Posts Tagged ‘tiramisu’

Pick Me Up….

Well, well, well….it’s been a while since I’ve actually been on time posting a DB challenge. I’m not too sure whether it’s cos I’m so excited about it, or whether it’s cos I really won’t get the time to do it tomorrow since I’m gonna be stuck at work all day till late at night!

If people were to ask me what my signature cake is, it’d be a really toss up between Tiramisu and Chocolate Banana Cake. Tiramisu cos I’ve become such an expert at it and after all trials and errors, have found what I think in my opinion is the best tiramisu. Chocolate Banana cos it was born of my craving for Secret Recipe’s Choc Banana Cake and over time I’ve come up with my version of which has never failed me in any event.

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

When Feb’s challenge was announced, I was like “Yes!! Something right down my alley! I should nail this with my eyes blindfolded!” Now I’m beginning to sound cocky but what-the-heck…we are all allowed to be like that once in a while! :p

Although loving my personal recipe for tiramisu, this challenge was in many ways new to me. For one, I’ve never done it the traditional way with zabaglione and marsala wine. And for another, I’ve never made my own cheese, much more mascarpone cheese! *Whee!* This is so exciting!

For those who don’t know, this Italian dessert is literally translated as “pick me up”. And this name is indeed well suited for this ever so tempting and mouth-watering wonder! I modified the recipe a little as I like my tiramisu a little bit more cheesy and definitely with more alcohol in it! I was tempted to try new flavours but in the end decided classic was definitely the way to go.


(Recipe source: Carminantonio’s Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007 )
This recipe makes 6 servings

For the zabaglione:
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the vanilla pastry cream:
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk

For the whipped cream:
1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract

To assemble the tiramisu:
1.5 cups brewed espresso, warmed
1/4 cup tia maria + 1/4 cup amarula liquer
2 tbsp sugar
2/3 cup mascarpone cheese
savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (you may use less)
unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

For the zabaglione:

  • Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.
  • In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.
  • Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.
  • Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the pastry cream:

  • Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
  • Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
  • Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)
  • Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the whipped cream:

  • Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

To assemble the tiramisu:

  • Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.
  • In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

Now to start assembling the tiramisu.

  • Working quickly, dip the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row. You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.
  • Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.
  • Repeat to create 2 more layers, using as many ladyfingers as required and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.
  • To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.


(Source: Vera’s Recipe for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese)
This recipe makes 12oz/ 340gm of mascarpone cheese

474ml (approx. 500ml)/ 2 cups whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream (between 25% to 36% cream will do)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  • Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.
  • It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.
  • Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.

(Source: Recipe from Cordon Bleu At Home)
This recipe makes approximately 24 big ladyfingers or 45 small (2 1/2″ to 3″ long) ladyfingers.

3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons /75gms granulated sugar
3/4 cup/95gms cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp corn starch)
6 tablespoons /50gms confectioner’s sugar,


  • Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or softened butter and line with parchment paper.
  • Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.
  • In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter would deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.
  • Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip (or just snip the end off; you could also use a Ziploc bag) and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into 5″ long and 3/4″ wide strips leaving about 1″ space in between the strips.
  • Sprinkle half the confectioner’s sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.
  • Hold the parchment paper in place with your thumb and lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.
  • Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.
  • Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack.
  • Store them in an airtight container till required. They should keep for 2 to 3 weeks.

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So, what do you want? The good or the bad? I think….the bad news should come first…hopefully then the good news can make up for it. It’s once again the time of the month for July’s DB challenge. However, after much thought and consideration, I’ve decided to opt out of this month’s challenge. Being unemployed means every cent counts. When the challenge was first announced I was really excited. However, I needed a reason and an occasion to make this cake. None came, so in the end, I decided I was not in a position to spend extra money or something which would most likely go to waste. I will however, attempt this challenge the instant I’m given an opportunity.

I know that many will visit the site today in anticipation of July’s challenge. So…for the good news, I’ve decided to post up the few cake orders I’ve been busy with in the last couple of weeks.

