Deliciously Decadent Tiramisu Cake

OK, so two shots at this and whilst Tiramisu as a trifle remains the favourite, this is an absolute gem of a cake to make: moist, decadent and thoroughly naughty! All this and it has the added joys of being easy to make and best made the day before you want to dive into it – it gathers its naughtiness overnight in the fridge. Give it a go: you won’t regret it!

for the sponge

2 x 34 x 24cm Swiss roll tins, liberally buttered and lined with parchment paper

1 x 20cm square cake tin (8cm deep), lined with foil and parchment paper (see tip)

6 happy eggs

250g golden caster sugar

250g plain flour

2 tablespoons lukewarm water

for the filling

300ml VERY strong coffee, cooled

120ml kahlua coffee liqueur

500g mascarpone cheese

300ml double cream

3 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted

85g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) finely grated

What to do…

First, make a template around which you will cut out three sponge layers. Simply pop your 20cm square cake tin on a piece of parchment paper and draw around it with a pencil. Cut out the square just inside the pencil markings and then just check that it fits snugly in the tin. Job done. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 190˚c / 375˚f / gas 5.

For the sponges, tip the eggs and sugar into a large mixing bowl and use a handheld electric whisk to beat for 10 minutes until the mixture is pale and thickened to leave a trail when the whisks are lifted. Tip in half the flour and use a balloon whisk to gently fold it in. Tip in the remaining flour and repeat. Finally, tip in the water and again, gently fold in.

Pour the mixture evenly between the 2 Swiss roll tins. Use a spatula to gently and evenly spread the mixture to the corners of the tin. Pop them both in the oven and bake for 10 – 12 minutes until golden, risen and just firm to the touch. Remove and allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before gently inverting onto cooling racks. Remove parchment paper and allow to cool completely.

Whilst your sponges are baking, rinse your electric whisks and then you can get on with the filling. In a jug, mix together the kahlua and coffee. Set aside.

Tip the mascarpone cheese into a large mixing bowl and use your rinsed electric handheld whisk to beat it until smooth. Gradually beat in the cream and icing sugar until creamy and spreadable. Taste to check sweetness and add a little more icing sugar, if liked.

Once the sponges are cooked, place your parchment template on the right hand side of one of the sponges and use a sharp knife to cut around it, creating a 20cm square sponge. Repeat on the second sponge. Push the remaining sponge pieces together and lay the parchment square on top and cut a third 20cm square sponge – this one will be in the middle of the cake so no-one will be any the wiser that it is two bits of sponge rather than one!

Now, the joyous bit – assembly!

Place one ‘whole’ sponge in the bottom of your cake tin and then spoon over one third of the coffee/kahlua mixture, making sure that it is evenly distributed (the first one I did had some drier areas and some absolutely drenched!) Then dollop on one third of the mascarpone mixture. To prevent pulling off the top of the sponge whilst spreading, the technique that worked for me was to dollop a spoonful and gently spread a little way; repeat until sponge is covered. Then, sprinkle over one third of the grated chocolate.

Next, place the two ‘halves’ of sponges on top to create the middle layer, pushing them together to minimise the ‘join’. Spoon half of the remaining coffee/kahlua mixture, then half the mascarpone and half the chocolate. Finally, place the third sponge on the top and repeat the coffee, mascarpone, chocolate layering process, finishing all that is remaining of each.

Loosely cover your Tiramisu cake with foil and pop in the fridge overnight to gather its awesomeness!

To serve, use the overhanging foil handles to gently lift the cake out of the tin, placing it on a pretty serving plate; then gently remove the foil and parchment paper, using a fish slice to carefully tilt the cake whilst gently pulling the paper away.

That’s it! Serve with glee! It’s moist, decadent and thoroughly naughty in the best possible way!

Tip…

Line your cake tin with a double thickness piece of foil, that is the width of your square tin but long enough to ensure that there is at least 5cms hanging over two of the tin sides. Do the same with parchment. The foil makes it easy to lift the cake from the tin when you’re ready to serve and then you just peel off the parchment for a nice, smooth finish.

Inspired by…

The cake idea came from Mary Berry but I didn’t like the sponge mix or the use of brandy in instant coffee so, the sponge is a Swiss roll recipe from Delicious magazine and the choice of kahlua in the coffee comes from Nigella’s Tiramisu recipe: team effort then!

How easy…

Very easy and it’s relaxing to assemble providing you have the time to enjoy the process. I also love that you can and should make this 24 hours before you need it. Quite a lot of clearing up but again, it’s done in advance so – no worries.

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