Tiramisu Cinnamon Rolls

Tiramisu Cinnamon RollsIf I bottled the scent that came out of the oven while this baked, I would be a millionaire. It smells as if your house was smack dab in the middle of a Starbucks and a Cinnabon store. Er.. kind of like a mall. (I suppose living in the mall would be a nightmare for some people.) Everyone knows the best part about going to the mall is passing by a Cinnabon or a Weltzel’s Pretzels store. I’m always battling my inner fat kid every time I walk by.
Cinnamon RollsFilled with a cinnamon-coffee sugar, topped with a whipped mascarpone frosting and dusted with a generous dose of cocoa powder, it highlights the best parts of both worlds. I would suggest taking the buns out of the pan about 5-10 minutes after it comes out of the oven. The coffee cinnamon sugar creates a caramel when it bakes, and if you let it cool completely in the pan, it will become a type of glue which makes it nearly impossible to get clean cuts out of the pan. Also, don’t be like me and roll the dough out too thinly, I originally wanted just 8 cinnamon rolls, but I had to slice the dough more because it was too tall for the pan. Boo.

Tiramisu Cinnamon RollsCinnamon rolls are definitely not an on-the-whim kind of treat. But if you do decide to make it, I can imagine it being part of an awesome Christmas morning breakfast.
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Tiramisu Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:

For the Cinnamon Rolls:
1 ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
½ c. water, warm (110-120°F)
¼ cup granulated sugar, divided
2 tbsp buttermilk
1 large egg
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt

For the Filling:
¼ c. unsalted butter, softened
¾ c. light brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 ½ tbsp. coffee emulsion
For the Frosting:
8 oz. mascarpone cheese, room temp
2 tbsp. butter, room temp
⅓ c. powdered sugar
2 tbsp. heavy cream
cocoa powder, for dusting on top

Instructions:

  1. In a microwave safe cup, warm ½ c. water until 110°F-120°F or lukewarm. Stir in 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar until dissolved. Stir in dry yeast and let stand until foamy (about 5 minutes).
  2. While the yeast is proofing, mix flour, buttermilk, 3 tbsp. sugar, egg, salt, and the melted butter into a bowl of a stand mixer.
  3. Add the water mixture into the flour mixture and stir until a loose dough forms.
  4. Let stand for 8 minutes to hydrate flour.
  5. With the dough hook attachment, knead the dough on speed 2 for about 8 minutes until dough is pliable and stretchy.
  6. Move dough to an oiled bowl and cover the bowl and let the dough rise until double its size, about 1 to 2 hours.
  7. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, corn starch, butter, and coffee emulsion until combined. Set aside.
  8. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 9” x 12” rectangle. Spread the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly, except 1” along the bottom of the dough.
  9. Roll the dough tightly, using the uncovered border to seal the roll.
  10. Cut the roll into 8 even rolls.
  11. Grease a 9×13 inch pan, and evenly space out the rolls. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 – 1 ½ hours until rolls have doubled in size.
  12. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  13. Bake for about 20 minutes until rolls are golden brown.
  14. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes before turning out the rolls onto parchment paper or a nonstick surface.
  15. While the rolls cool. Make the mascarpone frosting.
  16. Using a handheld mixer, whip butter and powdered sugar in a medium bowl.
  17. Add mascarpone cheese and heavy cream and mix until light and fluffy. Do not overwhip.
  18. Spread frosting over cooled rolls and dust the top generously with cocoa powder using a fine meshed sieve.

Cinnamon roll recipe adapted from The Slow Roasted Italian.

