"Tiramisù" is the most popular Italian dessert. The literal meaning of "Tiramisu" is "Pick-me-up", a layered dessert consisting of coffee soaked savoiardi biscuits alternating with layer of mixture of whipped eggs, masacarpone cheese, cream, sugar and flavoured with Marsala wine/rum and cocoa.
I excluded eggs and wine from my preparation completely and so this preparation is not the traditional one, but even without eggs and wine it tasted very nice. Mind it with so much cheese going in to its preparation this is no fat free or light dessert, but its worth to try this creamy cake once, provided the ingredients are easily available and we burn those extra calories with extra workouts, can't we ?
I wanted to prepare this at the earliest after I saw a post on a food group page by foodie friend, JB with the link for the recipe that she followed. The recipe looked so simple with steps such as making coffee extract, whipping the cream and assembling the store bought ingredients into layers, push the cake tin into refrigerator, allow it to set, garnish the cake and serve it!
With no idea about the ingredients availability in supermarkets here [never bothered to check for their availability such as ladyfinger biscuits, mascarpone cheese, etc], I went in search of them and was superglad to find all the ingredients. As I picked the biscuits from the shelf, I found them not to be eggless :(. A bit disappointed, I thought to use either pastry puffs or rusks or marie biscuits instead of these finger biscuits, paid the bill for rest of the ingredients and came home.
This being the first attempt didn't want to risk my time, efforts and avoid wastage of the other ingredients, I dropped the idea of using those alternatives. Now that the other ingredients were sitting in my fridge I checked on net trying to search a substitute for ladyfinger biscuits. I came across various recipes that mentioned preparing the eggless biscuits, then the use of eggless sponge cake. I also came across Tarla Dalal's recipe that used biscottis [toasts] prepared from eggless sponge cake. With all these inputs, I planned to opt Tarla Dalal's method to prepare the biscotti from cake and rest of the preparation followed the recipe and tips as given by JB.
Kids [Include me too along with them :P] were just eager to taste this dessert right from the time I assembled the layers and kept on asking "When are we going to taste the cake ?"
If things are planned well in advance preparing this eggless non-alcoholic cake is an easy job. So lets get onto the recipe step by step.
Making Eggless sponge cake
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup condensed milk
1 cup butter
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp Vinegar
1 cup milk
2 tbsp cocoa powder
Sift the flour along with baking powder and soda together in a bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in another wide mouthed vessel. Stir well until combined.
Now add the dry ingredients little at a time to wet ingredients and fold the mixture gently with spatula. Continue till all the dry ingredients is mixed into the mixture. The batter should be of dropping consistency. Divide the batter into two parts and add 2 tbsp cocoa powder to the other part.
[[[ I thought of eggless cocoa cake for my KIDS who could enjoy this cake instead of consuming caffeine that soaks the sponge cake layers and also use these cocoa biscottis as decorative edges ]]].
Pour the plain batter and cocoa mixed batter separately in the respective greased cake tins and place the tray in preheated oven [for 10 mins] at 180 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes or till the cake is done. Allow the cake to cool.
Making biscottis from the cake
Slice the eggless sponge cake horizontally into 2 equal layers.
Cut the top layer of the sponge cake into 1/2" X 2" long finger shapes. [We will use the bottom layer of this cake later while assembling the tiramisu]. Arrange the cake fingers on a baking tray and toast them in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep aside to cool completely.
Repeat the same with eggless cocoa cake to get cocoa biscottis.
Making coffee extract
Coffee powder [ I used Bru instant coffee powder] 3 tbsp
Boiling water. 1 cup
Sugar 2 tsp
Brew the coffee by mixing the coffee powder, sugar into boiling water. Let it cool. Place in refrigerator to cool completely.
Making the cream cheese mixture filling
300 gm mascarpone cheese
1 cup thickened cream
1/2 cup castor sugar
Whisk the thick cream with an electric mixer until it forms a stiff peak.
In another bowl, gently mix mascarpone cheese and castor sugar until well combined. Now fold the cheese mixture into the whipped cream using a spatula. Fold the mixture till well combined.
Assembling the layers
Once you are ready with above steps, we can move on to assemble the cake. Remove the coffee extract from the fridge. I assembled this cake in springform tin. Place the bottom layer of the eggless sponge cake in the springform tin and sprinkle the coffee extract evenly on top of the cake. Spread a layer of cream cheese mixture with the back of a spoon.
Now line the tin with cocoa cake biscottis. [Cut the biscottis to the same height of the cake tin before you line them] Once you finish doing the lining, fill the gap in the centre with sponge cake biscottis. Using a pastry brush, soak the biscottis with coffee extract. And finally place the cream-cheese mixture on the top and spread again with the back of a spoon. You can repeat the steps of layering until you have covered the cake with the last layer of the cream cheese mixture. [ I could make two layers each of sponge cake alternating with cream cheese mixture] Sprinkle cocoa powder on the top and refrigerate the cake for atleast 3-4 hrs [best overnight] before serving.
Once the cake sets, demould the tiramisu from the tin on a serving plate and top with chocolate chips/chocolate shavings/chocolate sauce/ fresh fruits [optional] as per your preference. Tie a ribbon around the cake to support and for the finishing touch, and you are done !!!!
I made an attempt to prepare chocolate filigrees to decorate this cake, but somehow the designs turned out to be very flimsy and got crushed. I sprinkled these crushed chocolate pieces on top of the cake