Friday 27 November 2009

Just a Slice of Cake

The past few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for me. Too many things have happened...and it was only yesterday that I managed to feel 'settled down'.

My oven was left in the cold for weeks. By right, it would still be sitting inside the dark cabinet for another month or so. I had to take it out to bake a sponge cake just so that I could use up the last tub of mascarpone cheese.

I was a little astounded when I found myself harbouring the dreadful though of baking a sponge cake from scratch! I really would love to use ready-made sponge fingers to make a Tiramisu, but it was almost impossible for me to find time to get a pack from the supermarket. Since I was left with two eggs in the fridge, I forced myself to take out all my baking barang barang (colloquial Malay for personal belongings) to make the sponge layer for a Tiramisu Torte. Fortunately, the joy of baking came back when I went about preparing the batter...half an hour later I received an instant sense of reward when the cake started to emit a nice egg-y, vanilla-y aroma when it started to brown. This great sense of satisfaction propelled me to went on to prepare the cheese filling with a little more zeal ;)

Even though I have rekindled my love for baking, I doubt I shared the same enthusiasm when it comes to blogging. If not for the nice layering of this torte, I wouldn't even be motivated to retrieve my camera from the dry box.

The taste of this homemade cake is simply awesome. Very refreshing and not too rich. The sponge layers are light and airy, and I must say it is way better than ready-made sponge fingers. My effort was not wasted...the three of us finished up half the cake in one setting.

We will be away from home for the rest of the year. I hope I will be able to continue to blog about my cooking and baking in a foreign land.

In the mean time, here's a slice of my cake to share with everyone of you who never fails to stop by to give me your kind words of comments and encouragement. You are the ones to keep me going, thank you!

(After note: I think I wasn't clear in my post, I will only be away for the rest of 2009, will be back before the new year.)

Tiramisu Torte

(makes one 18cm cake)

Sponge Cake:
2 eggs, room temperature
70g caster sugar
60g cake flour
20g unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Coffee Syrup:
1 tablespoon instant espresso/ strong coffee powder
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) boiling water
1 tablespoon Baileys Irish Cream

250g mascarpone cheese
3 tablespoons icing sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream
3 tablespoons coffee syrup
200 ml non-dairy whipping cream

cocoa powder, to dust


To make the sponge cake:
  1. Sift cake flour, set aside. Line the sides and bottom of a 18cm (7 inches) round pan with parchment paper, set aside. Pre-heat oven to 170degC.
  2. With an electric mixer, whisk eggs and sugar on HIGH speed for about 5 to 7 mins, until the batter double in volume and is ribbon-like (the batter should leave a ribbon-like trail when the beater is lifted up). Turn to LOW speed and whisk for another 1 to 2 mins. Whisking at low speed helps to stabilise the air bubbles in the batter.
  3. Sift over the cake flour into the batter in 3 separate additions. Gently fold in the flour with a spatula each time the flour is added, taking care there is no trapped flour at the bottom of the batter. Take care not to deflate the batter.
  4. Add the melted butter, fold gently with spatula until well blended
  5. Add in vanilla extract and fold in gently with spatula.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 mins, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Unmold and invert onto cooling rack, remove parchment paper and let cool completely.

    To make the filling:
  7. Dissolve instant coffee powder, sugar in boiling water. Leave to cool. Stir in 1 tablespoon Baileys Irish Cream. Set aside.
  8. In a mixing bowl, with a manual whisk, whisk mascarpone cheese with icing sugar. Add in vanilla extract, Baileys Irish Cream and 3 tablespoons of the coffee syrup (Step 7) whisk until blended.
  9. With an electric mixer whisk the non-dairy whipping cream until stiff peak. With a spatula, fold in 1/4 of the whipped cream to the mascarpone mixture. Fold in the remaining whipped cream to the mascarpone mixture. Leave the mixture to chill in the fridge if the sponge cake has not been cooled off.

