Pesach sponge cake. Three words to sink the heart. My Mum stopped making them years ago, because they never fail to disappoint. Dry and crumbly, or weirdly damp, with an unmistakable flavour of egg and matza meal. No thanks, I think I’ll pass.
However, there is a way to make a Pesach sponge not only edible, but actually enticing, delectable, and indulgent. Ladies & gentlemen, Tiramisu!
If I’m honest, this matza-meal-free hazelnut sponge is pretty good, although I’m still not sure I’d want an unadulterated slice of it. But soak it in black coffee, add a rich mascarpone cream and a generous dredging of cocoa powder, and now we’re talking! Pesach Tiramisu – O. M. G. what a revelation!
Things I love about this Pesach tiramisu:
- The cake layer is super easy to make. The sponge takes quite a lot of whisking – don’t attempt this without a electric whisk of some sort – but only has 4 ingredients and is simplicity itself.
- Ditto the mascarpone cream. Whisk, fold, dollop, and away you go.
- If you make your tiramisu in a glass dish, the layers look luscious – like something out of a magazine 🙂
- Despite it being a doddle to assemble, people will be dead impressed that you made it. Bask in your tiramisu glory!
- It’s TOTALLY DELICIOUS! Billowy mascarpone cream, rich coffee-soaked sponge, delicious chocolate. Mmmmmmmmm.
It does benefit from an overnight stay in the fridge between assembly and consumption, which requires more than a little willpower, sorry. If you make it last thing at night, as I did, then at least it stands a chance of surviving till the the morning. And I defy anyone to eat tiramisu for breakfast. You have to draw the line somewhere.
We had it after lunch instead. Sensibly, I’d had a small main course, so was able to indulge in a huge serving (clever me!). Kipper was very taken with the creamy, chocolatey bits, but not so keen on the coffee flavour. Fair enough. I may try making a fruit version, soaking the cake in a fruity syrup and adding layers of fresh berries. The possibilities are endless.
As well as serving up this triumph of a dessert during Pesach, this is a great recipe to stash away for when you need a showstopper of a gluten-free dessert. Each spoonful of gooey, coffee-infused cake and slurpilicious cocoa-drenched mascarpone is just heavenly.
Sorry, I’m drooling.
Make one of these. You’ll be glad you did.
Serves 8 (in theory).
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- 30g potato flour (1oz or a quarter cup)
- 50g ground hazelnuts (2oz or half a cup)
- 3 eggs
- 75g caster sugar (3oz or a third of a cup)
- 250g mascarpone (8oz or 1 cup)
- 25g caster sugar (1.75 tbsp)
- 0.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 300ml whipping cream (1.25 cups)
- 250-300ml cold strong coffee (1-1.25 cups)
- 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a swiss roll tin with baking parchment.
- Put the potato flour and ground hazelnuts into a food processor or mini-chopper and pulse several times to produce a fine powder. Set aside.
- Separate the eggs. Put the whites into a clean bowl and whisk to stiff peaks. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine the yolks and sugar and whisk until pale and thick. Whisk in the flour/hazelnut mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Add a large spoonful of egg white to the yolk mixture and mix in well to loosen the mixture. Then carefully fold in the rest of the whisked egg whites using a metal spoon, taking care not to knock out too much of the air.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, and use a spatula to spread it to the edges/corners and level the surface. Bake at 180C for around 20 minutes, until lightly coloured and springy to the touch.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone with the sugar and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture.
- Cut the cooled sponge in half - each half will be a layer in your tiramisu. Ideally, you will have a dish into which a half of the cake fits, snugly, in a single layer. Otherwise, cut the sponge and arrange in the bottom of your dish.
- Spoon half the coffee over the sponge, allowing it to soak in.
- Spread half the mascarpone mixture over the sponge and spread out in an even layer. Sieve half the cocoa powder over the mascarpone in a thick, even layer.
- Repeat with the remaining cake, coffee, and mascarpone cream. Finish with a generous layer of cocoa powder.
- Cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and refrigerate for at least a few hours and ideally overnight.
- Serve, and enjoy!
- I used decaffeinated coffee, to make this dessert more child-friendly.
- Please note that imperial and cup measures are approximate.