Mar 16, 2009


Tiramisu is one of those desserts that are so impressive, but in truth, it's so easy to make! You don't even need to turn on the oven. I found this recipe for tiramisu a while ago, and I haven't even been tempted to look for another recipe because this is so easy to make and it's so delicious.

This recipe comes from Vince Tyler at Carlucci's. Apparently, Carlucci's is an Italian restaurant in Chicago and they supposedly have a very good tiramisu. I have never been to Carlucci's, so I can't say if this compares to theirs. But this tiramisu is very very good, earning a lot of mmmmmm's from my family (it's music to a baker's ears). I now measure all tiramisus against this one...rarely do they measure up. Here's the recipe, with some changes:

adapted from Carlucci's tiramisu recipe
makes one 9" square pan
total time: 30 minutes

3 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 egg yolks
2 oz cream cheese, softened
5.5 oz mascarpone
3 tsp + 1 oz marsala wine
7 oz heavy whipping cream
1 cup espresso or strong coffee (see note)
1/4 cup warm water (see note)
24 ladyfingers
3 tbsp cocoa powder

For the cream mixture:

1. In a heat safe bowl, combine, egg yolks, 3 tbsp sugar, and 4 tbsp of the whipping cream. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Using a whisk or a hand mixer, beat the mixture until it is pale yellow and thick. Test the temperature of the mixture, it should be 139 degrees for egg safety. (see note)

2. With mixer on medium speed, add cream cheese and whip until smooth.

3. Then add mascarpone and 3 tsp Marsala wine and mix until incorporated.

5. In a separate bowl, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks are formed. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture in thirds.

6. While making the espresso mixture, refrigerate the cream mixture.

For the Espresso Mixture:

1. Combine espresso, 1 oz of Marsala wine, 2 tbsp sugar, and warm water.


1. Dip ladyfinger in espresso mixture. Do not leave the ladyfinger in the espresso mixture for too long, only about 1 second on each side.

2. Place one layer of dipped ladyfingers on bottom of serving platter.

3. Top with half of the cream mixture.

4. Add another layer of dipped ladyfingers.

5. Top with the rest of the cream mixture.

6. Sift cocoa over top.

  • The original recipe calls for 2 cups of espresso or strong coffee, and 1/2 cup of warm water. The first time I made this recipe, I ended up with way too much of the espresso mixture. I halved the recipe and still had more than enough to dip the ladyfingers.
  • The original recipes uses raw egg yolks. I thought this would be a bit risky, so I heated up the egg yolks for safety reasons. I read in a Cook's illustrated article, where they said you can omit the yolks all together, and add extra whipped cream. I haven't tried this myself. I think the yolks add a richness to the cream that shouldn't be omitted.

Mar 9, 2009

Apple-Banana nut chiffon cake

Ever since I had my first apple banana, I never wanted to have another plain banana again. I'm very lucky to live in Hawaii for that reason, because I don't know if apple bananas are available anywhere else. What are apple bananas, you ask? Imagine a plain banana, but with a bit of a tart taste, like an apple. It's still very sweet..but it has a little bit of a kick. It's so yummy. Once you try it, you'll never go back. They're normally smaller than regular bananas and make great banana breads.

My mom's friend gave her a bunch of apple bananas that she grew herself. They're so delicious, I decided to make the Banana Nut Chiffon cake that I've been eying from Baking Illustrated. This cake is absolutely delicious!! It's so moist and has a wonderfully nutty taste from the toasted walnuts. This is definitely a winner. Here's the recipe.

Apple Banana Nut Chiffon Cake
adapted from Baking Illustrated
total time: 1.5 hours

1 1/4 cups sugar (see note)
1 1/3 cups plain cake flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
7 large eggs, 2 whole, 5 separated at room temperature
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup very smoothly mashed banana (about 4 apple bananas)
1/2 cup finely ground toasted walnuts

1. Adjust the rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Whisk the sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk in the 2 whole eggs, 5 egg yolks (reserve white), water, oil, and vanilla extract until the batter is just smooth. Fold in the mashed banana and the walnuts.

2. Pour the reserved egg whites into the bowl of a standing mixer; beat at low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Add the cream of tartar, gradually increase the speed to medium-high, then beat the whites until very thick and stiff, just short of dry (as little as 7 minutes in a standing mixer and as long as 10 minutes with a handheld mixer). With a large rubber spatula, fold the whites into the batter, smearing in any blobs of white that resist blending with the flat side of the spatula.

