Saturday, 14 August 2010

Another Birthday Cake for The Lovely Wife...

TLW celebrated another birthday on the 10th August so that means I'm late with this post. I wasn't late with her cake though so that's what matters! This time around, TLW knew what she wanted. One of her favourite desserts, if not the most favourite, is Tiramisu. I have my own version that she really loves. However, there is a certain restaurant/cafe in Kuala Lumpur that serves a Tiramisu Cake that she loves too. I specifically mention Tiramisu Cake as it is more a cake than a Tiramisu - which to me, needs to be served in a bowl and scooped out. But to each their own.

Everytime she mentions the Tiramisu Cake at Alexis (said Cafe/Restaurant), I feel a little stab at my heart. I have to admit that it is pretty good though. What is nice is that they use pralines/caramelised almonds on top. They also put a layer of chocolate in between the layers of cream. To finish it off, the cake is seated on a bed of strawberry coulis.

So for this birthday, TLW asked if I could replicate the Alexis Tiramisu Cake. I retorted that if I had their recipe, I could do it very easily but just to make her happy, I would see what I could do.
Type your summary here

I had it all planned out. However, a good plan doesn't always work out. I decided to use the Dorie Greenspan Perfect Party Cake for the cake layers. I would then use my Tiramisu recipe for the cheese layers, add in some chocolate shavings, make pralines for the top and use some strawberries for decoration. Sounded like a good plan.
However some things did go wrong. Firstly, the cake didn't whip up as well as it usually does. It was still nice, just not as light and fluffy as it usually is. I put that down to not using new eggs and the fact that I didn't have any cake flour and used plain flour.
Then my pralines didnt turn out as well as they usually do either. This was due to me trying a new method of making pralines. Usually, I make the caramel first and then thrown the roasted nuts in. This time, I threw the nuts together with the sugar and tried to caramelise the whole thing - as suggested in one recipe book I referred to. It kinda worked but was a little grainy. Next time I'll stick to my tried and tested method!

Since there were leftover egg yolks, I decided to make a Sabayon to add into the cheese mix to reduce wastage. I reduced the alcohol for the coffee mixture as the Sabayon had so much alcohol in it. I also doubled my cheese mixture but that left a lot of leftover filling.

All in all though, the cake turned out really good and TLW was very pleased with the cake. She did comment that the praline wasn't properly caramelised and she also didnt quite like the fact that there was so much cream filling around the cake. That was my mistake as I completely misjudged the measurement. Since there was so much cream mixture, I placed the cake in a large springform so there was too much cream around the cake.

Nonetheless, the cake was a real success. The kids loved it as well! TLW took some of the cake to her mother's the next day but made sure to keep enough at home for a second nights eating. And after we shared a piece after dinner, she snuck down later that night to quietly enjoy the final piece of cake on her own...!

For the cake - 1 perfect party cake recipe

For the Cream and Sabayon mixture
*Note - Mixture is enough for 1.5 cakes.
800ml whipping cream
3 Tbsp icing sugar
500g cream cheese
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup creme cacao
5 Tbsp sugar

For the Coffee Mixture
1 cup hot water
2.5 Tbsps Instand Coffee powder
1/2 cup Kahlua
1/2 cup cold water

For the Pralines
250g sugar
150g roasted almonds

200g dark chocolate bar


Make the cake first and set aside. Then make the sabayon. Place the eggs, sugar and choc liqueur in a heatproof bowl. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water. Dont let the bottom of pan touch the water. Whisk with an electric beater till mixture is thick and pale, leaving a small trail when beaters are lifted. (about 10 mins)
Remove bowl from heat and continue whisking for another few minutes. Place in fridge.

Cream the cheese until soft. Set aside. Then whip cream with icing sugar until stiff. Mix Sabayon with cream cheese till smooth. Fold in cream and mix well till incorporated.

Using a large kitchen knife, shave or chop the chocolate lengthwise to get long shavings. Keep shaved chocolate in fridge until ready to use.

Dissolve coffee in boiling water. Let cool. Mix Liqueur and cold water. Pour into coffee.

Place the sponge in a springform pan or similar pan of the same size as the cake. Soak the cake with half the coffee mixture. cover with a thin layer of chocolate and then top off with the cream mixture. Place the second sponge layer on top and soak with remaining coffee. Top with remaining chocolate and cover with cream mixture. Smoothen the top and let set in fridge. Before serving, dust with cocoa and Cover with chopped pralines. Decorate with sliced Strawberries.

Perfect Party Cake
Courtesy of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours (page 250).
For the Cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
4 ounces butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure lemon extract

Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To Make the Cake
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.
Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean
Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.
Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Aren't you a great husband Dharm! Could you please have a word to Mr NQN about baking please? :P

David T. Macknet said...

Next time you'll do everything right! :)

Good to see your family again.

Ms. Kong Piang: said...

I think with a few more tries, you could trump Alexis, no 2 ways about it..... can I be the next guinea pig?

bellini valli said...

Happy birthday TLW. I am sure the kids loved her cake too Dharm.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I had it all planned out. ;-) If that isn't a loaded sentence there will never be one.

The cake looks fabulous and sounds like the second time around will only be better and that's the very best that life can offer!!

Rose&Thorn said...

My birthday is the 11th of August, I wish my husband was like you and baked a treat as good as this. I had to make my own cake. He did spoil me with tickets to see Mamma Mia, so all is forgiven on the cake!
Happy belated birthday for you lovely wife.


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