Raspberry Tea-ramisu Chiffon Sandwiches

Tiramisu is classically made with either ladyfingers or Savoiardi biscuits, soaked with coffee, layered with mascarpone cheese, and dusted with cocoa powder. It is such a classic Italian dessert, but I wanted to turn it on its head, and do a raspberry tea-ramisu. The logic here was two-fold: raspberries and coffee do not really go together that well, but I wanted to do a fruit-based tiramisu, so the next best option to coffee was tea, which does pair beautifully with fruit! In this case, I went with Earl Grey, which has notes of bergamot and lavender, things that work nicely with raspberries in particular. The chiffon itself is a vanilla chiffon cake, that also uses both almond milk and almond flour, which gives the cake a similar crispy at the edges texture to both ladyfingers and Savoiardi. I also listed an option on how to make the chiffon cake fully gluten-free, since the cake pictured in this article was actually my gluten-free chiffon cake experiment! The cakes actually came out quite nicely, as a result of the tapioca starch and mochiko working together quite well to create a soft yet spongy cake. Compared to my usual chiffon cakes, which use half the amount of egg yolks, these used equal parts egg whites to egg yolks to give the cake a more robust mouthfeel.

For the components in total, we have the almond-vanilla chiffon cake, a whipped mascarpone, Earl Grey soak and Earl Grey-raspberry compote, a dusting of black cacao powder, and fresh raspberries on top. I also brushed the raspberries with a sugar glaze, just so that the berries themselves would not dry out, since I did cut them in half, just to give the tea-ramisu a daintier finish! I would say that the cake is the most technically difficult thing, though with the mascarpone, I will warn you against using a whisk to cream it – mascarpone has a high fat content, which causes it to split and curdle very easily if you whisk it. Using a rubber spatula just to soften it up is really all you need to do, otherwise you will end up with really expensive homemade butter. Beyond the cake and mascarpone, the rest of the recipe is a combination of brewing tea and making jam, which are pretty beginner-friendly things to do if you are a baker who is just starting out!

Makes 8 sandwiches:
For the vanilla-almond chiffon cake:
For the chiffon cake:
6 eggs, separated
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola oil
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup almond milk
3/4 cups all-purpose flour(replace with 2/3 cups mochiko and 1/4 tsp xanthan gum if you want this to be fully gluten-free)
1/4 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking powder

In a bowl, whip the egg whites with sugar to stiff peaks. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with vanilla, canola oil, salt, and milk until combined. Into the egg yolk mixture, sift the flours and baking powder. Fold into that the egg whites to form your batter. Pour the batter into an 8-inch chiffon cake mold. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes first. Then turn off the oven, and let the cake sit in the oven for 10 minutes, with the oven door slightly opened. Finally, take the cake out, flip upside down, and allow the cake to cool completely, while upside down, at room temperature.

Once the cake is fully cooled, scrape the sides away from the tin using an offset spatula. Then gently remove the cake from the pan. Cut the cake into 8 pieces, cutting each piece halfway down the middle to create slits. Store these cakes in an airtight container.

For the Earl Grey tea:
2 Earl Grey tea bags
1 cup lukewarm water

Mix together and allow to sit in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 30 minutes.

For the Earl Grey-raspberry compote:
1/4 cup Earl Grey tea
3oz fresh raspberries
2 tbsp granulated sugar
a pinch of salt

In a pot, bring everything to a simmer. Once the raspberries are fully softened and the liquid is reduced by half, transfer to a heatproof container, and allow the mixture to cool down completely.

For the whipped mascarpone:
6oz mascarpone cheese
2 tbsp honey or confectioner’s sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix together until combined. Transfer to a piping bag.

For the glaze:
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp hot water
a pinch of salt

Let the sugar dissolve into the water.

To garnish:
Cocoa powder
Fresh raspberries

Start by pouring 1 tbsp of the Earl Grey tea into each sandwich. Layer in the compote first, then the mascarpone. Top with a dusting of cocoa powder. Brush the raspberries with a thin layer of the sugar glaze, and top the tea-ramisu to finish.

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