Dessert Week

Tiramisu MY Way

This new challenge is to make Mary Berry’s tiramisu cake, but not with ladyfingers.

Tiramisu Cake recipe

It asks you to make a simple fatless sponge and layer it with whipped mascarpone cheese and chocolate shavings and douse it in coffee.  Thing is, I hate coffee.  And I mean HATE coffee.  Don’t put it in my food!  Yuck.  Weird that living in Seattle, the home of Starbucks and Seattle’s Best, that I would NOT like coffee, but it’s just not for me.  Sometimes I feel like I’m missing out on some big cultural thing, but I really can’t stand the taste, or even the smell.  To me, coffee has kind of a skunky smell, which was made worse when I lived in a neighborhood that was plagued by skunks.  Warm summer nights–no air conditioning (because few people have it out here)–you want to get a nice cool breeze coming in–and the skunks are fighting with the neighborhood tomcats.  *mmmmmrrrrrow!*  *sssssttt!*  *yipe!* [slam window shut]

So instead of using skunk…I mean, coffee…to flavor this dessert, I’m going to use chai tea.  Yep!  We’re going to make an East Indian Tiramisu.  How’s that for fusion cooking?

Spray pan and line with parchment paper.  I have a Swiss roll tin in my checkout at Amazon…I should just bite the bullet and hit PLACE ORDER on the thing.  This is my 9 x 13 Pyrex pan, which is essentially the same size, but it has rounded corners and the parchment doesn’t lie flat.  I guess I could snip the corners and have them not crinkle…

Whisk eggs and sugar together into a froth.  And then carefully fold in sifted self-rising flour.

Action shot:

Bake for 20 minutes at 320 degrees.  Pull the cake from the oven…it always smells like scrambled eggs.

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler.  I used a whole bar of Baker’s chocolate and it was more than enough. You could probably just use half.

If you have one of those decorating bags, fill it with the melted (warm–not hot) chocolate and a very small piping hole. I went super-fancy and used a ziplock sandwich bag and snipped a tiny hole in one corner. Get a flat surface–like a cookie sheet–and line it with parchment paper.  Make chocolate decorations–flowers, hearts, butterflies, rocket ships, geodes, Jabba the Hut, whatever.  Chill in the fridge for a bit.

Enjoy some leftovers…

When the cake is done, take it out to cool.  Take a piece of parchment paper and DUST IT WITH SOMETHING!  Powdered sugar would probably be best.  The darn cake is sticky and it will stick to the paper.  Then you will try to peel the paper off and be sad when it shreds.  Unfortunately, I discovered that problem by not dusting the paper and a big chunk of the cake stuck to the paper….  I was thinking about making a second cake to make up for this, but time and energy were against me, not to mention not wanting to waste more eggs on a cake that I didn’t know if the skinny boy would like.

When it’s cool–you know, 20 minutes or so–flip it out onto the DUSTED parchment paper.  Trim cake to size–cut into two pieces and trim the curved edges off.  I cut mine to 5 1/2″ x 8″ or so.

Then cut horizontally…I just laid the knife on the counter and sawed through, placing my left hand on top of the cake to keep it from shifting.  That was roughly halfway.  I may have lifted the knife a bit because it was just a little thin on the bottom layers of the pieces, and then there was the sticking and tearing, but you use those pieces for the middle and patch it together–and like Julia Child says, “…when you’re alone in the kitchen, who’s going to see?!”

Then you have to make the cream cheese frosting.  The recipe calls for mascapone cheese, but that stuff’s expensive–runs about $5 for 8 oz, as opposed to a couple bucks per block of regular Kraft Philadelphia cream cheese.  Also, they call for 3 of them and honestly, I think you can get away with just 2.  It calls for a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar and some heavy cream, but in the end, I thought it tasted really bland.  I added a couple teaspoons of vanilla, which helped, but it was still pretty blah.  Maybe it’s meant to be kinda bland so it’s not competing for flavor when you pair it with boozy coffee.

Grate some chocolate.  I got a 4 oz block of semi-sweet baking chocolate (56% cacao) and used about 2/3 of the bar.  You could also use chocolate chips and dice the crap out of them.  Have one of those Pampered Chef choppers?  Perfect!  Play Whack-a-mole with your chips and set those aside.

Now it’s time to assemble the tiramisu sandwich!  First I got a pretty square plate and laid the nice base layer down.

Since I wasn’t using boozy coffee, I got out the chai mix (Tazo is my go-to as it’s got a strong, spicy flavor) and dabbled it on.  (Note:  this red silicone brush is a dollar store purchase and I wouldn’t recommend it for this job.  It didn’t actually hold much liquid.  It would be fine for a thick sauce, like BBQ, but not so much here.)  I probably could have used a lot more of the mix and really saturated it, but I only ended up using about half a cup.  Double it.  At least.

Put a couple-three big dollops of the cream cheese mixture on there.  Be aware that it’s going to pull crumbs off the cake when you spread it, so it almost needs to just be pushed around the surface.

Add a layer of chocolate sprinkles.  Don’t be shy.

And repeat.  Stick the broken layers in the middle.

When you have all four layers done, you can sprinkle some more chocolate shavings on the top, or you can do like Mary Berry and dust some cocoa powder on it.

Then decorate it with your little chocolate edible art.  These were butterflies, but then I put them in laying down.  No idea why.  The chocolate work was fun, though.

Now, the observant viewer would be like, “Hey, that looks smaller…” It is.  I forgot to take a picture with the chocolate art on it until after I cut a couple pieces off.  And honestly, it’s not as spiffy-looking as Mary Berry’s, but hey, first attempt, and I don’t have one of those box springf0rm pan things to get all the layers perfectly smooth.

The result?  Skinny boy didn’t care for it.  Bland, he said.  Tasted like eggs, he said.  Didn’t understand cream cheese frosting–he thought that was weird.  He ate a few bites, but then abandoned it.  Maybe he’ll like the next one.

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