I surrounded the cake with pirouette cookies and topped it with a light dusting of cocoa powder and chocolate shavings (white chocolate and semisweet chocolate). I also made some cupcakes for the kids because I didn't think they'd appreciate all of the coffee flavor and I knew I wouldn't appreciate all of the caffeine from the coffee!
When we got to their house, we started talking about food (naturally). Bro. Doug asked if I knew how to make baklava. He had tried it when he went to Israel and it was apparently a new favorite of his. Darn it! I knew I should have gone with the baklava!
Then I introduced them to tiramisu. Now, this is NOT a traditional tiramisu. This is a layer cake and contains no biscuits or ladyfingers. But it is just as delicious. After I made this cake the first time, my husband went to work bragging about it and one of his coworkers ordered on. I'm not sure why he would order it though because he specifically told my husband, "I've tried tiramisu and I didn't like it." I think he was having a party for his girlfriend and she liked coffee....Whatever the reason, I know that this customer had tried tiramisu from an Italian bakery and had not been impressed.
And then...I delivered his cake. He couldn't stop talking about how great it was. Personally, I've never had real tiramisu either so I can't make comparisons but I can tell you that this is a customer favorite! Probably the most popular flavor cake I have for now and one of the top selling cupcakes as well. And after all that praise I just gave it, I'm a little embarrassed to admit....it comes from a box mix!
At some point in time...after I had made the recipe several times and didn't actually need to look at the recipe anymore, I forgot about mixing in half of the whipped topping mixture into the filling mixture...but everybody still loves it and that's how I make it now. Because I surround the cake with pirouette cookies, I usually just make a coffee flavored buttercream instead of the whipped topping. It holds up better, still tastes great, and makes me less anxious to drive anywhere with the cake. (We usually go on a lot of hilly, bumpy, curvy roads).
My sister-in-law made this cake for her daughter's birthday and completely forgot about the middle, plain vanilla layer. People still gave the cake rave reviews so if you don't feel like wasting part of the vanilla cake, feel free to skip the middle layer!
I have found that mascarpone cheese is a little difficult to find and when you do find it, it is a little pricey. Here's a cheap alternative:
8oz cream cheese
1/4 c. whipping cream
2 1/2 T. sour cream
Whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl often. Add whipping cream and sour cream and mix until smooth and combined.
I usually make this faux mascarpone in the KitchenAid and then go straight to making the filling. It is slightly more than you need but it won't make a difference.