Friday, January 05, 2024


I am a great fan of soft desserts. Slight crunch from a thin chocolate glaze or a few chopped nuts is fine, but my preference will always be soft desserts. Soft cake layers and smooth fillings, with the line between them almost blurred.
This is exactly the type of cake I absolutely love. Thin vanilla cake layers soaked in strong coffee and rum, smooth and creamy vegan mascarpone filling, and a light dusting of cocoa powder, for balance.
Tiramisu is actually one of my all-time favourites, and it was only natural for me to make a vegan version, completely suited to fit my preferences. Entirely free of eggs and dairy, it is really a lovely, simple treat, especially when served with a cup of strong espresso.

For the vanilla cake layers
220 grams plain flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
200 grams granulated sugar
265 millilitres carbonated water
55 millilitres vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
For the coffee syrup
120 millilitres coffee, strong
30 millilitres dark rum
For the cream filling
200 grams vegan block butter, softened
100 grams icing sugar, sifted
100 grams vegan cream cheese
150 grams plant-based double cream

To make the cake layers, start by turning the oven to preheat to 180°C. Take a large bowl and sift in the plain flour and the baking powder. Whisk them together, and then add in the granulated sugar and blend well. Prepare three small round cake pans (15 cm) by lining the bottom and sides with baking parchment. Pour the carbonated water, oil, and vanilla over the dry ingredients and quickly whisk until just blended.
Divide the batter between three cake pans, tap each one once or twice on the counter, and bake in a preheated oven, at 180°C, for 10-12 minutes, checking for doneness early, as the cake should remain as soft and moist as possible. As soon as a toothpick inserted into the centre of a cake comes out clean, it is done. Remove them from the oven and let them cool in the cake pans completely.
Towards the end of the cooling time for the cake, make the coffee syrup. Add the coffee into the boiling hot water, and carefully stir until it dissolves. Let it cool down until comfortably warm, and add in the rum. Mix, and then set aside.
To make the vegan mascarpone cream filling, whip the softened vegan block butter with an electric mixer on high, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in the icing sugar, and mix until completely smooth, another 3-4 minutes. Add in the vegan cream cheese, and fold it through well, using a spatula.
In a separate bowl, whip the plant-based double cream until somewhat stiff peaks form, and fold it through the butter and cream cheese mixture. Do not overmix, even with a spatula, because the cream can separate. If that happens, add a splash of liquid cream and fold it through gently.
Level the cakes, if necessary, and make the coffee syrup. Brew strong coffee and let it cool down slightly, then pour in the rum, and mix well. Reserve a larger portion of the filling to use for decoration, and divide the rest into two equal parts.
Place the first cake layer on the serving platter, generously soak it with the coffee and rum syrup, and carefully spread a part of the filling on top. Top with another layer, brush it with more coffee, and spread another portion of the filling. Place the final cake layer on top, brush it with coffee and rum, and spread the reserved filling all around the cake, decorating to your liking. Place it in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. If desired, dust the top with unsweetened cocoa powder, and serve. Yields 12 rich servings. © TINA VESIĆ 2024