Having good friends is a wonderful thing and lately, there are so many things worth celebrating. A friend of mine and my sister in law (which happens to be in the same circle of friends) were pregnant and we're throwing them a get-together to celebrate it. Unfortunately, as much as I want to, I couldn't make a cake for them :( due to some reason. But I guess it was okay since there were so many food that night, good food that is.
Holiday season also means more celebrations. We had thanksgiving (for which I didn't cook or bake since I was away), Christmas for sure, and lots of birthdays! This time, it's John's turn, one of my good friends at work. I literally had a headache for two days trying to come up with a cake, preferably something I've never tried before and something I've been wanting to try, but not so overly complicated, and the most important thing is, it has to taste great!
I know him pretty well to know that he doesn't like chocolate, so chocolate cake is out of the list. He loves coffee and fruit-flavored cake. We're pretty much shared the same taste in food. I thought of making a light cake with yogurt mousse, white peach, strawberry mousse, along that line, but the weather wasn't really supporting at all. It has been really cold here in San Jose, dark, cloudy, and rain at times, typical winter weather. I dont think that yogurt mousse cake would be suitable for the weather. As much as I adore light and fruit stuff, with this kind of weather, all I was thinking was something with coffee, chocolate, banana, caramel, tea, citrus flavor. It's interesting to know how weather can affect your mood and your selection of food :).
It wasn't until Saturday evening that I decided that I'll just make tiramisu. You would probably know by now that I'm such a sucker for tiramisu, really. I don't know how many times I have declared my love for tiramisu in this blog, but I'm pretty sure you got the idea :). But don't get me wrong, I didn't decide this solely for this reason, but one thing for sure, if the guy loves anything other than his family and friends, it would be his booze (no worries, he's not an alcoholic though)! Plus, there will be no baking involved since I can just buy a store-bought lady finger (Savoiardi). I was thinking of making it a cake version with chocolate cake (he wouldn't mind), but the idea went away when I thought that I had to bake some :). I'll blame it on the weather for this as it makes me want to cozy up under my blanket the whole day, not doing anything. So tiramisu was perfect as it was quick, boozy, and who doesn't like tiramisu anyway? To make it different, I used Baileys Irish Cream instead of the usual rum. I've always wanted to try this, but ended up using rum everytime. I guess I was too scared :(.
I was also using this opportunity to try out my new baking tool, cake textured sheet. I just spent a lot buying some baking stuff online. While they definitely would add to my growing baking tools at home, I felt kinda bad for it :(. This one is one of the things I bought. Cake textured sheet is basically just like a textured sheet plastic. It comes in probably a little bigger than a half-sheet pan size, so I had to cut it to fit 8" square pan. I used my 8" square pan for this as my square cake ring is too short. The cake has to be completely frozen before you can peel the plastic off. I tried removing it after about 3 hours in the freezer, but some of the the cream stuck on it. I really like the look of it after I dusted cocoa powder on top and put some gold dragees. Ever since I used Valrhona cocoa powder and high quality chocolate (I use Valrhona, Callebout, or El Rey), I'm never going back to the standard grocery store chocolate and cocoa powder. Valrhona cocoa powder has deeper cocoa taste to it, it's rich in flavor. Tiramisu is definitely one of the more expensive cakes in my repertoire :D.
Fortunately, everybody liked the cake and the appearance of it (phew!). It's a little sweeter than the one I made with rum, I guess it's because Baileys is sweet and it's adding some sweetness to the overall cake. I'm glad that the cake wasn't too boozy as the last time I made tiramisu with rum, I went overboard with the rum and almost got everybody at work drunk :P. Overall, the tiramisu is equally good with Baileys, but if I have to choose, I think I like the rum version better :)
I made the leftover cream into this mini version with chocolate sponge drenched in the espresso/baileys mixture