    To assemble:
  10. Slice off a thin layer (about 1~2mm) around the sides of the sponge cake. (This is to ensure that the sponge layers will be slightly smaller than the cake order to allow the filling to coat the sides of the cake nicely.) Then slice the cake horizontally into 2 layers. Place one layer of the sponge cake in a 18cm pan (with removable base, or use a cake ring). Brush the surface of the sponge layer with the remaining coffee syrup (Step 7).
  11. Spread about 1.5 cups of filling evenly on the sponge layer, ensure all the gaps at the sides are filled. Tap the cake pan lightly on the table to ensure there are no trapped air pockets.
  12. Brush both sides of the second layer of sponge cake with the coffee syrup and place it over the filling. Spread with 1.5 cups of the remaining filling. Tap the cake pan lightly on the table to ensure there are no trapped air pockets.
  13. Leave the cake (covered) to chill in the fridge for at least 3~4 hours.
  14. Remove cake from fridge. Dust with cocoa powder and unmold. Decorate as desired. Keep the cake in the fridge before serving,


Pei-Lin said...

Hello HHB!!

Hmm ... The cake looks really tempting! I doubt one will be enough for me hahaha! Yes, agreed! Nothing beats homemade! =)

Aww ... You're going to be away for the rest of 2009 or 2010!!?? My goodness!! Please don't do this to me ... I like to read your posts! Away for 2009 is fine ... But, please don't for the whole 2010 LOL!

Please take lots of rest yea? Though life should be busy, it should be fun and happy at the same time!


Cuen said...

hi thanks for your blog and wonderful recipes. Will continue to visit your blog to check for updates irregardless. =)

Yummy Bakes said...

Hi Happy Home Baking, very lovely cake. Hope you will be able to adjust your stay in a foreign land quickly and hope to see you at your blog very soon. cheers and all the best

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

Thanks for sharing, I hope to see you soon.Good luck in new land.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you got back into the swing of things - the cake looks divine!

Small Small Baker said...

Hi HHB, hope everything is alright for you. I will definitely miss you a lot during this holidays. Hope you will be back soon. :)

Quinn said...

Where are you going for this one year duration HHB? Please do update us!

Brittney Nichole said...

HHB, what I wouldn't do for a piece of your tiramisu torte!
It looks to DIE for, darling!

Sheena said...

lovely! will definitely try this one. thanks for the recipe

CY said...

Fabulous cake! Have a great holiday and a nice break and look forward to your new posts in 2010! Cheers!


it looks delicious.

dotz said...

Hi, I really love your blog and come back every few days to see what wonderful concoctions you've whipped up! :) Sorry to hear life hasn't been so smooth sailing for you lately. Hope that things will get better for you! God bless.

Anonymous said...

all of your works look delicious!! was trying to find xmas log cake recipe from you, and saw the santa cake! really nice! :D

tracieMoo said...

I hope you'll enjoy the rest of the year! Your cake looks beautiful, I love every angle of it.

Missy said...

enjoy your break wherever you are. and take care :) awaiting new entries in your blog soon

Anonymous said...

Hi, I've been following your blog for a long time.

Hope your love for blogging comes back, I really enjoy reading your posts (even those about unsuccessful bakes).

Have a blessed holiday.

Katherine said...

hey dont be discouraged HHB.... look how far you have come to! if life throws lemon at you, make lemonade out of it yea =)

anyway, that tiramisu cake is to die for =D

martina said...

Hey darling, where are you going? I find this cake absolutely tempting and I think I take it with me during the next holiday. I hope everything is fine, I feel sadness in the air...hope the break will help you to find new enthusiasm for baking and blogging. Have a nice time in "the foreign land"
see you soon

amy said...

I love to bake however because of my job at narconon I have very little time to do so Is there anyone out there who might have some great recipes that are quick and easy.

Blessed Homemaker said...

I know exactly how you felt as I've been through those moments, especially when DH is out of town. Baking is therapatic (at least to me), but my problem is, I just can't seem to move my butt to get my engine started (esp when I get out from the wrong side of the bed).

Tan S H said...

Beautiful cake! Thanks for sharing! Have a good time.

Mich said...

Dear Happy Home Baker,

Thanks for everything. We will miss you! Take care :-)

thecoffeesnob said...

This looks great, HHB! Such a nice change from the usual assembled tiramisu. And have a great trip ahead!

Angie Chan said...

Hope all is well and I'll be looking forward to updates on your blog in the the new year!

Kitchen Corner said...

Very nice piece of cake you've got here! It looks very elegant! Your works never disappointed me. Very good job!

