a birthday cupcake, complete with candles
It is hard to believe, but I have had this blog for an entire year. That’s 365 days, people. In that time, I shared 41 recipes with you.
I have learned a tremendous amount in this past year. If you look back into the archives and find my very first post, you will see how much my photography has improved. If you actually read that first post (I just went back and read it, and oh boy, does it make me cringe!), you will hopefully agree that my food writing has improved. I have even gotten better at cooking as a result of this blog. Take, for instance, that yesterday I handled a raw chicken while a year ago I was grossed out by touching raw meat. Or to think that in one of my first posts, I described my struggles with whipping egg whites! Now I could probably do that in my sleep.
This tiramisu cake is actually a great metaphor for this blog. Tiramisu is supposed to be an adult thing; it has alcohol in it, and normally, teenagers don’t have tastes for coffee and fancy italian cheeses. And yet, here I am, enjoying a slice of tiramisu cake. Food Blogging is something that is almost always left to adults, and yet, here I am.
I was a great year.
Here’s to another great one!
As Julia would say, Bon Appetit!
tiramisu layer cake
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Notes: I made this cake without the alcohol, but I will write the recipe including the alcohol (there isn’t that much). My expresso syrup is darker than yours will be because I added a little chocolate to it, which I am leaving out here because I didn’t think it added much. This cake is delicious and amazingly vanilla scented, but be careful not to over bake it because no one likes dry cake. And the mascarpone cream . . . don’t even get me started on that!
2 cups (255 g) cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (200 g) sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Kahlua, brandy, or amaretto
1 8 oz container mascarpone
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 1/2 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
For the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9 inch cake pans and then line the bottoms with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until it is creamy. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well in between additions, and then add the yolk. Mix in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternatively with the buttermilk, adding the flour in three additions and the buttermilk in two. Mix until all the ingredients are just combined. Divide evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth out the batter.
Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through until the cakes are golden and springy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove the cakes from their pans, peel off the parchment, and let cool to room temperature right side up.
For the espresso extract:
Stir together the espresso powder and water until well blended. Set aside.
To make the espresso syrup:
In a small saucepan, stir together the sugar and water and bring just to a boil. Take off the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of the espresso extract and the liqueur or brandy. Set aside.
To make the mascarpone cream:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla, and liqueur. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream until it holds firm peaks. Stir 1/4 of the cream into the mascarpone, and then fold in the rest gently.
To assemble the cake:
If your cake layers have crowned, gently even them with a serrated knife. Set one cake layer right set up on a cake plate lined with strips of wax paper. Using a pastry brush or small spoon, soak the cake layer with about a third of the espresso syrup. Spread some of the mascarpone cream over the layer (about 1 1/4 cups) and sprinkle the chocolate over the filling. Put the second cake layer on the counter and soak it with another third of the syrup. Place this layer soaked side down on top of the other layer. Then, soak the top of the cake with the remaining syrup.
For the frosting, whisk 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining espresso extract into the rest of the mascarpone filling. Taste as you go so you add just the right amount for your taste. If the frosting looks too soft to spread on the cake, refrigerate it for 15 minutes (refrigerate the cake, too).
Spread the frosting over the sides of the cake and over the top. Smooth it as best you can. Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours or up to 1 day before serving.
Before serving, dust the cake with cocoa. I cut the outline of a star out of waxed paper and then soften cocoa powder over it. Once the wax paper was removed, there was a cocoa star.