Tag Archives: tiramisu

#Halloween Treats: Tiramisu ‘Graveyard’ & Witch’s Black Velvet ‘Curse-cakes’

Happy Halloween! Over the last few years, my friends and I have established a tradition of spooky house parties, replete with flaming liquor shots, hours of dancing, complaining neighbors and Halloween treats! Last year, I hosted the mad affair and enjoyed using food as decoration. There were uncarved pumpkins, peppermint sticks in red, white, yellow & black, m&ms, and black and orange whoopie pies! It was the first time I made whoopie pies, and honestly, I didn’t love them. Suffices to say, I won’t be making them again. But they did fit the theme.


This year, the party moved to my friend’s place, and the inspiration came from Pinterest! I absolutely loved making the Tiramisu graveyards and the black velvet ‘curse-cakes’.

Treat #1: Here’s how I assembled the Tiramisu ‘Graveyard‘:



10 Waffle Bowls (egg-free ones available from Safeway kitchen)
1 recipe Tiramisu
Wilton’s black candy melts
About 20 oreos, crushed
20 Chocolate covered cherries
10 Vegan marshmellows


  1. Heat the Wilton’s candy melts and brush the top 1/3rd of the waffle bowls on the inside and the outside with the melted chocolate
  2. Follow the instructions for assembling the Tiramisu from this recipe in the waffle bowl
  3. Top the final layer of the mascarpone cream with some of the crushed Oreos
  4. Flatten a marshmellow by pressing between your palms. Take your edible colors pen and write RIP on it. If you’re particularly adventurous, you can pipe some royal icing instead too. Stick it in the cream as if it were a tombstone.
  5. Place the chocolate covered strawberries around the marshmellow to mimic rocks. I had one whole, and one halved chocolate in each bowl.
  6. Cool and enjoy 🙂

This ends up being quite a large serving for a single person. Most folks will end up sharing… and then regretting their decision to do so 🙂

Treat #2: The Witch’s Black Velvet ‘Curse-cake’

What would a witch look like if she got reduced to a cupcake? I adapted the Red Velvet – Cream Cheese cupcake recipe and swapped out the red color with black, and tinted the cream cheese with a mix of violet and fuschia colors to achieve the witch’s purple.



1 Recipe Red Velvet cupcakes tinted black with cream cheese
12 waffle cones (Keebler has eggless ones)
12 Back to Nature Fudge Striped cookies
Wilton’s Black Candy Melts


  1. Bake the cupcakes
  2. Make a little extra cream cheese. Tint the majority of it purple, and about half a cup green
  3. Heat the candy melts and brush onto the waffle cones. Let it dry before you touch it again.
  4. Frost the cupcakes with the purple frosting using a 1M tip. Make sure you have a little left aside for later.
  5. Top the frosting with a single cookie. You can use any chocolate covered cookie or dip a plain cookie in melted chocolate
  6. Take some of the leftover frosting to line the base of the cone and place over the cookie. Put it in the fridge to dry.
  7. Once the cones are firmly placed over the cookies, pipe the green belt over it. Finish it up with the purple “belt buckle”
  8. Serve it up 🙂

These ‘spooky’ desserts were easy to put together and were a great hit at the party. The cupcakes gave the expecting Moms and new Moms an alternative to the boozy Tiramisu and the witch ‘hats’ prompted a ton of silly jokes. Here’s looking forward to more Halloween fun next year!

Lemonade, Pizza, and Tiramisu

The theme for the party was “Make Your Own…(lemonade)….(pizza)”. And boy did we make our own bourbon spiked lemonade, in pretty mason jars….

Lemonade Bar
Lemonade Bar

….and rabbit shaped pizzas, courtesy of K!


This weekend, I hosted one of the most fun, and surprisingly family-friendly parties. The kids discovered the lemonade bar and fruit before the adults, and got rather creative with stretching their own pizza dough and toppings. I got a mini pizza courtesy of one (it was the size of a slightly over-sized dollar coin). Other pizzas that made an appearance were the rabbit, and the owl! And finally, pineapples made a Hawaiian!

