Tiramisù means “pick-me-up” (metaphorically, “make me happy”). This may refer to the caffeine in the espresso and effect of cocoa used in the recipe (source).
TIRAMISU | TUSCAN TRIFLE RECIPE
1 cup cake flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
2/3 cups granulated white sugar
1 ½ tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ cup brewed espresso
1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
½ cup dark rum, or Amaretto or Marsala
A splash of coffee liquor, optional
2 cups (16 oz) mascarpone cheese
1 ½-to-2 cups liquid heavy whipping cream
2/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
¾-to-1 ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla bean extract
1-to-3 tablespoons Marsala or Amaretto, optional
2 oz grated chocolate, optional
Dark cocoa powder, sifted, for garnish; or chocolate flakes
Prepare sponge cake. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8” square or a 9” round spring form pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Sift and whisk together flour and baking powder; set aside.
In the pan of a double boiler over simmering water, whisk together eggs, yolks, sugar, honey and zest until hot (about 120F-140F); until sugar is completely dissolved. Transfer to a mixer bowl and beat on high, using the whisk attachment, until mixture cools, triples in volume and is mousse-like in texture; about 10 min. Sift dry flour mixture over egg mixture as you gently fold until no lumps remain.
Pour into prepared pan and bake 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. Cool cake in pan for about 5 minutes; loosen edges with a knife, and then lift off the pan sides. Let cool for another 10 minutes, remove pan bottom and parchment paper and cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate until cold and firm then slice horizontally into three layers using a sharp serrated knife.
Prepare coffee mixture. Combine all ingredients and whisk until thoroughly dissolved.
Prepare mascarpone cream. Beat mascarpone cheese on medium speed until smooth; set aside. Beat heavy cream on medium speed to soft peaks. Add whipped cheese, sugar, vanilla, liquor and chocolate if using; continue to beat to stiff peaks.
Assemble tiramisu. Cut cake layers to fit your serving plate; make sure there is enough for 3 layers. Place one cake layer, brush with one third of the coffee mixture, spread with one third of the mascarpone cream and repeat. * If making a two layer cake, half the mixtures instead of splitting into three.
Sift cocoa powder over top, cover and refrigerate at least overnight for the flavors to blend.
recipe adapted from The II Fornaio Baking Book by Franco Galli