But February 27th is National Strawberry Day, so how about a strawberry tiramisu?
Wait: Is it still tiramisu without the espresso and coffee liqueur? After all, the translation of tiramisu is “pick me up,” referring to the caffeine in the coffee ingredients (although there’s not very much caffeine in a portion).
Our answer is yes. The formula for tiramisu has been followed, with flavor substitutions.
If your grocer carries ladyfingers, you can use them instead of the sponge cake. They’re a time saver, but not available everywhere.
You can use a single berry variety or mixed berries. Prep time is 35 to 45 minutes, bake time is 20 to 23 minutes.
For The Sponge Cake
(substitute orange juice)
1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and line two 9″ square pans with parchment.
2. MAKE the cake: Combine the eggs, sugar and almond extract in a mixing bowl. Beat on high speed until the eggs thicken and lighten in color, about 5 minutes.
3. WHISK together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate small bowl. Sprinkle 1/3 of the dry mixture over the beaten egg and gently stir it in. Repeat twice more, using 1/3 of the flour mixture each time. The batter will begin to look spongy and fluffy.
4. POUR the batter into the prepared pans. Bake the cake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the oven and place on racks to cool in the pan completely.
5. MAKE the syrup: Combine all of the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for one minute, or until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, strain, and set aside to cool.
6. MAKE the filling: In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone cheese and orange zest. Gradually stir in the heavy cream until the mixture is smooth and thick. Stir in the confectioners sugar. The syrup and cream can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until the cake is ready to assemble.
7. ASSEMBLE the cake: Place one cake layer on a serving platter and brush it with the syrup. Allow the syrup to soak in, then apply more. You’ll use about half of the syrup for the first layer.
8. SPREAD half of the sliced berries over the moist cake. Dollop on half of the cream filling, and spread in an even layer. Top with the second layer of cake, repeating the soaking process. Spread with the remaining cream filling, then top with the last of the berries. (If you prefer, individual servings can be topped with whole berries.)
9. REFRIGERATE the cake for at least an hour or overnight, before serving. You can store any leftover cake in the refrigerator for up to 2 days; but tiramisu is best enjoyed within 24 hours of making it. Freezing is not recommended.