The other day I was in the car jamming to some tunes on my phone. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s song Downtown came on and suddenly it came to; I would try making tiramisu (if you’ve ever heard the song, you know what I’m talking about). Anyway, I also have the added challenge of using the kitchen in my college apartment back at school where there is no standing mixer, the lighting is very off, and the oven temperature is usually 25-50 degrees higher than we set it to so we have to put a thermometer inside of it. Let another semester of challenging baking begin!
Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert traditionally made with ladyfingers, soaked in coffee, between layers of mascarpone cheese and dusted with cocoa powder. It seemed quite easy. So off I went across the street to the grocery store to grab the ingredients I needed. Sadly they didn’t have ladyfingers, so here was a quick solution. I searched online and read that either angel food cake or pound cake could work as a substitute. I’m sure that there are other substitutes, but I decided to go for the angel food cake, an old favorite of mine. It just had to be dried out in the oven before using it. If you go for the angel food cake, get the loaf kind that’s pre-cut into slices. This makes it much quicker easier to lay out on a pan. (You can tell I love angel food cake by the half eaten slice in the corner.)
While the slices went into the oven for 10 minutes, I started the teapot for coffee and began to make the whipped cream. I may have added too much vanilla but it was nothing catastrophic. I also wasn’t exactly sure how much to whip to get soft peaks but I assumed this was enough. For whatever reason, I also had a really hard time opening the little carton of heavy cream but that’s irrelevant.
I covered the whipped cream, trying not to eat anymore of it, to go into the fridge until I needed it. The filling, which usually includes mascarpone cheese and egg yolks, was made with cream cheese and heavy cream instead. I’m not familiar enough with mascarpone cheese to know what the difference in flavor is but the cream cheese filling still tasted pretty good. I also recommend using a taller bowl for whipping the filling together because it splattered out of the bowl at first.
At this point, the coffee was done steeping in the french press but was still quite hot so I put it into a bowl and into the freezer until it was a more manageable temperature to work with. I tore the loaf slices in half and grabbed 4 8oz. cups from the cupboard. You can always choose other containers such as wine glasses or mason jars. To soak the angel food cake pieces, dip it into the bowl of coffee for a second or so but not long then place the piece at the bottom of the cup.
Once each cup has a piece of soaked cake, Take about a tablespoon full of the cream cheese filling and spread it on top of the slice. Then add another layer of soaked cake with another layer of filling. I had enough slices and room in the cup to do four slices of cake and four layers of cream cheese with the filling being the top layer. If a slice of cake didn’t take up enough space around on its layer, I broke of a small piece of cake, dipped it into coffee, and filled the gaps before adding the filling.
To top it off, I spread a small spoonful of the whipped cream on top and (attempted) to dust the tops with cocoa powder. All I had in my apartment was a spoon to dust the powder, so I put a little powder on it and tapped the spoon over the cup to dust over the surface. It did the job but obviously not as it exactly as it was supposed to. Next time I would make sure the cocoa powder covered the whole top.
This was no perfect tiramisu but with the right adjustments and proper technique/ingredients, this recipe could be quite delicious. From those who tried it, they said they loved it but I’m probably just picky. After an hour cooling in the fridge, I still very much enjoyed every layer of my little cup of tiramisu.
- 8 oz. Angel Food Cake (substitute for ladyfingers)
- Put slices of cake on a pan and put it into the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Tear in half before dipping into the coffee. Follow the rest of the recipe as directed.