This is the perfect dessert for entertaining over the Summer as it can be made several days in advance or enjoyed over a few days if, per chance, you have any leftovers. The flavour only improves with time.
Aside from the sponge, every element in this recipe is flexible. I’ve included options in the notes so that you can tweak to your heart’s content. The recipe yields 8 large servings. Enjoy, folks!
Genoise Sponge (made one day prior)
4 eggs, at room temperature
75 g (1⁄2 cup) rapadura sugar
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
120 g unbleached white spelt flour (this is 1 cup minus 1 x 20ml tablespoon)
40 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¾ cup ground coffee, steeped in 1 cup of boiling water (see notes)
¼ cup Marsala
1 tsp vanilla essence
175g of thickened cream
250g of mascarpone (see notes)
2 whole eggs (see notes)
5 egg yolks
120g milled and sifted rapadura sugar (see notes)
MAKING THE SPONGE
This element is best made the day before (or minimum 4 hours prior) and stored at room temperature. Below is the lovely Jude Blereau’s recipe, from her brilliant ‘Wholefood Baking’ published by Murdock books.
I like to mill and sift my rapadura sugar before beating it with the eggs at this time of year as some brands are very coarse.
The success of this cake will depend on beating – I have described below whipping until it falls and holds a ribbon, but it should also be super thick and luscious – very often, people don’t whip it enough. Whip it and whip it good.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C or 160c if fan forced. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20 – 22 cm springform cake tin with baking paper.
2. Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy and tripled in volume. The mixture is ready when you can lift the beaters and the mixture falls back into the bowl in a ribbon that rests on the surface for about 10 seconds. Add the vanilla extract during the last moments of whisking.
3. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Sieve one-third of the flour onto the mixture and gently fold through — I like to use a whisk. Stop as soon as the flour looks incorporated. Fold in the remaining flour in two more additions. Place the melted butter in a small bowl, then gently fold in 1 cup of the batter through the butter. Add this back to the egg mixture and gently fold through. Take care not to overmix. Turn into the tin.
4. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until the centre springs back when lightly touched, and the cake is coming away from the side. If the cake is browning too quickly and is not ready, reduce the oven temperature and continue cooking. When the cake is cooked, turn off the oven and leave the door ajar until the cake is cool. Remove from the oven and completely cool in the tin before filling as desired.
MAKING THE TIRAMISU
1. Prepare all your ingredients first. Then organise a medium sized dish (approx. dimensions 20cm x 30cm), or individual serving glasses to layer the tiramisu into.
2. Measure out the thickened cream, mascarpone and vanilla in a small bowl. Stir vigorously to combine, then set aside to come to room temperature.
3. Make sure the eggs are at room temperature before starting this step. In a large mixing bowl (or processor with whipping attachment), beat the egg yolks, whole eggs and milled, sifted rapadura sugar until it lightens, doubles in volume and forms ribbons that sit on the surface for at least 10 seconds. This will take a while (possibly up to 10 minutes) and is the exact same process you will have used for the sponge.
4. Using a spatula, gently fold the cream mixture into the eggs until it is just combined, then set aside.
5. Strain the coffee into a medium mixing bowl. Add the Marsala and vanilla essence, stirring to combine. Ensure it is no longer hot before beginning the next step.
6. Place the cake on a large chopping board and remove the outer crust of the cake, by slicing around the edge. Then, working your way from left to right, slice the cake into 2.5cm wide ‘fingers’. And finally, one big transverse slice across the lot of them, chopping them in half.
7. Pick up one of the fingers from the middle of the cake (you may need to adjust the length of it, according to the container size) and momentarily dip each of the two longer ‘cut’ sides into the coffee mixture, one after the other, then place it back onto your chopping board, (top side up, like all the other fingers). Slice it in half lengthways again (with the knife parallel to the two cut sides). You’ll hopefully find that the middle is still just-slightly dry, rather than being drenched all the way through (if not, your dipping needs to be quicker).
8. Lay the two halves, dry side down, into your dish and repeat this process until you’ve used up the first half of the cake – and hopefully filled the base of your dish. Don’t worry too much if it isn’t perfect. The cream layer compensates for errors of judgement!
9. Pour just under half the cream mixture over the cake base and tilt the dish gently from side to side to help level it out. Place the dish into the fridge for 20 minutes or freezer for 10 minutes, to set.
10. Remove the dish from the fridge and proceed with the second layer, following the exact same process as with the first. Pour the remaining cream over the top, then cover your dish and allow the tiramisu to set in the fridge. Ideal setting time is 12-24 hours, but definitely 6 as an absolute minimum.
11. Serve chilled, after grating a nice thick layer of good quality dark chocolate over the top, with a microplane or fine grater.
Coffee: Although I’m a retired coffee drinker (and always detested strong, black coffee), this recipe genuinely needs the strong flavour to balance it. Try it once and if it’s too much, you can reduce it by 2-3 tablespoons. Be sure to give it a full 12 hours to set as the flavour will mellow slightly with time.
Rapadura sugar: Feel free to play with the amount as it wont affect the recipe in any way. If you’ve been on a fairly low-carb, wholefood diet for a while, you might like to reduce the sugar down to 90 grams.
Eggs & texture: You can play with the ratio of egg yolks to whole eggs. Increasing the ratio of whites to yolks will result in a lighter, fluffier texture. Lowering it will make it a richer, heavier cream layer.
Mascarpone: my favourite brand is Pepe Saya, which comes in a 200g tub. However, if you’re buying a generic supermarket brand, it will most likely come in a 250g container. Varying the amount wont give you a remarkably different result, aside from the fact it sets slightly better with more mascarpone added.
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