Growing up, and still to this day, Tiramisu was one of my favorite desserts. Its moist, creamy, and not too sweet. The little bit of alcohol in it doesn’t hurt either. I purchased the Martha Cupcakes book a while back and had always been eying the Tiramisu cupcakes…they looked so good. So I knew when I finally made something from this book that these would be it. To be honest, I was a bit skeptical at first. I wasn’t convinced that they would taste like the real thing. Surprisingly, each bite tasted just like the real thing. I had a lot of taste testers that day, and everyone agreed they were amazing. Some said it was the best cupcake I have ever made…and I’ve made a lot.
I set out last Friday night to make these, and began to read the directions, and they seemed quite involved for my level of commitment at that hour. But, I pressed on, and I’m so glad I did. They were extremely worth it. The only changes I made to this recipe was the amount of Marsala. I used about 2 1/2 ounces instead of the 1 ounce that the recipe called for. . Even at 2 1/2 ounces, I couldn’t really taste it. Next time I will definitely increase this (I like to live dangerously ) Secondly, I made a 1 1/2 batch of frosting. I definitely could have used a double batch, and will do that next time also. Lastly, most taste testers agreed that the sponge could have benefited from more moisture. Next time I will increase the coffee/Marsala mixture by about 1/3. The initial amount of it that you make will seem like a lot, but believe me, use it all. Sponge cake itself is dry, and really needs the moisture to taste like traditional tiramisu.
**Update 05/16/12 I have updated the quantities for the coffee syrup and frosting to reflect the changes mentioned above.
Makes 18 Cupcakes
1 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved. (I used 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste instead)
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
3 large whole eggs, plus 3 eggs yolks at room temperature
1 cup sugar
For the coffee-marsala syrup:
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp freshly brewed very strong coffee or espresso
2 1/2 ounces marsala (or brandy)
1/4 cup sugar
For the Mascarpone Frosting (1 1/2 batch):
2 cups heavy cream
16 ounces (1 lb) mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
For the cupcakes:
Preheat oveb to 325 degrees. Line muffin tins with liners.
In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, stir milk and vanilla bean (or paste) and heat just until bubbles apear around the edge, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter until melted. Let stand 15 minutes. Discard vanilla bean pod.
Using an electric mixer on medium, whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and sugar until combined. Set mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water, and whisk by hand until sugar is disolved and mixture is warm, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat. With electric mixture on high speed, whisk until mixture is fluffy, pale yellow, and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for about 10 seconds when the whisk is lifted.
Gently, but throughly fold flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches. This will take several minutes. Stir 1/2 cup of the batter into the saucepan with the milk to thicken it. Fold the milk mixture into the remaining batter until just comined.
Divide batter evenly into the lined cups, filling 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through baking, until centres are completely set, and edges are a golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire rack to cool completely before removing cupcakes.
For the Coffee-marsala Syrup:
Stir together coffee, marsala, and sugar until dissolved. Let cool.
For the mascarpone frosting:
With electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Be sure not to overbeat. In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and confectioners sugar until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated. Use immediately.
After cupcakes have cooled completely, using a skewer poke some holes into the top of each cupcake, about 7 to 10. This will allow the coffee-marsala mixture to absorb easier. Brush the tops of the cupcakes evenly with the syrup, until all the syrup has been used. Allow cupcakes to absorb the syrup for 30 minutes. Frost cupcakes with the frosting, refrigerate overnight in an airtight container. Dust with cocoa powder just prior to serving.
Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes.