Tiramisu is an amazing dessert that combines layers of contrasting - but all extremely delicious - tastes and textures into each indulgent bite. The espresso (and alcohol)-kissed sponge biscuits meld perfectly in your mouth with the egg-rich mascarpone cream, all tied together by a hint of cocoa. Remember that eye-rolling I wrote about earlier? Well, a good tiramisu will set me off every.single.time. And I'm not the only one enamored with it. There's an entire website dedicated to tiramisu, and you can read about one woman's research into its origins here.
As much as I (clearly) love the original, I was recently in need of a version more suitable for work. That is, something less messy to serve and without raw egg yolks. And since I was throwing tradition to the wind, I swapped out mascarpone for cream cheese to save myself an extra trip to the store. To avoid offending any tiramisu snobs out there (myself included haha), I call these cupcakes "tiramisu-inspired." This was also my first time trying the famous Amy Sedaris vanilla cupcakes, and everything turned out great! The recipe I came up with, drawing inspiration from a bunch of blogs and cookbooks, can be found after the jump.
A peek inside...
Tiramisu-Inspired Cupcakes [Printable Recipe]
Makes 10 to 12 cupcakes
Vanilla Cupcakes (Recipe below)
Coffee Soaking Syrup (Recipe below)
Cream Cheese Filling/Frosting (Recipe below)
Cocoa powder OR semi-sweet chocolate shavings, for garnish
Chocolate-covered coffee beans OR chocolate chips, for garnish
Cut a cone out of the top of each cupcake and set it to the side. Using a spoon or pastry brush, coat the sides and bottom of the opening with coffee syrup. (You don't want the cake to be soggy, but you can be fairly generous here - up to 2 tablespoons)
Fill the opening with the cream cheese mixture, brush the bottom of the cone with a little coffee syrup, then place it back onto each cupcake. (There should be enough filling that some of it oozes up and attractively frames the cone) Top each cupcake with another small dollop of frosting. Garnish the tops with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings. Crown every cupcake with a chocolate coffee bean or chip and you're all set!
It's best to let these hang out for at least an hour so that all the caffeinated goodness of the syrup can soak in.
1 cup PLUS 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 paper liners.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter, oil, milk, and vanilla to the dry ingredients and beat with an electric mixer on medium until the batter is smooth and uniform (no more than 2 minutes). Add the egg and yolk, then continue beating an additional minute.
Fill cupcake liners until they are about 2/3 full (I like to use my large cookie scoop for this). Bake for 16 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer cupcakes from the pan to a cooling rack within 5 minutes of removing from the oven. Let cool completely.
Coffee Soaking Syrup
1 Tbsp instant coffee or espresso powder
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp dark rum, amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy
Stir the coffee powder, water, and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. Pour the syrup into a small heatproof bowl and stir in your alcohol of choice; set aside.
Cream Cheese Filling/Frosting
6 oz. (3/4 cup) cream cheese, room temperature
3 Tbsp heavy cream, cold
1 Tbsp dark rum
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 to 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Beat cream cheese until smooth with a mixer on low. Add in the heavy cream and continue beating until incorporated. Sift the powdered sugar then add it slowly, starting with the lowest amount and adding more as required to reach your desired sweetness and consistency. Add vanilla and increase mixer to medium. Beat 1-2 minutes. Set aside (in the fridge if you'd like the frosting to be firmer).