Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Italian Pick Me Up Cake - Tiramisu

The phrase tirami su literally means "pick me up" or "pull me up" in reference to the effects of the sugar and espresso and nowadays even Marsala (that sweet cooking wine).
While I made this cake so many times, it seems I make it better and better every time - and if you are cooking your own food you will understand me when I say that with experience you do discover tips and tricks to hold "up your sleeve".
Even though I went to Italy, I did not get to taste it there, but I had it at an authentic Italian restaurant here, where everything is made from scratch and has authentic ingredients (I am talking about Napoli's restaurant for those who know it) and the cooks, chefs and most of the staff and / or owners are real Italians. Funny how they talk in Italian in the restaurant sometimes thinking nobody there can understand them ! (I could every time !)
So let's get to cooking this marvelous and luxurious cake !

Ingredients and Directions:

Yes, I used the recipe found on the back of the bag of savoiardi cookies because you would think that if they make those, they would be the ones who know best how to use their own product to make a heavenly cake. Good choice !
So click on the picture so you can see it in real size and grab the recipe.
I used this kind of savoiardi or lady finger cookies, which are sweet, little, fairly dry, finger-shaped sponge cakes.Yes, of course you can also make them at home and I have recently discovered that you can also buy a special pan to shape them, just like you are using a special pan for muffins, for example.

I only made half of the given recipe and I shaped in into a square, like in the picture below.

After you layer the second half of filling, let it slide a little on the sides for a better covering of the sides and a more dramatic visual effect.

This cake keeps well in the fridge, covered, for up to 4 days - if you can resist that long without eating it !
Now to return to what I was talking about earlier, when I mentioned the tips and tricks.
* I used dark cocoa which is a little bitter tasting, to enhance the sweetness of the filling.
* I replaced the Mascarpone cheese with fat free cream cheese and added some sour cream.
* I used super strong sweetened coffee combined with Marsale for dipping the sponge cake. What you need to do is have a bowl with the coffee mixture next to you and dip on sponge cake at a time for maybe 2-3 seconds in it, then layer it on your pan, making sure you do not leave space between the cookies.
* I powdered cocoa on both layers of filling, not just on top.
* I used a little bit more Marsala wine that asked for.
* I let the cake set for 5 hours before serving.
It was worth the wait !


  1. I love Tiramisu. Yours looks yummy. I have never tried to make it...maybe I will now. Thanks for sharing.

    Holly @ 504Main

  2. You are welcome !
    By doing only half the recipe, you still get to try it, and do not feel SO guilty.