Tiramisu Crunch Ice Cream Cake

Tiramisu Crunch Ice Cream Cake 1I made this cake for my sister’s birthday last week. As far as sisters go, my sister and I are as different as night and day. We don’t look alike, with the exception that we both share freckles. Growing up, I would be pale from staying in and reading books while she would be as tan as can be from playing outside. She loves the color black while I love white. She is loud and I am quiet. She prefers vegetables, while I prefer steak. She likes things simple and casual while I cannot get enough frills and bows. She favors pants in comparison to my preference to dresses. She is also not partial to desserts whereas I cannot live without them (as evidenced by this blog). I always tell people that whatever she is good at, I lack it and whatever I am good at, she lacks it.
Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake 3I love creating cakes and I look forward to baking one for all of my family members on their special day. But my sister does not like cake. HOW?! As someone whose life (or a good part of their life) revolves around frosting, and sugar and flour, it is hard to understand someone who does not like cake. So every year on her birthday, I resort to an ice cream cake. Because let’s face it, who doesn’t like ice cream?
Tiramisu Crunch Ice Cream Cake 2Tiramisu was one of my least favorite desserts because I used to rarely drink coffee. If anything, I loved it for the mascarpone cream. (Ah, mascarpone cream… everything you touch becomes a magical milky confection.) But ever since I gave up diet coke, I’ve been leaning towards coffee for my caffeine fix and I’ve managed to fall in love with the bitter brew. My sister’s preferred choice of drink has always been coffee, so tiramisu was a no-brainer when it came to a flavor choice.
layoutI have to say, this cake ranks as one of the best cakes to come out of my kitchen. It features layers of coffee ice cream sandwiched between coffee syrup soaked sponge cake, chocolate almond crispies (!!!), and is covered by a blanket of mascarpone whipped cream and adorned with dark chocolate accents and cocoa powder. I know. It sounds like it is too much work and it is true that there are many components to the cake. However, each part is simple to make!
mascarpone cream I always use high quality ice cream when it comes to ice cream cakes. It is important to have the lower air content so that the ice cream stays firmer, longer. I used Haagen-Dazs in mine. The sponge cake is a standard sponge cake that is divided in half. The coffee syrup is nothing more than a mix of sugar and dark brewed coffee. The chocolate almond crispies provide a crunch and a textural contrast to the smooth ice cream and cake. To make it, you simply stir chocolate almond spread with Rice Krispies cereal until it is evenly coated. The mascarpone whipped cream is a mix of vanilla extract, powdered sugar, mascarpone, and cool whip. I am not a fan of cool whip, but when it comes to ice cream cakes, I think it is superior in terms of spreadability and stability. To make the chocolate accents, simply melt some chocolate and using a small offset spatula, drag a dollop of chocolate over parchment paper and repeat until you have as many pieces as you need. They will not all look uniform, but I think that’s what makes it look slightly “rustic”.
Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake 4I understand if you are a little overwhelmed by it. But trust me, it is worth every minute you spend making it. 😉

Tiramisu Crunch Ice Cream Cake

Ingredients:

56 oz. premium coffee ice cream, softened
sponge cake, halved horizontally (recipe below)
coffee simple syrup (recipe below)
chocolate almond crispies (recipe below)
whipped mascarpone cream (recipe below)
dark chocolate, melted (for garnish)
cocoa powder (for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Line two 8-inch cake pans that are 3 inches deep with a double layer of plastic wrap that overhangs over the cake pan.
  2. In one of the cake pans, place one half of the sponge cake and brush liberally with coffee syrup. (You do not want to soak the cake, but put enough of it that it is moist.)
  3. Layer 28 oz. of coffee ice cream over the cake base, smooth so that the coffee base is as smooth as you can get it.
  4. Place pan in freezer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the chocolate almond crispies.
  6. Get half of the chocolate almond crispies and layer it over the ice cream, flattening it with an offset spatula to make it as flat, even and smooth as possible.
  7. Wrap the overhanging plastic wrap over the cake pan and place in freezer until completely frozen, preferably overnight.
  8. In the second lined cake pan, smooth 28 oz. of coffee ice cream with offset spatula evenly.
  9. Chill in freezer for 10 minutes.
  10. Layer the remaining chocolate almond crispies over the coffee ice cream.
  11. Place the second half of the sponge cake and brush liberally with coffee simple syrup.
  12. Wrap the overhanging plastic wrap over the cake pan and place in freezer until completely frozen, preferably overnight.
  13. On a cake board you are planning to serve, carefully unmold the first cake pan you put together by lifting the plastic wrap off of the pan and unwrapping it completely.
  14. Take the second cake pan and unmold it, and place on top of the first cake pan layer with the sponge cake layer facing downwards. Apply pressure to fuse the two layers together.
  15. Place in freezer to harden for about 20-30 minutes.
  16. Meanwhile, make the whipped mascarpone cream.
  17. Remove frozen cake from freezer and frost the outside of the cake with ¾ of the whipped mascarpone cream.
  18. Place cake back in the freezer and put the remaining whipped mascarpone cream in a piping bag with a plain large round tip.
  19. Remove cake from freezer and use the piping bag to place decorative dollops of cream over the top of the cake by making even vertical rows of cream.
  20. Using a mesh strainer, liberally dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder. The cocoa powder will dust the surface of the cake board too, carefully use a wet paper towel to clean the cake board off.
  21. Place cake back in the freezer.
  22. While cake is freezing, make decorative chocolate pieces.
  23. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  24. Using a small offset spatula, drag dollops of dark chocolate to create a streak. Use larger dollops for the bottom and smaller dollops for the top. Place in refrigerator to set for 5-10 minutes.
  25. When set, remove the cake from the freezer and decorate the bottom of the cake with the longer chocolate pieces and the top of the cake with the smaller chocolate pieces.
  26. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Vanilla Sponge Cake

