: This cake tastes best at room temperature.