Tiramisu Wants to Be a Breakfast Cake
As a caffeine-sensitive lover of espresso, I try to get all my doses in before 10 a.m.—any later and I turn into a tossing-and-turning werewolf come nightfall. Coffee cocktails and coffee-laden desserts after dinner sadly aren’t my friends. But in the morning, I want the maximum.
Tiramisu, one of my favorite coffee-laden desserts, almost—but doesn’t quite—make sense as a breakfast food. Coffee and dairy are a classic morning pairing—we drink cappuccinos capped with foam and sometimes even espresso shots buried under a cloud of whipped cream; we dunk our sour cream doughnuts in a paper to-go cup from the corner coffee cart. But a big baking pan full of eggy marsala beaten with mascarpone and billowed cups of cream feels like a bit much before lunch, even if it’s doused in coffee. It has all the right ingredients to be breakfast—it just needs some rearranging.
Sarah Kieffer’s latest book, 100 Morning Treats, offers a solution for sad sacks like me, transforming the classic night owl’s Italian dessert into a make-ahead coffee cake that captures all the flavor of the original in a morning-friendly package. Instead of a mountain of boozy, coffee-laced whipped cream, it’s a mascarpone-swirled vanilla Bundt with a caramelized crust that’s been soaked in sweetened coffee.
The cake itself is rich without being overwhelming: The buttery batter gets a long pour of buttermilk, which offers a tang that Kieffer says “helps offset the sweetness from the sugar” while reacting with the baking soda “to help the cake rise high, light, and tender.” The batter is added in layers, topped with dollops of a flavorful mascarpone–cream cheese mixture and a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips; these add-ins get lightly swirled in with a knife before baking.
What really makes the cake a star, though, is the exterior, which is where Kieffer brings in the coffee flavor. The crust darkens and caramelizes as it bakes, transforming into a compellingly crunchy edge. After baking and a bit of cooling, you paint a syrup of sweetened coffee onto that crust. The application takes awhile, but it’s worth every minute. “Tiramisu needs a good hit of coffee,” Kieffer notes, “and this was a simple way to let the flavor shine in the cake. A sugar soak also helps keep the cake moist and tender, and the bitter coffee pairs well with the sugar to balance sweetness.”
Then into the fridge it goes—we’re all getting some sleep tonight—so it’s ready for slicing at brunch (or, let’s be honest, while standing bleary-eyed next to the fridge in the morning.) Kieffer says that “the rest also helps the flavors really develop, making for a more interesting, delicious bite.” A few bites in, I feel like the same thing could be said for me.Sarah Kieffer
Originally Appeared on Epicurious
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