Calling all tiramisu lovers, this one is dedicated to you! Bringing together all the deliciousness of that infamous dessert in a cake, my tiramisu cake will have you going back for seconds! Moist and tender cake layers laced with a perfectly boozy coffee syrup are filled and topped with a smooth mascarpone buttercream and a generous dusting of cocoa powder. A perfect cake for festivities or just if you are feeling a little extra indulgent!
What is tiramisu?
Tiramisu is a dessert of Italian origin. It is traditionally made using savoiardi biscuits (or sponge fingers) dipped in coffee, layered with a mascarpone cream filling and dusted with cocoa powder. The whole dessert is creamy and luxurious, with flavours that are sweet but balanced with a bitterness from the coffee and cocoa.
Why you’ll love this tiramisu cake
- Make ahead of when you need it. This cake can be enjoyed on the day is it made, of course. However, I find making it at least a day ahead of serving it allows the flavours to blend thoroughly through the whole cake, bringing it together into a truly glorious dessert!
- Adaptable. Can be made in different sized tins or with a different number of layers, so it can be made in a size to suit you.
- Incredibly moorish. The cake is so moist and packed with flavour, and the buttercream is lusciously smooth and creamy. It is a wonderfully rich cake but so easy to eat and enjoy!
- Easy to make and decorate. Make the cake days or weeks in advance (freeze if weeks), and the different elements are really easy to put together too! And as for decorating, just using a simple nozzle has such a stunning effect, and a dusting of cocoa powder makes it just magic!
Tiramisu cake ingredients
- Butter: I use unsalted butter, so I can control the amount of salt in the cake and buttercream.
- Caster sugar: for sweetness in the vanilla sponge cakes.
- Flour: I use plain/all purpose flour to make the cake. I prefer adding raising agents separately, as I do with salt, so I can control the rise of each of my bakes.
- Baking powder/bicarbonate of soda: the raising agents used in this beautiful bake.
- Salt: enhances the flavour of the bake, but it will not be so much that you taste it, I promise!
- Eggs: gives structure and stability to the cakes as they bake.
- Vanilla: used in both the cake and the mascarpone filling. Gives a wonderful flavour to the vanilla cake!
- Yogurt: part of the wet ingredients used for the cake. Keeps it light, moist and tender.
- Coffee: I use regular instant coffee to make the coffee syrup to soak the layers of this tiramisu cake.
- Coffee liqueur: for delicious flavour. Replace with the same quantity of apple juice or water if you wish to make it without alcohol.
- Mascarpone: gives the buttercream a delicious flavour, authentic to the infamous Italian dessert.
- Double/heavy cream: used in the mascarpone buttercream.
- Icing sugar: used to make the mascarpone frosting, gives a sweetness and dissolves easily to give a smooth buttercream.
- Cocoa powder: dusted between each layer of cake and then on top too.
What equipment do I need to make this tiramisu cake recipe?
- Cake tins*: to bake the cakes in. I use two tins to make this cake rather before cutting each in half to create four layers of cake.
- Parchment/baking paper: to line the tins before baking the vanilla cakes in them.
- Digital kitchen scales*: I provide all my measurements in cups, however I would encourage all bakers to weigh out ingredients when baking. A set of digital kitchen scales is so useful and totally an essential baking tool for me.
- Measuring spoons*: a set of measuring spoons is essential for any baker. This is because these are more accurate than using everyday teaspoons and tablespoons, which can vary greatly in size.
- Stand mixer*/Handheld electric mixer*: both useful tools to make life easier in the kitchen! You can, of course, make this whole recipe entirely by hand. But it will be quite the workout for your arm!
- Sieve*: to sift the dry ingredients before mixing in for the vanilla sponge cake. Also used to sift the icing sugar for the buttercream and dust the cake with cocoa powder.
- Spatula*: to scrape down the bowl with as ingredients are added, ensuring everything mixes together thoroughly.
- Jug*: I use a jug to mix together my wet ingredients separately before adding them in with the dry ingredients.
- Small saucepan*: to make the coffee syrup in before drizzling it over the baked and cooled vanilla cakes.
- Nozzle*: used to pipe the final layer of buttercream on top of the cake for a pretty finish.
- Piping bag*: for the final layer of mascarpone frosting, used when piping the top.
How to make tiramisu cake
First you will make the vanilla sponge cakes. Then, once the cakes are cool, make the coffee syrup and mascarpone buttercream before assembling the whole cake. Make sure to chill the cake once assembled to allow the flavours to settle and produce the best tiramisu dessert cake ever!
For the cakes
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 160C/320F. Grease and line two 8″ loose bottomed cake tins, then set these aside whilst making the cake.
Step 2: Beat the butter until soft and paler. Add in the caster sugar and beat until pale and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt and beat again until the mixture resembles damp sand.
Step 3: In a separate bowl or jug, mix together the eggs, vanilla and yogurt. Add ¾ the wet mixture in with the flour mixture and beat to combine. The batter will be thick. Tip in the remaining wet mixture and beat again until combined, scraping down the bowl if necessary. Turn the speed up to a medium and beat the cake mixture until lighter and silky.
Step 4: Immediately, divide the cake mixture between the prepared tins and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. When done, the cakes will be golden and well risen, shrinking slightly from the sides, and a wooden skewer poked in the middle will come out clean or with a few damp crumbs. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
For the coffee syrup
Step 1: Place the coffee, water and sugar in a saucepan. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar and coffee completely.
