It’s my birthday! To celebrate, I’m sharing my favorite birthday cake recipe with you. It’s my mom’s famous tiramisu. She’s made this for me every year since…I don’t know when. My world must have just been dark until this cake showed up. It’s truly amazing, the sort of thing you wait for all year, then savor the leftovers in tiny slices hoping they’ll last all week.
The only problem is, this cake has ruined all other tiramisu for me. I’ve tried to keep an open mind, I really have. But I only end up angry every time I try it elsewhere. My fork slams on the plate, I push the whole thing as far away as possible. I grumble, annoyed that someone is getting away with calling something so crappy tiramisu. Now I know to just hold out for the real thing.
Fun fact, for my non-Italian-speaking friends: Tiramisu literally means “pull me up.” Literally. Tira means pull. Mi is me. Su is up. The combination of espresso and liqueur is supposed to make this the perfect pick-me-up. I’m sure the sugary creamy filling also contributes to the merriment. Enjoy!
6 egg yolks
1 ¼ cups white sugar
1 ¼ cups mascarpone cheese
1 ¾ cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup Grand Marnier liqueur
2 cups espresso
2 12-ounce packages lady fingers
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
1 1-ounce square semisweet chocolate
Combine egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and whip yolks until thick and lemon-colored.
Add mascarpone to whipped yolks. Beat until combined. In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks. Gently fold into yolk mixture and ¼ cup of Grand Marnier and set aside.
Prepare espresso. Use half of the lady fingers to line the bottom of a 9 x 12 cake pan, dipping each in esperesso before you lay them. Brush the lady fingers with half of the remaining Grand Marnier. Spoon half of the cream filling over the lady fingers. Top with another layer of esperesso-dipped lady fingers, brushed with Grand Marnier. Top with the the remaining cream filling. Garnish with cocoa and chocolate curls. Refrigetate several hours or overnight.
To make the chocolate curls, use a vegetable peeler and run it down the edge of the chocolate bar.
* Thanks to my sis-in-law Katherine, who first pulled this recipe out of my mom when compiling our wedding cookbook. This recipe was originally printed in that book.