First up is a Tiramisu I made for Krys’s colleague’s husband. I opted for a more general sorta design as the cake was to be cut up into small pieces and served as dessert.

Next, was a Chocolate Banana Cake. This was my first time making chocolate butterflies and I had lotsa fun. It was obviously for a girl as I seriously doubt any guy would appreciate a cake decorated in butterflies.

The next was my pride and joy! Haha! 🙂 But seeing that up till now, I’ve been mastering the art of using chocolate decorations in most of my cakes, I’ve decided it was time to work with sugarpaste. As this was a Mississippi Mud Cake for a 6 year old girl, teddy bears and lotsa pretty, colourful gifts should not go wrong.

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It’s been slightly over 2 weeks since the wedding and I think it’s about time I returned. So many things have happened in the last couple of weeks – the wedding, my annual “flu” fight, Slave Auction at church and Aunty Jenny’s leukemia relapse. I’ve been busy, busy, busy!

I can finally sit back now and relive the wedding.

It was indeed a beautiful wedding – bursting full of love, joy, tenderness and laughter. I have to admit, I was really stress the week leading to the wedding. There were just too many details to finalise, too many things to buy, too many meetings to attend and too many itineraries to plan! People who’ve never worked with me previously were shocked at how domineering and demanding I can be. The bridesmaids were so afraid of screwing up that every little mistake they made, they were praying I didn’t catch it! 🙂

I was really lucky that as wedding planner, I had the support of a solid group of friends who helped out with the preparations. The day before the wedding was packed full with decorating the reception venue, ceremony rehearsal, last minute equipment collation, purchasing and preparing food and drinks etc etc. But it was all worth it in the end. By the time the photographers arrived and the groom and his men came to pick the bride, tired though we were, the atmosphere was charged with excitement, and anticipation. For many of us, this wedding was our first close friend wedding. Hence making it all the more exhilarating. 

I don’t think it’s a western culture, but in the Chinese culture, when the groom and his men come for the bride, it is tradition that the bridesmaids and girlfriends of the bride make it a little hard for them to achieve their aim. Needless to say, we had a few tricks up our sleeves! 🙂 When the guys arrived, everyone started running around. Doors and windows were shut – making sure that there were no possible entrance ways into the house. The guys were put through a series of tests – the first was to perform “The Chicken Dance”. This was so that they would lower their guard and think that we were gonna go easy on them. After that, there was a grueling session of 29 questions about the bride – whereby for ever wrong answer, they had to do a pushup. What made these all the more fun was that during these “tortures”, the bride’s father was there taking videos and photographs and taunting the groom and his men! After the 29 questions, the best man and groomsmen had to do 29 pushups, sit-ups and ear pulls individually. Why 29? Well, it’s ’cause the groom will be turning 29 this year! After the intellectual and physical round, it was time to work their creativity and originality – composing and singing a song with the bride’s name in it. Lastly, it was “angpow” (which means red packet) time. In the Chinese culture, the groom and his men have to give the bride’s girlfriends an “angpow” when they come for the bride. We girls decided that we were going to make their lives difficult by asking for 29 pieces of 5 cent coins. From here on, everything became a blur. We had a traitor amongst us and she had secretly opened one of the doors. The guys rushed in and people were running all over the place, shouting, screaming, some of us trying to barricade the stairwell and everything became chaotic. We were warned of a traitor, whom the groom had planted over a year ago, but our trusting nature led to our downfall! 🙂 

The wedding ceremony was held at Coal Valley Vineyard. The weather the day before when we went for rehearsal was really cold and rainy. As the wedding was to be an outdoor affair, we were praying really hard that the next day would be the opposite. God was on our side and the weather was just amazing for the last day of autumn – bright sunshine and warm enough to hangout on the patio for canapes and drinks after. 

This is my third close friend wedding and I think I can conclude that regardless of how many weddings I will attend in the future, as long as it’s a close friend, I’ll still be brought to the brink of tears. As I stood up on the patio watching bridal procession as YQ was led to Terence who was waiting for her, I felt myself holding back tears of joy. The joy radiating off her face and the pride shining from his was more than anyone could ask for. They were definitely a match made in heaven! 