Alyssa said...

I love reading your blog.

Especially ur recipe on butter cookies, which makes me finally bake something really nice for my close ones.

May u stay happy, and happier :)

Anonymous said...

hey i hope you're feeling okay!
cant wait till your next updates when you're back! :)

Angel @ Cook.Bake.Love said...

See you in year 2010! Take care!!

kat said...

Hi HHB. Yours have always been a favourite blog of mine. You are so generous in sharing your recipes and tips, I always look forward to your posts.

Hope the coming year will be one that is smooth sailing and you will find your passion for blogging again.

Jo said...

look very yummy yummy.........!

Anonymous said...

Hope you have a great holiday!
regards octopusmum

Anonymous said...


I am a keen follower of your blog. Please do continue your blog.. I love your baking and your almost instant and helpful responses to baking queries.

Take care!


Anonymous said...

Dear HHB

Have a pleasant trip and enjoy yourself!

With Best wishes

Evy said...

Hi HHB, I am one of the regular readers of your blog. All the cakes look so yummy. Wish you have a happy holiday .Looking forward to your new posts :-)

Happy Flour said...

Hi Happy Home Baker,

We will miss your bakes. Look at the bright side, you may meet some passionate baker out there and don't forget to share with us your new baking venture. Take care. :)

natasya said...

OMG I hope you won't head down that road. You have been my no. 1 inspiration. Your blog is fantastic, your bakings are beyond words, you're very genrous in sharing yet you're very very humble...take a break and hopefully you'll come back with lots of inspiration too.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is just so amazingly wonderful! We'll miss you! I do hope that things are okay with you...please take good care of yourself okay? All the best to you! :)

Aimei said...

I'll miss your blogging! Like you, i find blogging too time-consuming but I am trying to keep up with it whenever I can.

I had been wanting to watch Julie and Julia too but have not got a chance. I share the same sentiments too when i first started blogging, and you are one who inspired me to start this blog too! :)

Joy said...


I have been an avid reader of your blog and I don't mean to spam, you may remove my comments if you find this "spammy".

I'm currently running a promotion with another blogger who also loves to cook/bake at to sell some silicone kitchenware which I imported.

Like to take this opportunity to share this promotion for the benefit of the rest of your blog followers as well....hope you get to review this comment in the foreign land that you are in...

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

Gorgeous cake! Tiramisu is my favorite dessert too. This is a must try!

The Experimental Cook said...

Wow! The cake looks so professionally done.

Chaitali said...

Omg..that looks too beautiful to even eat!
Love tiramisu in any form, it's so delicious!

Anonymous said...

Hi... like to get your advise on where is the following ingredient can be found?
1.mascarpone cheese
2.Baileys Irish Cream
3.Coffee Syrup

What brad to do use for the ingredient to make a successful tiramisu?? =)

Await your advise.. Thank you!
Can dvise to:

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Anonymous,
1. you can get it at cold storage or carrefour
2. you can get it at carrefour, wine section,
3. this is made from instant coffee, refer recipe above.

I don't have a particular brand to recommend, I usually use whatever that is available. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...


For the instant espresso/coffee, do you use those that have sugar in it? For example, Super 3-in-1/2-in-1?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, No, I don't use 3 in 1 coffee.

Yulan said...

Hi for the non-whipping cream, do u use the phoon huat "RED MAN WHIP TOPPING" cream? is a red and white packaging.1L.

I tried making this once,it taste real nice except that the cake is a bit hard and the filling is too soft- the filling cant stand on its on when i remove the mould.

Do u need the whip cream to be in stiff peak?i make mine abt medium consistency. does this affect the hardening of the cream at the end result?

sorry so many questions to ask. my first time doing tiramisu cake. is edible but not presentable.

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Yulan, yes that's the brand.
There are a number of factors affecting the outcome of the sponge cake. I am not sure what went wrong with yours since you didn't provide more info on how you went about preparing it.

You can whip the cream to stiff peak so that the filling will set better, also it is best to leave the cake to chill in the fridge over night. Hope this helps :)

Unknown said...

Boo, my sponge cake just came out and it's hard :( and did not rise too much.

Hmmm.. can i please check what you meant when you said "Take care not to deflate the batter." Does that mean i over stirr? :(

Am waiting for it to cool, hopefully it doesn't taste too bad. sigh.

