Tuesday, May 05, 2009

TWD--"Tiramisu" Cake and A Couple Cinco de Mayo Goodies

Here we are with another Tuesday's With Dorie recipe.  Man--the week's fly by!  I can't believe my kids have less than a month left of school!  SIGH!

This week's recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours baking book was chosen by the wonderful Megan of My Baking Adventures.  Amazing lady, I tell you.  You know the kind, like the ones you feel like you've known for a long time, but have never met.  Megan chose Tiramisu Cake, pages 266-268 in the book.  You can get the recipe from her blog, but I think you should just buy the book! ; )

Tiramisu Cake.  Hmmm.  I've never made one, nor have I really ever eaten tiramisu.  It has two things in it--coffee and alcohol, that I do not consume.  But I knew that MANY people LOVE it and I really wanted to make it and try my own spin on it.  So I gave it a shot.  In all actuality, what I made probably isn't tiramisu, since I left out the two things that make this cake just that.  But it was still a fun experiment because I just don't make cake very often (Kevin doesn't like cake--at all--and the boys don't really care for it.  I think they're a little crazy, really.) 

I followed the cake instructions pretty much exactly and came out with two nice 9 inch rounds.  Then in place of the espresso extract and espresso syrup, I found these two bottles of flavored syrups used for flavoring coffee (at least that's where it was in the grocery store).  Chocolate flavored and hazelnut flavored.  I had no idea how these would work, but I liked the idea of hazelnut and chocolate. 


I used hazelnut on the first cake layer and doused both sides of the other layer with the chocolate. 

Then, is mascarpone supposed to look this "grainy"?  I couldn't get it any smoother than this.


I forged on nonetheless, whipped REAL cream and folding it in with the mascarpone--it looked better after that.  I also added a little of both the chocolate and hazelnut flavoring to the cream filling. 

Since I was using hazelnut flavor, I decided to add some chopped hazelnuts to the cream filling layer of the cake along with the chopped chocolate (Hershey's Special Dark).  I didn't have a ton of nuts left, so I used all I had and wish I'd have had more.


I may not have added enough flavoring, but I did pretty much spoon it over the cake completely and I didn't know if the flavoring would overpower, so I called it good. 


I added some cream to the top after it and the cake sat in the refrigerator for a good 30 minutes.  The cream didn't really thicken up at all.  I really thought it was too "runny" to try to spread the entire cake, so I left the cream just on the top.


A sprinkling of some more chocolate and hazelnuts and I called it a done deal. 


Kev took a bite, I took a couple bites, the boys (Scott and Parker) each had a piece, Taylor and Sam didn't want any and I shared some with my friend, Julie and her husband that night.  The cake was a little crumbly and dry and maybe it was because of the flavorings I used, but it really tasted pretty good.  It cut beautifully.



Since I didn't cover all the sides with the filling/frosting, there was a bunch of it left.  We decided since it was a little dry that it needed to be served with a couple more spoonfuls of the filling.  (No picture.)  After all was said and done, this version of my "Mormon" tiramisu was good.  I was happy with it.   Thanks, Megan.  This was a fun challenge for me.  Check out all the other's tiramisu cakes on the TWD blog roll.


This being a fun day to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I made some killer chicken fajitas for dinner (on Monday the 4th, as the 5th will be a busy evening--I'm taking a class on how to make cupcakes and frost them--FUN!) and decided to make some Mexican brownies to go with the meal.  I found the recipe on Epicurious, but also realized it was the same recipe pretty much as a bunch of others I found, a few of them linking to a Martha Stewart fudgy Mexican brownie.  So Google it if you want, here is the recipe as I adapted it and made it.  The brownies are pretty good.  I thought they were a little dry, but still kind of fudgy.  The flavor was the star here with added cinnamon and a kick from some cayenne!

Mexican Brownies

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1  1/4 cups brown sugar, packed

1  1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 good shakes of cayenne powder--it was the perfect amount

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line an 8 inch (or 9 inch) square baking pan with non stick foil (or spray bottom of pan with cooking spray).  Set aside.

Melt butter in saucepan, add chocolate chocolate, stir until melted.  Cool five minutes.  Add brown sugar, cinnamon, cayenne and salt and stir to combine.  Whisk in eggs and vanilla until well incorporated.  Stir in flour to combine, then the chocolate chips.

Spread batter in pan and smooth evenly.  Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean.  Cool completely on wire rack.


