Tiramisu Cake

You know what they say about tiramisu, even when it’s bad – it’s good. Maybe that’s why it took me so long to try this cake, because why bake a tiramisu-themed cake when you can just buy ladyfingers and build a really excellent tiramisu? Because cake is fun, that’s why…and I should just do it. That’s what I told myself yesterday before I made this Dorie Greenspan recipe.

Even though the ingredient list looks long, the cake is simple and if you look closely you’ll see that the ingredients are mostly basics…well, except for a couple. I did have to replenish my jar of espresso powder and buy some new mascarpone, but that wasn’t a big deal.

Todd liked this a lot and I’ll definitely make it again – maybe even with garnish. This one looks kind of plain because I didn’t have any extra whipped cream or chocolate covered coffee beans.



Tiramisu Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Tiramisu Cake
Serves: 8
Cake Layers:
  • 2 cups (230 grams) cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (140 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (196 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk
Espresso Extract:
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
Espresso Syrup:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Kahlua (or Amaretto)
Filling and Frosting:
  • 1 8-ounce container mascarpone
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy (I used Kahlua)
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, or about 1/2 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
  • Chocolate-covered espresso beans, for decoration (optional)
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9×2 inch round cake pans and set them on a baking sheet.
  2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Beat the butter on medium speed of an electric mixer until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
  4. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them, and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right-side up.
  5. To make the extract:
  6. Stir the espresso powder and boiling water together in a small cup until blended. Set aside.
  7. To make the syrup:
  8. Stir the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. Pour the syrup into a small heatproof bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the espresso extract and the liqueur or brandy; set aside.
  9. To make the filling and frosting:
  10. Put the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla, and liqueur in a large bowl and whisk just until blended and smooth.
  11. Working with the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir about one quarter of the whipped cream into the mascarpone. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream with a light touch.
  12. To assemble the cake:
  13. If the tops of the cake layers have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. Place one layer right-side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate protected with strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, soak the layer with about one third of the espresso syrup. Smooth some of the mascarpone cream over the layer - user about 1 1/4 cups - and gently press the chopped chocolate into the filling. Put the second cake layer on the counter and soak the top of it with half the remaining espresso syrup, then turn the layer over and position it, soaked side down, over the filling. Soak the top of the cake with the remaining syrup.
  14. For the frosting, whisk 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining espresso extract into the remaining mascarpone filling. Taste the frosting as you go to decide how much extract you want to add. If the frosting looks as if it might be a little too soft to spread over the cake, press a piece of plastic wrap against its surface and refrigerate it for 15 minutes or so. Refrigerate the cake too.
  15. With a long metal icing spatula, smooth the frosting around the sides of the cake and over the top. If you want to decorate the cake with chocolate-covered espresso beans, press them into the filling, making concentric circles of beans or just putting some beans in the center of the cake.
  16. Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours (or for up to 1 day) before serving - the elements need time to meld.
  17. Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with cocoa.


  1. says

    Hi, Anna! I am a long time reader. We have corresponded a couple of times about things. I wanted to let you know I FINALLY got a food blog up and running (with my sister). Feel free to check it out!

  2. says

    I wish you would’ve made this a couple of weeks earlier! I had to make a Tiramisu cake for my cousin’s birthday and searched forever for a good recipe! Yours would’ve been perfect! Oh well, there’s always MY birthday next month! Would it be weird making a cake for my own birthday?

  3. says

    I think I saw Katrina’s version of this cake and thought it was a great idea. It’s hard to get good store bought lady fingers here, and I have no intention of ever making them myself, so I think this cake is a good alternative for me. Here is what’s really odd about Tiramisu and me. I don’t like coffee, I rarely like anything liqueur flavored and I like Tiramisu. If it gets too heavy on the coffee or the liqueur I’ll pass on it, but usually I like it. Weird. It must be all of that whipped cream and the bit of chocolate.

  4. Kim says

    Great looking cake! I’ve made this before and it is a lot of work but well worth it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate This Recipe: