This Tiramisu Cake and the Raspberry Mascarpone Vatrushkas come from Ruby Tandoh’s book, Crumb. Both recipes have their roots in classic desserts. Ruby puts her own spin on them, making them new and very easy to understand. Tiramisu is one of those funny things. Sometimes it is more of a pudding texture; other times more of a cake. Bad versions abound, but there is a reason the dessert has endured, because when you taste a great one, it is a thing of beauty. I love her use of the term “sodden”. Typically that would not be a welcomed descriptor, but it is perfect here. Indeed the sponge cake component should be thoroughly soaked with coffee and booze, yet not so much so that it dissolves and falls apart. The ethereal texture of the mascarpone lightened with cream is perfect and the chocolate, while it might seem a minor amount, is tantamount to the finished product. It adds texture for the eye and the palate as well as a bittersweet counterpoint. This version is worth a go.
Reprinted with permission from Crumb by Ruby Tandoh, copyright (c) 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2015 by Nato Welton.
All of the elements of tiramisu- thick mascarpone cream, coffee-sodden sponge, a scattering of chocolate – are rearranged, neatened, and stacked into this impressive dessert cake. A sponge cake (this one is called a genoise) is the perfect base for this: it’s easily cut into thin layers; it absorbs the coffee, and it’s light enough that, miraculously, this cream-slathered, boozy cake still manages to resist feeling heavy. This certainly feels like a special sort of cake -one to be cut into slender slices, eaten with the good cutlery, and washed down with strong coffee. Somehow, it’s a cake that commands respect.
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- 125 grams ( /2 c + 1 tbsp) superfine sugar
- 125 grams (1c) all-purpose flour
- 400 grams (14 oz) mascarpone
- 75 grams (lf3 c) superfine sugar
- ½ cup+ 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- ½ cup+ 2 tablespoons sweet dessert wine, such as muscat or marsala
- ¾ cup+ 11/ 2 tablespoons strong black coffee
- 50 grams (1% oz) dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the pan and line it with parchment paper.
- To make the cake, melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly.
- Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl until very thick and creamy.
- The mixture needs to reach the stage where, as the whisk is lifted out, it will leave a thick ribbon that sits on the surface for a short while before sinking back in. This will take a good 8 to 10 minutes with an electric mixer and much longer by hand.
- Sift one-third of the flour into the egg mixture and very gently fold it in, taking care to sweep right to the bottom of the bowl, as the flour can easily sink through. Sift and fold in the next third of the flour, and then the final third. Drizzle the butter over the mixture and carefully fold it in.
- Lightly spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until wellrisen, golden brown, springy, and- most importantly -shrinking away from the sides of the pan. Let cool completely in the pan, then unmold.
- To make the filling, beat the mascarpone with the sugar until smooth. Add a little of the cream to loosen the mixture and stir to combine. Pour in the remaining cream and whisk for a minute or two, until smooth and luxuriantly thick. Gradually stir in the wine.
- Using a large, serrated knife or cake-cutting wire, cut the cake horizontally into three thin layers. It can be tricky to cut them evenly, but just go slowly and breathe deep. It's not an issue if the layers are slightly irregular or even if they break: they'll be smothered in cream soon enough, masking all manner of sins. If you have a completely flat, rimless baking sheet, a sturdy sheet of plastic, or a thin cutting board, you can use this to help move each fragile cake layer: just shimmy it underneath the cake, and slide the cake off afterward. This is far more secure than using your hands, which risks puncturing or tearing the cake in the process. If the thought of cutting the cake into three layers makes you nervous, just settle for dividing it into two thicker layers -it won't taste any worse for it. Just use slightly less of the mascarpone cream filling if you do.
- Drizzle one-third of the coffee over one of the layers, then spread with one quarter of the cream. Grate one-third of the chocolate over the cream, the n stack the next cake layer on top. Re peat the layers, then spread the final one-quarter of the cream around the sides of the cake. Use a vegetable peeler to scrape thin curls of chocolate on top.
- Layer the simple genoise sponge above with thick cream, amaretto, and very ripe raspberries. A handful of toasted, sliced almonds wouldn’t go amiss either.