Sunday, August 1

tiramisu cupcakes

I will always, always choose tea or tea flavoured items over coffee. Because of this, I just never got tiramisu. Now, I know tiramisu is more than just coffee flavoured sponge, but it is so often done wrong you can hardly blame me. That was all until a lovely friend took me to Cafe Sopra in Waterloo. It was then and there that my opinion and affections for tiramisu changed for the better. 

This little cake comes nowhere near my Sopra experience. I've seen many incarnations of tiramisu in cupcake form, but a lot are underwhelming. At the very least, this cake is just a good tiramisu should be: simple. Martha Stewart's sponge recipe originally called for cake flour, but I've substituted with gluten-free plain flour, and due to it's cornflour-ish texture, I think it works perfectly. 

(Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart)

For cakes:
1 1/4 cups gluten-free plain flour sifted
3/4 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
55 gms unsalted butter, chopped and softened
3 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1 cup caster sugar

For syrup:
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly brewed very strong coffee (or espresso)
30 mls marsala
1/4 cup caster sugar

For frosting:
1 cup double cream
225 gms mascarpone, room temperature
1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted

Coca powder (or chocolate shavings), to dust.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Heat milk and vanilla-bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter until melted, and let stand 15 minutes. Strain milk mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, and discard vanilla-bean pod.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and sugar. Set mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk by hand until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. With an electric mixer on high speed, whisk until mixture is fluffy, pale yellow.

Gently but thoroughly fold flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches. Stir about 1/2 cup batter into the strained milk mixture to thicken. This will make it easier to incorporate in into the mixture. Fold milk mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until centers are completely set and edges are light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely.

One cakes have cooled, brush tops of each evenly with coffee-marsala syrup; repeat until all syrup has been used. This will take a while as you'll need to wait for each addition of syrup to be absorbed before adding the next addition. Be patient-- you really do need the full amount of syrup on each cake for it to have the right amount of flavour. After the final brush of syrup, allow cakes to sit for further 30 minutes.

With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy). In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and icing sugar until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated. Dollop or pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Dust generously with cocoa powder.

Recommended baking soundtrack: Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele - The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele.


  1. These look lovely :) I am yet to try the tiramisu at Cafe Sopra.. you've got me thinking about it now!

  2. oooh - they love lovely and delicious. I will have to try them!

  3. Your blog is great, these look so delicious!
    Next time I do a blog shout out I will be sure to put you on it x

  4. Awww man, coffee and cake are my favourite things. I'm super-excited for the tiramisu cupcake!

  5. Thanks for the kind words everyone!

  6. Hi Amber, lovely cupcake! Would you tell me how you got the frosting to look so nice? Is it piped with a specific tip?
    Thanks in advance!

  7. Hi RA - I just use a 1cm plain tip. Hold the piping bag over the centre of the cake the whole time whilst piping, lifting it ever so slightly higher as it grows. Far easier than piping in a circular motion!

    Thanks for your comment :)

  8. These look legendary Amber, I can't wait for the weekend to try my hand at making some. Hope they turn out looking even half as good as yours. As for the recommended baking!