Category Archives: Cake

Tiramisu Cheesecake, Mangia bene, vivi felice

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tiramisu cheesecake  upcloseI have a friend who was in the hospital the week before Easter.  She and her husband always have the family gather at their house for holidays and she was telling me that this year she wasn’t going to be up to having a big Easter dinner.  “I did ask my daughter to please try and make a cheesecake for Easter”, she told me.

tiramisu cheesecake wholeOn my way home from the visit I was thinking about cheesecake.  I love to make (and eat) cheesecake.  Years ago when everyone else was making the jello-type no bake cheesecakes, I started making baked New York-style cheesecakes.  Yum.

tiramisu cheesecake downSo I called my friend’s daughter and asked if I could bake their Easter cheesecake.  She seemed thrilled and relieved all at the same time.  She was going to have her hands full making the Easter meal for the family and taking the cheesecake off her list was a blessing.

When I asked if they had a favorite cheesecake, without hesitation she said “my mom absolutely loves Tiramisu cheesecake.”  Yikes, I thought.  I hadn’t ever made a Tiramisu cheesecake but it sounded wonderful.

The Italian word “tiramisu” means “pick-me-up” and refers to a dessert of ladyfinger sponge cake dipped in coffee layered with mascarpone cheese.  Add in classic cheesecake ingredients like cream cheese,  sour cream, a little whipped cream and eggs, and this dessert redefines a classic.

Spring Daffodils 2014I doubled the recipe so that I could bake it in a larger spring form pan for them and have a little cake left for us.  They were thrilled and my sous chef dish-washing mom and Chief cheesecake-eater were surprised and very happy because they had no idea they were going to be recipients of a little Tiramisu cheesecake also.

cheese-cake-in-oven-Be sure and bake wrapped tightly in foil and placed in a pan of 1 to 1 1/2″ of water.  It will keep the cake top from splitting.  You can read more about that here.

Cheesecake takes a little time to make but it is easy and well worth the effort!

Mangia bene, vivi felice,
~ Catherine

Tiramisu Cheesecake, Mangia bene, vivi felice
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
"Tiramisu" means "pick-me-up" and this classic cheesecake recipe with an Italian twist is sure to be a pick me up for any party or family affair.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 16 servings
  • 1 (12) ounce package of ladyfingers or sponge cake
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons coffee flavored liqueur (Baileys or Kahlua)
  • 4 Tablespoons strong brewed coffee* (split)
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract
  • 4 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 1⅓ cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • Baking cocoa, cinnamon, powdered sugar optional for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Brush bottom of a 9-in. springform pan with butter; sprinkle with torn up pieces of ladyfinger. Mix 2 Tablespoons melted butter, 2 Tablespoons coffee flavored liqueuer and 2 Tablespoons strong coffee together. Pour evenly over ladyfingers. Lightly press over entire bottom of springform pan, forming a bottom crust. Place pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan. Bake for 5 minutes in preheated oven.
  3. In a large bowl or food processor, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the cream, sour cream, vanilla and remaining 2 Tablespoons coffee and rum extract. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour into prepared pan. Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of boiling water to larger pan. Placing the springform pan in water when baking will keep the top crust from splitting during and after baking.
  4. Bake at 325° for 70-80 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath; remove foil. Cool cheesecake on a wire rack for 10 minutes; loosen edges from pan with a knife. Cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
  5. Remove rim from pan. Just before serving, dust cheesecake with a mixture of powdered sugar, cocoa and cinnamon. Yield: 12 servings.
Be sure and use a double layer of heavy foil around spring form pan to keep water out during baking.
Dusting with cocoa, cinnamon and powdered sugar mixture is optional.

This recipe is a combination from Taste of Home and All Recipes.


A Half Truth

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Half truthDriving into town last week I read this  sign in a local church yard.  A half truth, a “little white lie”, a twist of truth … is still a whole lie.   This has bounced around in my head all through the week, not to mention the many times I drove that road in to town and read the sign.

I am studying 2 John this week.  From the study 2 John 1:6 is my memory verse.

2 John 6
Having just gone through Holy Week and Easter weekend, it seems there was a lot of conversation on television, in the grocery stores, and among  friends about Jesus.  About The Bible and doctrines of the Bible.  Often times I feel that when I choose sound Bible doctrine over what is socially accepted I come off as being narrow-minded or judgmental.

Then I read a sign that says a half truth is still a whole lie.   In 2 John he encourages Believers to live in truth and walk in love for one another.  That is what I want to do … walk in love for all others.

