Tiramisu cake features 3 incredible layers of espresso-soaked sponge and a creamy mascarpone frosting. Make this Italian cake recipe today!
There’s nothing better than a gorgeous layer cake for birthdays and celebrations, but sometimes you want something a little fancier than vanilla or chocolate.
Enter this delectable tiramisu cake recipe! It combines the best of both desserts into one stunning dessert that is sure to tickle more mature palates.
Don’t let the detailed instructions for this Italian cake recipe intimidate you. This dessert is made with simple ingredients and comes together in about an hour — including decorating time!
Be sure to watch the video and learn how to make this tiramisu birthday cake for family and friends.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Flour – You can simulate cake flour and achieve a lighter crumb by adding cornstarch to all-purpose flour in the batter. If you would rather just use cake flour, be sure to omit the cornstarch.
- Eggs and sugar – Whipping these together with the whisk attachment makes a light, fluffy sponge cake. After 10-12 minutes in a stand mixer, the mixture will thicken substantially and be noticeably lighter in color.
If you need to use an electric hand mixer, just get the eggs and sugar as fluffy as you can — the cakes will still turn out even.
- Mascarpone – Don’t substitute with light/low-fat versions or another cheese like ricotta. It should be smooth, thick, and firm right out of the container to get the correct consistency in the frosting.
- Flavored extract – Use both vanilla and almonds extracts in the batter to incorporate more of the traditional tiramisu flavors.
- Espresso rum soak – For an alcohol-free alternative, replace the dark rum with amaretto syrup or additional espresso.
- Whipped cream – You can make the border decoration sweeter if you’d like! Simply add a tablespoon of powdered sugar when whipping the heavy cream.
- Garnish – Sift cocoa powder through a sieve to get a fine, even coating on top of your tiramisu cake. Chocolate covered espresso beans make a fantastic additional garnish on the Italian cake.
Troubleshooting: How To Fix Separated Frosting
First, be sure not to overmix the mascarpone or the frosting mixture at any stage. Doing so will cause it to separate and appear curdled.
It’s normal for the finished frosting to have a bit of texture, depending on the type of mascarpone you use, but it should still be smooth.
If the mixture does separate, heat the bowl of frosting over a pot of simmering water (or warm the outside of the bowl with a hair dryer) while stirring very gently.
Once the frosting smooths back out, beat again without the heat until it becomes fluffy.
Kitchen Tools You Will Need
- Stand mixer or large mixing bowl with hand mixer
- 8-inch Round Cake Pans – You will need 3 total to make tiramisu cake recipe.
- Mixing Bowls – I like to have a variety of sizes on hand, and this set has them all.
- Offset Spatula – This spatula has so many uses and is perfect for smoothing the layers of frosting.
- Basting Brush – Use this to soak the sponge layers with espresso syrup.
- Piping Bag with your favorite large decorating tip
Tiramisu Cake FAQ
While a tiramisu cake does contain espresso or coffee, it’s mostly used for flavor. The amount is so small that there would be hardly any caffeine in a single serving.
If you are still concerned, consider using decaffeinated coffee instead.
Tiramisu cake is a delicious combination of the famous Italian dessert and a traditional frosted layer cake. A light sponge is soaked in espresso syrup, then stacked and coated with layers of rich mascarpone frosting.
Before serving, the Italian cake is decorated with homemade whipped cream and dusted with cocoa powder for a simple, elegant finish!
Yes! Both the traditional dessert and this layered cake can be frozen with wonderful results. I recommend that you add the whipped cream decorations and cocoa powder until just before serving.
Place your tiramisu layer cake in the freezer for 1-2 hours to set the frosting and decorations. Once firm, wrap the entire dessert in two layers of plastic, plus two layers of foil.
Store for up to 1 month and thaw, unwrapped, in the refrigerator overnight.
With love from our simple kitchen to yours.
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Tiramisu Cake + Video
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon almond extract
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 16 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 3 cups heavy cream, divided
- 1/2 cup brewed espresso, or strong coffee
- 2 tablespoons dark rum, I use Meyer’s
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease three (3) 8-inch round cake pans, then dust with flour. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk eggs for 1 minute until frothy. If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a high powered electric hand mixer at the highest speed.
- Add granulated sugar and whisk on high for 10 minutes – the egg mixture will become thick and noticeably light in color. Set aside.
- In another mixing bowl, beat together softened butter and oil until well combined and smooth. Add in vanilla extract and almond extract and mix until combined.
- Working with the mixer on low speed, add milk to the butter mixture, a little at a time. Continue beating until smooth and fluffy.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.
- Add one half of the flour mixture to the thick and fluffy egg mixture. Incorporate with a wooden spoon, stirring until barely combined. Add one half of the butter/milk mixture and stir briefly to combine. Add the remaining flour mixture and then the remaining butter mixture and stir until the batter is combined – do not overstir.
- Divide the cake batter between the 3 prepared pans. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the cakes pull away from the edges of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
- Remove pans from the oven and cool cakes in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.
- Lightly beat the mascarpone until smooth. Mix in the powdered sugar just until combined.
- In a separate bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer), whisk 2 cups of heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture until combined into a fluffy frosting. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together espresso syrup, rum, and sugar.
- Trim the cooled cakes to level the tops.
- Brush all three cake tops liberally with the espresso syrup mixture until it is gone.
- Place the first cake layer on a serving platter or cake plate. Mound some of the frosting on top of the cake and spread to the sides to form a thick layer of filling.
- Stack the second cake layer on top of the frosted layer. I like to flip the cake so it is top side down, so that the top is nice and flat for the next layer of frosting.
- Continue layering frosting and cake layers to assemble the three layer cake.
- Press the top down to seal the layers together and spread any filling spilling out the sides smooth with an offset spatula.
- Mound the remaining frosting on top of the cake and spread it out and down the sides to completely frost the cake.
- In bowl of mixer, whip remaining 1 cup of heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Transfer whipped cream to a piping bag fit with your favorite open piping tip and pipe a decorative border around the top.
- Dust the cake with cocoa powder. Accent with espresso beans if desired, slice and serve.
- Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- Adding cornstarch to the all-purpose flour in the cake batter recipe simulates cake flour and makes a lighter crumb cake. If using cake flour, omit the cornstarch.
- Whipping the eggs/sugar makes a light, fluffy sponge cake. The mixture will thicken substantially and is noticeably lighter in color. This takes 10-12 minutes to achieve using a standing mixer. If you do not have a stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar as fluffy as you can get them. The cake will still turn out even if you cannot beat them to the full extent.
- I used both vanilla extract and almond extract in the cake batter to incorporate more of the flavors in a traditional tiramisu.
- Sift cocoa powder through a sieve so that you get a nice even fine coating on top of the tiramisu.
- When whipping the cup of heavy cream for decorating the top, you can add a tablespoon of powdered sugar to sweeten it if you like.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published April 2022
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