Tiramisu Cake

Featuring layers of white cake brushed with coffee and a hint of dark rum, this Tiramisu Cake is a new favorite in our house!

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Featuring layers of white cake brushed with coffee and a hint of 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!

Featuring layers of white cake brushed with coffee and a hint of rum, this Tiramisu Cake is a new favorite in our house!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.

Featuring layers of white cake brushed with coffee and a hint of rum, this Tiramisu Cake is a new favorite in our house!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.

Featuring layers of white cake brushed with coffee and a hint of rum, this Tiramisu Cake is a new favorite in our house!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!

Featuring layers of white cake brushed with coffee and a hint of rum, this Tiramisu Cake is a new favorite in our house!How do you like your coffee?  (I expect a spoon to stand straight up in my cup!)

Isn’t it fun to say ladyfingers?

Featuring layers of white cake brushed with coffee and a hint of rum, this Tiramisu Cake is a new favorite in our house!

Tiramisu Cake

Featuring layers of white cake brushed with coffee and a hint of dark rum, this Tiramisu Cake is a new favorite in our house!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 663kcal


For the Cake

For the Espresso Syrup

  • ½ cup espresso or strongly-brewed coffee
  • 4 tsp dark rum
  • 4 tsp powdered sugar

For the Frosting

For Garnish


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.

To Assemble

  • 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.


Like tiramisu, this cake tastes best cold. Plan on refrigerating this cake for several hours before serving.
I prefer to refrigerate this cake and then add the ladyfingers right before serving. (Just keep a bit of extra frosting and spread a bit on the back of each ladyfinger.) Once refrigerated, the ladyfingers will soften.

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    1. Thank you so much, Kathy! I just polished off my first cup of coffee as well. If only I had a slice of cake to go with it. It’s ok to eat cake for breakfast, right? (Haha…just kidding! Sorta…)

        1. Hey Trinity! You can absolutely make this cake non-alcoholic. I would just substitute in more coffee in place of the rum in the recipe. It will still be an amazing cake! 🙂

  1. Now, I never used to like Tiramisu. I know, but hear me out. I love coffee, but not coffee flavoured things (I am the same with strawberries and strawberry flavoured things). But, when we were in Rome a couple of years ago, Dave ordered some (it’s his favourite) and I thought, “when in Rome” and tried some. It was AMAZING! I guess I just needed to try the real deal.
    Yours looks so delicious and beautifully presented.

    1. Haha…good for you, Dannii! I was the same way…except opposite. I liked coffee flavored things (i.e. coffee ice cream), but not actual coffee. That was way back in college, though, and now I love my morning cup of coffee. Nothing beats it! Thanks so much…I hope you and Dave had an awesome weekend over there! 🙂

  2. Espresso hands down espresso. Though I have 4 different ways to make coffee at our house, just in case 😉 My inlaws are quantity coffee drinkers as well.
    Tiramisu!!!!! I need to figure out how to make gluten free lady fingers because this cake totally has to be part of my life.

    1. Oh, I like the way you think, Lauren! I love a good shot of espresso. We like our coffee strong, so it’s not a far reach to step up to espresso. I much prefer one good cup of coffee to a zillion cups of weak, bad coffee! I bet gluten-free lady fingers could totally be made. And if anyone can figure it out, it’s you! 🙂 (Seriously, though, I bet Bob’s 1-to-1 flour mix would do a pretty good job for lady fingers…just a thought.)

  3. Oh man, this looks amazing! I think I need to start putting ladyfingers on the sides of every cake I make, because that’s a genius way to hide my imperfect frosting work. I don’t actually drink coffee (much to the shock/dismay of most of my graduate student colleagues), but I do love coffee desserts!

    1. Tell me about it, Mara! Ladyfingers are clutch because they look awesome and they hide any sort of lazy frosting job. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing ladyfingers on the sides of all of my cakes…haha! I was the same as you back in college. I loved coffee desserts, but not actual coffee. Then the transition happened, and now I’m a big fan of my morning cup of joe! 🙂

  4. Haha – while I do adore my coffee, I don’t think I like it spoon-stand-up-strong! Lil Shashi and I have 2 coffee machines too and I think your MIL is mighty brave to admit how many cups of java she consumes – I always tell people I drink around “fi-x-en” and let them figure it out! 🙂
    As for this cake – OHMY!!! I agree with Mrs Spiced – THIS cake should be birthday/Christmas/New Yea/It’s-Friday cake! What a masterpiece! Simply Stellar, David! Or like Lil Shashi would say “this cake is LEGIT!” Tiramisu is my all time fav dessert, I’d even double up on Lactaid pills to eat a couple slices!
    Happy Friday to y’all – hope y’all stay safe and warm through the storm – I’m thinking this one got y’all?

    1. Haha! This is most definitely a “It’s Friday, and we should celebrate like it’s 1999″ cake! It’s indeed what the young whippersnappers might call legit. 🙂 And nope, this storm missed us, too. We’re still at roughly 3” on the year…and that was way back in mid-December if I recall. We’re like two magnets repelling all of the snow storms. I keep waiting for the big one to hit, though…and in that situation, I’ll just sit inside with a slice of tiramisu cake and a cup of coffee!

