According to Wikipedia, tiramisu is made of biscuits (lady fingers, a small sponge cake) dipped in coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of egg yolks and mascarpone, and flavored with liquor and cocoa. Cupcakes are eaten out of hand, not with a fork, so I didn’t want them dipped in coffee. I decided to do a coffee flavored sponge cake instead. Marsala wine or rum is commonly used as flavoring. I knew that I’d end up using the rest of the rum (with some pineapple juice, yum!), so I went with that instead of the marsala wine. I didn’t want to serve raw egg yolks, so I decided to use a custard instead and filled the cupcakes with a rum custard. I would ice them with a whipped mascarpone icing and sprinkle the tops with cocoa powder.
I started the night before by making the custard. To make it, I used a standard vanilla custard recipe, but substituted rum for some of the milk. I wasn’t sure if the lack of fat in the rum would make a difference, so I used some cream instead of part of the milk.
Rum Custard Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 egg yolks, beaten slightly
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup rum
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
I mixed all ingredients together in a heavy bottom saucepan and brought to a boil over medium heat until it thickened (about a minute). I removed it from the heat and allowed it to before straining it into a bowl and covering with plastic wrap on the surface of the custard. This refrigerated overnight, but could have just cooled for a few hours.
I attempted the sponge cakes last week and severely overcooked them. (See What To Do With Overcooked Cupcakes). I used a jelly roll sponge cake recipe and wasn’t sure how long to cook them. Apparently 16 minutes is too long.
Espresso Sponge Cake Ingredients
- 4 large eggs, room temperature (I always forget to take the eggs out, so I put them into a bowl with a little warm water to speed them along)
- 2/3 cup suger
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (just realized that I forgot to put this in!)
- dash of salt
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons melted and cooled butter (also forgot this! Not used to the fat going in last…)
I preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lined mini cupcake pans with liners.
The 1st 4 ingredients were combined and beaten in the Kitchen Aid until the mixture was thick and fluffy. (The recipe described this as “falling in ribbons when the beater is lifted”.) I sifted the flour into the bowl in a few parts , gently folding until incorporated after each addition. I should have added the oil after the flour. I used a small scoop to put the batter into the pans and baked for 7-8 minutes. (Cake tester/toothpick should come out clean and cake should start to pull away from pan. In this case, the liners contracted away from the sides of the pan.) These cooled for 10 minutes in pan, then 20 minutes more on racks.
I cooked the cupcakes 3 different ways: 1. Using regular paper liners. 2. Using foil liners. 3. Using no liners, with just a circle of parchment at the bottom. My previous test of the sponge cake had resulted in a cake that was very hard to peel out of the wrapper. In case it was still the case with the shorter cooking time, I was hoping to be able to salvage some of the cakes. The cake was still a little hard to unwrap even after reducing the cooking time. I thought it would be too messy to unpeel such a small cupcake after it was filled and frosted, so I unwrapped all of the cupcakes ahead of time. The ones that I baked without a wrapper stuck a bit to the pan and didn’t seem to rise as much, so I’m glad that I didn’t cook them all “naked”. The foil wrappers were easiest to remove.
After unwrapping all of the cakes, I attempted to fill them using a piping bag with the tip poked in. They were a little dense, so I ended up poking a hole in the middle and filling it up.
The icing covered up the hole of custard so all was good.
For the icing, I used a conglomeration of mascarpone icings that I found on the internet: Martha and Giada both had one, JustJenn had one, Joy of Baking had another. Some whipped the cream first, some whipped the cheese and added the cream later. I started off whipping the cream, then attempting to fold in the cheese, but that didn’t work very well. I ended up having to beat the heck out of it to get rid of all the lumps. I ultimately combined an 8 ounce tub of mascarpone cheese, 1 1/2 cups whipping cream and probably 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (whatever was left in the bag.)
After I got all the cakes iced, I put them out on a piece of parchment and sifted cocoa powder on top.
I think these cupcakes were extremely successful although they didn’t look very nice when I got them to work with me. I normally pad my cupcake carrier with mini marshmallows acting as packing peanuts so the cakes don’t slide around, but I was out. I had to slam on the brakes and ended up with a mess! I will make sure I keep the marshmallows in stock.
In retrospect, I should have made less filling and icing. Mr Shuck and I had a mixture of the 2 for dessert tonight. Delicious even without the cake!