Step 2: Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the coffee liqueur then leave to cool before using.
For the mascarpone buttercream
Step 1: Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until soft, smooth and slightly paler. This will take about 3-4 minutes.
Step 2: Tip in the softened mascarpone, vanilla and double cream in with the softened butter and beat on low until fully combined and smooth.
Step 3: Add in the icing (powdered) sugar and beat on low to combine, then turn the speed up to medium for 20 seconds to fluff it up. Place in the fridge to chill until ready to use.
To assemble the cake
Step 1: Level each of the cakes then cut into two even layers. This will leave you with four even sized cake layers for the cake.
Step 2: Place a small blob of buttercream in the middle of the cake stand/plate and place the first layer of cake on the stand, pressing down to secure the cake to the base. Spoon a quarter of the coffee syrup over the cake layer, ensuring it is evenly drizzled over the whole cake surface. Spread about a fifth of the buttercream over the cake, going near the edge but being careful not to go right to the edge. Once the buttercream has been evenly spread, dust the top with some cocoa powder.
Step 3: Repeat the layers with the remaining cake layers up to soaking the final sponge with the last of the coffee syrup. Place the remaining frosting in a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Pipe the remaining mascarpone buttercream over the top of the cake as you wish, making sure to cover the whole top with frosting. Dust the top generously with cocoa powder before placing the finished cake in the fridge. Chill the cake for a few hours or overnight before serving. Enjoy!
How do I line my cake tins?
Place the cake tin on some parchment paper and trace around the base of the tin. Cut out this shape (two times, for two cake layers) and set aside. Melt some butter and use it to brush inside the base of the cake tin. Place the cut out circle of parchment paper on the buttered base and use the brush to flatten and ease it into the corners. Brush a little more butter over the parchment circle and up the sides of the cake tin. The tins are now ready to be used.
How to know when sponge cakes are done baking
You will know when the vanilla sponge cakes are done as they will be firm to touch and will have shrunk away from the sides of the pan slightly. Additionally, a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the cake will come out clean or with one or two crumbs only.
Decorating this tiramisu cake
I like to keep the tiramisu cake simple in decoration, so just use a sprinkle of cocoa powder over the top of it. If you wish, you can also add some chocolate curls and coffee beans to decorate too.
How to store finished cake
The finished cake does not need to be covered. However, it does need to be stored in the fridge due to the cheese in the buttercream filling and topping.
Does tiramisu cake need to be refrigerated?
Yes, this tiramisu cake dessert will need to be kept in the fridge as the mascarpone in the buttercream will need to be kept chilled. I would recommend pulling the cake out of the fridge about ten minutes before serving to enjoy it at its best.
How to freeze cake
If you wish to make this cake ahead of time and freeze it, this is not a problem. I would recommend not freezing the assembled tiramisu sponge cake, but the individual cake layers instead. Then, when you are ready, you can defrost the layers, make up the coffee drizzle and mascarpone buttercream, and decorate the cake.
To freeze the cake layers, first make sure they are completely cool. Wrap each layer of cake tightly and securely in cling film, then a layer of tin foil and another tight layer of cling film. You do not want any moisture getting to the cakes, or they will turn out a soggy mess or risk freezer burn, hence thoroughness. Freeze the cakes on a flat surface until frozen before stacking in the freezer.
How to defrost your frozen cake layers
When you are ready to defrost and decorate the tiramisu cake, simply remove the layers from the freezer and unwrap them. Place each cake in a single layer on a cooling rack, brushing off any remaining ice crystals, and leave to come to room temperature. The cakes are ready to be cut and decorated once defrosted.
Tips for the best tiramisu cake
- Use ingredients at room temperature when making the cake. The reason for this is simple: ingredients all at room temperature will combine better and make for a better bake!
- Beat the butter well at the start of making the cake. You want it light and smooth and pale for the best vanilla sponge cake results.
- When beating the cake mixture before baking, make sure to beat at a medium speed. Mixing it too high will result in too much air going into the cakes, leading to it collapsing after rising during the baking. You want to incorporate some volume, but not so much that is causes the cakes to collapse.
- Make sure the cakes are completely cool before decorating. This is especially important in this bake, as the buttercream will just melt if the cakes are warm. I make mine the evening before, so they cool completely overnight before being decorated.
- Use room temperature butter when making the buttercream. It beats up much more easily, and wont leave you with lumps of unwhipped up butter in the frosting.
- Do not over mix the buttercream once you have added the mascarpone. It can split really easily, so is important to not overwork it.
- The double cream in the buttercream is important to help the mascarpone not split. Do not miss it out or substitute with an alternative!
- Chill the cake overnight, or at least for a few hours, before serving it. This will allow the cake to fully absorb the flavours of the coffee syrup and all the flavours of the cake to come together and be just like a tiramisu! I promise it is TOTALLY worth the wait!
If you have any questions about this tiramisu cake recipe, please comment below and I will do my best to help. And do remember: if you enjoy this recipe for tiramisu cake, please leave a rating and review below. You could even post a picture on Instagram and tag me when you share it with the world. You already know I would love to see!
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Thanks for joining me today, my friends. Hope you enjoy this stunningly beautiful cake, and happy baking! x