Ingredients:

½ c. all-purpose flour
½ c. cornstarch
4 large eggs, separated
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ c. sugar, divided
pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and grease the inside of an 8 inch baking pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a small bowl, sift together flour and cornstarch.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and ½ c. sugar on high until thick and pale.
  4. Transfer mixture into a large bowl.
  5. Thoroughly wash and dry mixing bowl and whisk attachment.
  6. In a clean bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form.
  7. Slowly incorporate the remaining ¼ c. of sugar into the egg whites and mix until whites are stiff and glossy.
  8. Fold egg whites into the egg yolk mixture in three additions.
  9. Fold in flour mixture
  10. Transfer batter into the prepared cake pan.
  11. Bake 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  12. Cool cake on a wire rack until ready for use.

Coffee Simple Syrup

Ingredients:

½ c. strong, dark coffee
¼ c. sugar

Instructions:

  1. Heat coffee and sugar together until sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Cool until ready for use.

Chocolate Almond Crispies

Ingredients:

3 c. Rice Krispies Cereal
1 c. chocolate almond spread (I used this one from Trader Joe’s)

Instructions:

  1. Heat chocolate almond spread until easily pourable.
  2. In a large bowl, mix chocolate almond spread and cereal until cereal is evenly coated.
  3. Cool mixture until ready for use.

Whipped Mascarpone Cream

Ingredients:

12 oz. Cool Whip (thawed)
1 lb. mascarpone cheese
3 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whip Cool Whip and half of mascarpone cheese until smooth with an electric hand mixer.
  2. Add the remaining half of the Cool Whip and mix until incorporated. Do not over whip.
  3. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and whip until homogeneous.

* Vanilla Sponge Cake recipe from Martha Stewart.

White Chocolate Tiramisu Eggs

Two years ago, I bought a Jello egg mold with grand hopes that it will mold and form beautiful rainbow-striped Jello eggs.   After mixing endless bowls of different flavored Jello, the project flopped terribly.  The eggs didn’t set properly and I ended up with shattered Jello eggs that wouldn’t hold their shape.  I called it a lost cause and put the mold away thinking I would never use it again.

Chocolate Tiramisu Egg 3

Fast forward two years and I unearthed the egg mold while digging through my cake pans.  Since Easter is around the corner, I called it fate and contemplated a way to use it.  It didn’t come easy, but in the end I finally thought of an original idea.  An idea that was original until this moment when I googled it and saw that 7 hours ago someone beat me to the punch!!  NOOOO!  Le sigh.

