Friday, April 3, 2009

Birthday cake

It's my birthday today, and I wanted to do some sort of crazy cake. I thought about making a Boston cream pie, but then decided on some sort of tiramisu. But then! Trouble. Someone on Twitter suggested I try out Deb's recipe for 'the best chocolate cake ever'. Oh, fine. I made a tiramisu version. It's crazy. And oh my god, why didn't it occur to me that a dozen eggs makes a BIG cake? I used my biggest mixing bowl, and still barely had room to fold the chocolate into the egg whites. Phew. I might freeze some of this cake if no one comes over to help me eat it. 

Chocolate tiramisu birthday cake

The cake

12 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped*
4 T strong brewed coffee
2 T rum
12 eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 1/3 c sugar
1/2 t salt
unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 4 9" pans and dust lightly with cocoa powder. Melt chocolate with coffee and rum, and set aside. Beat egg yolks with 2/3 c sugar and salt for about 5 minutes, until very light and very fluffy. Fold in to chocolate, and move to the biggest mixing bowl you can find. Clean out the bowl to your mixer well, dry, then beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Sprinkle remaining sugar over the top, and beat another minute or two, until the whites hold stiff peaks. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then add the rest. Fold everything together gently, then divide between your pans. Smooth the tops, and bake 15-18 minutes (rotating once), until the cakes look done, and a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Cool on a rack, then turn out onto waxed paper dusted with cocoa powder, stack cakes, and stick in the freezer for a while, while you make the whipped cream and the syrup, and wash some dishes. 

*Don't have bittersweet? Me neither. Alex bought me a beautiful chunk of unsweetened chocolate, so I used that, plus 4 T butter and 1/3 c sugar, added in when the chocolate is melted.
Coffee and rum syrup

1/2 c strong brewed coffee
1/2 c rum
1/4 c sugar

Mix everything together in a small pan. Bring to a boil, turn down heat, and cook for 10 minutes or so, until reduced by about half. Set aside to cool. 

Tiramisu whipped cream

3 c heavy cream
1/3 c sugar
1 1/2 T rum
1 1/2 T strong brewed coffee
an 8oz container mascarpone cheese, softened

Beat the cream with the sugar until stiff. Fold in the rum, coffee, and mascarpone. Chill until it's time to assemble the cake. 

Assembling the cake

Put one layer of well chilled cake on a large plate. Drizzle with the coffee syrup, wait a minute or two for it to soak in a bit, and plop a good lump of whipped cream on top. Spread cream around, and carefully set another layer of cake on top. Drizzle with more coffee syrup, spread more whipped cream on top, and repeat with all the layers. Stick the cake in the fridge for a while, maybe while you eat a great birthday dinner, then slice thin slices and eat. Yum. 


  1. Anonymous9:31 PM

    Beautiful Wow!! It looks great. This is a cake that my husband would really love. I might have to make this one for him for his birthday. I can't have eggs but he can.

  2. YUM!!!! wow! i want some!! Happy birthday!!!

  3. Congratulations on your birthday!

    The cake looks delicious and is so simple, I'll have to try it sometime.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe, I didn't notice it on smitten kitchen for some reason :)

  4. Mmm, your cake looks awesome!! Happy Birthday =D!!

  5. I'll come over and help you eat it! That looks amazing! Thanks for the recipe.

  6. Definitely on my list of things to try. :) Happy Birthday!

  7. That is one gorgeous cake. Love mascarpone. Mmmm...

  8. wow. i wish i lived near you so i could help you eat it!

  9. I love the look of all of your pictures. Very retro-inspired. And that cake looks incredible!

  10. Happy Birthday - and YUM, that cake looks FAB.

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  12. Happy belated birthday! So do you still have any cake left over? ha-ha!

  13. Happy belated Birthday Jill!!! This will surely be an exciting year for you!!