It’s similar to tiramisu but with the addition of fresh strawberries. And, instead of adding brandy to the coffee mixture that is brushed on the layers of sponge cake, creme de cacao was substituted. Much more aromatic and really heightens the chocolate-y flavors.
Plus, for those who have issues with raw eggs (classic tiramisu uses raw eggs and mascarpone cheese), whipped cream is substituted for the eggs in this recipe. Gives the cheese mixture the same nice volume and shape but with no health risks associated with raw eggs.
And, if that’s not enough, to make the dessert more economical, I used cream cheese instead of mascarpone which is really so hard to find in the boondocks even if I could afford it.
But, wait! Did I say sponge cake? Isn’t tiramisu made with lady fingers? Lady fingers are bite-sized sponge cakes in biscuit form. That was what I used in my other tiramisu versions — with Kahlua and party-style. There are more versions of tiramisu than you can probably imagine (some even use bread) and, besides, I didn’t say this was a proper traditional tiramisu, did I?
But wait again! Isn’t that a trifle in the photo and not a cake? If there was custard in it, it would be a trifle. But there is no custard — just a mixture of cream cheese and whipped cream and sugar — so, no, it’s not a trifle.
It starts with a basic sponge cake that is split into three equal layers.
A mixture of creme de cacao and coffee is brushed on the bottom layer.
The whipped cream and cream cheese mixture is then spread on the cake. Fresh strawberries are arranged on top of the cream and cheese mixture and sprinkled with shaved chocolate.
The second cake layer is placed on top of the strawberries and the process is repeated.
The third cake layer is placed on top and the rest of the cream cheese and cream mixture is spread on the entire cake. Whole strawberries and more shaved chocolate finishes off this delightful strawberry and cheese cake a la tiramisu.
Strawberry and cheese cake a la tiramisu
- 8-inch sponge cake (recipe)
- 300 to 350 grams fresh strawberries trimmed and halved
- 1/4 cup very strong coffee mixed with 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown creme de cacao
- 500 grams cream cheese at room temperature
- 250 milliliters whipping cream chilled
- 3/4 to 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup shaved dark chocolate
- Take a large mixing bowl and put it in the freezer.
- Split the sponge cake into three equal layers. Use a serrated knife, and toothpicks as guide (see illustration).
- Stir the creme de cacao into the coffee mixture.
- Whip the cream cheese until light in texture.
- Take a mixing bowl and half fill with crushed ice.
- Take the mixing bowl out of the freezer, pour the cream into it, then place the bowl with the cream over the bowl of ice.
- Beat the cream until thickened. Add 3/4 c. of sugar, little by little, beating as you go. Taste the mixture, if it is too bland for you, add the remaining 1/4 c. of sugar.
- Continue beating until the cream has doubled in volume.
- Add a quarter of the cream to the cream cheese and fold gently. Be careful not to deflate the whipped cream. Add the rest, in three installments, until the cream cheese and whipped cream are blended.
- Take the bottom layer of the sponge cake and place on a plate. Brush with the coffee mixture.
- Spread one-fourth of the cheese mixture on top.
- Arrange strawberry halves on top of the cream. Sprinkle a third of the shaved chocolate over the strawberries.
- Repeat by adding the middle layer of the sponge cake, brushing it with the coffee mixture, piling on the cheese mixture, followed by the strawberry halves and shaved chocolate.
- Cover the second layer with the final piece of sponge cake then repeat once more by brushing it with the coffee mixture.
- Spread the remaining portion of cream cheese mixture on the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with more strawberries and shaved chocolate.
- Chill for a couple of hours before slicing and serving.