In the introduction to her recipe for Tiramisu Cake, Dorie states that "there was a time in the 1990's when probably the only way to avoid tiramisu would have been to go to Antarctica - and even then you might not be sure it wouldn't turn up." Boy, did she ever hit the nail right on THAT head! I can't recall one single dinner party we ever went to or any restaurant we ever ate at during that time where tiramisu was NOT on the menu! I remember this so well because I don't really like tiramisu. Now, that may seem contradictory to those of you who have heard me declare my undying love for mascarpone, or who have seen recipe after recipe on this blog in which it appears as an ingredient, but it's true. I don't like it. I hate soggy food, and traditional tiramisu is made with a base of Italian ladyfingers, called savoiardi, that is soaked with with coffee and booze. True, it is filled with a creamy and delicious mascarpone-based cream. But, I just can't get past those mushy, squishy savoiardi! So, rather than offend a proud and enthusiastic hostess who presented me with a heaping portion of her "special" tiramisu, I'd usually just pick out the cream filling and feed the rest to the plants.
Needless to say, that when I saw that this week's TWD assignment was a Tiramisu Cake, I was less than thrilled. I even considered skipping it. But since I had already skipped the previous two weeks due to unavoidable work commitments, I decided to suck it up and make the cake. After all, I didn't have to actually eat it. I figured that I could find at least one of my neighbors who would take it. And, if not, I could always give it to my sister-in-law. She never met a cake she didn't like!
So, I whipped up some Tiramisu Cake. And then, I took some pictures. I carved out a slice of the cake for a photo and it looked pretty good. Not soggy or squishy at all! Then, I figured that I should at least taste it. I mean, what kind of blogger would I be if I didn't give you the unvarnished truth about the cake, despite my personal bias. The more I looked at that cake, the more I was willing to make the sacrifice. I grabbed a fork and took a bite.....and another.....and another..... Well, I think you get the picture. Imagine my surprise (and delight) when I discovered that Dorie's Tiramisu Cake was good! Really, really good! Fabulous, actually! (Sorry Sis, you're not getting any of this one!)
The cake part of this creation is made with a basic yellow cake recipe. Once cooled, it is brushed with a syrup made from espresso and coffee liqueur. Between the layers of cake, lies a velvety combination of mascarpone cheese and whipped cream studded with little chunks of chocolate. Then, the whole cake is frosted with an espresso-laced version of the filling.
The benefit of using cake instead of ladyfingers is that the cake doesn't disintegrate when soaked with the syrup. Instead, it drinks in the coffee flavor and you're left with a very moist and tasty cake that holds its shape. Add that wickedly rich mascarpone cream and you've got a match made in heaven!
Thanks to Megan from My Baking Adventures who chose our recipe for this week. If you'd like to try this cake for yourself, you can find the recipe there. As always, check out the Tuesdays with Dorie Blogroll to see how the rest of the group fared with this one.