3. Pour the batter into an ungreased large tube pan. Rap the pan against the countertop 5 times to rupture any large air pockets. If using a pan with a removable bottom, grasp both sides with your hands while firmly pressing down on the tube with with your thumbs to keep the batter from seeping from the pan during the rapping process. Wipe off any batter that may have dripped or splashed onto the inside walls of the pan with a paper towel.

4. Bake the cake until a toothpick or thin skewer inserted int the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes (see note). Immediately turn the cake upside down to cool. If the pan does not have prongs around the rim for elevating the cake, invert the pan onto the neck of a bottle or funnel. Let the cake cool completely, 2 to 3 hours.

5. To unmold, turn the pan upright. Run a thin knife around the pan's circumference between the cake and the pan wall, always pressing against the pan. Use a skewer to loosen the cake from the tube. For a one-piece pan, bang it on the counter several times, then invert it over a serving plate. For a two piece pan, grasp the tube and lit the cake out of the pan.

  • The original recipe uses 1 1/2 cups of sugar, I decreased it to 1 1/4 cup. Next time, I will decrease it to 1 cup of sugar.
  • The original recipe says that you need to bake the cake for 60 to 70 minutes. I checked the cake after 50 minutes, and the skewer already came out clean.
  • The cake can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature up to 2 days or refrigerated up to 4 days.

Mar 8, 2009

Brand new Daring Baker Website!!

I have been a proud member of Daring Bakers since 12/2007. It's been so much fun baking with my fellow members every month, and I'm so excited to share with you our new website. The wonderful people at Daring Kitchen have created a brand spanking new website and new logos!! There are now two groups, Daring Bakers and Daring Cooks. The new website is absolutely FABULOUS! Go on over to check it out.

Let me introduce to you the new superheros from the Daring Kitchen. From left to right, we have El Spatula, Lady Whisk, Chopping Ninja, Miss Measure, Mighty Flame, and Vanilla Fairy. What I'm most excited about is the Daring Shop!! I can't wait to purchase some Daring Kitchen merchandise!!!

Mar 1, 2009

Chocolate Valentino

I'm sorry I'm late!! I didn't have time to make this cake until last night..and didn't have time to post until now. Better late than never! For this month's Daring Baker's challenge, we were tasked to make a Chocolate Flourless cake and a ice cream of our choice.

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

A tip from our hosts is to use a chocolate that you love, because the cake would taste exactly like the chocolate. I decided to splurge and use some bittersweet chocolate I bought when I was in Paris. The recipe calls for 16oz of chocolate..and I didn't have the heart to use all my chocolate in one go, so I halved the recipe.

The result is the most decadent chocolate cake I've ever tasted. It was more like a truffle than a cake. You really only need a very small slice to satisfy your chocolate's really that potent! As an accompaniment, I made a green tea white chocolate ice cream that I found from Tartelette. This is my first time making ice cream, and I was surprised how good it was!! It's not quite as good as Bubbies' green tea ice cream...but, I will keep trying! =P Here are the recipes.

Chocolate Valentino-half portion
Preparation Time: 20 minutes

8 ounces of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1/2 stick plus 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
3 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.

2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.

3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.

4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).

5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.

6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.

7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}

8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C

9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.

10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Matcha White Chocolate Ice cream
adapted from Tartelette

Makes a little over a quart

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
4 large egg yolks
6 oz white chocolate, finely chopped (see note)
2 1/2 tablespoons matcha powder, sifted (see note)

1. In a medium heavy saucepan, bring the cream, milk, and salt to low boil, stirring constantly.

2. Whisk the eggs until pale yellow eggs, pour the hot cream mixture in a thin, steady stream in the bowl of eggs. Now pour mixture back in the saucepan.

3. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, just until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of it, about 5 minutes. Looks like your making custard sauce or creme anglaise at this point. Do not let it boil. Remove from the heat and pass it through a strainer, add the matcha powder and stir well with a whisk.

4. Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring at 30 second intervals until chocolate is melted. Add the chocolate to the matcha cream and whisk it in well. Cool the cream to room temperature, cover with a layer of plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely cold.

5. Freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions of your ice cream machine.

  • The original recipe uses 8 oz of white chocolate. I didn't want the taste of the chocolate to overpower the green tea, so I decreased it to 6 oz. I thought it was sweet enough with 6 oz.
  • The original recipe uses 2 tbsp of matcha powder. I used 2 1/2 tbsp to increase the green tea potency. I had a hard time dissolving the powder into the cream mixture. Next time, I will pour a small amount of the cream mixture into the tea powder to form a paste before I mix it into the cream.

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