If you’ve never had a tiramisu cake, this is the perfect little dessert. It’s a bit easier to put together than the classic version of this dessert, and it’s got all the coffee-soaked goodness.
This is basically a sponge cake soaked in espresso, and finished with a creamy mascarpone topping and a dusting of cocoa powder. Let’s get to it!
How to Make Easy Tiramisu Cake
Unlike other tiramisu cakes out there, I decided to go the simple route here with a single layer cake. BUT, if you want a bit more of the creamy filling, you can slice the sponge cake in half and double the filling recipe to make a 2 layer cake instead!
This sponge cake is really simple. It’s a version of a hot milk sponge. We’re starting out by whipping eggs until they are just starting to become foamy, and then slowly adding in sugar as you continue to mix until you get a thickened mixture. Here’s what it looks like before and after adding the sugar:
Then we’re going to fold in the flour, baking powder, and salt. I don’t often call for dry ingredients to be sifted, but it’s important in sponge cakes.
Finally, we’re folding in a mixture of warm milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract until everything is just combined. Then it’s off to the oven!
Once the cake comes out of the oven, let it cool completely in the pan. Then it’s time to poke the cake all over with a toothpick or a fork, going all the way to the bottom of the pan. Mix up some espresso and vanilla extract, and brush the mixture all over the cake to let it soak in evenly all over.
Next up is the topping. Working with mascarpone cheese can be a bit tricky because it can break easily, so be sure to follow my recipe instructions here!
Top your cake with the fluffy cheese mixture, and then give the whole thing a generous dusting of cocoa powder. This cake needs to chill for at least 1 hour before serving, and then you’re ready to slice and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks for Tiramisu Cake
Here are my tips and tricks for the perfect tiramisu cake!
- Add your sugar to your eggs slowly to ensure you don’t deflate your eggs as you whip them. Your egg and sugar mixture should be thick and ribbony when it’s been fully whipped.
- Be sure to sift your dry ingredients. I don’t often call for this step and I know it’s a little annoying, but when you’re working with whipped eggs it’s important to avoid deflating them with heavy ingredients or aggressive mixing.
- Your milk mixture should be warm, not hot. You want it to feel warm to the touch, but not super hot here.
- Be sure to fold at every step, and be gentle! This ensures that you won’t entirely deflate your sponge cake.
- Optionally, remove your cake from the pan before adding the topping. This will make it a little easier to serve up.
- Be sure to avoid overmixing the mascarpone as it’s very easy to break your cream mixture. This cheese can separate much easier than cream cheese, for example.
- Can I use another cheese instead? Yes, you can use room temp cream cheese instead if you prefer. It’s cheaper, and easy to work with, but it won’t have quite the same tiramisu flavor. Still very yummy!
- I’m at about 5,000 ft. above sea level and I find that most people who live between about 3,000-7,000 ft above sea level do not need to make any adjustments to my recipes.
For the cake:
- 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 tbs. butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the espresso soak:
- 1/3 cup espresso
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the topping:
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tbs granulated sugar
- 3/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
For the cake:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8-inch square pan, and optionally line the pan with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer using a whisk attachment (you can use a hand mixer here or a stand mixer) until they are thickened. This should take about 3-5 minutes. Then slowly add in the sugar as you continue to mix until you have a very thick and fluffy mixture. It should ribbon back onto itself. Sift the flour mixture into the whipped eggs and gently fold until just combined.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt your butter in the microwave, covering with a paper towel to ensure it doesn’t splatter over. Then add in your whole milk, and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or until it’s just warm to the touch. If your mixture gets too hot, let it cool down slightly before adding it to the cake- it should be warm, not hot. Add in the vanilla extract, then stir the warm mixture into your cake batter until the mixture is just combined and there are no uneven streaks. Pour into your prepared cake pan and bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan.
Use a toothpick or a fork to poke small holes all over the top of the cake all the way down the bottom of the pan. In a small bowl, stir together the espresso and vanilla extract. Brush the mixture over your cake generously- use the entire espresso mixture here. I like to brush it on slowly so that it soaks into the cake really evenly.
For the topping:
Over a double broiler, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until sugar has dissolved. The mixture will be pale yellow, and thick. It should ribbon when you pull up your whisk. In a medium bowl, beat your heavy cream until it reaches soft peaks. Beat in the powdered sugar until just combined, and then add in your mascarpone cheese and beat until just combined and thick. Overbeating at this step can cause the mixture to break, so you just want the cheese to incorporate and make the mixture thick. Then, gently fold the egg yolk mixture in until combined and creamy. Spread the topping mixture over your cake evenly. Generously dust the top with cocoa powder. Cover the cake and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!
Hello and welcome! My name is Nicole, and Dough-eyed is a food blog for people who want to bake for their family and friends in high-altitude areas. Think of me as a friendly voice there with you in the kitchen, here to give you confidence when you’re baking, and to help you with the struggles of baking at high-altitude. Come back every week for new recipes, tips, and advice on high-altitude baking!