Happy Homebaker said...

about eclecticPOP, you need to 'fold - in' the flour not Stir the flour into the batter. You can do a google to look for video demo on how to do the folding in.

Unknown said...

Ah! I see! Ok :( I will try again.

Also, i left my tiramisu in the fridge the whole night but it seems very watery although it can "stand" without the mounding.

atta said...

hello there! I really really I am love your blog >,<b
see, I was soooo bored before. and decide to find some of cake recipe. but you know, I'm just too lazy to get up from ma chair.
but but when I see your blog, IDK I feel a thousand bolt of excitement to make a tiramisu one.

and well I have one question for ya.
can I replace the unsalted butter to the regular butter?

THX before~ X9

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi atta, thanks for visiting :) and yes, you may use regular butter. Happy baking!

Anonymous said...

...looking at this picture i want to eat my computer screen >_____<''
your sons are so luckyy ! i would do anything to have a mom like you !! x))


mom said...

i m loving ur site, probably the best site i hv ever visited....:)

Anonymous said...

i'm not sure about the whipping cream , can i use thicken cream instead?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, you can use thickened cream although the taste will be richer.

Anonymous said...

Can I use salted butter?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, I think you may try replace it with salted butter since the amount is not too much.

Matchaicecream said...

Hello! I have just made this cake on a lovely sunny afternoon in England. I have just put it in the fridge hoping for the best with fingers crossed. The cake itself was perfect but when I made the filling, the mascarpone cheese split after I added the coffee syrup and alcohol even though I added little by little while whisking. I don't know what has happened. Should I put the coffee syrup in the fridge to make it cold? Or is it simply because there is too much liquid? I know that the filling will not be smooth but I hope it will set and be edible! I hope you can shed some light on why the filling split if you happen to have a minute to respond.
Thanks so much, I love your recipes and your blog. You have inspired me so much and I appreciate the time you give to fans like me. :)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Matchaicecream, thanks for taking the time to leave your comment :)
I am sorry to hear about the mascarpone cheese. I am do not know what causes it to curdle. Did you whisk the cheese first before adding the liquid? or could the coffee was still warm while the cheese was right out of the fridge?

Matchaicecream said...

Hello, thanks for replying to me to quickly! The cake did set ok and was devoured after dinner tonight. But I could feel the grainy texture of the cheese, however it tasted good. The coffee syrup was room temperature and I whisked the mascarpone well after adding the icing sugar. So I guess maybe it is the temperature difference as the mascarpone came out of the fridge. Oh well, I will try again! Thanks so much once again :)

alina! said...

Hey HHB!

May I know the technique in slicing 1mm off the sponge cake layer? I am having trouble visualising it! How do you go about slicing it and how do you ensure that it remains a perfect circle?

Thanks in advance!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi alina, I simply use a knife to slice away the sides as thinly as possible, you won't get a perfect round circle, but it is ok as the filling that flows to the sides will cover up the flaws.

alina! said...

Thanks HHB!

I tried making this today. The sponge layer was great, but preparing the filling went horribly for me :( everything started to curdle and I don't know why. I had the cheese, bailey's and everything else at room temperature but it still curdled. Plus I did not whisk the cheese for very long...

Very disappointed with myself! I've been using quite a few of your recipes (cookies, muffins, cakes) and all turned out well except this one! :(

Happy Homebaker said...

hi alina, the filling shouldnt curdle as there is no gelatine used. Did it happen at Step 8? You will need to whisk the cream cheese and icing sugar first before adding the liquid, yes, you need not whisk it too long, as long as the mixture becomes smooth (no big lumps) and mayo-like will do. Maybe you can add the liquid little by little instead of adding all at once. Dont be discouraged, we learn from mistakes, with practise I am sure you will get it right the next time :)

Anonymous said...

Firstly I'd like to say thank you for your amazing blog.
I'm newly wed and I just learn to cook and bake, and your blog has been a big help for me :)

Secondly I wanna ask if there's any non alcohol substitute for the Baileys Irish Cream? Thanks.

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, thanks for your kind words :)
You can just omit the Baileys, or you can try replace with chocolate milk but I have not tried it so I am not sure about the taste.