The boys actually liked these!  Even Taylor--I totally thought he'd be turned off by the kick of cayenne and the cinnamon.  They enjoyed these with some chocolate ice cream.  Isn't everything good with ice cream?!

Next time I make a flavored brownie like this, I will probably just use one of the brownie recipes I already really like and add the flavors, but this recipe isn't bad at all.

AND THEN---I found something today that I have actually been looking for for a while--since November when Kevin and I went to NYC and ate at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill.  I wasn't even looking for it, but ran in to BLUE CORNMEAL.  I have wanted to recreate his amazing corn muffins since November and just had to do it, it was perfect to go with our Mexican dinner.  I quickly got online and Googled Bobby Flay's Blue Corn Muffins and this recipe came up near the top from www.starchefs.com. I hurried and printed it and got to work.  I was excited that I actually had all the ingredients on hand.  I knew this wasn't Bobby's exact recipe, I have that one printed somewhere and I'm pretty sure it calls for some chili powder and this one I made didn't, but holy cow--these muffins are SO good.  Perfect taste of just a little heat (there is a whole jalapeno in a recipe for 7 muffins, so I was afraid it would be too spicy for me).  It also has just a little bit of onion (which I loathe!), but I followed the recipe exactly.  Kevin doesn't care for corn bread or muffins, but we had some company over for dinner and they all liked the muffins.  I LOVED them.  Not sure why, but I just really like all the flavors.

Mesa Grill's Blue Corn Muffins, adapted from StarChefs.com 
Yield: 6 muffins (I got 7 perfect muffins!)

  • 2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 Tablespoons onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup milk  (I used 2%)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 Tablespoon cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup blue cornmeal (can substitute yellow)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Grease a  muffin pan with non-stick vegetable spray.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onions and garlic (I grated the onion and garlic with a fine cheese grater) and cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, bell pepper, jalapeño, corn and cilantro. Whisk in the butter mixture. In a separate bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, soda, salt and sugar. Mix into the liquid mixture.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin tin and bake for 16 minutes (I baked mine for 15 minutes) or until set, turning the pan once for even baking.  Cool a few minutes, then remove from muffin pan and cool on wire rack.  These are actually best warm!



Look at that, so much flavor!


Ya gotta try these the next time you make corn bread/muffins!


Pamela said...

Wow! Those muffins are packed with goodies. And the brownies look tempting, too. You've been busy, haven't you?? :o) Nice subs on the cake. The hazelnut syrup sounds good and I think Nutella would have been good smeared in the center. Glad you enjoyed it.

Megan said...

Hey - I didn't get any brownies!

And that cake - wow - talk about creativity!

Just so you know, I would have gladly eaten a slice (or two!).

vibi said...

What a beautiful cake, Katrina! I love the cruncy looking toppings, must have been delish with all those luscious flavours and great textures!!! MMMMmmmm...

Kara said...

I found the cake a little dry, too! I think more syrup next time would help. I'll make it again and probably double the amount of syrup that I used. Good job on switching up the ingredients and still managing to keep the feel of the cake. :)

Becky said...

The brownies look so moist and chocolatey! I was wondering when I read the title of the post how you would W of W it. Good creativity!

Anne said...

Great job making the cake work Katrina! I kept thinking about how to do it without the coffee or the alcohol and with the feeling of tiramisu that I wore myself out and just made a strawberry tart instead, haha. Maybe next time I'll try those syrups. I buy them to make Italian soda- I get the little round, crunchy ice from Sonic (I just ask to buy a bag), fill the glass with ice and then sparkling water, add a tablespoon or two of syrup and a little cream. Stir and serve- even your boys would like that! :)

Kim said...

Your cake looks great. I'm not a huge coffee fan so I would of loved to try your take on this cake. I bet the nuts really added something.

chocolatechic said...

My cake was dry too.

I also didn't really care for the frosting.

noble pig said...

I love blue corn and tiramisu! OMG...it all looks delicious. I need to eat breakfast now!

Jennifer said...

I don't know which looks better, your muffins or your cake! They both look really good.

If you need recipes to use up the rest of your Torani syrups, a lot of Hungry Girl recipes utilize those.

Charli said...

ooo hazelnut syrup! I think that sounds even better than espresso!

And those blue corn muffins...those look really wonderful! Happy 5 de mayo!

Karen said...

