Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last post on zenkitchn

Hi everyone. Thank you for your support. I have recently moved to a new site. You can now find me at

Hope to see you there in the new year. :) 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tiramisu Birthday Cake

It feels gloriously wonderful to be back again. I am writing this post on the plane. On my way to Spokane, where my darling patiently awaits my return home.

Or impatiently.

I don’t much care as long as I know that he is there waiting.
It’s been a long, long break from blogging and food photography. It’s been a long long, long, long, looooonngg break. Did I mention it’s been too long? Dental school has been more brutal than I could ever have possibly imagined. Horror stories about the second year of dental school… that I had heard plenty of. But let me tell you something. Till you have gone through this, it is absolutely, completely, utterly impossible to guess how hard it actually is. Long days are followed by long nights. Which only lead to even longer days. I study every day, for hours on end, or at least I try. Emphasis on try.
I spend days in the dungeon-esque lab where I keep practicing one more provisional on my mannequin. I repeat to myself, “You are good at this. You can do this. When you are done and you go home you can have whatever dessert your heart pleases.” It seems I’ve gotten quite good at bribing myself and no, my growing behind does not thank me for that. 

But I can’t say it’s all bad. Dental school has brought into to my life wonderful friends. Friends who are there with me through the sleepless nights and the long days. Friends who are so darn supportive that I am frequently at a loss for words. One such precious friend turned twenty three yesterday. Jenita Suzanne George, or my “little Georgie” is the kindest, most amazing friend and roommate a person could ever have. And I seriously doubt that I will ever meet anyone else with her level of compassion and kindness. She laughs a lot, makes me laugh a lot, loves with all her heart and I have been lying to her through my teeth for the last few weeks. I had good reason to though. I was trying to recreate her favorite dessert, tiramisu in the form of a birthday cake and keeping it a secret from her. I had been looking for tiramisu birthday cake recipes online and all of them use a yellow cake base topped with mascarpone frosting.  But that’s not tiramisu people. The purist that I am, I refused to call sponge cake with mascarpone frosting a tiramisu. A real tiramisu needs to have a lady finger base soaked in strong espresso and layers upon layers of mascarpone mixed to perfection with either egg whites or whipped cream.  So anyways, I searched wide and far which in my book goes up to the 5th page on google and realized nothing fit my criteria of a birthday tiramisu. Finally and pioneer woman came to my rescue. I followed this recipe to make lady fingers, but instead of giving them the traditional long shape I piped through a very wide tip to make two discs of lady finger or savoiardi bases. I also followed thepioneerwoman's recipe to a T to make the decadent cheese layer that is sinfully fluffy, light as feather.

The birthday girl was woken up with the cake and gifts and I do believe she was not unhappy about it.
This post and my return to blogging are dedicated to the birthday-week of Jenita.
I love you my little Georgie, I hope to be there with you for many more birthdays in the future.   

Savoiardi base 
1/2 cup (65 grams) cake flour, sifted 
3 large egg yolks, room temperature 
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated white sugar, divided 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
3 large egg whites, room temperature 
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar 
3 tablespoons (36 grams) granulated white sugar 
Powdered (icing or confectioners) sugar for dusting the tops of the cookies 

Tiramisu frosting
3 whole Egg Yolks(Large eggs)

2 Tablespoons plus 2 Tablespoons Sugar, Divided

1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoon Marsala Wine, Divided

1/2 cup Whipping (heavy) Cream

8 oz Mascarpone Cheese, Softened (Room Temperature)

3/4 cup Brewed Espresso Or VERY Strong Coffee

1/2 Tablespoon Vanilla

Cocoa Powder, For Dusting 

Savoiardi base

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I usually

start whisking the egg whites first because this way I don’t have to wash the beater

before moving on to the yolks. Start by whipping the egg whites until foamy and continue 

to beat until soft peaks form. Add the 3 tablespoons (36 grams) white sugar and whip 

until stiff peaks form and the whites are glossy. 

Stiff peaks of egg white

Now, beat the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons (25 grams) white sugar on high speed for about 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes thick and pale yellow. (When you raise the beaters the batter should fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon.) Beat in the vanilla extract. Sift the cake flour over the batter but do not fold in.

Gradually fold the whites into the egg yolk and flour mixture in three additions, mixing only until incorporated.

Transfer the batter to the pastry bag and, holding the bag at about a 45 degree angle to the baking sheet, pipe the batter into a 7 inch diameter circle. Dust with icing sugar and bake for 8-10 minutes. Dust more icing sugar on it once it is out of the oven and make sure to separate it from the parchment while it's still warm. 

Mascarpone frosting
In a saucepan, bring some water to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. This will be used as a double boiler. See cake roll for another recipe that calls for a double boiler.

Put 3 egg yolks into the mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and beat until yolks start to turn pale. Place the mixing bowl on the saucepan with the simmering water. Slowly add 1/4 cup Marsala wine and whisk to combine. Cook over the simmering water, and use a rubber spatula to scrape the pan. Cook until thick. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool. this takes about 3 minutes

Place room temperature mascarpone cheese in a bowl and stir until smooth. In a mixing bowl, combine whipping cream and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whip until not quite stiff. To the bowl of whipped cream, add the softened mascarpone cheese and the chilled egg yolk mixture. Fold mixture gently. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Measure 3/4 cups brewed espresso. Add remaining Marsala and vanilla. Arrange the base on a serving platter. Brush a small amount of the coffee mixture over the base. Plop 1/3 of the cold cream/mascarpone/zabaglione mixture on top and spread it into a layer. Dust coco powder and then repeat the process two more times.
Cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.