Tiramisu Charlotte Cake (Eggless)

Before 2011 ends I just wanted to do one last post. I made this cake for my Mum’s, Aunt’s and Better Half’s birthdays so a lot of love went into this creation. It’s actually much easier to make than it looks, no baking is required! Also, for people who can’t stand the thought of raw eggs in desserts this recipe awesome because it’s eggless :)

The tricky part is getting the texture right – you don’t want the sponge fingers too soggy or cream too runny. In order to avoid running into these problems the trick is to soak the sponge fingers in the espresso syrup for no more than one second, and with the cream ensure it is full fat cream as you want to be able to whip it to the soft peak stage (when the whisk is quickly lifted from the egg whites you should be able to see a droopy tip).

egg whites at soft peak stage

To make the little love heart in the middle I cut out some baking paper into the shape of a heart, stuck it on to the top of the cake and then sprinkled over some shaved dark chocolate. I used a pair of tweezers to quickly remove the baking paper and voilà a cute little love heart appeared before my eyes.

Eggless Tiramisu Charlotte Cake

Espresso Syrup
1 tablespoon instant espresso/strong coffee powder
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) boiling water
1 tablespoon Marsala (I used rum)

Filling
250g mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons icing sugar
2 tablespoons Marsala (I used rum)
1 cup (250 ml) heavy/whipping cream

about 24 sponge fingers (savoiardo)
50g dark chocolate

cocoa powder, to dust
dark chocolate shavings (optional)
strawberries for decoration (optional)

Method

Espresso Syrup: Dissolve instant espresso coffee powder, sugar in boiling water. Leave to cool. Stir in 1 tablespoon rum. Set aside.

Filling: In a mixing bowl, with a manual whisk, whisk mascarpone cheese with icing sugar, vanilla extract, rum and 3 tablespoons of the espresso syrup until blended.

With an electric mixer whisk the whipping cream until soft peaks (do not over whip). With a spatula, fold in 1/4 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture and mix gently to combine. Fold in the remaining whipped cream to the mascarpone mixture.

Assembly: Cut off one end of the sponge fingers so that each one is about 3″ in length. Line the sides of a 7″ round baking pan* (with a removable base or use a springform pan) with the sponge fingers (do not dip these in the espresso syrup). You will need about 17 sponge fingers (depending on the type/brand). If the last sponge finger cannot fit in nicely, trim away part of it to fit it in. Save the leftover small pieces.

One at a time, gently dip (do not soak) one side of the sponge fingers in the espresso syrup and use them to line the base of the pan. Cut the sponge fingers into shorter lengths if necessary. Use the leftover pieces to fill the gaps.

Spoon over half of the mascarpone filling. Spread evenly. Grate the dark chocolate over the filling. Repeat with another layer of sponge fingers and spoon over the remaining filling. Spread and smooth the top. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, best left overnight.

Just before serving, unmold the cake and dust the top with cocoa powder. Decorate with dark chocolate shavings and strawberries (as desired).

Enjoy!