If you’re looking for a dessert that’ll put some extra pep in your step, Tiramisu Cake is it. It’s a decadently layered, Italian show-stopper that fittingly translates to “pick me up” in English, and in the case of this cake, it has as much to do with flavor as it does the coffee.
Featuring layer-upon-layer of goodness, beginning with a moist, Kahlua-infused vanilla cake, followed by rich, creamy Mascarpone frosting, coffee-soaked ladyfingers, and a finishing sprinkle of cocoa powder. It’s cool, rich, creamy, and most importantly, delicious.
Make-ahead and best served chilled, this sweet treat is perfect for both entertaining at home and potluck parties! Looking for more stellar dessert recipes to try out? Bookmark Chocoflan Cake for your next kitchen adventure!
WHAT IS TIRAMISU CAKE?
A simple, moist vanilla sheet cake infused with coffee flavor thanks to a generous splash of Kahlua, a layered topping of whipped Mascarpone frosting and coffee-soaked ladyfinger cookies, and finishing touch of sifted cocoa powder.
WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE?
It’s a well-known fact that Tiramisu is a coffee-lovers delight. The vanilla cake base has notes of coffee thanks to a drizzle of Kahlua coffee liqueur, and, of course, you’ll also get notes of coffee from the ladyfingers as well.
VANILLA ● COFFEE ● COOL ● RICH ● CREAMY
The frosting layers are creamy, rich, a little sweet, and mildly tangy. This dessert should be served chilled, which allows time for all of those delicious flavors to meld. It is a rich and decadent show-stopping cake!
THE LAYERS OF TIRAMISU CAKE
Tiramisu is all about the layers — different textures and flavors in every single bite is what makes this dessert so decadent and so very tempting.
The base is a Kahlua-infused vanilla cake. It is made from scratch, it has a fine, tender crumb and always bakes up perfectly moist and delicious. However, if you need to save yourself a little time, you could easily substitute in a white or yellow box cake for the base layer.
Layer two is made up of a fluffy, creamy Mascarpone Frosting. Just under half of the frosting is used for this layer. The rest is reserved for the top!
You can’t have a Tiramisu Cake without ladyfingers. To be more specific, coffee (or espresso) soaked ladyfingers.
The last layer of the cake is the remaining Mascarpone Frosting, and of course, a generous sprinkle of cocoa powder!
HOW TO MAKE TIRAMISU CAKE FROM SCRATCH
- Make the cake batter.
- Bake the cake and let it cool completely.
- Make the Mascarope frosting.
- Add one-third of the frosting to the top of the cooled cake.
- Dip ladyfinger cookies in espresso/coffee and add in a single layer.
- Top with remaining frosting and sprinkle with cocoa powder.
- Chill the Tiramisu Cake for at least 1 hour before serving.
If you’re a Tiramisu novice (or even a beginner baker), there might be a few ingredients worth reading about before diving into the recipe.
Let’s begin with the cake: Not many ingredients are interchangeable when it comes to baking, which makes pretty much all of the ingredients pret-ty noteworthy. The type of flour, fats, and leaveners in the cake are all of equal importance, as are their quantities. Do your best to stick to the recipe, and this will yield the best possible results!
Mascarpone is a mildly-flavored, Italian cream cheese. If you don’t see it alongside American cream cheese at the grocery store, you’ll very likely find it with the specialty cheeses, which are often located near the deli.
Mascarpone is softer than your standard American cream cheese, and when you are getting ready to make your frosting, there is no need to bring it to room temperature. It should actually be cold when added to the bowl to prevent curdling.
Ladyfingers are dry sponge cakes in cookie form. They’re mild in flavor, and in combination their dry texture, they are were essentially made for soaking up flavors…like coffee.
If you don’t find ladyfinger cookies on the snack aisle at your grocery store, check the international aisle, specifically where other imported Italian ingredients are located.
COFFEE OR ESPRESSO
You can use coffee or espresso for this recipe. However, if you are using coffee, you’ll want to brew it strong in order for that coffee-flavor to really sing in Tiramisu Cake!
4 MORE CAKE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
Tiramisu Cake featuring a Kahlua-infused vanilla sheet cake, layers of fluffy mascarpone frosting, and coffee-soaked ladyfingers!
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup Kahlua coffee liqueur
- 2 (8 ounce) packages cold Mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream + 2 tablespoons
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 24 Ladyfingers cookies
- 2 cups strongly brewed coffee (or espresso), cooled to room temperature
- 2-3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder
Preheat the oven to 350°F and have ready a greased 9x13" baking dish, preferably metal or glass.
Sift the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt over a medium-sized mixing bowl. Set aside until ready to use.
Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl and using a handheld mixer, mix until fluffy and pale yellow in color (about 3-5 minutes). You could also use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for this task.
Add the oil and mix until well-blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the sour cream and the vanilla and mix again. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl using a silicone spatula and mix once more.
With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients in 3 rounds, alternating with the buttermilk and Kahlua. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl, and mix once more.
Bake for 28-32 minutes (checking at the 28-minute mark). Set the cake aside to cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
For the frosting, you will need a large mixing bowl and a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the Mascarpone and the cream to the bowl and mix on medium-high until very smooth and creamy.
Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt and begin mixing on low. Once the sugar is mostly incorporated, you can begin mixing on medium-high. Mix for 2 minutes more, until light and fluffy.
Add about 1/3 of the icing to the top of the cooled cake and spread it to the edges. Submerge each ladyfinger in the coffee/espresso and then layer them evenly across the cake. Dollop the remaining icing across the top of the ladyfingers and spread evenly across the top.
Finish off the cake by sifting a generous layer of cocoa powder all across the top and transfer to the refrigerator to chill, at least 1 hour. Serve and enjoy!
HOW TO KNOW WHEN THE CAKE IS DONE:
The cake is ready when the center of it springs back ever so slightly after a gentle poke or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs clinging to it.