Self-Taught Pastry Chef at BKD's is Passionate about Baking and Desserts

Aliya Coakley Creates and Features a Different Type of Cheesecake Each Week at BKD’s Backyard Joint

Aliya Coakley has fond memories of being surrounded by food while growing up, thanks in large part to her dad Mark, a professional chef, working his magic in the kitchen.

Coakley, now 23 and the pastry chef at BKD’s Backyard Joint, credits her dad for encouraging her to embrace a career in the culinary field.

“My father has been a chef for the majority of life, and is my biggest inspiration,” she says.

Coakley’s favorite type of dessert to make is cheesecake; she enjoys featuring a different flavor each week at BKD’s (, including eggnog, pumpkin spice, and chocolate mousse. Devil’s food chocolate cake is also a fave, she says.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Coakley was happy to share a favorite recipe for Berry Tiramisu.

Berry Tiramisu

Serves 2-4

1/3 cup berry jam (any kind)

4 Tbsp. Grand Marnier

2 Tbsp. orange juice

8 oz. mascarpone cheese (room temperature)

1/3 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

1 tsp. vanilla 

16 lady fingers

2 pints fresh blueberries

Whisk the berry jam and Grand Marnier until smooth. In a medium sized bowl, combine the whipping cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. In a large bowl, mix the mascarpone cheese and orange juice until combined. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture. In a shallow bread pan, lay half of the lady fingers on the bottom. Pour half of the berry mixture over them, followed by the mascarpone mixture. Sprinkle half of the fresh berries on top and then repeat the process one more time. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until set. Before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar and garnish with blueberries. 

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