Sunday, February 21, 2010


This recipe is an adaptation of a Tiramisu recipe found in the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion cookbook. This is not a whole grain recipe; I made it with white spelt flour. It can be made with whole wheat pastry flour for a whole grain version, but I was making a wheat-free dessert for today. I also substituted Neufchatel cheese for the mascarpone/cream cheese called for in the filling (it's one-third less fat than cream cheese). I also reduced the cocoa powder on the top of the cake and added more shaved chocolate to the other two layers.
It does take a bit of time to make the cake, make the filling, assemble it all, and chill for a few hours before serving - but I assure you that the end result will be well worth it! I learned that tiramisu means "pick me up" in Italian, and this moist, creamy, flavorful cake will do just that for you and anyone you deem worthy enough to share a piece with...

Sponge Cake
3/4 cup white spelt flour (or whole wheat pastry flour, or all-purpose flour)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400*F. Line the bottom of a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan (or cookie sheet with a lip at least one inch high) with waxed paper or parchment paper. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Sprinkle in the sugar gradually, beating all the while, and continue beating until the batter is very thick and light lemon in color, 3 to 8 minutes. The batter will have doubled in volume. Just before you stop beating the batter, add the vanilla. Gently fold in the flour mixture, using a rubber spatula or whisk. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 12 to 14 minutes, until it's golden brown and springy to the touch. Remove the cake from the oven and transfer the cake onto a wire rack. Place another wire rack on top of the cake and flip it over. Carefully remove the parchment or wax paper and let cake cool completely on wire rack.

Mascarpone (or Neufchatel) Filling
1 pound (two 8-oz. packages) mascarpone OR cream cheese OR Neufchatel cheese
(If using cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese, also add 2 tablespoons of sour cream)
2 cups heavy or whipping cream
1 1/2 cups confectioner's (powdered) sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the cheese until soft. Add the cream, sugar, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Refrigerate the filling until you're ready to assemble the cake.

Other Ingredients Needed:
1/2 cup espresso or coffee-flavored liqueur (I used espresso powder and hot water to make espresso)
1 teaspoon cocoa (KAF recommends Dutch-process and uses a tablespoon but I don't like that much)
1/2 cup (or more) grated or curled semi-sweet or milk chocolate

To Assemble the Dessert:
Cut the cake into three 5x10 pieces (I used a pizza cutter and it worked quite well.) Brush each slice with the espresso. Let the cake sit for a few minutes to absorb the liquid, and then brush it again. Place one slice on a serving platter and top it with one-third of the filling and some chocolate curls, top it with a second layer and another third of the filling and more chocolate curls, then place the third layer of the cake on top. Cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining filling, dust with the cocoa, and top with more chocolate curls for garnish. Wrap the cake well and refrigerate it for several hours (or overnight) before serving.

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