Little pick me up

We're a bit sick of cake, quite frankly. It's birthday season, plus I'm starting another course, and the thought of eating more than a single slice of any cake I make is quite uninviting. Lucky for me, there are a few ways to get rid of unwanted cake, and most of them are pretty appealing.

We've had trifle twice. Interestingly I hated trifle when I was little, but have found making it with a vanilla bean custard makes it something else altogether. Still, a person doesn't want trifle every week any more than they want cake every second day. So today, I looked to the Italians for inspiration and have turned a vanilla genoise sponge into a tiramisu style dessert. Any plain cake would do the job - just make sure it's a flavour that blends well with coffee.

Too much cake tiramisu

Sponge layer

8 eggs
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
2 cups SR flour
2 tbspn custard powder
2 tbspn butter, melted

Filling

2 cups cream cheese
2 cups cream
4 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup marsala
1 cup espresso

Method

For the sponge Preheat the oven to 170 Celsius and grease and flour a large rectangular baking pan. Beat the eggs and sugar together until thick and doubled in volume. Check the sugar has dissolved by rubbing a little of the mixture between your fingers. If it feels grainy, continue beating until all dissolved. Sift together the flour and custard powder. Fold into the egg mixture. Finally add the melted butter, folding to minimise loss of volume. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until the edges have shrunk from the sides and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool before turning out, then set aside for a day to allow the cake to dry out a little.

For the filling Whip the cream and cream cheese together until peaks form. Meanwhile, whip the egg whites and sugar together until frothy. Place over a saucepan of simmering water, and continue beating while gradually adding around half the marsala. Continue beating until the sugar has dissolved and the zabaglione mixture thickens enough to coat a spoon. Add a little bit at a time to the cream mixture, beating until fluffy, and still thick enough to leave a trail when removing the beaters. Any remaining zabaglione can be used as a dessert sauce. Mix the remaining marsala with the espresso, using more or less wine to taste.

To assemble Slice the cake into at least two layers. Place a layer in a large baking or serving dish. Brush with coffee mix, allowing the cake to soak up a good amount. Top with around a third of the cream mix. Add the remaining cake layer, brushed with coffee. Top with the rest of the cream mix and refrigerate. Serve sprinkled with cocoa or finely grated chocolate.

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