I spent a long time coming up with cheesy titles for this blog post. I had a lot of fun with it. I facilitated other people having a lot of fun with it. I may have eaten too much Tiramisu on an empty stomach and gotten a little hyper and had too much fun with it. But, I think the best names came from my friend Sonja, which included the blog post title above, as well as:
mamma mia! tiramisu!
In case you couldn’t tell, this lovely Tiramisu was made for my lovely mom’s birthday celebration on Wednesday. My mom makes the best Tiramisu ever. I am not kidding around here. Literally, the best ever. It’s delicious and rich and creamy and intensely coffee-like and perfectly mushy-gushy-dense and somehow it still keeps it’s shape. So when I was brainstorming for a fabulous birthday dessert, and I thought of making Tiramisu for her, I felt immediately intimidated. My mom does NOT eat Tiramisu anywhere – at anyone else’s house or out to eat (maybe she would in Italy, I honestly don’t know about that). But, in any case, she only eats her own Tiramisu because she rightly knows that it’s definitely the best Tiramisu around. But once I knew I felt that intimidated, I knew I had to make it; I was up for the challenge. If my mom makes the best Tiramisu then I’ve learned from the best and I could make the best Tiramisu too. Right? Hopefully.
I combined multiple recipes and added various ingredients and amounts and I ended up with a three-day-long project. That tasted INCREDIBLE. She took one bite…and another bite…and then she told me it was really good. And that it was as good as her’s (at least, I’d like to think I heard her say that…). It was delicious and she ate her piece and she ate some the next day and then the next day…So, I definitely say it was a big hit. Like her’s, it is also rich and dense and mushy and still holds it’s shape when you cut it. I was impressed with myself! And it tastes just like you want Tiramisu to taste! The “mascarpone” cream was certainly creamy and it thickened more than I had thought it would. Thank you arrowroot and agar agar! What would I do without you?
If you’re looking to wow your guests or a special someone, I suggest that you make them this Tiramisu immediately, and you will be sure to please!
Happy Birthday Mom! Thanks for giving me the excuse to embark on such a fun project, and for being your fabulous self.
On to the recipe…
“Lady Fingers”/Golden Sponge Cake:
The cake itself was a vanilla Sponge Cake from Hannah Kaminsky’s cookbook My Sweet Vegan.* She uses it as a base for her Green Tea Tiramisu. I made 1 ½ times the recipe for cake batter and baked it in a glass lasagna pan. It is a delicious recipe; a dense (but not heavy) golden cake that certainly holds it’s own - it’s sweet and bright flavor makes it easy to adapt since it pretty much supports any flavor you want it to. I’d say it actually brings out more complex flavors in whatever you combine it with. I’ve used it before for a birthday cake base, and I knew that it would work perfectly as Hannah originally suggested as a “Lady Finger” substitute for vegan Tiramisu.
*If you don’t have Hannah’s cookbook, you could use your favorite golden vanilla cake recipe and it would be just fine. And I stress just fine. Your cake will still be delicious and hazelnutty and totally satisfying! But, if you want a drop-dead-perfect birthday-celebratory cake, go out and buy Hannah’s cookbook because this cake is GREAT and so is the whole book! You’ll be finding excuses to bake her desserts all the time!
12 oz. Toffuti soy Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Toffuti soy sour cream
1/2 cup soy creamer
4 Tblsp. Amaretto
2/3-1 cup powdered sugar (depending how sweet you want it)
4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tblsp. Agar
2 Tblsp. Arrowroot powder
Bring the soy creamer to a boil in a small sauce pan and then dissolve the agar into it. Whisk in the arrowroot until that dissolves as well. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature (you can put it in the fridge to speed up the process). Combine the cream/agar mix with all the other ingredients and beat in an electric mixer. When the solution is smooth, put it in the fridge to set for several hours.
Coffee/Liquor Dip Ingredients:
1 cup espresso
6 Tblsp. Kahlua
5 Tblsp. sugar
Combine the hot espresso and sugar and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the Kahlua and put in the fridge to cool.
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips or Chocolate shavings
To assemble the Tiramisu:
Cut the cake in half horizontally (then you essentially have two thinner layers). Slice these layers into 2-inch long strips that you can handle easily. Pour the Coffee Dip into a wide pan or baking sheet, and set your cake strips (“Lady Fingers”) into the mix to soak up a little. Turn the cake slices over so that both sides have soaked up the coffee/Kahlua mixture. Place a layer of the Lady Finger cake strips into the bottom of a large deep serving dish, making sure there are no empty spots. Pour half of the “mascarpone” over top of this layer. Sift cocoa powder over the “mascarpone” and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Place another layer of the cake (dipped into the Coffee Dip again) on top, then repeat the previous “mascarpone” steps (pour on top, making sure to cover all of the cake. Sift cocoa on top, and then decorate with chocolate chips). Place the entire dish in the refrigerator and chill for at least an hour or until you are ready to serve.