Tiramisu means ‘pick-me-up’ in Italian. I have taken the idea of sponge, liqueur, mascarpone, coffee and cocoa beans and created a delicious, rich (strictly for adult’s) cake perfect for a birthday celebration. Make the cake and filling ahead (even the day before), assembling the cake a couple of hours before it is served. Please make sure you use very strong coffee for this recipe; brew it twice as strong as usual.
You can use an electric mixer with a beater attachment, a food processor, or a bowl and an electric whisk. First, sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl, add the butter, sugar, eggs and coffee. Beat together until well blended but be very careful not to over-mix, as you want a light cake. Divide the batter evenly between the tins and level the tops.
To make the filling, tip the mascarpone into a bowl and lightly beat. Fold in the double cream, sugar and vanilla. Chill until you are ready to assemble the cake.
Split the two cakes in half horizontally, to make four layers. In a little bowl, mix together the coffee and Tia Maria. Assemble the mascarpone filling, the cocoa powder and coffee/liqueur mixture.
To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake on a plate. Sprinkle the coffee/Tia Maria mixture over all four cakes.
Take about a quarter of the mascarpone filling and spread it over the base cake, dust with cocoa powder and place the second tier on top. Repeat until you have a four-tiered cake, topped with the mascarpone filling. Sprinkle the grated chocolate over the top and decorate with the chocolate-covered coffee beans. Chill for an hour or two until ready to serve.