The only thing that people weren’t making…. was dessert. And not because I didn’t get all the ingredients for a sweet dessert pizza, but because I totally wanted to make Tiramisu for about the second time in my life. And I made a few enhancements to the last recipe. And, it was phenomenal. I usually don’t eat more than a small serving of the desserts I make. But this one, I had 2.5 servings of. Things to note: this isn’t a 100% authentic, because I replaced the lady fingers with chocolate cake. But it’s a substitution worth making.


Makes 12 individual servings in cups the size above

For the chocolate cake

1.5 c all purpose-flour
1/3 c cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
2.5 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c + 3 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 c cane sugar
1 c milk
1/2 c vegetable/canola oil
1/2 c water + 1 tbsp instant coffee
2 tbsp vinegar
1/4 tsp salt

For the mascarpone cream

~500g mascarpone cheese
2 c whipping cream
3 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c + 2 tbsp icing sugar
1/2 c Kahlua (up to 3/4 cup)

For the soaking syrup

4 tbsp Kahlua
4 tbsp water + 2 tbsp coffee

Cocoa powder for dusting

Step 1: Make the cake

  • Dust and grease a half-sheet baking pan. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Add the vinegar to the milk and let it sit for a few minutes, till the milk curdles
  • In a separate bowl, mix the cocoa, all purpose flour, salt, cane sugar, baking soda
  • Add the vanilla, oil, brown sugar and water+coffee mix to the milk. Mix it
  • Mix the liquid and dry ingredients. Don’t overmix – whisking heavily will cause cracks
  • Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick put through the cake comes out clean

Step 2: Make the Tiramisu cream

  • Whip the icing sugar with the heavy cream until stiff peaks form
  • In a separate bowl, whip the mascarpone cheese with the vanilla extract and Kahlua until stiff peaks form
  • Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone cheese mix

Step 3: Assemble the Tiramisu

IMG_0569v2 copy

  • At this point, you need to decide what kind of bowl(s)/glasses/serving dishes you’re assembling the Tiramisu in. Basically speaking, you need to have two layers of cake with cream in the middle, and you need to cut the cake to fit the serving bowl you’re working with
  • Make the soaking syrup, mixing the Kahlua and the water with instant coffee
  • Put one layer of cake in your serving bowl/container
  • Brush the soakingsyrup generously over this layer
  • Spoon a layer of the mascarpone cheese mix over the cake. Use a fine sieve to dust some cocoa over the cream
  • Place the second layer of cake over the cake and brush it with the soaking syrup
  • Spoon a second layer of the mascarpone cheese mix over the cake. Use the sieve to dust cocoa over the cream
  • Chill for a few hours before serving

Quick tips: Clean the sides of your serving bowl with a damp paper towel after each layer to ensure your glass/bowl looks clean. This is probably the bit that took me the most time! Enjoy — I certainly did and I can’t wait to make this all over again!


Recipe: Eggless Tiramisu intoxicated with Kahlua


*Sigh* If only I was a better food photographer…

I was never necessarily crazy about Tiramisu when I was in India. I was also always confused about what it was supposed to be – a pastry, a mousse, something in between? Was it supposed to be dark or was it supposed to be sweet? Wasn’t it supposed to be made with chocolate with a hint of coffee?

And then I moved to New York, where the sweet little Italian delis were more than happy to serve Tiramisu along with their strong cups of cappuccino. And, I went to Cafe Dante in the Village where the only word I could use to describe the Tiramisu, is divine.

Ever since, I’ve been meaning to try making Tiramisu. The thing that initially held me back was that maybe it needed to be made using gelatin. And then, I held back because I didn’t know what ladyfingers were. And then I held back because I didn’t know what mascarpone was. What I realized, in the end, is that there will be a million things holding me back until I make up my mind to follow through on something I want to do.

Traditionally, Tiramisu is made with ladyfingers, a light and spongy Italian biscuit, strong espresso coffee, marsala wine, mascarpone cheese and raw eggs. 