Chocolate Tiramisu Egg 2

Well original or not, these eggs look so much like the real thing at first glance it’s a little weird to eat them.  But you need to, because encased in the chocolate egg is the most heavenly bite of tiramisu.  It’s adorable and let’s be honest, it’s a little fun freaking out people.

Chocolate Tiramisu Egg 4

White Chocolate Tiramisu Eggs

You will need:

1 Batch of Lady Fingers (Recipe Below)
1 Batch of Mascarpone Cream (Recipe Below)
1 Cup of Strong Coffee
1/2 Package of White Chocolate Melts
1 Jello Egg Mold*
Approximately 10 Pieces of Yellow Chocolate Melts
Cocoa Powder (Optional)

Assembly:

  1. Place white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl/cup with a spout.
  2. Melt the white chocolate melts in the microwave in 15 second intervals until completely melted.
  3. Thoroughly spray the inside of your egg mold with a non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Use the spout of your bowl/cup to pour white chocolate into the egg about ¼ of the way.
  5. Start rotating your egg mold (left, right, and upside down) until it starts to set.** (When flipping the egg mold upside down, do so above your melted chocolate so the excess can drip back into the bowl.)
  6. Once set, repeat steps 4 and 5 two more times to ensure through covering and place in freezer to completely set. (4-5 minutes)
  7. While the eggs are setting,
    1. Punch out ½ -⅔ in circles of the prepared lady fingers.
    2. Place Mascarpone cream into a piping bag fitted with a ¼ in. plain piping tip.
  8. Take the eggs out of the freezer and carefully unmold the chocolate. It may stick a little. Just wiggle it around and it should come out in one piece.
  9. Run a serrated knife in hot tap water and wipe off excess water. While the knife is hot, cut the top ¼ -⅙ of the egg. (After every egg, make sure to reheat your knife for easier cutting.)
  10. Place the eggs back into the bottom half of the egg mold, and put about a teaspoon of the mascarpone cream inside.
  11. Layer one piece of the lady finger and with a small pastry brush, brush coffee onto the lady finger to soak it. Place a second piece of lady finger on top and brush coffee again.
  12. Layer another teaspoon of mascarpone cream, and repeat step 11.
  13. Layer the final teaspoon of mascarpone cream and let set in freezer.
  14. Melt the yellow chocolate melts and put into a squeeze bottle for easy use.***
  15. Take the chocolate out of the freezer and squeeze a dollop of yellow chocolate melts to imitate the yolk.
  16. Optional: Pinch a little cocoa powder between your fingers and (over the sink) flick specks of cocoa onto the white chocolate. Rotate the egg and repeat until completely speckled.  (This resembles the cocoa that is usually dusted on top of traditional tiramisu.)

Lady Fingers

Ingredients:
2 eggs, separated
6 tbsp. sugar, divided
⅓ c. flour, sifted
½ tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  2. In a stand mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites until foamy.
  3. Slowly add in 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue whisking until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  4. Empty the egg whites in a separate bowl.
  5. Place 2 egg yolks and 4 tablespoons sugar into the mixer bowl and mix until pale and very thick.
  6. Add the vanilla extract and fold in sifted flour. (It will be very thick.)
  7. Mix in 1/3 of the reserved whipped egg whites to the flour mixture
  8. Fold in the remaining whipped egg whites 1/3 at a time.
  9. Spread the batter onto prepared sheet pan to about ¼ inch thick.
  10. Bake about 8 minutes, rotating the pan halfway until golden brown
  11. Let cool.

Mascarpone Cream

Ingredients:
1 c. heavy cream
¼ c. powdered sugar
4 oz. mascarpone cheese

Instructions:

  1. In a cold stand mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form.
  2. Sift in the powdered sugar and mix until just incorporated.
  3. Add the mascarpone cheese and mix until stiff peaks form.

* If you do not own a Jello egg mold, you can always take a shortcut and order pre-made hollow chocolate eggs from Amazon. If you do this, start from step 7.
** This process is messy. Don’t let that get you down!
*** If you do not have a squeeze bottle, you can always just spoon on the chocolate.