Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Meet Tiramisu's Cousin

Coffee Walnut Cake with Coffee Mascarpone Cream

Before this dessert went totally buried from others that keep streaming out from the oven, I better share it with you now. It is in a way similar to the Tiramisu I made not long ago, but alcohol free. And with an extra dose of caffeine thrown into the cake.

I first saw the recipe of Coffee Walnut Cake with Coffee Mascarpone Cream in Jan 2007 issue of Bon Appetite magazine, and had bookmarked it since I know I would love this cake, simply judging from the list of its ingredients.

After holding the recipe on for so long, I am happy to report that my intuition was right.The reason that it wasn't made immediately was because of the lack of photograph on the magazine ( yes, I am a visual person) and several negative comments left on its website, which kept my enthusiasm at bay. Also I must confess that I was lured into making other desserts, mostly ones with stunning pictures that whet my appetite. Anyhow, I finally pluck up enough courage to make this cake after a recent success with its alcoholic cousin - Tiramisu. Both cakes are very similar in ingredients and preparations, so I guess it couldn't be as bad as other reviewers had rated.

Moreover, It's Dorie Greenspan's recipe. Having tried a few recipes with great success from her amazing book- Baking From My Home to Yours, I feel pretty positive about baking this cake. Truth be told, I have one tub of Mascarpone cheese waiting to be used before it get expires in the imminent future. So, with a sense of urgency, I started making the cake.

Coffee Walnut Cake with Coffee Mascarpone Cream

True to its name, this cake is full of walnut flavor. Part of the toasted walnut was grounded and added into the cake batter. A tablespoon of instant espresso powder is also added to the batter to impart a coffee flavor. As a result, I got a tender, fine crumb, nutty cake with great coffee aroma.

Coffee Walnut Cake with Coffee Mascarpone Cream

After making the coffee mascarpone cream, which is a coffee lover dream come true,I decided to add some finely chopped 72% chocolate on top of the cream. A trick that I learned from the Tiramisu which I believe will taste nice here too. And it did!

After frosting the cake, I cut a generous slice for myself and enjoyed it over a cup of coffee in the afternoon. The rest was passed to OCT's lab for the Friday lab meeting.

Coffee Walnut Cake with Coffee Mascarpone Cream

Although this is the kind of cake OCT and I like, I believe it may not be something that kids would enjoy. Neither would people who don't drink coffee nor dislike walnut. But if I ever ran a cafe one day, this will surely be on the menu!

hey, I am allowed to dream right?

Coffee Walnut Cake with Coffee Mascarpone Cream
Adapted from Jan 2007 Bon Appetite

1 cup walnuts (about 4 ounces), toasted, chopped, divided
1 cup sugar, divided
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

Coffee-mascarpone cream
4 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon water
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup (4 ounces) mascarpone cheese*
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (my addition, optionally)
3/4 cup (about 3 ounces) walnuts, toasted, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

*Italian cream cheese; sold at many supermarkets and at Italian markets. preparation

For cake:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Blend 1/2 cup walnuts, 1 tablespoon sugar, and espresso in processor until nuts are finely ground. Whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Gradually add remaining sugar (1 cup minus 1 tablespoon), beating until fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then egg yolk. Add ground walnut mixture and vanilla; beat to blend. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions. Fold in remaining 1/2 cup walnuts. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.

Bake cake layers until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 26 minutes. Cool in pans 5 minutes, then turn out onto racks and cool completely.

For coffee-mascarpone cream:
Stir espresso and 1 tablespoon water in large bowl until coffee dissolves. Add cream, mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla. Beat until filling is thick and smooth (do not overbeat or filling may curdle).

Place 1 cake layer on platter, flat side up. Spread half of filling over cake. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate on top of filling. Place second layer, flat side down, on filling. Spread remaining filling over top. Mix walnuts, cinnamon, and salt. Sprinkle over top of cake. Cover with cake dome. Chill at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

Serves 10-12


Anh said...

Beautiful. Adorable. Wicked!

I love this cake!

WokandSpoon said...

OMG! That looks so professional! Plus the extra caffeine appeals to me too ;-)

And all those nuts stuck on the sides! Goodbye diet ;-)

Amrita said...

My! Your photos are getting better and better!!!

Anne said...

wow Mandy! this looks awefully delicious. I've never been a fan of coffee but I think I would definitely like this cake ;) You've captured it so well... I am so impressed!

Patricia Scarpin said...

What a beautiful cake, Mandy! Your photos are just stunning!

You bet that I would be a regular at your cafe. :)

Deborah said...


eatme_delicious said...

The cake looks amazing!

tigerfish said...

This is the "difficult" cousin of Tiramisu. But you make it sound so easy. It looks lovely.

Little Corner of Mine said...

Oh WOW, this is to die for! I'm salivating just by looking at the cake and I want mine!! I'm a chocolate and coffee lover so you can imagine. I am printing this recipe!

Oh for the love of food! said...

Hey Mandy! Your cake looks stunning, like it came right out of a foodie mag! Did you say you use the Nikon DSLR?

Lee Ping (Mrs.HBT) said...

Dear Mandy,

After many failure attempts, I learn to appreciate cakes. Pretty cakes are not easy to duplicate. Your cake looks store bought and that is a compliment because I am still working on a store bought look. I have much to learn...

rita bellnad said...

your photos look stunning... as well as the cake (^_^)

Nora B. said...

Nice looking cake you've got there. :-) Your adaptation sounds terrific. I would order this cake if it was sold at a cafe too.

Kristen said...

I don't love coffee, but I love coffee flavored desserts. I bet this would be wonderful! As a mom of 3, I could use the extra caffeine :)

Anonymous said...

the cake is wonderful not too sweet with a hint of coffee favor .I didn't use fresh buttermilk instead use the powder mix.will use fresh next time . i use half cup od cake flour with reg flour . cake was very moist but kind of crumbly at the same time. the mascarpone cream is great but am afraid i made it a little too strong .i use 1 tbsp of my morning coffee instead of water .it was the right firmness in the morning but when i use it to spread on cake @ evening it became kinda loose . what did i do wrong ? it was kept in the fridge . great cake , thanks!

Mandy said...

thanks everyone for your lovely comments!

thanks for the feedback. You mention that the cream was at right consistency in the morning but turned runny at night. Did you beat the cream in the morning and frosted it at night?Hmmm... I have never tried doing that before and am afraid that could be the reason why it was runny...
Moisture seeps into the cream and turns it runny if it isn't been used immediately after beating.
Drop me an email if you need further clarification, ok?

Ann said...

God! i wish this pic turns out reall now. i'm so tempted n craving for it now.

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