  5. Hi David! This looks like something out of a upscale bakery!! Then again, all of your desserts do! I’m a one cup of coffee in the morning person, but Gary drinks the other eleven cups and we do like it strong. Now I have to search out some ladyfingers and marscarpone! 🙂

    1. Wow, thank you, Dorothy! I wouldn’t say that all of my desserts look like something from an upscale bakery. And my kitchen definitely does not look like an upscale bakery when I’m done with it…haha! I bet you can find ladyfingers (bakery dept.) and mascarpone (dairy/cheese dept.). They are indeed a bit on the harder to find side, but I think they are still common enough. At least I hope so! If not, I’ll just mail you some! 🙂

  6. That cake is insanely gorgeous! I usually have one coffee at home and another from Starbucks when I get to work, but I think I could make an exception and have coffee with this cake any time of the day! My birthday is coming up, so you can make one for me! 🙂

    1. Tell me about it, Manali! I love a good cup of coffee, but I think I like coffee-flavored desserts even more. This cake was definitely a favorite around here, too! 🙂

  7. I love coffee-flavored desserts, especially if it’s tiramisu! What a tall impressive tiramisu, it just looks so massive! I bet it disappears real fast no matter how big it is! I love the pic where I’m looking at the slice cut out from the center, makes me crave eating that missing slice! Pinned!

    1. Oh, this cake was most definitely impressive…but better than that, it was delicious! I mean it’s one thing if desserts look nice, but I put more weight on taste. And anything coffee-flavored is going to rank pretty high up on our list! That missing slice didn’t stick around too much longer after these pics were taken either. Haha! 🙂

  8. You married tiramisu AND cake = you are officially a legend!

    Confession- You guys here confuse me so much at Starbucks- All this time, I thought a DARK roast meant it would be much stronger but no…Light roast is. HOW DOES THAT MAKE SENSE.

  9. What a fantastic idea to turn tiramisu into a cake! I’ve never been great at making tiramisu but absolutely love it, and cake is ALWAYS a good idea (how could it not be?), so this is seriously tantalising my tastebuds right now! What a great way to use up the VERY large amount of coffee being produced in your house 😛

    1. Tiramisu is totally one of my favorite desserts! But you are right…everything is better in cake form! (Except maybe peas. No one wants pea-flavored cake.) And yes, with a little baby keeping us on the move around here, coffee has been a lifesaver. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting, Lisa! 🙂

  10. Me & hubby like our morning coffee strong too! Without it we simply can’t function. I can imagine that you guys especially need it for those late nights 🙂
    Then… this Tiramisu layer cake, amazing that’s what it is!!! Save me a slice will you? 🙂

    1. Oh man, we need coffee all the time around here! Seriously, though, we’ve been pretty good with just sticking to our morning cup of coffee…except when the in-laws are in town. I’ve never seen anyone drink so much coffee in my entire life! And yes, I will absolutely save you a slice of this cake…but you have to hurry! 🙂

      1. I actually poured an espresso into it and dusted it with cocoa. I have to say, it was shockingly good, considerin it’s low-brow provenance. Sanka would’ve been an amazing choice though.

    1. I totally agree, June! Turn it into a layer cake, and everything is better! Well…almost everything. No one wants a broccoli-flavored layer cake. 🙂

  11. this cake is perfect! Looks like you just bought it! I’m sure it tastes great! Love traditional tiramisu,, so this cake is on the top of my ‘to bake list’ 😉

    1. Haha! Thank you so much, Marcela! I had fun making this cake…and the ladyfingers are a huge timesaver as you don’t have to make the frosting on the sides look nice. This cake is definitely up there on my Top 3 cakes list. It’s a keeper! 🙂

  12. Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts, David! I discovered it many years ago, and I’ve tried a number of flavors (Surprisingly, I didn’t incorporate lavender yet). I love that version when it’s served in a large bowl, and when it’s very moist (I know, a lot of people can’t stand too moist tiramisu). But even though you didn’t manage to put this cake in the bowl (haha), I would like to have a piece (by I piece I mean 1/4 of the cake) with my coffee. And since you are asking, I don’t drink much coffee – usually 1 large cup, but it should be very strong (And Ilove it flavored too).

    1. I’m with you 100%, Ben! I love tiramisu, and I’ll never ever turn it down. How about this? I’ll cut you a slice of this Tiramisu Cake and then put it in a bowl. And I’ll serve it with one very strong cup of coffee. Deal? 🙂

  13. OMG! I think I stared at this cake for a good 30 seconds before I could scroll down. This cake is not only beautiful but it’s genius!!! Tiramisu is probably one of my all time favorite desserts! I mean, I LOVE this cake!!

    1. Thank you so much, Tamara! I had so much fun making this cake, too. Granted, I had more fun eating it…but making it was still a lot of fun to me! 🙂 (And I think we might still have a couple of pieces wrapped up in the freezer, too…score!!)

  14. Hello!
    You cake is a wonderfoul idea! Congrats!
    Being both from Italian family, me and my husband are very seriuous about Tiramisu!
    We usually add eggs ( yolks) to the mascarpone cheese. Do you think it will work in this recipe?

    1. Hey there, Flavia! Thank you so much for the kind words. 🙂 Tiramisu is seriously one of my favorite desserts of all time. So I think you could totally add egg yolks to the mascarpone cheese here. (I use egg yolks in my traditional tiramisu recipe, but I left them out here in the cake frosting.) The only thing you might need to do is increase the powdered sugar slightly to offset the additional liquid from the egg yolks…but I think it could definitely work! I do hope you enjoy this cake as much as we do. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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