Tiramisu Layer Cake

11/15/2008 11:26:00 AM

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.

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  1. Anonymous9:55 PM

    Mmmm, looks yummy! It reminds me of Nigella's Rococoa cake in her book Feast. It's made with layers of chocolate cake drenched in coffee-rum syrup, and mascarpone-egg cream, and is finished with a chocolate coffee glaze. You should try it if you haven't already! I do suggest you cut down on the sugar in the glaze, because as you already might know, Nigella's recipes often tend to be a little bit too sweet!

  2. I'm going to note down your tips Sarah for when I eventually make this, it's one of the recipes that jumped out at me too.

  3. I'm keen to try this one too. Recently got some of the coffee chocolate beans :)

    I'll note your tips to make it in advance as well, I think the rococoa cake was better after a spell in the fridge too.

    I was actually worried that all that Tia Maria might make it too strong coffee wise, and had thought of downscaling it! Might leave well alone now!


  4. I just got this book, this recipe definitely caught my eye. Along with all the other puddings LOL. It looks utterly gorgeous - and I guess it is the nature of this type of thing to get better with time. It's just so hard to be patient around all that cream!

  5. You inspired me to check this book out and now Borders has it for $40 so it was a no brainer! Vida x

  6. I seem to have misplaced that recipe. Can someone oblige please, pretty please. Forgetful

  7. Hi Marika,

    The recipe is from Nigella Christmas! Easily available on Unfortunately it's not mine to share, so I shan't be reprinting it here on my blog.

    xox Sarah



My email address is sarahcooks [at] hotmail [dot] com.