(It looks so-so, but tastes phenomenal.)
Back in the olden-days when Dan and I were doing the long-distance dating thing, he took me out to dinner at a fancy-schmancy restaurant where we got gourmet tiramisu for dessert. It was amazing and I thought it would be really awesome if I could make some of that delicious dessert for my honey the next time he came to visit me. I found the most decadent recipe I could find and assembled the ingredients. It should come as no shock to any of you to know that tiramisu is pretty dang expensive to put together. Between the marscapone cheese, coffee liqueur, bakery-fresh lady fingers and real whipped cream, I think the entire 9 x 9 pan of dessert ran me about $24. It was delicious, but to make it now (and spend over 1/3 of the week's grocery budget) would be absurd and impractical.
So, I came up with this (much) less-expensive alternative that it still quite tasty and very much keeps the essence of the original dessert:
Poor Man's Tiramisu
1 box yellow cake mix (and other ingredients to bake cake according to box directions)
1 box instant chocolate pudding
1 cup milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups brewed coffee
2 pouches instant coffee mix (2 servings)
1 tub Cool Whip
Sprinkling of baker's cocoa powder
1. Mix and bake cake according to box directions, substituting 1 cup water for 1 cup brewed coffee.
2. While cake is baking, mix up the pudding using 1 cup milk and 1 cup brewed coffee and mix in the pouches of instant coffee.
3. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven (while it is still hot or very warm), poke a bajillion holes in it, like this:
4. Next, pour the can of sweetened condensed milk onto the cake, filling the holes.
5. Repeat with the chocolate pudding mixture.
6. Cool completely on counter top or in the fridge.
7. Cover with an entire tub of Cool-Whip and sprinkle with baker's cocoa powder.
8. Enjoy! (Please note. It is pretty rich, but really, really good. So go ahead, cut yourself a nice big piece.)