Saturday, November 15, 2008
Tiramisu Layer Cake
More Nigella Christmas. The Tiramisu layer cake was one of the first recipes that caught my eye in this gorgeous book. I brought it out as dessert when we had a small BBQ, and found myself going back for more throughout the week.
The layers are made up of alcohol-soaked chocolate cake slices, alternated with a traditional mascarpone-and-egg-based cream. Of the cake layers, Nigella says "shop-bought variety is fine", but I had a dense chocolate loaf cake in the freezer which I knew would do the job.
7 months in the freezer... still good!
So, you layer up the cake with the two-thirds of the mascarpone cream in a springform tin, finishing with a layer of cake. You cover this with glad wrap and leave it in the fridge overnight. It's only when serving that you finish the cake by spreading the remaining mascarpone cream on top and dusting generously with cocoa. According to Nigella's make/freeze ahead tips, you can leave it in the fridge for up to 4 days before finishing like this. Or you could assemble the whole cake, including top layer, and freeze the whole cake for up to 3 months. (Of course you'd have to wrap the entire cake securely in a double layer of glad-wrap once it's frozen solid). I wonder if it would be like an ice-cream cake...
Anyway, despite all these good make-ahead tips, we dove into the cake just 12 hours after I'd assembled it. It still hadn't firmed up yet and the layers were sliding all over the place, like a slow-moving avalanche of cream and chocolate cake. More like a trifle than a cake.
On first taste, I wasn't too impressed, although my dad seemed to like it! As I mentioned, it was a bit sloppy. I also found it too sweet, because, unfathomably, the recipe contains no coffee. After the BBQ, I put it back in the fridge, thinking I wouldn't be eating any more of it, and that I'd wasted a good tub of expensive mascarpone. However, as the days progressed, the cake got better and better! All the flavours melded wonderfully, and the texture improved as the cream firmed up and the cake softened down.
I guess I shouldn't have been so impatient with it. If I were to make this again, I'd do it a good 2 days in advance, and I'd definitely be adding a good dose of coffee to the soaking liqueur for contrast and kick.