Tiramisù Cake, by Nadiya ‘GBBO’ Hussain
My hot drink of choice has always been a good cup of Yorkshire tea, lightly brewed with a splash of milk.
It’s my favourite treat first thing in the morning, and as soon as the babies have settled into bed.
Cuppa, cuddles and the comfort of my sofa.
Unless of course Abdal sits down next to me with a cup of his strong-brewed coffee, hot out of his special coffee machine.
The smell of strong coffee makes my stomach turn, and has done since my third pregnancy, but strangely enough I can just about bear the pain if I know it’s about to be mixed into cake, or tiramisù.
Or – best of all – tiramisù cake. Need I say more?
- Serves 8
- Prep 45 minutes, plus cooling and chilling.
- Cook 35 minutes.
For the cake
- 225g unsalted butter – softened, plus extra for greasing
- 240g sponge fingers (approx. 36)
- 60ml whole milk
- 3 tablespoons instant coffee
- 225g light brown sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 225g self-raising flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 100ml boiling water
- 4 tablespoons instant coffee
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
For the vanilla mascarpone cream
- 300ml double cream
- 50g caster sugar
- 250g full-fat mascarpone cheese
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Grease the base of two 20cm round springform cake tins and line with baking paper.
- Line the base of each tin with the sponge fingers, sugary side facing down. As you line, make sure to cut, carve and get the fingers to the right length to fit all the gaps in the base. If the fingers are tightly packed this will stop them rising to the top while baking. So take your time, making sure you fill as many of the gaps as possible.
- Once you have done this, set aside and get started on the coffee mixture. Put the milk and coffee into a small pan and warm just until the coffee has dissolved into the milk. Leave the mixture to one side to cool completely.
- Put the butter and sugar into the bowl of a mixer, or use an electric hand-held mixer, and beat until it is light, fluffy and almost white in colour. This can take 10 minutes on a medium to high speed. You can also mix by hand, but it will take a bit longer.
- Add the eggs one at a time, making sure to incorporate them well, then add the flour and baking powder and fold through until well combined. Add the coffee mixture and fold that in too.
- Divide the mixture between the two tins and spread it all over the sponge fingers that you’ve laid down so precisely. Level off the top and bake for 30–35 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- When the cakes are baked you will find that they don’t have a smooth surface like a normal cake does. Instead, there will be small bubbles all over the surface. This is just the air from the sponge fingers and is nothing to worry about. You may even have a rogue sponge finger that has come to the top, but that doesn’t matter too much.
- Leave the cakes to cool in the tins, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely, sponge finger side up.
- When the cakes are completely cool, put the boiling water and the coffee into a small jug or bowl and stir to dissolve. Brush the tops of the cakes (the sides with the sponge fingers exposed) with the hot coffee mixture. Be sure to use up all of the liquid.
- Make the vanilla mascarpone cream just before assembling. Put the cream and sugar into a bowl and whisk until it has just thickened very slightly.
- Now put the mascarpone and vanilla bean paste into another bowl and whisk to loosen the mascarpone. This way it will incorporate better with the cream.
- Fold the cream into the mascarpone.
- Take one of the springform tins you baked the cake in and grease the inside again. Line generously with cling film, making sure there is an overhang. You will need 2 pieces of cling film that criss-cross.
- Put one cake back into one of the tins, sponge finger side up. The cake won’t be snug, as it will have shrunk while baking. Dust half the cocoa powder over the top of the cake. Spoon on all the mascarpone cream and make sure it is levelled off completely, using a spatula.
- Now add the second cake, sponge finger side up. Make sure to press the cake down slightly so that all the layers meld together.
- Place a circle of baking paper on top, wrap in the cling film, and chill until it’s time to serve.
- Just before you are ready to serve, dust the top of the cake with the remainder of the cocoa powder. Serve straight away.
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