Friday, August 28, 2009

Amaretto Tiramisu Cake --- The Ultimate Celebration Cake !!

“ In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two.”-Erich Fromm

When you meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with…you want the rest of your life to begin soon. Well this is what exactly happened when we met.

Its been two years since our wedding and am still amazed at how fast time flies.
I am madly in love, (more than ever) with the man I married two years back!!

I am the sort who loves both giving and receiving surprises….however small they may be. So had been preparing for the day excitedly…almost feverishly, for the entire month.
(That explains the silence at Zaayeka!)

And since we are out and out foodies….I had to quite literally whip up a storm, first in my head and subsequently in my kitchen.

Why in my head? Well, as you know by now, I love experimenting in my kitchen, pushing my limits and trying things I have never tried before. Barring a few delicacies, I try not to repeat a dish. (I have this personal desire to be able to make to as close to perfection, if not replicate, all the dishes of the world. Yeah I know quite a thought, but trust me I sometimes feel a life time is too short to try all the dishes existing on planet Earth.)

I love my man and as most of you will identify with; we blog-bakers want to show all our love with what we bake/cook in the kitchen. It was ‘our’ anniversary so had to bake a cake nothing short of gorgeous, both in taste and appearance.
Have baked quite a few cakes before (a few still unposted, rest in the archives) mostly using fruits as I love fruits in my cake. Hub however doesn’t care much about fruits in his desserts.

Black Forest Gateau was done last year, Red Velvet cake was for friendship day, Peach torte was for no good reason, Pineapple cheese-cake was just-like-that, Mango pastry went with a courtesy visit to a relative, Citrus cake for an in-law’s birthday……honestly my choices were getting limited in terms of cakes/tortes. Googled a lot and suggested recipes to the hub, each went into the recycle bin with a shake of the head.

(Did I forget to mention quite unlike me he gets picky when it comes to desserts and can gladly skip chocolate. Me on the other hand loves anything with chocolate.)
The cake had to satisfy all the criterions… have chocolate without being too chocolaty, have some sort of nut without being pronounced, no fruits, had to be a layer cake etc etc…S-I-G-H !!

Last week while I was lying wide awake in bed at night, it hit me that I have never made Tiramisu..yet! Then the next thought was can I make a Tiramisu cake?! Told hub excitedly next morning…..he was fine with that but was a little inhibhited about that much coffee in the cake.

Now, we ‘like’ coffee but do not ‘love’ it. An occasional frappe or something is fine, and when I use coffee to give depth to my chocolate cakes is admissible, but that is it. (We don’t take tea or coffee frequently. We are flavoured-milk children.) ;p

Back to square one….thought and thought and thought when luck struck! I was rummaging through the cupboard when I noticed this unopened bottle of Amaretto staring back at me. Tan-ta-ran!! My glee knew no bounds. Headed straight to the kitchen to live the dream I had just seen with wide-open eyes.

This cake was a real delight to make, spread over three days, plus two days to let the flavours set in and mingle before D-day arrived.

Instead of the lady fingers I made a regular genoise (yes with clarified butter/ghee). The crumb/texture of the genoise was light, tender and moist. Sliced it into two. Baked another layer of chocolate sponge, only this time with a little more coffee.

Was still apprehensive about the taste as I have never tasted an Amaretto Tiramisu ever. So to atleast make the cake look appealing decided on making a chocolate rose…yet another first!

** Will add a video-tutorial later,(without the use of corn syrup). In the mean time for those of you who cannot wait here is the link from wherein I got my inspiration.

Made it right after I made the sponges and was pleased with my artistry...more so this successful rose gave me the courage to go ahead with the rest of the recipe I had decided…kinda’ good omen. (fingers crossed!)

Enjoyed making mascarpone. Luxurious and indulgent. Touched up the mascarpone ganache with some semi-sweet chocolate chips and strong brewed coffee. Decided on a plain white amaretto-infused-mascarpone icing.

A day before D-day finished the icing et al, sans the chocolate rose. Wanted to surprise the hub, by placing it at the last minute.

Cut it at midnight and can’t express the feeling of this creamy heaven in the mouth. YUM!

Hub was delighted beyond words and kept admiring the rose while spooning the relish into his mouth…before the congratulatory calls inundate ‘the moment’…
As for me, I was glad he loved it, though he didn’t say it in words…his eyes said it all.
(My man is of few words….one of the reasons I fell in love with this man-boy, and still so in love with !) *blush*

Amaretto Tiramisu Cake


For the Mascarpone Frosting-
1 lt. low-fat cream (25% pasteurized)/organic cream
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice

aprrox. 7 tbsp confectioners' sugar

1 tbsp amaretto liquer, plus extra for soaking the sponges


1/2 tsp strong brewed coffee
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips,melted/microwaved on high for 30 secs.

For the Plain Genoise-
3 tbsp clarified butter/ghee
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
2/3 cup fine granulated vanilla sugar/plain sugar

For the Chocolate sponge-
2 eggs
1/3 cup plain flour
3 tbsp unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
1 tbsp instant coffee powder
2 tbsp butter at room temperature
1/3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp corn starch
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup fine granulated sugar

Flaked almonds for decoration


First prepare the mascarpone.

Bring about 2 inches 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. A double boiler of sorts. Keep stirring on medium flame. About 15-20 mins of deliacte heating.
Add the lime juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles.
All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover the back of your wooden spoon thickly. All you will see would be just a few clear whey streaks when you stir.
(It will not curdle the way milk curdles when you make cottage or ricotta cheeses.)

Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four-five 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, it will firm up on its own during the refrigeration time. Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.

Add the confec. sugar to this mascarpone cream and whisk by hand till combined.
Set one third of it aside.

To the remaining two-thirds, add the melted choco-chips and coffee brew. Mix together till you get a creamy texture. This is the filling.

To the one-third, add amaretto and hand-whisk till smooth. This is the outer frosting.

Next make the genoise.

Preheat the oven to 180 degress C. Line, grease and flour an 8 inch cake pan.
Sift the flour thrice.
Bring some water to a boil in a large pan/griddle & reduce to simmer. Place eggs & sugar in a large bowl, whisk constantly over the simmering water, heat the eggs to lukewarm.
Remove the bowl from the pan. With an electric mixer, beat the egg mixture at high speed until it has cooled, tripled in volume, and resembles softly whipped cream, about 5 minutes in a heavy-duty mixer or longer with a less powerful mixer.(I used elbow grease and it took me about 10 mins to get the desired result.)

Sift a third of the flour over the whipped egg mixture. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the mixture-quickly but gently-until combined. Fold in the rest of the flour too.
Then add melted ghee/clarified butter in a stream as you keep incorporating it into the batter. Add the vanilla extract at this point.

Pour the batter into the lined pan and bake at 180 degrees C for 35 minutes or so, till the edges of the cake shrink slightly and the top springs back on touch.
Cool and umould onto a wire rack.

Slice the cake into two once completely cooled or you will risk getting crumbly uneven slices. This genoise stays well if cling wrapped, for 3-4 days in the fridge or upto 2 months in the freezer.

Now for the chocolate sponge.

Seive all the dry items together three times.
Cream the butter and sugar together till pale. Add the eggs and beat well till fluffed up to double its volume.
Fold in the dry ingredients into the wet. Pour into a lined 8 inch cake pan.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 35 minutes app.
Cool on wire rack.

For the assembly----

Place one layer of the plain genoise on the cake serving platter.
Sprinkle with amaretto liquer.
Top with some of the filling. Place the chocolate sponge layer next.
Sprinkle this with amaretto liquer too.
Top with the filling. Place the final/top genoise layer.
Sprinkle with amaretto liquer.
Spread the mascarpone-amaretto frosting on top.
Spread the remaining filling on the sides of the cake.

Decorate the borders with almond shavings.
Adorn the cake with the chocolate rose and leaves.

Note: I did not use any simple syrup to soak the sponges as the Amaretto liquer is sweet. If you desire you can add sugar to the soaking syrup, for a sweeter cake.

Also, made....
Mexican Chicken Pizza

and Tandoori Paneer (Barbequed Cottage cheese) Pizza

alongwith some sun-dried tomato pesto layered garlic rolls

....for a truly wonderful brunch.
(Recipes coming-up!)

Friday, August 7, 2009

No-Bake Mirrored Mango Cheese Cake (eggless) …with the goodness of Goji Berries.

Aaaah yes I love mangoes….and I hate it that it’s the tail end of this wondrous luscious’ fruit season here. I have pureed two whole jars of mango and frozen it for…err…a rainy day (in the kitchen). ;p

I love the fruit in its full glory, nevertheless I also like to present its versatility in all forms- shakes, smoothies, ice-cream, mousse, frozen desserts, cakes and currently cheese cake!

My readers would know I am an incorrigible fruit-dessert person of the first order.
Check out the archives at Zaayeka to know more about dragon fruits, persimmons, walnuts, bananas, strawberries, almonds, chikoos, and what not you can do with them!

This cheese cake wasn’t a result of an idle summer afternoon, to while away time in the kitchen…but a carefully thought out plan to create yet another magic with mango.

I just had to make something delectably rich yet light and almost decandent in taste, a spoonful of which melted in the mouth to release just a monosyllable….mmmm !!

I was scouting for a good mousse cake recipe but almost all had egg whites which went uncooked. Somehow I am averse to the idea of uncooked eggs in my dish. So I settled for the no-bake idiot-proof cheesecake instead.

When searching for a recipe I generally review quite a few before I start in the kitchen. More often than not the recipe I use in the end is not a replica of any one recipe but is inspired by two or more recipes give or take a few changes here and there to suit the tastes, ofcourse all in my head! I take the risk, try it in my ‘lab’ (read kitchen) and not to boast but 8 out of 10 times it’s a success. Only then do I post it for the world here.

(And you thought food blogging was easy!!) :p

This recipe I discuss here does not use store bought Philadelphia cream cheese. (I import mine so have saved it for less glorious fruits. A mango can carry the dessert on its own shoulders unaided.) ;p
I made my cheese at home using whole milk. I used one litre of milk to make the cream/curd cheese. It is not mascarpone or quark or greek yogurt or hung curd for that matter but very similar though in terms of the making process and subtly differs from them in textures and taste.

The only thing that was store bought was 25% Low Fat whipping cream.
(Well technically….. I already had that in my fridge, I always keep a one litre pack at hand. Call it hazards of being a foodie.)

It was all good…till I opened my fridge door rather hard resulting in a packet of goji berries falling off the door rack (which I bought from a local while trekking in the Genting hills)….ok so they wanted to go in too.. added them to it.
Turning it into a ‘tasty’ and ‘healthy’ treat!!

Then went a step further to try and mirror it...for 'glamour' (chuckle). I know this reads more like a fashion blog than a food one. C'mon even foods need to sit pretty.

My first foray into "mirror-ing" was not a grand success though.
Used a little mango juice & gelatin, it set well but I had pressed cling foil on top to avoid forming crystals when in the fridge,which resulted in an uneven edge to the mirror. :(

Nevertheless I ate all the uneven-edged slices myself so what was served on the platter to the hub and the guests was smooth looking savvy mirrored cheese cake.

Mirrored Mango Cheese Cake …with the goodness of Goji Berries
(This recipe makes a 6x4 inch square cheese cake. )


1 litre full fat/whole milk
1 tsp citric acid
1/2 cup warm water
2 mangoes- peeled,cored and pureed
1 cup low fat cream
3/4 cup castor sugar (adjust according to sweetness of mangoes)
2 tbsp chopped goji berries (optional)
10-12 graham crackers/digestive buiscuits, crushed
1 tbsp butter at room temperature
1 tsp gelatin
2 tbsp water
5 tbsp mango juice
a dash of lemon juice


Mix the crushed biscuits with the butter. (I added a little cocoa powder too but it can conviniently be skipped.)
In a greased tin foil or spring-form pan (I didn't have a springform pan, so I used a regular tin foil) spread the buiscuit mixture. Press to form a firm base.
Leave to set/harden in the freezer.

Put the milk to boil in a thick bottomed pan.
When it comes to a boil, remove from the flame and keep aside for a few minutes.
In another bowl, mix the citric acid crystals with the warm water.
Pour this mixture into the hot milk and allow to stand for about 5 minutes till the milk curdles on its own. Stir gently if required.
Strain this mixture using a muslin cloth/cheese cloth (double layered).
Hang it for 2 hours in the fridge, with a cup below it to collect the whey.

Now, liquidize the prepared cream cheese, sugar, mango puree in a blender.
Whip the crean till soft peaks form and ever so slightly fold in the cream cheese-mango mix.
Add the chopped berries at this point. Cool.
Pour this over the biscuit base. Leave to set in the fridge, for atleast an hour or two.

For the mirror, put 1 tsp of the gelatin in 2 tbsp of water to bloom.
Heat this over low flame till all the gelatin dissolves. Quickly add the mango juice and the lemon juice. Stir continuously to avoid forming lumps.
Pour this over the set cheesecake. Tap the tin foil/pan to eliminate the bubbles.
Allow to set in fridge overnight.
When serving dip your knife in hot water to cut smooth slices. Enjoy!!!