Tiramisu and Chocolate Mousse Layer Cake

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“Happiness is knowing there is cake in the oven”

Who likes tiramisu? Mascarpone frosting? Chocolate Mousse? Chocolate Ganache?? If you like at least one, or all of these – you will love this cake! This is a little 6-inch cake, perfect for your little birthday needs.

Tiramisu Cake (2 6-inch cakes)

4 eggs, separated

1/2 cup +2tbsp sugar

1/4 cup espresso

2/3  cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks with electric mixer and half of the sugar. When frothy, add in 1/4 cup of cooled espresso. Continue mixing until it thickens and color becomes off-white. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg whites until frothy and then add in  the rest of the sugar. Beat until you get stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the yolks. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Sift dry ingredients into the egg mixture until you do not see any loose flour. Do not over mix. Spoon batter into two well-buttered baking pans and bake at 350F for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven – cakes should spring back when touched (this is a sponge cake). Let cool completely.

Mascarpone Frosting

8 oz mascarpone cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp Kahlua

2-3 tbsp. heavy cream

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine cheese and powdered sugar until thickened, add vanilla, Kahlua, and heavy cream and mix well. Refrigerate frosting until ready to use.

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Chocolate Mousse

1.5 tbsp water

1.5 tbsp sugar

1.5 egg yolks

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Combine water and sugar in saucepan over medium heat until boils and becomes a bit thicker. Remove from stove and turn off heat. Meanwhile, beat egg yolks in a large bowl until frothy and then add in the sugar mixture while whisking. In a separate bowl, microwave the chocolate until it melts, in about 30 second intervals. Combine the slightly cooled chocolate with the egg-sugar-water mixture. In a stand mixer beat the cream to soft peaks. Fold this into the chocolate-egg mixture.

Chocolate Ganache (make after cake is assembled)

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate

¼ cup heavy whipping cream

Heat cream on stove until it starts to just bubble a bit. Turn off the heat and remove from the stove, pour over the chocolate in a separate bowl. Mix until combined and smooth.

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Assembly

Place 1 tiramisu cake into a 6-inch springform pan, and line the sides of the pan with an acetate cake collar. Spread the chocolate mousse out evenly over the tiramisu cake layer in your cake pan and refrigerate for 3-4 hours. Remove from refrigerator and remove side of cake pan as well as acetate collar. Spread a thin layer of mascarpone frosting over the mousse layer, and then top with second tiramisu cake layer. Now frost whole cake with mascarpone frosting (this is thinner than a buttercream frosting, and the cake will appear somewhat “naked” frosted, but you will still have the great mascarpone taste – don’t worry!) Now make the chocolate ganache and let it cool a bit. Pour over the cake evenly with a spoon, and top with desired fruits/meringues/berries. Enjoy!

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Tiramisu Cake

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“If in doubt…bake a cake.”

So I wasn’t reeeally in doubt about baking a cake, because, I mean, why wouldn’t you bake a cake?  🙂 However, I wasn’t sure in exactly the format I wanted to go with my tiramisu cake (once I decided on that). Tiramisu is a traditional Italian dessert, which is usually created with alternating layers of ladyfingers and a mascarpone-egg cream, with some good espresso and rum mixed in. I knew I wanted to do that cool ladyfinger lining on the outside of the cake though – which by the way, technically makes this tiramisu cake a Charlotte style cake (thanks wiki!). In the end, I decided that the cake would be most stable if I actually baked round sponge cakes and alternated that with ladyfinger layers to give the cake more structure and stability.

Here goes!

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Ladyfingers (makes about 2 dozen*)

3 eggs, separated

Two ¼ cups sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Pinch of salt

½ cup flour

1/3 cup of powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut a half inch opening out of a piping bag.

Beat egg whites in stand mixer with whisk attachment – slowly adding in ¼ cup of sugar – until stiff peaks form.

In a separate bowl beat egg yolks with ¼ cup sugar and the vanilla extract – with electric mixer until it is lighter in color and thicker. Fold yolks into whites.

Mix flour and salt together in a separate bowl. Sift this into the egg mixture. (The sifting is important!) Then fold the dry ingredients until combined into the egg mixture.

