Featuring layers of white cake brushed with coffee and a hint of dark rum, this Tiramisu Cake is a new favorite in our house!
Raise your hand if you’re a coffee addict. If you just like a good cup of joe, then you can keep your hand down. Mom-in-law, you can keep your hand raised. My mother-in-law has been staying with us a good bit lately, and she loves coffee. I’m talking like 6-7 cups a day. In her defense, she does switch to decaf somewhere around 4pm, but holy cow!
My wife and I look forward to our morning cup of coffee, and we like our java strong. The stronger the better as far as we’re concerned. Funny story: we have one of those big coffee machines that grinds beans for each cup. We tinkered with the settings so that it makes a pretty strong cup of coffee. (That strong coffee has been a life-saver with all of the late nights we’ve been pulling with Robbie.) We made mom-in-law a cup of coffee from that machine one morning, and she could barely finish it. So now we have a Keurig set up in the kitchen right next to our coffee machine. That’s right. We have two ways to make coffee…as if we needed more stuff on our counters!
Given the insanely high amount of coffee being made in our house every day, I decided to grab a bit and make a java-inspired dessert. Tiramisu. One of my all-time favorite desserts! In fact, tiramisu is one of the first desserts that I ever learned how to make after graduating from college. It is pretty simple, and pretty impressive to serve to company. Or for dessert when I made dinner for my future-wife.
But I didn’t go straight traditional with this tiramisu. I turned it into a cake. A Tiramisu Cake. White cake brushed with coffee + rum. Frosted with mascarpone frosting. This cake was amazing, y’all! And for garnish, I stopped by a local Italian market and picked up a bulk pack of ladyfingers. These were legit authentic Italian ladyfingers, too. No English at all on the package. And the other nice thing about using ladyfingers as garnish? I didn’t have to worry about making the sides of this cake look nice! I knew the ladyfingers would hide any blemishes or blobs of uneven frosting.
And since we clearly needed to increase our coffee consumption in this house (note the sarcasm), I decided to serve slices of this cake alongside a hot cup of coffee. This Tiramisu Cake is definitely up there on my life of favorite cakes now. My wife said she loved it so much that she might request it for her birthday next year. Hopefully we don’t run out of coffee before then!
How do you like your coffee? (I expect a spoon to stand straight up in my cup!)
Isn’t it fun to say ladyfingers?
For the Cake
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup milk
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 1½ Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 5 large egg whites
For the Espresso Syrup
- ½ cup espresso or strongly-brewed coffee
- 4 tsp dark rum
- 4 tsp powdered sugar
For the Frosting
- 16 oz. mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 4½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp dark rum
- ½ Tbsp vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup whipping cream
- 1½ cups whipping cream
- 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 24 ladyfingers
For the Cake
- Grease and flour 3 8” round cake pans; set aside. Preheat oven to 325°F.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, sour cream and vanilla extract; set aside.
- Using a countertop mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (~3-4 minutes on medium-high speed).
- Add about half of the flour mixture to the bowl; mix on low speed until well combined.
- Add the milk mixture to the bowl. Mix on low until well combined.
- Add the remaining flour mixture; mix on low until well combined. (Tip: Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are fully mixed.)
- In a separate bowl, beat egg whites on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold the egg whites into the cake batter until fully mixed.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 3 cake pans. Bake at 325°F for 30-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
For the Espresso Syrup
- Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside.
For the Frosting
- Using a countertop mixer, cream the mascarpone cheese and powdered sugar until light and fluffy (~2-3 minutes on medium-high speed).
- Add the rum and vanilla; beat on low until fully incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, whip the cream on high speed until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture until well combined.
- Allow cake layers to cool for ~20 minutes before assembling.
- Place one layer of cake on a large plate. Brush the top with ⅓ of the Espresso Syrup. Spread ~1 cup of Frosting evenly over top of layer. Repeat this process with the remaining two layers of cake.
- Use remaining frosting to frost top and outside of cake.
- Using a fine-mesh sifter, gently sift the cocoa powder onto the top of cake.
- To garnish, whip the remaining cream until stiff peaks form. Place whipped cream in a large piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe ring of whipped cream around the edge of the top of the cake.
- Gently press the ladyfingers into frosting on sides of cake.