*This Tiramisu Crunch Cake recipe is SPONSORED content

Lancewood has just launched a hunt for South Africa’s No.1 cake and guys, I don’t need to tell you that we need to win this one. Not me, but YOU! I want to see one of you win the all-expenses-paid trip to New York worth R150 000! I know you can do it!

So, what to bake that will WOW the judges?

First, it needs to be a cake (obvs) – but it can be a sweet or savoury cake! Think cheesecakes, sponge cakes, fridge cake – as long as it’s called a cake and looks like a cake, it counts!

Secondly, make something you LOVE. If you get excited about lemon meringue, then do a twist on that. I am crazy about tiramisu. This is evident in the many ways I’ve twisted it over the years. I’ve stuffed it into éclairs, frozen it, and if I was entering, I thought I’d make it into a cake! This is my Tiramisu Crunch Cake which is a naked cake (inspired by Christina Tosi’s famous Momofuku Milk Bar cake) to prove that even if you’re not great at cake decorating, you can still make a beautiful, drop-dead-delicious cake that’s bang on-trend. It has layers of espresso soaked sponge, a lusciously velvety mascarpone frosting made with Lancewood’s decadent mascarpone.  The real surprise factor lies in the crunchy cocoa rubble that is sprinkled in between the layers to add crunch. It’s seriously goooooood!

Thirdly, you need to use a Lancewood product (they have so many to choose from here) and submit a picture of your cake with the product you use in the picture – like this:

The judges (Zola Nene, J’Something and Lorna Maseko) might not be judging you on your photography skills, but I do think a good photo will help set you apart from the crowd (and help you get more public votes). So, here are some tips to take a great photo:

  • Set your cake next to a window or door where there’s natural daylight coming from one direction (avoid shooting at night/under fluorescent lights)
  • Put it on a pretty plate or cake stand (or a stack of plates) and shoot straight from the side so you can show off those layers!
  • Sometimes a cake looks better sliced so you can see what’s inside! Tip to getting the perfect slice? Chill your cake, then place your sharpest knife in a jug filled with just-boiled water to heat up, then wipe the knife with paper towel and slice, cleaning and dipping the knife in between each cut.
  • If it needs a wow factor, add a sparkler or drizzle it with melted chocolate (it always works!).
  • Use Instagram’s new ‘focus’ feature to blur out the background and make your cake the hero of the shot.
  • Edit the photo on your phone by increasing the contrast which makes the colours pop.

Lastly, upload your picture to the Lancewood Cake-Off website here 

Good luck, bakers! And let me know what you’ll be baking in the comments below!

 

TIRAMISU CRUNCH CAKE

Makes 1 large 4-layer 20cm cake that serves 10-12 people

 

ONE-BOWL VANILLA SPONGE

160g salted butter, softened

560g caster sugar

480g cake flour

30ml (2 tbsp) baking powder

1/2 tsp fine salt

480ml full cream milk, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 large eggs, at room temperature

 

COFFEE SYRUP

120ml hot espresso

80g caster sugar

30ml grappa or your favourite liqueur (optional)

 

MASCARPONE FROSTING

140g salted butter, room temperature

1kg icing sugar, sifted

230g Lancewood Medium-Fat Cream cheese

230g Lancewood Mascarpone

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

COCOA CRUMBLE

80g soft brown sugar

60g salted butter, at room temperature

160g cake flour

40g cocoa powder

30ml whole coffee beans


To make the sponge, preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius (170 if you’re using a fan-forced oven). Grease and line 4 x 20cm cake tins with baking paper. If like me, you don’t have 4 (who does), you’ll have to reline and bake the cakes in batches (which is perfectly okay).

Using an electric handheld or stand mixer (with the paddle attachment), place the butter, sugar, flour and baking powder in the bowl and mix on low speed until it resembles a sandy breadcrumb texture. Whisk together the milk, vanilla and eggs then, with the speed still on low, gradually pour the liquid into the dry ingredients. Beat the batter until smooth and light – about 2 minutes. Divide the cake batter in between your lined tins (if you’re OCD like me you can weight it so they’re all even – I used 400g in each of my tins). Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden, springy to the touch and a wooden skewer comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool completely before levelling them off by cutting off the tops with a bread knife. Allow to completely cool before use.

For the cocoa crumble; combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and spread out evenly on a lined baking tray. Bake in a 180 degrees Celsius (160 if you’re using a fan-forced) oven for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool.

To make the espresso syrup; brew the espresso and stir in the sugar until completely dissolved.

For the mascarpone frosting; Using an electric handheld or stand mixer (with the paddle attachment) cream the butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy – about 9 minutes. Then add the cream cheese and vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Fold in the mascarpone, don’t overmix. Place the frosting into a piping bag with a plain nozzle.

To assemble the Tiramisu Crunch Cake: make a collar that’s 22cm long and 15cm wide out of acetate or double folded baking paper and insert it into the same springform cake tin you used to bake the cakes. Place the first layer of cake in the bottom of the cake tin. Brush generously with espresso syrup (don’t be afraid to really soak it as this is what will make it taste like tiramisu!), pipe a layer of frosting to cover the base and sprinkle with the cocoa crumble. Repeat this process until all the cake layers have been used. Make sure that each layer is pressed down properly. Finish the cake with a layer of frosting and the cocoa crumble. Place in the freezer for a minimum of 6 hours or until the frosting is firm. To unmold, remove the Tiramisu Crunch Cake from the cake tin, peel of the acetate and allow it to come back to room temperature before serving with a dark chocolate sauce.

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