Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Another Tiramisu Cake and Failed Opera Cake

Congratulations to my friend Carol and baby number 2!  In honor of her new baby girl, the soon to be mommy of two asked for a pregger friendly tiramisu cake.  If ya'll remember, I had already made one for a previous baby shower, so the only labor involved was in the execution.  I didn't have to fiddle with the recipe at all like I had to with the previous shower cake.  As with the previous cake, I didn't make the traditional zabaglione sauce since raw eggs (even heated up) was a no no.  I also wanted to use only pasteurized cheese, so instead of running the risk with marscapone cheese, I used pasteurized whipped cream cheese for the same texture. 

Tiramisu by nature is a cocoa colored cake.  Lots of beige/tan/brown going on.  But since Carol was having a baby girl, I knew I wanted pink to be present somewhere in the cake - the question was how.  I also didn't want to make it look exactly the same as the previous cake. 

Since none of the people attending the baby shower had any allergies, I used pirouettes to outline the cake.  This is especially great for people who can't frost a cake for their life.  While it didn't occur to me as I sketched out the cake, it definitely was apparent as I was assembling the cake.  Why hadn't I used this technique before?  It would have been a lifesaver when I was first learning to frost cakes!  It is however, time consuming and little on a tedious side because I had to trim each pirouette to varying heights.  They're finicky and delicate and a few of them crushed under my fingers. 

I used both the dark chocolate and hazelnut pirouettes.  After assembling, I realized I could have gone an extra step and tried to line up the lines on each pirouette to create a pattern, but realized I would have driven myself mad and decided it was for the best that I didn't attempt this after constructing the cake.  What if I smashed it out of frustration, you know? 

Gotta incorporate the pink somewhere, right?

For the recipe for the tiramisu, click here.

I also got a little creative and wanted to replicate an opera cake I recently saw.  It involves making a stiff batter, piping a pattern, letting it harden and then quickly pouring a sponge cake over the pattern to create a patterned cake.  Do you follow?  I know, who knew pastry was so freaking complicated, right?  I used my go to sponge cake recipe but realized that it was too ... uhm ... spongey?  It has a lot of holes in the cake, which accounts for that sponge like delicate texture.  Unfortunately, holes =/= pretty.  So I'll have to experiment with the sponge cake before actually adding it to my repertoire. 

Here are my sad attempts at making an opera cake.

Notice the spongey texture on the first photo?  I let the batter sit an extra 2 hours for my second attempt with butterflies as the pattern.  It came out better, but there are still holes.  You're supposed to make it super thin so that you can use it as the "skin" or "outside" of the cake.  Then you use whatever you'd like to fill in the center.  That's why the cake looks so thin. 

Anyways, after the enormous failure of my first swirly pattern and the spongey-ness of the second butterfly pattern, I was not in the mood to make the hazelnut mousse and chocolate ganache as planned.  So I whipped up some ice cream with a little gin (to prevent it from becoming insanely hard when frozen).  I hate it when ice cream desserts are super duper frozen.  You know?  The down side to this is that by the time I sliced the cake and tried to take a photo of it, it started to melt.  Like seriously melt.  Oh well.

A good 1/4 inch melted, as you can see in the first picture above.  You can't really tell as much from the aerial view.  It's cookies n cream ice cream, chocolate ganache ice cream and a thin layer of chocolate ganache on top for good measure.  All you need to do it add a little alcohol to each layer to prevent it from utter and total freeze over.  Notice there are no freezer burn crystal marks on the cake even though it's been sitting in the freezer without a top. 

There are a bunch more things to be make this month including a brilliant no fail cheesecake that doesn't crack (I've searched high and low for a non cracking, no fail cheesecake that does not involve meticulously checking on the status of the damn cake).  I like to throw the thing in the oven and let it do its magic.  And another tiramisu.  Both will be for my parents.  Because they don't believe I can bake.  Or at least they don't believe the photos I have been taking of my baked goods are actually mine.  I've always whipped up cookies and brownies but making cakes and cupcakes have been a gradual process, most of which I've developed in the past two years.  Perhaps it was always in my blood and I never paid any attention to it?  Besides, I'm a cook not a baker - at least in their eyes.  So they've asked me to make a tiramisu and cheesecake.  I'm growing tired of making tiramisu cakes!  I think I've inhaled a good amount of cocoa powder in these past few weeks from making tiramisu cakes! 

Anyways, more photos and recipes to follow including the brilliant cheesecake recipe.


  1. классно украшен)))

  2. Using the pirouettes around the cake is sheer genius! The finished result is so beautiful.

  3. Thank you Nicole! I wish I had thought of it sooner!

  4. This is a beautiful cake! I'd love for you to submit it to the M&T Spotlight at http://www.makeandtakes.com/spotlight

  5. Wow! Thats really yummmmmmyy!
    check out my blog!



  6. I love your tiramisu cake! It is so pretty and I bet your friend loved it! How did you get the pirouttes to stay on there?

  7. I put a thin coat of the tiramisu cream on the outside of the cake and the pirouettes cling to the cake. Surprisingly, they stay on!

  8. Hi Angie, I'd love to feature this in my magazine, send me an email if you're interested!

  9. I think that it looks lovely, especially the way you placed your decoration.