I’m looking for suggestions on a tiramisu birthday cake
Posted: 18 November 2008 10:54 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I just found out today that I am making a tiramisu birthday cake for a friend’s birthday party. It needs to be big enough to serve 30 people.

I was thinking of doing genoise or biscuit layers, sprinkled with coffee-flavored syrup, and filled with the mascarpone filling that Rose has for the Tiramisu Tart in “Pie & Pastry Bible.” My friend wants a bigger ratio of cake to filling, which shouldn’t be too difficult if I make the filling layers thin.

My biggest challege is how to make it look good. I was thinking of making a large rectangular cake (for easier serving) with enough layers to get the appropriate height, and then finishing the edges of the cake with trimmed pieces of genoise stacked in neat rows of rectangles, like the way the Ethereal Pear Charlotte appears in “The Cake Bible.”  I would dust the top with cocoa powder, using a decorative stencil, and then write “Happy Birthday” with chcolate buttercream.

If anybody has suggestions or comments, I sure would welcome them. This is going to be a fun and challenging project!

Posted: 18 November 2008 11:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi Christine,

It sounds like it will be delicious.

As for decoration ideas:  although I love the EPC edging - how about using a thin layer of stabilised whipped cream all over, a dusting of cocoa-powder on top and glammed up with the chocolate free-hand edging (as in Rose’s Strawberry Maria) on the sides? You could even use a thin chocolate plaque to do the Happy Birthday so it can ge done ahead of time and placed on top!

Do post pics when you get a chance!

Posted: 19 November 2008 01:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I noticed someone did something similar to this with the biscuit recipe in the cake bible:


I think if you follow the P&PB;and add the gelatin to firm up the filling, you should be able to get nice slices.  I think Rose also has a recipe for tiramisu in Melting Pot, but I can’t remember for sure now.

Posted: 19 November 2008 02:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Hi Christine, I love the idea of making the sides as the EPC, perhaps the raspberry conserve will fit just fine with the coffee flavour, I would say so!  Another alternative to the sides I like very much, works very well for square or rectangular shapes, is to chill your cake in the fridge for a couple hours, then with a long sharp knife trim off all the sides straight, like this picture of a chocolate biscuit, then you wrap it with acetate strips.  Very elegant, and very appetizing.  Be sure to warm up your knife first, for the cleanest slicing.

To assemble Tiramisu as a sheet cake, or in fact, most other shortcakes and sponge/whipped cream cakes, you should assemble the cake directly on your cake plate or board.  Use a frame to support the sides as you build up the cake.  In industry, we use special metal frames, but at home you can build one with cardboard.  If you make your cake round, you can use a 3” high removable bottom pan or a springform pan.

I love genoise, but for tiramisu, please use biscuit de savoie, it is the traditional recipe in Italy.  The butter in genoise can be an overload for the rich mascarpone / yolk filling.  The store bought lady fingers are great if not better, but only the ones imported from Italy.  If I may from experience, let me give you my 2 cents on what I think makes the PERFECT BEST tiramisu in flavor and texture:

1- Bake your own Biscuit de Savoie, or use ladyfinger imported from Italy.  Do not use any other store bough ladyfinger or sponge cake.
2- Use marcarpone imported from Italy.  Anything else, even from the most fanciful domestic houses, is not the same.
3- Use ILLY espresso shots, made by a high caliber espresso machine or by a Bialetti stove top moka pot.  Instead of ILLY, you can use some other roast that has the true Italian roast.  French roast is too bitter.
4- Marsala wine is the traditional liquor to use, but Frangelico works well, too.  Kahlua would work too.
5- High quality, specially organic, yolks would give you the best color and also taste.
6- For the dusted cocoa top, I love using pulverized chocolate instead, much tastier.  Run chocolate chunks in your food processor, thru a zester, or do shavings.

If you follow, specially #1 and #2 (and well, #3 above), you will turn your Tiramisu into the best tasting one.  My point is, if you go thru the trouble to make it yourself, DONT make something that is widely sold.


P.S.  The tiramisu in the little bowl, is called Spooned Tiramisu.  It is a great way to serve Tiramisu (shaped in a bowl), this is a photo taken at a pizzeria in Italia.



Posted: 19 November 2008 12:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Christine, Rose’s version of Tiramisu is in “Rose’s Melting Pot”, p.275.  That filling is very similar to the filling for PPB Tiramisu tart, which incorporates gelatin to help it slice nicely. 

It seems like the coffee syrup doesn’t always soak evenly through the pale biscuit, so I always thought it would be nice to try a chocolate biscuit, providing a more uniform color and a beautiful contrast between the biscuit and filling.  I know it’s not traditional- just a thought. 

Here’s another non-traditional idea- you could pipe your own ladyfingers into a base, sides and top like Rose’s orange chocolate crown (TCB, p.181), and use the Tiramisu filling for the inside.  Adding a center layer of biscuit would increase the proportion of cake to filling.  The ladyfingers on the outside wouldn’t stay fresh as long as the ones surrounded by the mascarpone, though, so that might make timing a little less forgiving. 

I also love the idea of the vertical sponge slices, perhaps a chocolate/espresso ganache (instead of raspberry) to make the stripes?

I hope you’re able to post pics when it’s done!

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