Maybe I spoke too soon last week when I said that I lost my baking skills. Good thing I didn't hang my mittens up quickly after the flop; in fact it fueled me to making it again. The second attempt was a success, I was quite pleased because if it was to fail again, I was planning to buy a cake! I spent my Saturday night baking and decorating, and at the same time trying to make it before midnight since I needed to wake up early for the Race for the Roses. The Race was definitely a fun event, my dad and I had a great time; and we walked along a part of Tom McCall Waterfront Park which had a row of cherry blossom trees in bloom. It was the perfect day, sort of birthday-kind-of day.
My mom invited some friends to her party, we had an Indonesian food feast, and of course, she blew candles on her birthday cake. She particularly likes chocolate-or coffee-flavored cakes, so naturally she loves tiramisu cake. Mom has accomplished so much in her life and endured ups and downs of life, I simply wish that she'd have many more wonderful years to come. We love you Mom!
1 cup hot espresso or strong coffee
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Kahlúa
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 pound mascarpone cheese
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatin
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Classic Génoise recipe follows), baked in two 9-inch round pans
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, grated
Dutch-processed cocoa powder for dusting
Make the syrup:
In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine the espresso and sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the vanilla extract and Kahlua, and set the syrup aside.
Make the mascarpone cream:
In a medium stainless steel bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and water. Place the bowl over a pot simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and is hot to the touch, about 7 minutes or register 100-110 degree F. Immediately scrape the mixture into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until completely cool, about 15 minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone cheese at medium speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. Gradually beat in the cooled egg yolk mixture and mix until blended.
Place the rum in a small heatproof cup. Sprinkle the gelatin on top and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes.
Set the cup of gelatin in a pan of simmering water and stir occasionally until the gelatin is dissolved and the mixture is clear. Whisk the warm gelatin mixture into the mascarpone until blended.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream with the vanilla extract at high speed until it forms soft peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture.
Assemble the cake:
My note: When I did this step, I didn't trim the cake as it's supposed to. If you want to trim them, follow this direction: Using a serrated knife, trim the sides of each cake layer all the way around so that the yellow crumb is exposed and each cake measures about 8 1/4 inches in diameter. Place one of the layers (either side up) on a plate and brush it generously with 1/4 cup of the espresso syrup, saturating it. Invert the layer and center it in the bottom of a 9 x 3-inch springform pan. Brush the top of the layer with another 1/4 cup syrup. Pour half of the mascarpone cream on top and smooth it into an even layer; let the cream seep into the gap between the cake and the side of the pan. Brush the remaining cake layer generously with 1/4 cup of the syrup, then invert the layer and place it on top of the mascarpone cream layer. Brush the top of the cake with the remaining syrup. Top with the remaining mascarpone cream, again letting the cream seep into the gap between the cake and the side of the pan and smoothing it into an even layer. Refrigerate the cake for at least 4 hours, until set.
Unmold the cake:
Run a sharp thin-bladed knife under hot water and wipe dry, then run the knife between the cake and the side of the pan to release the cake; reheat the knife as necessary. Remove the side of the pan. Pat the grate chocolate onto the sides of the cake. dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder. Refrigerate the cake if not serving immediately. Thirty minutes before serving, remove the cake from the refrigerator.
To serve, slice the cake with a hot knife, wiping it clean between each cut.
Makes two 9-inch cake layers
1 cup sifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, and cooled
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Grease the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans. Dust the pans with flour.
Sift together the flour and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine, and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the eggs and sugar by hand. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water, and heat the mixture, whisking constantly, until the eggs are warm. Transfer the bowl to a electric mixer stand and, using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until the mixture has tripled in volume, about 8 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and beat n the lemon zest and vanilla extract.
Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the batter and gently fold it in with a rubber spatula. Sift the remaining flour mixture in two more additions, again folding in gently.
Transfer the melted butter to a small bowl if necessary, and scoop about 3/4 cup of the batter into the bowl. Stir until blended. Fold this mixture into the remaining batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans.
Bake the cakes for 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops spring back when lightly touched and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
Invert the cakes onto the wire rack and cool completely.
Source: adapted from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle