Tiramisu means ‘pick-me-up’ in Italian. I have taken the idea of sponge, liqueur, mascarpone, coffee and cocoa beans and created a delicious, rich (strictly for adults) cake perfect for a birthday celebration. Make the cake and filling ahead (even the day before), assembling the cake a couple of hours before it is served. Please make sure you use very strong coffee for this recipe; brew it twice as strong as usual.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Butter two 20cm round sandwich tins and line the bases with baking parchment. You can use an electric mixer with a beater attachment, a food processor, or a bowl and an electric whisk.
- First, sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl, add the butter, sugar, eggs and coffee. Beat together until well blended but be very careful not to over-mix, as you want a light cake. Divide the batter evenly between the tins and level the tops. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a skewer emerges clean. Remove from the oven and leave for a couple of minutes. Run a knife around the rims to loosen the cakes from the tins and turn out on to a wire rack. Remove the papers and leave to cool completely.
- To make the filling, tip the mascarpone into a bowl and lightly beat. Fold in the double cream, sugar and vanilla. Chill until you are ready to assemble the cake.
- Split the two cakes in half horizontally, to make four layers. In a little bowl, mix together the coffee and Tia Maria. Assemble the mascarpone filling, the cocoa powder and coffee/liqueur mixture. To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake on a plate. Sprinkle the coffee/Tia Maria mixture over all four cakes. Take about a quarter of the mascarpone filling and spread it over the base cake, dust with cocoa powder and place the second tier on top. Repeat until you have a four-tiered cake, topped with the mascarpone filling. Sprinkle the grated chocolate over the top and decorate with the chocolate-covered coffee beans. Chill for an hour or two until ready to serve.
For the Cake
- 225g unsalted butter, really soft, diced, plus more for the tins
- 225g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 225g golden caster sugar
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp very strong black coffee (espresso or instant), cooled
For the Tiramisu Filling
- 250g mascarpone
- 200ml double cream, very lightly whipped
- 50g light muscovado sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp very strong black coffee (espresso or instant), cooled
- 3 tbsp Tia Maria, dark rum or Kahlua
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 30g 70% cocoa solids chocolate, finely grated
- 15–20 chocolate-covered coffee beans
Recipes are from Celebration Cakes by Fiona Cairns, with photography by Laura Edwards. Published by Quadrille and available from all good booksellers