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Friday Bakes in 3 Parts – Tiramisu Cake

Last Friday, our washer started acting up again, so I wasn’t able to do laundry. This didn’t make me too sad, because it meant I could bake! I went a little bit crazy with the baking though, which I seem to do a lot, don’t I?

First up, a pretty complicated cake, tiramisu cake, with a lot of moving parts. Well, not real moving parts, but it really seemed like it because every time I had a free moment, I was making or mixing something for this cake. It was pretty and it was also complicated. I really should not have made this cake, but I needed to use the mascarpone I made a few days ago for something!

I didn’t have a lot of time to make it as pretty as I would have liked. Since I ended up changing quite a few of the ingredients, I will repost the recipe with my changes. Most of my changes were due to necessity and not because I really wanted to make the changes.

The actual recipe (from Dorie Greenspan) is here.

Tiramisu Cake

Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

For the two cake layers:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

For the espresso extract:

  • 2 packs of Starbucks Italian Roast instant coffee
  • 2 Tbsp boiling water

For the espresso syrup:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp strong coffee

For the filling and frosting:

  • 8 ounces mascarpone
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 1½ vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 3.5 ounce dark chocolate bar, finely chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, dust the insides of the pans with flour, and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Place the pans on a large baking sheet.

To make the cake:

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set the bowl aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. Begin and end with the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, and beat only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans, and smooth their tops with a spatula.

Bake for 28 to 30 minutes. When fully baked, the layers will be springy to the touch and golden in color. Cool the cake pans on a rack for 5 minutes before running a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmolding them. Peel off the parchment paper and allow the cake layers to cool right-side up.

To make the extract:

Stir the 2 packs of instant coffee into the 2 Tbsp of boiling water in a small measuring cup and set aside.

To make the syrup:

Stir the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the syrup into a heatproof bowl and stir in the vanilla extract and the strong coffee. Set aside.

To make the filling and frosting:

Whisk together the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla, and 1 Tbsp of the coffee syrup in a large bowl just until smooth.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks. With a rubber spatula, stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream.

To assemble the cake:

If there are domes on the cake layers, use a serrated knife to even out the tops. I found that this also helped expose the interior of the cake and allowed more syrup to soak into the layers. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, soak one layer with about 1/3 of the syrup mixture. Smooth about 1 and 1/4 cups of mascarpone filling over the layer. Press about half of the chopped chocolate into the filling. Then, soak the second cake layer on one side with  1/3 of the syrup and place this second layer upside-down on top of the first layer. Then, soak the top of the second cake layer with the remaining syrup.

For the frosting, whisk 1 Tbsp of the remaining coffee extract into the remaining mascarpone filling. Whisk in more of the coffee extract depending on your taste preference.

With a metal offset spatula, smooth the mascarpone frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with the remaining chopped chocolate.

Refrigerate the assembled cake for at least 3 hours or overnight before serving.

This cake was a lot of work. I think it was mostly because I was mixing up the components of the cake in between baking two other things. I kept running out of surfaces in my kitchen to put everything!

I don’t think my cake layers turned out right. They tasted good, but I think their crumb wasn’t tight enough. In a way though, this gave the syrup a lot of crevices to soak into. I also did not use all the syrup I made. I thought it would be too much, but it ended up that I should have used all the syrup because the cake was a little dry by the time we ate it for dessert. I didn’t have any cake flour on hand, which is why I had to use all-purpose flour instead. If I make this again, I will try to find a yellow cake recipe that uses all-purpose flour and use that instead of the one in the recipe above.

I will admit that baking cakes is not my forte. I think cake is something I need to learn to do after I learn how to bake a few more breads.

A slice of the tiramisu cake

I think I should have doubled the amount of filling/frosting. And I need to figure out how to bake a decent cake! Somehow, I don’t think my family will be sad that I plan on practicing cake soon.

The next two parts will be: Stuffed Crust Pizza and Mini Maple Cinnamon Rolls! I almost put all of them together in one post but that would have been too long!


P.S. Since my kids were going to be eating this cake, I did not use any of the coffee liqueur that is usually used to make tiramisu, another reason I had to change a few of the ingredients.

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