Do you ever struggle with that line between half truth and whole lie or between living in this world but not being of this world?

I pray you have a week filled with the truth imparted to us by the life of Jesus Christ and that each day you find time to walk in love for one another.


P.S.  I made Italian Cream Cake and Hot Cross Buns to take to our friends for Easter Dinner.  Click on the picture and it will take you to the recipe!italian cream cake frosting italian cream cake whole

hot cross up close

Maundy Thursday

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maundy thursdayToday is Maundy Thursday.   It is the Christian holy day, falling on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the Maundy and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels.

“And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.”    Matthew 20: 17-19 KJV

Do you have special plans for this Easter weekend?  Do any of those plans  include a little time in the kitchen?  Here are a few of my favorite spring and holiday recipes.  Happy Baking!

baked french toast singleOvernight Baked French Toast (oops, sorry about the Christmas dishes!)  This is a great recipe because it can be made on Saturday and ready to bake Sunday morning.  No fuss, no muss!

strawberry cake finishedFresh strawberry cake!  This is one of the best recipe I have ever made for flavor, texture and all around  tasty “wow” feature!

Strawberry cupcake biteFresh strawberry cupcakes work well for feeding a crowd of little kids and big kids!

hot cross bun 2 dozenI’ll be making Hot Cross Buns on Saturday for a Sunday Easter dinner with friends.  These hot cross buns are easy and so incredibly delicious when served slightly warmed. (Not enough to melt the cross!)

Happy Spring and blessed baking!


Italian Cream Birthday Bake

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59 cream cake
Middle Tennessee has been hit with full-on WINTER all in one week.  This week.  Ice. Snow. Rain. Sleet. Thunder. More Ice.  All this week.  The glorious result for me is that we have been home all week.  This may not sound great to you but for me, it is a blessing to have appointments cancelled.  The news man says “stay home.”  The weather woman says “it’s getting worse out there – stay home.”

Alice Cat Birthday Cake
I absolutely love being home!  So when ice and snow kept us indoors for my birthday my sous-chef-dish-washing mom and I hit the kitchen together!  I was telling her that I really, really like Italian Cream Cake but I’ve never made one.  I added, “I am sure our homemade cake will be better than any I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant.”   (That’s a lot of confidence … or arrogance!)

Alice Cat Very Busy
We divided up the recipe, marked out our space on the counter and got to it!  Italian Cream cake is very easy to make with buttermilk and soda combining to make the creaminess of the batter.

alice cat kitchen
Egg whites are folded in to give the cake a luscious, light texture.  Traditionally flaked coconut is added to the batter.  I adore coconut and so I add a little coconut flavoring as well as vanilla.

We baked the cake in 8″ square pans because I wanted to use my square cake plate.  (I do realize a round cake can go on a square plate, but that scrambles up my brain.)

While the cake was baking we chopped and toasted pecans, made a butter cream cheese frosting and patiently waited to finish up our 3-layer masterpiece!

Italian Cream Cake
This recipe came from Southern Living Magazine, November 1996.  I wonder what took me so long to make it?

Italian Cream cake single
The coconut makes the cake look a little “ragged” but I assure you it is moist and luscious.

Italian Cr cake single back
My sous-chef dish-washing mom said “it is perfect” and then added “but next time if you want to add a little more frosting I wouldn’t mind.” 

I agree about the frosting, so I added to the frosting recipe so you won’t run short.  I could have used more frosting between each layer.

All-in-all a perfect end to a lovely birthday, spent partly in the kitchen with my mom!  Aren’t I blessed?  Yes!  I know!

Happy Baking and Stay Warm!
~ Catherine


Italian Cream Birthday Bake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Luscious and delicious this traditional 3-layer cake makes a perfect birthday cake or dessert for any occasion!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: Serves 12
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup shortening*
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Teaspoon coconut extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
Nutty Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 24 ounces powdered sugar (3 cups)
  • Milk, if needed
  • *Garnishes: toasted pecan halves, chopped pecans
  1. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add vanilla and coconut extract, beating until blended.
  2. Combine flour and soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in coconut.
  3. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, and fold into batter. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch cake pans.
  4. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
  5. Bake chopped pecans in a shallow baking pan at 350°, stirring occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes or until toasted. Cool.
  6. Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and coconut extract at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Beat frosting at high speed until smooth, add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary, to make your favorite consistency; stir in pecans.
  7. Spread Nutty Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish, if desired.
* I use solid coconut oil for the shortening. Coconut oil is ideal for baking.

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