Looks like your Tiramisu turned out great even without the traditional ingredients. :) Fun brownies!

Teanna said...

I think the Mormon tiramisu sounds great!!! And it looks awesome - I love that you added the nuts!

pinkstripes said...

Wow. Everything looks delicious. The mexican brownies sound wonderful. Your cake is gorgeous and I love the muffins.

PheMom said...

I think your "Tiramisu" looks great! I love how it turned out!

Jill said...

Everything looks great! You've been baking up a storm! I think the flavored syrups were a good substitution for the Tiramisu recipe.

AmyRuth said...

YUMMMOOOO, those muffins look so tastey and full of goodness. Brownies too. who doesn't love brownies? Thank you for forging a path with the cake, coffee and liqueur. Way to skin a cat, right? Besides it really looks tastey.

Kayte said...

OMW your cake is absolutely gorgeous...none of that would have gone to waste around here! And the Cinco de Mayo Goodies...wow...you are such a star! Great post. Lemon next week, and in answer to your question about the lemon tart being the same one I made for my birthday, not quite, a different one. What's NOT TO LOVE about two different lemon tarts within a month period???? Yahoo!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

feliz cinco de mayo! all your treats look delish!

Claire said...

I've been wanting to try that cake for a while and thought about it this weekend but my brother had requested tiramisu for his graduation, so I did that. It was really easy but I overdid on the coffee in ladyfingers...it's the recipe's fault! I left out the liquor (or whatever it was) but forgot about coffee being a main ingredient...yeah, that might not make it quite a tiramisu cake! Still LOOKS wonderful!

And those muffins...those look SO cool! Yum!

Lisa said...

You are the baking queen. I am dying for a piece of the cake. I love those flavored coffee syrups.

Nancy/n.o.e said...

LOVE those Mesa Grill corn muffins! I made them a couple of months ago. So good I'm still dreaming about them. Oh, I guess I should make them again?

I can see why you'd put more mascarpone filling on the cake; I couldn't get enough of it and put it on everything.

Those brownies don't look dry, but I'll take your word for it!?

Maria said...

Wow, what a post! Everything looks so wonderful! I am drooling over those brownies!

Mermaid Sweets said...

Wowzers, you are a rock star in the kitchen. Everything looks soo good, great post.

Susan @ SGCC said...

Wow! They all look so good! Your Tiramisu Cake turned out beautifully. It reall looks delicious.

I love those muffins too! They look awesome! Definitely have to try them out for myself!

TeaLady said...

For not being 'real' tiramisu it sure looks like it. Love the fall of frosting on the side.

I love those flavorings and use them all the time. They have about 10 different flavors and I stock up at World Market.

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

Your cake looks beautiful. Hazelnut and chocolate are a great combo. And I love all the colors in your muffins! Beautiful!

Steph (I am Bee) said...

hmmm those muffins sound interesting and look good... however i am still skeptical, haha

Emily said...

Wow, look at you! You went on a baking spree.

The brownies and muffins look great, but wow! Look at that tiramisu cake! Sooo good looking.

I really enjoy your blog.

Judy said...

Everything looks great. Pretty clever use of flavoring with the tiramisu cake. The brownies look super good. But the corn muffins....really neat with the blue mixed in.

basicallybaked said...

The "Mormon" Tiramisu cake looks and sounds really good. Very inventive! :-)

I'm so glad to hear your report on the blue corn muffins. I've looked at that recipe and thought of trying it too.

Engineer Baker said...

Wow, all those things look wonderful! Kudos on de-alcoholing the tiramisu :)

Anna said...

Well, I made the non-Mormon tiramisu cake today and it's pretty good! Mine looks completely different than yours, though.

It's still not as good as the one I tasted at the cake show....the one with the hazelnut ganache.

Elyse said...

Wow! So many treats for me to check out. Man oh man, that cake looks fabulous. You're so right: it did cut just beautifully. Never hurts to put a few more spoonfuls of frosting on top of the cake :) And those Mexican brownies? YUM! And I love anything blue corn. Sorry I've been away from blogging/commenting for so long. As you know, I just finished up with my exams and am finally getting around to my google reader :) Everything looks delicious!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Hello! Remember me? Lol! Katrina what are you doing to me girl? How did you manage to write 8 posts!!! You're my new hero! It kind of looks strange to find a cake here, knowing your family deslikes it so much! Funny people!

yemek tarifleri said...

Oh, these look amazing! Thanks