The rest of the afternoon/evening flew by just like that. I allowed myself an hour of at the vineyard, catching up with old friends visiting from interstate and enjoying the scrumptious food and delicate wine served. We introduced out Aussie friends to the Chinese wedding toast. This is when we all raised out glasses in the air, and led by the groom, everyone will lift their voices and together we go “Yum Seng”. It’s not just a simple syllable pronunciation but the words are dragged out until you voice runs dry! Our aussie counterparts after the initial shock, enjoyed themselves so much that they were the leading voices in the following cheers! 🙂

It was back to a flurry of activities after that. I only had an hour gap between the ceremony at the vineyard and the reception at Quayside Cottage. Rushing from one place to another and touching up on all the last minute stuff kept me constantly on my toes. The rest of the night flew by without me remembering much of what happened. There was food, blackouts time and again thanks to the coffee percolator, speeches, more toasts and the cake of course. As previously promised, here are some pictures of the cake and sparkling wine arrangement. Sorry my designated photographer didn’t get an up close take so you guys will have to settle for this. I modified my tiramisu recipe and it was YUMMY!! 🙂

Sitting back now and reliving the wedding indeed brings smiles and sighs of contentment to me. I’ve discovered a new career path of weddings/events coordinating. Let’s just hope new doors will open for me henceforth…




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Click here for the recipe.

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Definitely one of my all time favourites! This dessert looks amazing served as a slice or in cups, tall glasses, cocktail glasses and any other way you can think of! 🙂 I used sponge fingers instead of making my own sponge cake for these beauties but the recipe for the tiramisu cream is the same as my previous post. Enjoy!


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tiramisu, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.


My first Tiramisu was nearly 3 years ago. Then I still didn’t have much baking skills so it was challenging for me to make something of such “hard” level considering I couldn’t even make a chocolate cake properly! :p As most are aware, the Italian name Tiramisu literally means “pick-me-up”. Well, coffee lovers all over the world would have to agree that this dessert definitely earns its name. Nowadays, there are many different versions of this mouth watering dessert. Most of them using sponge fingers. However, I’m not a big fan of sponge fingers. I’ve tried it a couple of times but have come to the conclusion that when you make a sponge cake as the base, that’s still the best.


Sponge cake:

  • 6 eggs, split the whites and yolks
  • 200g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 100ml thickened cream
  • 5 tbsp oil


  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and 100g sugar to stiff peaks.
  • Beat egg yolks, vanilla essence and 100g sugar till light and creamy.
  • Sift flour and baking powder together.
  • Add cream to egg yolk mixture. Gradually fold flour into mixture, alternating with oil.
  • Fold egg yolk mixture into egg white mixture lightly. Pour into ungreased pan. Bake till set.
  • Allow cake to cool. Divide cake into half.


  • 225 g mascarpone
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 2/3 cup strong coffee, chilled
  • 1 1/4cups double cream
  • Coffee liqueur, eg Tia Maria, Kahlua
  • Sponge fingers or sponge cake
  • Cocoa powder


  • Beat mascarpone and icing sugar for 1 min. Stir in 2tbsp of coffee.
  • Whip cream and liqueur till soft peaks. Add liqueur according to taste. Some people like theirs strong whereas some are not big fans of alcohol.
  • Stir a spoonful into mascarpone then fold in the rest. Make sure mixture is completely mixed.
  • Add some liqueur into remaining coffee. Place one half of the cake on serving plate or cake board. Brush cake with coffee mixture. Make sure cake is moist with the mixture. Do not overdo it till cake becomes too soggy.
  • Spoon 1/3 of mascarpone mixture onto cake. Even it out.
  • Place other half of cake on top of the first half. Repeat above steps to moist cake. Spread cake with remaining mascarpone mixture.
  • Decorate according to preference.


  • Most Tiramisus are decorated with cocoa powder sprinkled on top. I made my own chocolate curls for the side and sprinkled the top with cocoa powder and chocolate flakes


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