Desserts/ Recipe

Vanilla Cake & Tiramisu Buttercream

Well, I made it.
I made it through this week of work (holy Hell!).
I made it through a couple of fairly bitchy days – or at least, John has. Poor John (I do love you).
I made it through another restless night of poor sleep.
I made it though the first serious hay fever attack of the season this morning.
And I made through the baking of the cake… I actually baked the cake.
It wasn’t exactly picture perfect. In fact, it looks kind of the opposite of picture perfect and absolutely nothing like what it was supposed to. There’s a good reason why I don’t bake. But it tasted quite delicious. I did find the buttercream a little too sugary – and I’m not sure if that’s because I just don’t have the sweet-tooth I used to, or if it’s because I didn’t allow the sugar to dissolve enough into the eggs. Either way, we ate cake.
You can find the original recipe for Vanilla Cake & Tiramisu Buttercream from Love & Olive Oil – I did everything they said to only I used fresh espresso in place of the instant coffee and I also skipped out on the fondant. I have a feeling only very well seasoned bakers should attempt one of those! And I’m no seasoned baker. So, without further ado (or rambling), here is Vanilla Cake with Tiramisu Buttercream & Bittersweet Ganache filling:

Vanilla Cake with Tiramisu Buttercream & Bittersweet Ganache Filling


For Cake:

  • 3 3/4 C Cake Flour.
  • 2 1/2 C Sugar.
  • 1 Tbsp + 2 3/4 Tsp Baking Powder.
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt.
  • 10 oz Unsalted Butter, room temperature.
  • 1 1/4 C + 1/3 C Buttermilk.
  • 5 Whole Eggs.
  • 2 Egg Yolks.
  • 2 1/2 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract.

For Buttercream (half this amount if using fondant):

  • 6 Large Egg Whites.
  • 1 1/2 C Sugar.
  • 1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract.
  • 20 oz Unsalted Butter, room temperature.
  • 2 Tbsp Warm Water.
  • 1 Tbsp Instant Coffee.

For Ganache:

  • 1/3 C Heavy Cream.
  • 3 oz Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped.


To make the cake:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees F. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
  2. Combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the mixer on low speed, blend for about 30 seconds. Add the butter and 1 1/4 C of the buttermilk. Mix on low speed briefly to blend; raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and the remaining 1/3 C of buttermilk until well blended. Pour one-third of the egg mixture into the cake batter at a time, folding it in completely after each addition. There will be 9 cups of batter; pour 3 cups into each pan.
  4. Bake 26-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  5. * My oven required an extra 15 minutes of cooking time since the top was still a little liquidy after 28 minutes - adjust accordingly.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes.
  7. Turn the layers out onto wire racks by placing a rack on top of a pan, inverting it, and lifting off the pan. Peel the paper liners off and let cool completely. When the layers have cooled, place a cardboard cake board on top of a layer, invert again, and lift off the rack. To make layers easier to handle, wrap them on their boards completely in plastic wrap, so they don't dry out, and refrigerate them.

To make Buttercream:

  1. Combine the sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (double boiler) and whisk constantly until it feels hot to the touch - about 5 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved and the mixture will look like marshmallow cream.
  2. Remove from the heat and transfer to a cool bowl and blend on high speed until mixture is completely cooled and stiff peaks form - about 6 minutes. Beat in vanilla and add butter 2 Tbsp at a time, mixing well on low speed after each addition. Beat until smooth - about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir instant coffee into warm water until dissolved. Add, 1 Tsp at a time, to buttercream, mixing well after each addition. Continue until you are satisfied with the strength of the coffee flavour (Love & Olive Oil used about 1 Tbsp, I used about 3).
  4. Set aside until ready to use.

To make Ganache:

  1. Place chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl.
  2. In a heavy saucepan set over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the stove and pour over chopped chocolate. Let stand 2 minutes and then stir until fully combined. Let cool until just firm enough to spread onto cake layers.

To Assemble:

  1. After levelling the cake layers as necessary (chop off excess round top bits), place one cake layer on a plate, flattest side up. Brush with sugar syrup if desired (it will help keep cake moist - I omitted this step). Spread half the ganache evenly over the top, followed by approx 3/4 cup of the buttercream. Repeat with the second cake layer. Top with the third cake layer and lightly crumb coat the cake with more buttercream. At this point you can either cover the cake with fondant, or frost it with a thick layer of buttercream.


DSC_2035Seriously differs from this
  • patience
    June 4, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    i love that first image!

  • Kristy Lynn
    June 4, 2011 at 9:37 PM

    …and what about the one that I baked..? 😉

  • Wandering Coyote
    June 5, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    OMG, that’s pretty freaking awesome! Anything tiramisu is pure win for me! I am off to Vancouver next week and am looking forward to going to this waffle place ( where they do a tiramisu waffle sandwich!

  • Kristy Lynn
    June 5, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    @ Wandering Coyote – Oh. wow. Next time I hit up Van I’ll be jumpin on that waffle train!!

  • Becky
    April 27, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Fondant should only be attempted by professionals, I agree. It looks good, but honestly tastes bleh. This cake looks much tastier.

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 28, 2012 at 4:52 PM

      hahaha – it was good. messy but good.