Since I am a strict vegetarian, I couldn’t use ladyfingers or raw eggs (Oh the gelatin thing, just a myth made in my head). So, I substituted ladyfingers with vanilla sponge cake.

For the cake:

2 cups flour + 4 tbsp flour
4 level tsp double action baking powder
1 can (400g) sweetened condensed milk
120 ml melted butter (or 8 tbsp solid butter)
4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup Kahlua

For the cream filling:

250g Mascarpone cheese
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
1/4 cup icing sugar
4 – 6 tbsp Kahlua

1 cup chilled espresso + 5 – 6 tbps Kahlua

Cocoa powder for dusting

I first made the espresso. I used a South-Indian decoction maker and some mild Costa Rican fair trade coffee. I would recommend using stronger coffee in the future. I’ve heard Starbucks VIA is a good coffee to use for the espresso. Once made, I put it in the freezer to chill it while I started working on the cake to susbstitute the ladyfingers with. Frankly, you could get away with making half a recipe of this cake. But it was absolutely delish so I just kept a lot of the cake aside for fun!

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees farenheit. Grease and dust a 8 x 8 baking dish.

2) Sift the flour with the baking powder. Add the sweetened condensed milk, melted butter, vanilla and Kahlua and start whisking the mix. Add warm water and keep whisking until the batter is well aired and of pouring consistency. I used an electric beater for this. Pour the batter into the pan and put it in the oven. After 15 minutes, I lowered the temperature to 325 degrees. It took about 40 minutes to bake the cake. The sure shot test to tell if the cake is done is to poke it with a knife to see if it comes out clean. Once the cake was baked, I left it to cool for almost 30 minutes on a rack.

3) I started beating the whipped cream using the whisk attachment of the beater, slowly adding icing sugar to the mix. I did this till the cream had soft peaks. Overbeating can be disastrous and so I try and be careful not to do that. (Imagine a nervous me, biting a lip and starting intently at the working bowl making sure I’m not beating it a bit too much!). Once done, I put the mix aside in the fridge.

4) I used the same whisk attachment for the beater and beat the mascarpone cheese with the vanilla and Kahlua. The consistency of the cheese should resemble that of the whipped cream. Initially, the cheese will look like it is lumping up, but don’t worry about it. Once done, gently fold the whipped cream with the cheese mix and set aside in the fridge.

5) By now the cake has cooled and is ready to be sliced into pieces to line the serving dish with. First slice away the raised portion of the cake and cut off the sides of the cake (basically, take out any crisp parts of the cake that might hamper with coffee absorption). At this point, you need to decide whether you want to set your Tiramisu in glasses (which look pretty) or in a deep rectangular serving dish. This will dictate the size of the fingers you will cut from the cake. I used the rectangular deep dish as I was carrying the Tiramisu to a friend’s and glasses would have been difficult to manage. In my mind, slicing the cake was also the trickiest part of making the Tiramisu because the thickness of the cake pieces is critical – it should be thick enough to absorb the coffee and Kahlua mix but not so thick that it becomes chunky to eat. I made the mistake of slicing it too thick and for the future, I will ensure I slice the cake into 1.5 cm thick fingers. Given the size of my dish, I sliced it into 1″ wide thick fingers. Just ensure you have enough “fingers” to make two layers.

6) In a shallow plate, put in a few tablespoons of the espresso with an equivalent amount of Kahlua. Dip the fingers in the coffee mix and lay down in the serving dish. Do this quickly so that the cake doesn’t crumble. Spread the cheese mix over this layer. Using a seive, dust this layer with the cocoa powder. Put another layer of coffee soaked cake atop of the cream mix. Spread another layer of the cream mix and dust with cocoa. And now, you’re done! Just chill it overnight in the fridge.

I loved this. I wish I had made the Tiramisu sooner. It was heavy but I think the heaviness could be attributed to the thickness of the cake. 

Next time, I’m going to try dousing the cake in marsala wine or brandy instead. 

As to my original question – What is Tiramisu? It’s what coffee and alcohol is meant to be, if it were to be eaten and not drunk.