As a foodie, any excuse for cooking is welcome–one goes all out of the way to cook the best recipes, confident of the oohing and aahing that you will hear as they’re brought out. But that’s for family and friends. When you’re meeting other foodies, it gets a teeny bit trickier. It’s got to be ridiculously good. I was meeting a bunch of food bloggers this past weekend, and I wanted to make something seasonal and indulgent. What I ended up making was this:

I don’t recommend making this often–it’s a heavy, sinful dessert cake, full of calories and all things evil. But it does seem perfect for a special occasion such as meeting friends. Feel free to substitute with seasonal fruit–fresh orange segments with a little bit of cinnamon, fresh figs, raspberries, mango, even.

The cake itself is a little dense, but it should be because it needs to carry a whole lot of mascarpone and fruit on top. And with the freshness of the mascarpone and strawberries, it doesn’t come across as too dense. It’s a lovely, easy-to-put-together-cake. Try making it for your next party!

Tiramisu Liqueur Cake with Vanilla Mascarpone and Strawberries in Syrup

Ingredients for Cake:

  • 300 gms. flour
  • 280 gms. demerara or other brown sugar
  • 300 gms. flour
  • 300 gms. butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup tiramisu liqueur
  • 1 Vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee powder or 2 tbsp. brewed black coffee

To soak the cake:

  • 1 tsp. baking powder or 2 tbsp. brewed black coffee
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Grated rind of  an orange, about 1 tsp.

For the Vanilla Mascarpone:

  • 1 and 1/2 tubs of Mascarpone (about 375 gms.)
  • 2 tbsp. icing sugar
  • 1 tsp. good quality Vanilla extract

For the Strawberries in Syrup:

  • 2 cups large, fresh strawberries; halved
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla steeped vodka or 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Grated rind of orange, about 1 tsp.

To finish:

  • Icing sugar
  • Mint leaves

Method:

  1. In a food processor or stand mixer or large mixing bowl, place the butter, sugar, and eggs. Beat until thick and creamy.
  2. Add the vanilla and beat again, for a moment.
  3. Sieve in the baking powder and flour. Fold lightly.
  4. Add all the rest of the cake ingredients and combine.
  5. Decant into a greased and lined 12 inch round cake pan and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees centigrade for about 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Invert onto a plate and allow to cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile, make the syrup. Place all the ingredients except the strawberries in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  7. Allow to simmer for a minute. Tip in the halved strawberries and allow to cool.
  8. Next, lightly beat all the ingredients for the vanilla mascarpone together. Refrigerate until required.
  9. Prepare the soaking syrup by simply combining all ingredients together.
  10. To assemble the cake, slice any possible crowns on the cake to obtain an even surface.
  11. Prick holes through the cake to allow the syrup to seep in. Spoon the syrup in haphazard manner.
  12. Top with the prepared mascarpone and spread on top of the cake.
  13. Place the strawberries, halved side down all over the cake. Make sure you allow some of the syrup to get in so that it bleeds into the white mascarpone.
  14. Sprinkle with icing sugar and decorate with a sprig of fresh mint.
  15. Serve cold.

Note: Special thanks to Godrej Nature’s Basket for procuring the mascarpone and strawberries for me at short notice and to Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal for pointing me to them.