From Bryanna Clark Grogan's, "Nonna's Italian Kitchen" Tiramisu has always been a favorite, decadent dessert, one reserved for special occasions. When I first read this recipe, I thought, "Come on, how can this taste like the real thing?" All I can say is, "Try it; I know you'll like it; you'll be so surprised!" Don't let the steps scare you. They're all quick and easy. And the result is fabulous. You'll be singing "O Solo Mio"!

1 layer Genoise cake - recipe below
1/3 cp espresso (I use instant espresso)
3 T rum, amaretto, or liqueur-flavored Italian syrup (I've used Kahlua)
1 recipe Cashew Pastry Creme (below)
1 recipe Sweet Soy Creme (below)
1 T Dutch dark cocoa powder, or 2 T grated dark, semi-sweet chocolate

Cut the cake layer in half horizontally. Combine the espresso and rum in a small cup. In a shallow, flat-bottomed casserole or bowl (preferably clear glass and about 9 inches in diameter), place one half of the cake. Sprinkle with half the espresso-rum mixture. Spread half the pastry creme over the cake, then place the second layer of cake over that. Sprinkle that with the remaining espresso mixture, and spread the remaining creme over that. Top with the whipped cream, and sprinkle with the cocoa and/or dark chocolate. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours; use within 3 days.

Note: You can buy non-dairy whipped cream in natural food markets.

Genoise Cake (Yield: 2 8-inch layers)

1 3/4 cps white or whole wheat pastry or cake flour
1 cp light unbleached sugar, finely ground in dry blender
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cp dairy free margarine, at room temperature
2/3 cp water
1/2 cp soy or other non-dairy milk
2 tsps vinegar
2 tsps vanilla extract or 1 tsp almond extract (I prefer to use almond here.)
Preheat oven to 350. Mix the dry ingredients with a whisk in a large bowl. Add the margarine and water, and beat with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients, and beat 1 more minute. Divide the batter equally between the two round 8-inch greased and floured cake pans. Bake for 25 minutes or until the cakes test done. Cool on racks for 5 minutes, then loosen the sides and remove to racks to cool completely.

Cashew Pastry Creme (Yield: 2 cps)

1 1/2 cps water
5 T raw cashews
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cp finely ground unbleached sugar
1 1/2 T cornstarch
1/4 cp unbleached white flour
2 T rum or amaretto or 1-2 tsps rum extract

Make a cashew milk by blending the water, cashews, and salt in blender until very smooth. Add the remaining ingredients, except the flavor extracts. Blend until very smooth. Pour into a medium saucepan, and stir constantly over medium-high heat until the mixture is quite thick. Simmer on low heat for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, whisk in the flavoring. Pour the mixture into a bowl, cover with wax paper or plastic wrap (touching the surface), and refrigerate for up to a week. The mixture should be thoroughly cooled before using.

Sweet Soy Creme (Yield: almost 1 cup)

1/2 cp soymilk, rice or almond milk
1/2 cp extra-firm silken tofu
2 T well-cooked short grain white rice (I use brown; works just as well.)
4 tsps Grade A maple syrup
pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in a blender, and process until very smooth. this can be refrigerated for several days; stir gently before using. If you desire a 'thicker' whipped creme version, add 1 more tsps maple syrup and 2 T well-cooked short grain white rice. Note: You can buy non-dairy whipped cream in natural food store.