Tiramisu Cake in a Jar

Who doesn't love Tiramisu?... Believe it or not.. we get a Tiramisu Cake at a local grocery store that is to die for... while the bakery has always been good.. the cake was far better than expected... but two of us certainly don't need a whole cake in the house.. or well... we'd be big as a house... so we only get it for big occasions and when my son is with us... and let him bring home the leftovers.
Fast forward to a recipe I saw that used instant vanilla pudding in the filling recipe... and I thought well why not try it... well I tried it... and didn't like it... at all... but I still liked the idea... so in the kitchen I went... to experiment...
I wanted to mimic the taste and texture of that delicious Tiramisu Cake we love AND be able to make it in big and small quantities alike... AND I wanted to cut time in the kitchen.. AND not break the bank for the ingredients...  and did I mention... I wanted to be able to make it nice enough to be a party dessert recipe if I wanted to make it for a gathering or special dinner.... a tall order for sure...
All I can say is we were very very pleased with the result... and by the taste.. you'd never know it was made with lots of shortcuts..
First of all... you can make this in a jar...  with the lids.. it makes stacking them in the fridge a breeze... but if you want to make it for a special occasion dessert.. by all means use a small glass... the one in the picture is one of our juice glasses.. or you can use a small dessert glass... I put plastic wrap over it and stored it in the fridge until I served it after dinner.
How you make the layers in the jar is entirely up to you... I tried it a number of ways.. one set of layers... 2 sets of layers... one layer of cake on the bottom ... and doubled the filling and mocha whipped cream twice... all of them were excellent... I personally preferred doubling the layers... cake then filling then whipped cream then cake, filling and whipped cream again.
Most recipes sprinkle cocoa powder over the top.. I shaved chocolate over the top.. just a personal preference.. you can do either.
I used whole milk.. I highly recommend it... lower fat milk won't give you the smooth texture and rich taste you want to mimic in this dessert.
I measured out the 2 cups of milk... then took 1/4 cup from it... and dissolved the espresso powder in it by warming it in the microwave... make sure you stir it well to be sure it's completely dissolved.. and then allow it to cool.. using warm milk will not let your filling set-up properly.
The ingredients here will make about 8-10 desserts... depending on how much you decide to put into each.. you have tremendous leeway with that... don't make them too big.. it is a rich dessert.
I used store bought pound cake for the cake... make sure it's a few days old.. you want it a bit dry .. so it will soak up the coffee/liqueur mixture.
I added a little powdered sugar to the coffee/ liqueur mixture.. I tried it without it and thought it needed just a touch more sweetness... you can leave that out if you like.
I used powdered sugar because it will dissolve easier without the coffee being hot.. if you don't have it .. you can use granulated.. just make sure you heat the coffee... and make sure you allow it to cool before using it in this recipe.
You can use Kahlua or Tia Maria... either will work.  I used Tia Maria If you want a totally alcohol free dessert... you can leave it out.. but keep in mind it will alter the flavor slightly.
I used one and a half tablespoons of the espresso granules ... just eyeball the half a tablespoon...
The beauty of this recipe is you don't use raw eggs in the filling so you don't have to cook it... a huge time saver.
This quick and easy recipe is delicious.. I hope you try it!

Recipe:  Tiramisu Cake in a Jar
All you need:
1/2  Sara Lee Pound Cake
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
3 tablespoons Tia Maria *See TIPS
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
For the Filling:
1 small (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding
2 cups whole milk, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons espresso granules
4 oz. (1/2 an 8 oz container) mascarpone
For the Frosting:
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons General Foods International Suisse Cafe Mocha instant coffee
2 tablespoons sugar
Shaved chocolate
All you need to do:
In a measuring cup mix 1/4 cup of the whole milk and the espresso granules.. heat in the microwave until the granules dissolve.  I did it for 30 seconds on the 5 setting...  how long and how high depends on your microwave oven... you don't want it hot.. you just want enough heat to dissolve the granules. Allow to cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of your standing mixer, add the cooled milk/espresso mixture, the instant vanilla pudding and the remaining 3/4 cup milk.  Using the whisk attachment, whisk the mixture to mix the ingredients.  Add the mascarpone cheese and whisk until smooth.
In a Large bowl, whip together the heavy cream, the mocha instant coffee and sugar until stiff peaks.
In a small bowl, mix together the coffee, Tia Maria and powdered sugar.
Cut the pound cake into 1/2 inch slices.  You will need 1 slice per jar for the bottom layer.  Cut each slice in half (so it will be easier to get it into the jar). 
If you decided to make another layer of cake (doubling all the layers)... cut another slice for each jar.. I would cut the slice only 1/4 inch thick for the middle layer.
To assemble the Dessert:
Quickly dip the cut pound cake slices for the bottom of the jar... in the coffee mixture and place 2 halves of each slice in the bottom.  Take a spoon and squish it gently on the bottom to "pack" the layer a bit.
Add a layer of filling to the jar... then a layer of the mocha whipped cream.... repeat the steps using the thinner pound cake slice.. this time don't pack the pound cake too much... you don't want the middle layer too mushy...
For the garnish... use a small grader or zester to shave the chocolate over the top.  I used a small bar of Godiva chocolate.
Place the lids on the jars and refrigerate.  They're best the same day... but mine did last nicely for 3 days...

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