Tiramisu Cake is a classic Italian cake that’s made with coffee-soaked sponge cake and layered with sweet mascarpone cream. It’s also dusted with delicious cocoa powder.
Table Of Contents
This classic Italian dessert is typically made with ladyfingers as the “cake base,” but to be honest, this cake version is so much BETTER! You’ll love the way the flavors absorb into the fluffy layers.
- TASTE: This sweet and creamy espresso combination is every coffee lover’s dream. The addition of cocoa makes it even tastier.
- TEXTURE: The fluffy and airy sponge cake absorbs all the coffee liqueur, mascarpone cream, and cocoa powder all too well. And the frosting is so creamy.
- TIME: This cake will take 55 minutes.
- EASE: As elegant as it looks, this recipe is rather easy. Just follow the pictures and step-by-step instructions in this recipe for a perfect Tiramisu Cake.
What You’ll Need
- Cake base- To make the cake layers of this sponge cake Tiramisu, we’ll be using All-purpose flour, Cornstarch, Baking powder, Eggs, Sugar, and Vanilla extract.
- Mascarpone cheese- This is for the frosting and is sweet with some hints of acidity.
- Cream cheese- Sweet and tangy, this mixes with the mascarpone for the frosting.
- Egg product- These eggs make the frosting extra creamy, as is traditional for tiramisu.
- Kahlua– To add extra coffee flavor along with hints of vanilla and caramel. This liqueur is sweet and rich.
- Powdered sugar- To sweeten the frosting.
- Espresso- This is what adds the delicious coffee flavor that Tiramisu cake is known for.
- Sugar- This is to add sweetness to the coffee soak.
- Cocoa powder- This is added to each layer of the cake for delicious chocolaty flavor to pair with the coffee taste.
Add-ins and Substitutions
- Substitute the espresso- If you haven’t got an espresso maker, you can use instant espresso powder or really strong brewed coffee. You will need 1 cup of either one
- Use real eggs- Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar to 3 eggs instead of the egg product. Then simmer 2 cups of water in a pot. Place the egg mixture in a bowl, and the bowl in the pot. Beat until double in size, then remove from heat and cool before adding the mascarpone.
- Substitute the Kahlua- If you haven’t got any or don’t want to use it, you can substitute a few teaspoons of coffee extract to replace it.
- Add toppings- Top the cake with shavings from a bar of chocolate for a prettier presentation and more chocolaty flavor. You can also add espresso beans.
How to Make Tiramisu Cake
- Beat the eggs. Beat them in a stand mixer on high speed for 4 minutes, then add the sugar and vanilla. Continue beating until the eggs are fluffy and pale.
- Sift the dry ingredients. Sift the flour, baking powder and cornstarch into the eggs and fold it in with a whisk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Bake the cake. Pour the cake batter into the parchment-lined round 10-inch cake pans and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 28-30 minutes. You can check for doneness with a toothpick. Then let the cake cool on a cooling wire rack.
- Make the frosting. Meanwhile beat the cream cheese, mascarpone, Kahlua, and powdered sugar. Whip the egg product using an electric mixer until it thickens, then add it to the mascarpone mixture.
- Slice the cake. Slice the cooled cake layers in half, and soak them in a combination of coffee and sugar.
- Assemble it. Then assemble the cake in this order: coffee-soaked cake, cream, cocoa powder, and repeat until all the cake layers are used. Be sure to reserve some cream to coat the outside of the cake.
Pro Tip: I find that using a Martellato soaker bottle is the best method for soaking cakes. It doesn’t drench it as other methods do.
- Thicken runny mascarpone- If the brand of mascarpone cheese you bought has a runnier consistency, make sure to refrigerate the cream for at least 40 minutes before combining it with the egg product.
- Make sure you beat the eggs well- Your mascarpone cream frosting can get runny if the eggs are not beaten well, until they are pale and fluffy.
- Don’t oversoak the cake- Be careful as you soak the cake not to dench it. It will fall apart if it becomes too wet. A soaker bottle works really well here, like this Martellato soaker bottle.
- Let the cake set- Tiramisu tastes best when it has had time to absorb all the delicious flavors of coffee, cream, and Kahlua. Therefore you want to let the cream infuse into the sponge cake overnight in the fridge.
Mascarpone cheese is one of the main ingredients in a tiramisu cake recipe. It has a mild flavor similar to creme Fraiche and is used in the frosting.
This could happen due to the eggs or egg products not being beaten well enough. You want to beat the egg mixture until its pale in color and fluffy. If you want to thicken up a runny cream, place it in the fridge for about 1 hour before frosting the cake.
Cakes like tiramisu are made with raw eggs. If you prefer not to use raw eggs, you can use egg substitute, also known as egg product. Egg product is pretty much eggs that have been pasteurized. I have tested this recipe multiple times and come to realize that certain brands of egg products don’t thicken as much as others. So far, the best brand for this recipe is Lucerne.
This Tiramisu Cake is such a versatile dessert and works great with lots of other sweets. Put together a dessert buffet and serve this with cookies, other cakes, coffee, and more.
- Cookies: Serve a slice with some Jumbo Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies, Chocolate Meringue Cookies, Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies, or Coffee Macarons.
- Cakes: Add this cake to your dessert spread with others, like this Chocolate Mousse Cake, New York Style Cheesecake, Gingerbread Cake, or Chocolate Honey Cake (Spartak Cake).
- Sweet treats: Pair this Tiramisu Cake with Coffee Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Pot De Creme, White Chocolate Creme Brulee, or Chocolate Covered Dates.
- Beverages: Enjoy a cup of Hot Chocolate or coffee with a slice of this cake. Or make your own Pumpkin Spice Latte or Iced Caramel Macchiato.
Make This Recipe in Advance
Make ahead: This cake works best when it sets overnight, so you can make it the day before you plan to serve it. It also stores well in the fridge or freezer.
Storing: This Tiramisu Cake will last in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, covered or stored in an airtight container.
Freeze: Leave off the cocoa topping and wrap the cake in plastic wrap (twice). Once it is frozen solid, wrap tightly in foil. You can keep it frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before serving.
More Tasty Italian Desserts!
Full Recipe Instructions
- In a stand mixer, beat 8 eggs until foamy. Then slowly add the sugar and vanilla while the mixer is still beating.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and cornstarch. Then fold it into the beaten eggs using a whisk.
- Line 2 round baking pans (10 inches in diameter) with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray. Then distribute the batter evenly between the two pans.
- Bake in a preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 28-30 minutes. Then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Meanwhile combine the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, and Kahlua in the bowl of your stand mixer. If your mascarpone cheese has a runny consistency, refrigerate this mixture for 40 minutes before adding in the egg product.
- In a separate bowl beat the egg product with an electric mixer until it becomes thick and creamy. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Add the egg product to the cream cheese mixture and mix just to incorporate. If you don't have egg product, see notes below on how to make this cake without it.
- In a small bowl mix together the espresso, with 3 tbsp Kahlua and 1 tbsp sugar.
- Slice each cake in half so you are left with 4 thin slices. Soak each layer of cake with the espresso and Kahlua mixture. I find that using a Martellato soaker bottle works best.
- Then begin layering the cake in this order: 1 layer of soaked cake, 1 1/4 cup cream cheese mixture, and cocoa powder. Repeat this until you stack the last layer of cream. At this point, you can decorate the sides and top of the cake with extra cocoa or cream.
This tiramisu cake recipe was originally published on July 20, 2015, it has been updated since.