Transfer into prepared piping bag and pipe one inch ladyfingers across parchment paper, so that they are almost touching each other. Dust with powdered sugar and let sit for 10 minutes. Dust a second time with powdered sugar then place ladyfingers in the oven for 12-15 minutes until just golden. Remove and let cool completely to room temperature.

* I doubled the recipe when I baked the ladyfingers so as to have enough for inside and outside the cake

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Sponge Cakes (makes two 9 inch cakes)

8 eggs, separated

1 1/3 cups sugar

½ cup espresso

1 ¼  cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks with electric mixer and 2/3 cup sugar. When frothy, add in 1/2 cup of espresso. Continue mixing until it thickens and color becomes off-white.

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In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg whites until frothy and then add in 2/3 cup of sugar. Beat until you get stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the yolks.

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In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Sift these into the eggs (again, the sifting really does make a difference in texture). Fold the flour into the egg mixture until you do not see any loose flour. Do not over mix.

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Spoon batter into two well-buttered baking pans and bake at 350F for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven – cakes should spring back when touched. Let cool completely.

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Mascarpone filling + Putting it all together!

6 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1 ½ cups mascarpone cheese

2 cups heavy whipping cream

3/4 cup + 3 tsp cold espresso

½ cup Kahlúa (or any dark rum)

Cocoa powder (optional) for decoration

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Place egg yolks in large metal bowl which is placed over a saucepan with boiling water in it (homemade double boiler!). Whisk yolks with sugar by hand for about 5 minutes on medium heat, and another 5 minutes on simmer. Remove from heat. Using an electric mixer, whisk yolks until pale (off-white) and thickened. Add the mascarpone and 3 tsp of espresso and mix well.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk 1 cup of the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold this into the egg-mascarpone mixture.

In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the espresso and the Kahlúa

In the bowl of your stand mixer whisk another cup of heavy cream to stiff peaks (this is for the top of the cake).

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Let’s put it together:

Dip a pastry brush into the espresso-rum mixture and brush the first sponge cake with it generously. Now pile on the mascarpone mixture and smooth it out.

Next, dip the ladyfingers that will go inside the cake into the espresso-rum so that they are soft, but not soaking wet. Place this layer of lady fingers neatly around the cake, covering as much of the mascarpone mixture as you can. You may have to tear some to fill in spaces. Place another thick layer of mascarpone mixture on top of the ladyfingers and spread it so it is smooth.

Now brush your second sponge cake with a healthy coating of the espresso-rum mix and place this cake on top. Cover it with a nice layer of the mascarpone mix and then ice the whole cake with a thin (doesn’t have to be neat) layer of the mascarpone mix. Take the rest of your ladyfingers and place them around the cake like a crown.

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Fill a piping bag, fitted with a Wilton 12 tip, with the whipped cream you have in your stand mixer. Pipe large dots (they look like little white mountains) all around the top of your cake – working in circles, from the outside in. Take about ¼ cup of cocoa powder and sift it over the top of the cake. Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.

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That’s it! You’re done! As they say in Italian – Buon Appetito!

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Mini Ombre Yellow Petal Carrot Cakes

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“Wherever you go – no matter what the weather – always bring your own sunshine.”

So if it’s winter, and you’re going to a party, bring your own bright yellow cake! That would be the literal interpretation of this quote, right? I’d been wanting to do this petal frosting thing for a while, and I finally did it. Good thing it was a mini cake (well, two of them), because it actually took a while! Maybe that was also because I did an ombre version that twisted around in a swirly pattern. I also did it late at night and it was hard to make sure I was on the right shade of yellow each time! But I did it – and now I will share it with you!

So obviously you can do this with any cake, but I chose my all time favorite to bake – carrot cake! I am an eye doctor, after all, so yeah, eat more carrots. (And spinach, and kale, and squash etc…but just carrot in this post)!

Without further ado…

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CARROT CAKE

(caps lock excited status!)

3 large carrots, grated

1 1/4 cup canola oil

1 tsp vanilla

4 large eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups flour

pinch of salt

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cloves

Pulse carrots in blender. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 3 four-inch spring-form cake pans generously. (Recipe should be enough for 2 three-layer mini cakes)

Mix oil, sugar, vanilla, and eggs in stand mixer. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix well.

Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients, mixing well. Then add carrots into mix. Raisins and walnuts can be added at this time too if desired.

Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven. Mine took 22 minutes.

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For the layers in between the cakes, I used cream cheese frosting because it tastes awesome with carrot cake. I also used it for my crumb coat. For the decorating, I’ve learned the hard way to always use buttercream frosting – not cream cheese frosting (even though I think the cream cheese one tastes better, it just does not hold its shape well).

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For the frosting recipes, see this post.

Frosting directions: To create the ombre look, use yellow gel food coloring – the more you use, the deeper the yellow will be. I used white, and then pastel yellow, and then a brighter yellow. I also always leave some white in case I need to make more.

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Once you’ve made the colors, fill your piping bags with the three colors and use a Wilton 12 tip, or the equivalent to pipe the petals.

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So this is how you pipe it: Start at the top with the bright yellow petals. Pipe a sphere, stop squeezing, and pull to the right. Once you’ve done three bright yellow, continue with three pastel yellow in the same way, then three white to the bottom. Now, here’s the trick. When you get to the next column, the top bright yellow gets kicked to the bottom, so the top has two bright yellow, then three pastel yellow, then three white, then one bright yellow at the bottom. So next column has one bright yellow at the top, three pastel yellow, three white, and two bright yellow and the bottom. Next column has three pastel yellow at the top, then three white, then three bright yellow. Next column has two pastel yellow at the top, then three white, then three bright yellow, then one pastel yellow at the bottom. Continue this way until you finish the cake. It will create a cool swirl ombre pattern. Don’t worry if they don’t work out perfectly at the end of the cake where you started the pattern – it’s not very noticeable! At the top of the cake, I just did an ombre where I did bright yellow, then pastel yellow, then a white flower in the middle.

Enjoy!

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Painted Buttercream Cake

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“Friends knock on your door. Best friends walk into your house and start eating”

Not sure where this quote is from – but I like it! This week I baked a white cake for my best friend’s birthday.

She wanted a white cake, and it had to have strawberries somewhere. But I also knew it had to be special. When you’ve been friends with someone for almost 20 years (!), you know they deserve a darn good cake. I’m pretty happy with my frosting recipes, but I was definitely worried about the painting aspect. Most things I could find on Pinterest were painted fondant cakes. Luckily I found this blog  which helped me out with the painting.

White Cake

1.5 cups butter

3 cups sugar

5 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

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*Pre-heat oven to 350. Prepare cake pans with non-stick spray.

*Beat butter in stand mixer until fluffy. Add sugar to combine. Add eggs, milk, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.

*Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix together salt, flour, and baking powder. Add in 3 separate parts to wet ingredients and mix until combined.

(should make 3 or 4 cake layers depending on pan size and desired thickness of cakes)

Next – the frostings

Cream cheese frosting

1/2 cup butter

8 oz cream cheese

1 tsp clear vanilla extract

4.5 cups powdered sugar

1 Tbsp milk

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*Beat butter and cream cheese together in stand mixer. Add powdered sugar in 1/2 cups and mix. Slowly pour in milk until desired frosting consistency. Next – layer cream cheese and fresh strawberry slices in between cake layers. Then do a crumb coat in the cream cheese frosting and refrigerate cake for about an hour to allow it to harden a bit.

Buttercream frosting

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

4 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp clear vanilla extract

2 Tbsp milk

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*Beat butter and shortening in stand mixer until smooth

*Add sugar and vanilla extract. When frosting is too thick, add milk then continue to add sugar until desired consistency is achieved.

Next – Frost the cake as smoothly as possible because this will be your painting surface! Allow the frosting to harden in the fridge for a couple of hours before painting.

Painting

desired gel food colors

paintbrushes (used only for food)

small bowls for mixing paint

a good vodka (not rubbing alcohol)

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*Place about a teaspoon of alcohol in a small bowl and a couple drops of paint (the more paint, the darker the color). Mix well.

*Paint whatever your heart desires onto your yummy cake! (Make sure the cake stays cold. If it starts to warm the frosting won’t be as hard and it will be much more difficult to work with. Pop the cake back in the fridge for a while and then continue until completed)