It has taken me five years to get around to sharing this recipe. I’ve made it every one of those past years, but for one reason or another, I just never shared it. Maybe I was in a food coma. Sunday Sauce + Tiramisu will do that to you.
Aside from Black Bean Chocolate Cake, Tiramisu is probably my favourite dessert. It just hits the spot in a way that almost no other dessert can. Especially when homemade. I know the recipe looks a little daunting, but trust me, it’s worth it.
Traditionally, tiramisu calls for savoiardi or “Lady Fingers”, an egg-based sponge “biscuit”. The thing I don’t like about savoiardi is that you pretty much always have to buy them pre-made. And I like to do things “from scratch”, so I make “genoise” or Italian sponge cake instead. Technically speaking, they’re not the same thing, but I promise, after you taste this, you’re not going to be splitting hairs on what type of sponge cake you used.
Genoise is seriously one of the easiest cakes you will ever make. Thus it’s great to have in your arsenal of quick desserts. Other than for tiramisu, it’s great with strawberries and whipped cream (“strawberry shortcake”.) You can even add cocoa to the batter for a chocolate version. But note, I said Genoise is easy to make. Tiramisu is a bit more involved… but OH so worth it.
GENOISE (sponge cake)
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cocoa (optional)
Line a 9×13 pan with parchment. Preheat oven to 375°.
With a stand or hand mixer, whip eggs for 5 minutes, total. With 2 minutes remaining, add sugar. When eggs are light and fluffy, stir in water and vanilla.
Sift together dry ingredients and mix in at low speed.
Pour batter into ban and level. Bake for 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cake can fully cool and remain in pan until ready for use.
Recipe can be doubled or halved (or quartered– see below.)
BONUS! Making Genoise just for two? Here’s a 1/4 recipe:
- 1 egg
- 3 TBS sugar
- 1 TBS water
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/16 tsp salt
Follow directions above except use a significantly smaller pan (such as a 3×6 glass dish or a muffin pan– still line with parchment.) Bake for 5-6 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup Marsala wine (make sure you don’t use cooking Marsala! It has salt added– not good for dessert!)
- 1 cup whipping/heavy cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 pound (16oz) mascarpone cheese at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups espresso or VERY strong coffee
- 1 TBS vanilla
- 1/4 cup Marsala
- cocoa powder (for dusting)
Remove mascarpone from fridge and let it come to room temp.
In a small bowl or the pan of your double boiler, whip together egg yolks and sugar until yolks lighten in color. (You can do it with a whisk; I use my hand mixer because it’s faster.)
Place double boiler over pan of simmering water and slowly whisk in 1/2 cup Marsala. Stirring almost constantly, cook yolks until they thicken and darken in color, scraping sides of bowl often with rubber spatula. Transfer zabaglione to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until cool.
Transfer mascarpone to a bowl and stir until smooth. In a separate bowl, whip together cream and sugar. Add softened mascarpone and zabaglione to whipped cream and gently fold together. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1, or up to 24 hours.
To 1 1/2 cups coffee add 1/4 cup Marsala and 1 TBS vanilla.
Put It Together
Decide what dish you want your final creation to reside in. (Note, this is a dish dessert, not a cake plate dessert.) You have a couple of options for your Genoise:
cut it into two large “slabs” to fit your final dish, OR cut it into approximately “Lady Finger” size strips. Either way, you need at least 2 layers of cake. If you’re using a smaller dish, just make more layers.
Layer bottom of dish with Genoise, then spoon on liquid mixture to cover cake. I cut mine into strips and spoon on about 1- 1 1/2 TBS per “finger”. Then gently spoon and smooth (an offset spatula works great!) 1/2 of filling. Place another layer of Genoise on top and spoon on coffee mixture, then layer with remaining filling.
Cover and refrigerate for an hour or two before serving. I recommend sprinkling individual slices with cocoa as you serve, otherwise it starts to soak into the filling and doesn’t look as pretty.
Note: not that it will last this long, but Tiramisu is at its best 24-48 hours after it’s been made. After that, it can start to get a little soupy. (That said, the Tiramisu in the photo was 5 days old and still holding up, so…)