Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Tiramisu Birthday

It was the boyfriend's birthday yesterday and it’s tradition at his workplace that the birthday boy/girl brings in their own cake to share with everyone (weird, I know.) In the past, ever since he started working there, I've made him a cake to bring in. Last year I made one of my fondant covered cakes for him to bring in.

Last year's burger cake

This year, since I was a bit short on time and the boyfriend has said he liked tiramisu (a hint no doubt!), I decided to make a tiramisu cake. This has to be by far one of the easiest cakes/desserts to make. It tastes impressive too :) No baking required (unless you decide to make your sponge fingers from scratch) and I managed to mix, assemble and 'decorate' all in an hour!

If you decide to make your own sponge fingers, it's actually really easy and you can make it days in advance. The good thing about home made sponge fingers is that not only do they taste better but you can also make them any shape/size to suit your needs. I've tried this recipe before and it worked out really well.

I used my favourite tiramisu recipe which I made a few little changes. The original can be found here.

This recipe has a few of my tweaks (I basically added more coffee and liqueur for a stronger taste!):

Ingredients


4 eggs
500g mascarpone cheese

2 heaped tablespoons icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 heaped tablespoon espresso coffee

1 cup boiling water

5 tablespoons Kaluha liqueur

2 packet sponge fingers
2 tablespoons caster sugar

Cocoa powder


Method


Separate the eggs. Add the mascarpone, icing sugar and vanilla extract to the yolks. Mix together until smooth. Add 1 heaped teaspoon of cocoa powder and mix well.


Mix the espresso coffee with the boiling water in a shallow bowl and let it cool before adding the Kaluha.


Using clean beaters, whip the eggwhites until stiff. Add the caster sugar gradually, beating until it has all dissolved.


Fold the eggwhites through the mascarpone mixture until combined.


To assemble the cake, simply layer the tiramisu on a cake board as you would if it was in a bowl.


Take the sponge fingers and dunk them in one at a time into the coffee mixture and layer them on top of the mascarpone. Sprinkle with cocoa powder.


Try not to soak the sponge fingers too long (they might get too soggy for the cake). It doesn’t matter if the tiramisu is not in a perfect circle, once you put the sponge fingers along the sides, you'll be able to push it gently in place.


Add another layer of mascarpone, another layer of soaked sponge fingers, then another layer of mascarpone and sprinkle with cocoa powder.
Spread some mascarpone mixture along the sides of the cake. Repeat layering until you have finished using all of the mascarpone mixture.

Top with sprinkled cocoa powder or grated chocolate (or both!)
Use the remaining sponge fingers to build a ‘fence’ around the cake. Tie with a ribbon and top with fresh strawberries if desired!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fairytale Cupcakes

Had a movie afternoon last weekend with my friends and I made these cupcakes just for fun. I haven’t had a chance to do my own thing for awhile so this was extra fun :)

I saw this awhile ago from Happiness in a Bite and always wanted to make them. They’re so sweet and cute, yet simple too. And then I also decided to make some ‘friends’ to go with the little caterpillars… a couple of little mushrooms, flowers and one fairy later… ta da!





Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Favourite Xmas Present

Guess what I got over the Christmas holidays? A Crème Brulee set! Yippee, I was very excited because it was a surprise present from the boyfriend :D The set came with 4 ramekins bowls and a blow torch! Making the crème brulee was much easier than I expected. It looks fancy and tastes yum and it's easy too, what more can you ask for in a dessert?! So here I thought I'd share with you the crème brulee recipe that came with the set… I've added Cointreu for additional flavouring, but it's optional… you can add other flavours if you like. I tried add Baileys once too and that was the yummiest so far!

Crème Brulee Recipe (with a hint of Cointreu)
Serves 3 - 4
What you need:
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup cream
2 tablespoons caster sugar
4 tablespoons Cointreu (optional)


Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 160 °C.

Put the cream and sugar in a pot and bring to boil until small bubbles appear. Stir and mix in the sugar.

In a separate pot, bring some water to boil.

Beat the egg yolks and vanilla essence until light and creamy. Slowly pour the cream into the egg mixture while still beating the mixture. Let the mixture cool slightly and add the Cointreu, add more if you like a stronger taste.

Pour the mixture into the ramekin bowls.

Place the ramekin bowls into a baking tray and fill the tray with boiling water until it covers half the ramekins bowl. Then cover the tray loosely with foil and place into the oven for 25 mins.

Remove from oven and let the crème brulee cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight.

Before eating, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of caster sugar over the top of the crème brulee and use a blow torch to melt and caramelise the sugar. If you don't have a blow torch, you can turn on the grill in your oven and melt the sugar that way.

But if you have a bit of spare cash I'd recommend you get a blow torch! You can use it to toast meringue and meats, not just crème brulee :) I never realised how useful they were until I got one! In fact, I used it the other day on my take away sushi! I grilled my raw scallops with mayo and it was tasty. Yum.

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