I bake a lot and I love baking cakes. The problem is they never turn out as soft or fluffy as the box ones, and that wasn’t a problem back when we didn’t know how instant mix type cakes turned out. Back then, the cakes I made seemed moist and light. So even though I still bake quite a bit, I avoid basic cakes and pound cakes, I make cupcakes, muffins, cookies but steer clear of every day cakes. Despite sounding this firm, I do succumb to the callings of my beautifully shaped baking dishes, especially the clover shaped one, I love that one! So I made a chocolate cake the other day and I think I have overdone the butter (??!) but it turned out a little heavier than I wanted. Since chocolate cakes have a way of being yummy especially when they are warm, most of it didn’t last the evening. The next day I was stuck with 5 pretty large slices of heavy and slightly dry chocolate cake.
It seemed perfect for the base of a nice dessert, a trifle or a Tiramisu. Trifle is pretty much out the question in my house, if you tell Andy that it is a composition of cake, jelly, fruit and custard, he will run miles away to find the closest Baskin Robbins. So I guess the only plausible use of the orphaned slices was Tiramisu. Ally loves the stuff, way more than even I do; considering the yummiest Tiramisu I had in the last 2 years was at Costa’s coffee. She may be coming into a cough, so this is likely to be the vehicle for some good old, cinnamon and rum therapy.
Lately I have been using a local cheese brand called Imperio and I am really happy with their stuff. There is marked difference between the cream cheese and mascarpone, I know there should be a difference but a lot of commercial cheese makers don’t! They have lovely baby bocconcini and excellent fresh mozzarella. In fact it is thanks to this brand that I can make Tiramisu this often. Rs. 400+ for 250 gms of mascarpone is ridiculous, these guys are at a cool Rs.135 for 200 gms, perfecr for a serves 4 bowl of Tiramisu.
200 gms Imperio Mascarpone cheese
150 gms Fresh cream, whipped (if you use the tetrapack, then a little less than one is sufficient. Don’t shake up the pack, let the liquid and thick cream come out separately, I know that doesn’t sound very palatable but then you can remove some of the moisture and get more of the thick cream)
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp of white sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence (I use the pods, though it messes with the colour more than the essence would, also I need to use the scrapings of an entire pod for one bowl of Tiramisu, cumbersome!)
½ cup of strong espresso or 4 tsp Nescafe/Bru mixed in warm water
2 tbsp black rum
Coffee of Cocoa powder for dusting (I use coffee powder if the kid isn’t eating it, if she is then I hold both the espresso and the coffee powder, I use coffee essence in warm water and I use cocoa or drinking chocolate powder (eww! @ drinking chocolate – hate the stuff they make here!)).
Heat water in a large pot, about ¼th full. Hold a saucepan over it with the egg yolks, the sugar and the vanilla. Use a whisk to whip the mixture till it is light and fluffy. Keep the heat low and don’t touch the bottom of the saucepan to the boiling water. This should take 2-3 minutes. Take it off the double boiler and let it cool. Once cooled, fold in the mascarpone cheese and then the whipped cream too. Cover and refrigerate the mix. Cut the cake slices into ½-1 inch fingers, of approximately the same thickness if possible. Arrange in a flat, preferably square dish, about 6x6 or 8x8 inches is more than enough, should be about 4” high too. Mix the coffee and the rum and pour evenly over the cake, I don’t do the dip and arrange method because cakes are way more absorbent than biscuits and I don’t want to use too much coffee. Pour the mascarpone mix over this and refrigerate open for 4-6 hours. Once the Tiramisu is set, move the bowl around to see if it’s wobbly or firm, use a strainer to dust either coffee or cocoa powder on the top. Place two cinnamon sticks on the side to eat with and you’re done. I love serving Tiramisu with cinnamon sticks as spoons well at least for the creamy bit though my innovative friends manage to eat the cake part with a round stick too. The flavours are so beautifully infused you wouldn’t want to use a spoon ever again!
Serve from the sides and dig in to get the moist, coffee flavoured cake base too.