Tiramisu, meet chocolate cake.

Why it’s taken me this long to introduce these two decadent desserts to each other is beyond me because they are sweet soul mates. Meant to be. BFF’s. You get the point. The secret to making ANY cake special (and I’ll even go out on a limb and include box cake mix here) is to soak the cake in a simple syrup – even the driest sponge can be magically transformed with a slathering of flavoured (and liquored) syrup. And of course, tiramisu has sponge soaked in espresso syrup – coincidence? I think not. All that’s missing is the light and fluffy mascarpone which I transformed into a not-too-sweet frosting and a generous dusting of cocoa powder and it’s like the two were destined to live happily ever after…

Chocolate Tiramisu Cake

Serves 10-12


3 large eggs

3/4 cup (180ml) melted butter or oil

3/4 cup water

1 tsp vanilla

375ml (1 1/2 cups) cake flour

180ml (3/4 cup) cocoa powder

7,5ml (3/4 tsp) bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

410ml (1 2/3 cups) brown sugar


Espresso syrup

250ml sugar

250ml water

125ml espresso coffee, cooled

80ml coffee liqueur (optional)


Mascarpone frosting

250ml cream

1 tub (240g) mascarpone cheese

½ cup icing sugar, sifted

1 tsp vanilla extract

Cocoa powder, for dusting


Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line 2 x 22cm springform cake tins. Beat the eggs and oil for 3 minutes on high speed. Add the water and beat for 1 minute on high speed.  Sift the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt together. Add the sugar and mix into the wet ingredients.  Divide the batter between the tins and bake for 55 minutes or until cake is cooked when tested with a skewer. If the skewer comes out clean, the cake is cooked. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Remove from the tin and place on cooling rack, cool completely before cutting each cake in half horizontally with a sharp knife. To make the syrup, gently heat the sugar and water together and stir until melted then bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly before adding the coffee and liqueur. Allow to cool completely. To make the frosting, whip the cream and mascarpone together until stiff peaks then whisk in the icing sugar and vanilla. Place in a piping bag with a fluted nozzle. To assemble the cake, place a cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand, soak the cake in the espresso syrup then pipe frosting on top. Repeat the layers with the cake, syrup and frosting finishing with a layer of frosting on top. Pipe dollops on top of the cake to decorate and dust with a little cocoa powder.

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