This cake is time consuming, but it is worth making for a special occasion. Betty Crapper chose her husband's birthday to make this cake; however, I underestimated the time it would take to make, assemble, and chill and we ate the cake the following day. Don't let that dissuade you from making the cake. Remember, Betty Crapper has an 11 month old.
Begin by buttering and flouring two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper and place pans on a baking sheet. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 F.
Sift together your cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set this aside. Grab your room temperature butter, sugar, 3 large eggs, 1 large egg yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk.
Beat butter on medium until soft and creamy. Add sugar and beat for 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each. Beat in the vanilla. Betty Crapper would not want to mix this cake batter with a hand held mixer. Her wimpy arms would get really tired.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. Divide batter into both pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 28-30 minutes, rotating cake pans halfway through. Cool on rack for 5 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and remove parchment paper. Cool to room temperature right side up.
When you are ready to assemble your Tiramisu cake you will need espresso (or instant espresso powder), water, sugar, Kahlua, mascarpone, powdered sugar, vanilla, heavy cream, and bittersweet chocolate. You will be making espresso extract, espresso syrup, and a frosting. These were my favorite parts of the cake.
For the espresso extract, I made Cuban coffee with my stove top espresso machine. I grabbed the first four tablespoons of cafe that came out. These first drops tend to be the richest and thickest.
To make the syrup, you heat water and sugar just until it comes to a boil. Then you add 1 tablespoon of espresso syrup.
The frosting is made by whisking the mascarpone, powdered sugar, vanilla, and Kahlua until blended. Use your stand mixer to whip the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture. LIghtly fold in the rest of the whipped cream.
To assemble, place one layer on your serving plate right side up. Soak the layer with 1/3 of the espresso syrup. Smooth about 1 1/4 cups of the frosting over the layer. Press the chopped chocolate into the frosting. Soak the other cake layer with half the remaining syrup. Place the cake layer, soak side down, on top of the chopped chocolate. Soak the top of the cake with the rest of the syrup.
Whisk 1 tablespoon of the remaining espresso extract into the remaining frosting. Frost your cake and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 1 day. Before serving dust the top with cocoa.
(Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From my Home to Yours)
2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
10 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp espresso powder
2 tbsp boiling water
or about 4 tbsp espresso
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp Kahlua
8 ounces mascarpone
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp Kahlua
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
cocoa powder, for dusting
Making the cake
Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour two 9-inch rounds. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper and place pans on a baking sheet.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl beat butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add sugar and beat for 3 minutes. Add eggs individually, and then the yolk. Beat for 1 minute after each egg. Beat in vanilla.
Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients (3 additions) alternately with the buttermilk (2 additions).
Place the batter in the pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. Bake for 28-30 minutes until cakes test done. Place on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pans and remove the parchment paper. Place cakes right side up on wire rack and cool completely.
Making the extract
In a small bowl, stir espresso powder with boiling water. Or make espresso. Set aside.
Making the syrup
In a small saucepan stir the water and sugar and bring just to a boil. Pour syrup into a bowl and then stir 1 tablespoon of the espresso extract and the Kahlua. Set aside.
Making the frosting
In a large bowl whisk the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla, and Kahlua until smooth. In another bowl whip the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture. Very gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream.
If the layers are not even, use a serrated knife to level. Place one layer right side up on cake plate. Protect plate with strips of parchment paper. Use a pastry brush or spoon and soak the first layer with 1/3 of the espresso syrup. Smooth 1 1/4 cup of the frosting over the layer. Gently press the finely chopped bittersweet chocolate onto the frosting. Put the second layer on the counter and soak with half the remaining syrup. Turn layer over and place (soaked side down) on top of the first layer. Soak the top of the cake with the remaining syrup.
Whisk 1 tablespoon of the remaining espresso extract into the remaining frosting. Frost the sides of the cake and the top.
Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to one day. Just before serving dust the top with cocoa.