Tiramisu is an Italian dessert much loved by many, desired by most.
Though I've made true Tiramisu on occasion over the years, it can be a bit costly to create this scrumptious dessert in authentic fashion. Some of the ingredients, depending on the recipe you choose, are often hard to find, or time consuming to make. Try asking for Mascarpone cheese in Podunk, Oklahoma. Lady fingers (Savoiardi), Marsala wine and other ingredients may serve as an endless search of numerous grocery stores.
Other than a store purchased angel food cake loaf (*gasp*) you may likely have all the ingredients for a much easier, delicious though not quite comparable recipe right in your kitchen.
Give it a whirl. It's quick, easy and though certainly not as grandiose as true Tiramisu, there is nothing to screw up,
and it doesn't require as lengthy a period of refrigeration to allow the flavors to blend.
Step 1: Shopping List...
Your shopping list:
* 1 ready-made angel food cake loaf (10.5 oz)
The closer your cake is to the expiration date on the package, the drier your dessert will be. Use a fresh cake.
The best ready-made cakes are baked right at the store, not brought in on a truck.
If you can bake your own cake, great.
* 8 oz. Philadelphia, or other brand cream cheese
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
* 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract (think Watkins)
* 3/4 cup strong coffee, cooled to room temperature
* 1-2 T coffee liqueur (Kamora is a great brand!)
If you don't drink on a regular basis, ask your local liquor store for a miniature bottle of liqueur.
No sense in purchasing a large bottle if you aren't going to use it.
* 1 dark chocolate candy bar, grated (1.55 oz)
* Garnish with fresh fruit such as sliced strawberries
Note: The strawberries are a very important addition. A few slices to the side of the cake allow for an occasional 'refreshing of the palate'. Oh, good grief, do I sound like a food snob? Strawberries and Angel Food Tiramisu - a wonderful pairing!
Step 2: Make the Coffee...
As you will be 'painting' coffee onto each layer of the cake, you will want to make this your first step so the coffee will have time to cool. Yes, you may place the coffee into the refrigerator to cool faster. Once it has cooled, add one or two (go ahead, live large) tablespoons of coffee liqueur. Though coffee liqueur is not an absolutely necessary part of the cake, it does provide for excellent flavor, so if you can splurge, purchase at least a small bottle. You'll be glad you did, and since you're going to love this cake, you'll make it again.
Step 3: Slice the Angel Food Cake Into Layers...
Slicing an angel food cake into layers is not overly difficult, but it does help to have a handy tool around. If you don't have a cake leveler (very inexpensive, as low as a few dollars at most stores that carry baking products) you may use a serrated knife, preferably a long one. Bread knives or saws are also a useful tool. My darling husband found one at a second hand store and I could not be happier. It just so happens to cut the cake into three equally sized slices, and for a mere dollar, I can't complain that it was designed for left handers.
Cut the cake into three or even four (or more) equally sliced layers, and set aside. If you purchased a pre-fab cake, place it back into the handy plastic container.
Step 4: Mix Up the Creamy Filling...
Mix the following with an electric hand mixer, or your choice of tool, just be sure the creamy filling is nice and smooth.
# 8 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese
# 1/4 cup sugar
# 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
# 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract (think Watkins)
Keep in mind you will need to reserve at least 1/2 cup of this mixture to 'frost' the cake.
The rest of the mix will be spread on each layer of angel food cake that has dabbed with coffee.
If in doubt, double the recipe and you will have plenty of filling without concern of running short.
Step 5: (Optional Step) Load the Filling Into a Pastry Decorator Tube...
If you happen to have a pastry decorator, fill the tube with the filling and attach a tip of your choice. The stars are pretty, but one could also stream fine ribbons, or whatever suits your fancy.
Neat tool tip: Be on the lookout for newspaper or internet coupons from stores that sell Wilton products. Try your local art and hobby shop, and you may find one for 40-50% off.
If you do not have a dessert decorator, you can certainly use a knife or spatula just as well.
Step 6: Apply the Coffee to the Cake Layers...
Using a pastry brush, dab coffee mixture over top, bottom and sides of each cake layer
(Do not dunk the cake in the coffee.)
Don't panic, you can't really go wrong unless you dunked, like I just told you not to do. ;-)
When the layers have all been dabbed with coffee, set the cake aside.
Step 7: Frost Each Layer Except the Top...
To ensure your dessert is neat and tidy, lay about 24" of plastic food wrap over a loaf pan with
the long edges on each long side of the pan. Place the bottom layer of cake onto the wrap in the pan.
While you may smooth a portion of the cream cheese filling with a knife, I find it much easier
to draw an outline and a strip up the middle of each layer with a dessert decorator as shown in step 5.
Once you have the bottom layer frosted, sprinkle grated chocolate evenly on top of the cream cheese
filling. Not too much, but enough so that when you cut the final cake, each layer of cake with be
adorned with a thin layer of chocolate. What the heck, put a bunch in there!
*Quality chocolate tip* By all means, a plain chocolate candy bar will work just fine, but the deep dark color
of dark chocolate is a plus when it comes to desserts of this type. Quality chocolate will not turn white and
funky when stored.
Repeat the frosting / grated chocolate procedure for the top of each layer except the top section of angel food cake.
Don't try to be too fancy at this point, just try to get a nice, even layer on each section of cake. Keeping in mind that you are
not yet going to frost the top of the cake, pull one side of the plastic wrap over the top of the cake and give it a little tug. Repeat with the other side to line the layers up nice and neat. Fold the wrap over the cake and place the cake and the remainder of the cream cheese mixture into the refrigerator.
See step 8.
Step 8: Allow the Cake to Chill for 30 Minutes...
I love this step. After you have placed the cake and remainder of the filling into the refrigerator, set the timer for 30 minutes. This will give the cake time to absorb some of the coffee, as well as 'set' in a nice shape. Nobody likes a shifty, lopsided cake.
What to do for thirty minutes?
Call someone. Just because. Tell them you miss them. Love them.
Wash the dishes you've just used.
Visit http://donatelife.net/ and sign up to become an organ donor. It's a good thing.
Surf Instructables for a great recipe to cook for your next dinner.
Drink eight ounces of water.
The timer is going off. Back to the kitchen.
Step 9: The Final Touches and the Big Chill...
Remove the cake and filling from the refrigerator. It doesn't take long for the creamy mixture to drop back to
room temperature, but if you find it a bit difficult to spread or squeeze out of a dessert tube, just allow it to
warm up for a few minutes.
Carefully remove the plastic wrap and transfer the cake to a flat-topped plate or surface which will allow you to reach all four sides and the top of the cake. Smooth frosting over the sides, being careful not to apply too much icing on the sides, or too much pressure. Frost the top, sprinkle enough chocolate to suit your wishes, and smile. Decorate with additional fruit if you so desire.
I prefer to use the pastry tube to make pretty little stars over the top of the cake, followed by a final sprinkling of grated chocolate. Though I've made this cake a few times, I think the next time I make one, I'll double the cream cheese filling recipe and go to town with the filling. It's delicious, and I want more stars!
Though you can eat this dessert right away, it is wonderful after a night in the refrigerator. Best when consumed within a few days.
Carefully slice and transfer each slice to a lovely little plate and serve with a few sliced strawberries or other fruit on the side.
Note: The strawberries are a very important addition. A few slices to the side of the cake allow for an occasional 'refreshing of the palate'. Oh, good grief, do I sound like a food snob? A wonderful pairing! Enjoy!