Sunday, October 17, 2010

Birthday Cake Part I: Tiramisu Cake

I'm used to making birthday cakes for other people, so when it came to my own birthday, it seemed natural that I'd be making it too (a friend told me he was too intimidated to make me a cake, hah.) I ended up making two joint birthday cakes. One was a joint birthday cake with my sister, and the other one with a friend at work.

(Incidentally, does it seem like you know a lot of people whose birthdays are close to yours, or it just me?)

The first birthday cake was a tiramisu cake because my sister adores tiramisu. The recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours. The recipe is fairly straight forward: soak two disks of gorgeous yellow cake in coffee syrup, sandwich with mascarpone cream and chopped chocolate, and top with espresso-flavored whipped cream.

Making the cake was interesting, especially as I had to bring half of my baking equipment across the border to Canada. It's a good thing I didn't fly, because I don't think security would be too happy with my Le Cordon Bleu knife set...

There was also some pressure since this was the first time my parents have seen me bake, aside from the simple sponge cakes I made in high school (and the fantastically disastrous attempt at Cantonese egg tarts in seventh grade, but that's a story for another time). My cousin was visiting from Victoria, so I had quite an audience watching me decorate the cake.

I used the polka-dot stencil pattern from Ikea (I'm a fan of stencil patterns). The bottle of chocolate-covered coffee beans I got from a friend's company launch party also came in handy.

The cake came out pretty well. The yellow cake recipe is great, although I would have used more soaking syrup (and more alcohol!). The key take-away from the experience, however, is that espresso-flavored whipped cream is seriously addictive, even when it's made with espresso powder.

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