When I was younger, we sometimes went to Buca di Beppo. It wasn’t my favorite restaurant, but it was my favorite Italian restaurant close to home, and it satisfied us in a pinch. I remember liking the chicken marsala and pizza sized garlic bread.
I also remember trying the tiramisu once upon a time, long before I developed an allergy to chocolate. I don’t remember everything about the tiramisu, other than it was so cold and creamy and delicious.
And when my parents tasted it, I also learned it was boozy.
They liked it too, there wasn’t much not to like. But they felt it was way too alcoholic for their little one to be eating and even asked the waiter about it. So while the tiramisu was good, the thing I remember most is the hilarity of my parents freaking out and eating something that felt maybe just a little dangerous. And I definitely recall not being able to enjoy as much of the tiramisu as I wanted.
That’s actually one of the only times I can remember having tiramisu, and I haven’t ever made it. Though this is not traditional tiramisu at all, nor does it pack as much of a spirited kick as Buca’s, I cannot tell you how much I absolutely positively love this espresso vanilla bean tiramisu cake.
It’s sweet and bitter, strong in a symphony of flavors, but delicate in creamy textures. It is a dessert I didn’t share outside of my house and one we devoured faster than most I make. I mean, you can’t go wrong with coffee, vanilla, carob (or chocolate), and a kick of bourbon.Print
A cake infused with coffee and vanilla and flecked with carob, that is brushed with bourbon and topped with creamy frosting.
½ cup coconut oil, room temperature
¼ cup maple sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla bean powder
2 teaspoons espresso powder
3 large eggs
½ cup unsweetened almond milk (preferably vanilla)
1 ½ cups paleo flour blend (2 cups almond flour, 1 ¼ cups tapioca starch, ¾ cup coconut flour)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ cup finely chopped carob or dark chocolate
1/3 cup very strong coffee
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
½ cup coconut butter
1 tablespoon carob or cocoa powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder
2 teaspoons vanilla bean powder
1 tablespoon bourbon
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
¼ – ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
Carob or dark chocolate for garnish
Make the cake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/ 325 degrees F convection. Oil an 8 or 9 inch cake pan.
In a large bowl, beat the oil and sugar until lightened in texture and fully combined. Beat in the vanilla, espresso, and the eggs, one at a time. Stir in half the flour followed by the milk. Stir in the remaining flour, baking powder, and chopped carob or chocolate.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs.
Stir together the coffee, bourbon, and maple syrup and brush it over the hot cake. Cool completely.
Make the frosting. In a medium microwave safe bowl, place the butter, carob or cocoa powder, espresso, vanilla, syrup, and milk. Microwave on high in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until fully melted. Stir in the bourbon. If the mixture is thick, but pourable, pour it over the cake. If not, slowly stir in more milk until it is the proper consistency.
Finish the cake with finely grated carob or dark chocolate, slice and serve. Cake may be stored at room temperature up to 4 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag, for up to 3 months. Thaw in the microwave about 1 minute.
Recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes