Featuring a ladyfinger crust topped with espresso cheesecake, this Tiramisu Cheesecake is a fun twist on a classic Italian dessert!
I love cheese. It doesn’t matter the kind of cheese. Chances are I’ll love it. From a good sharp cheddar to a soft triple creme. If it looks like cheese and smells like cheese, then I’m a happy camper. (And, yes, some of those cheeses really stink. Ahem, Camemberts, I’m looking at you.) But one cheese that’s always intrigued me is mascarpone.
Mascarpone is often described as Italian cream cheese, and that’s a fairly accurate statement. Both mascarpone and cream cheese are soft, spreadable cheeses. They’re often found side-by-side in the grocery store, and they have similar flavors. However, like European butters, mascarpone has a higher fat content than its American cousin. This leads to a smoother and creamier cheese. If you’ve ever cooked or baked with mascarpone, then you might’ve noticed that it’s ‘looser’ than cream cheese. That’s because of the higher fat content. Remember – fat is flavor!
Tiramisu, which just so happens to be one of my favorite desserts of all time, uses mascarpone as a key ingredient. I got to thinking about tiramisu and mascarpone the other day, and I started wondering what would happen if I took the traditional tiramisu flavors and used them in a cheesecake. I decided I needed to try this out! Cheesecake is traditionally made with cream cheese. Since cream cheese and mascarpone are in the same family, I figured this would be an acceptable substitution. Let me tell ya – acceptable is an understatement! This Tiramisu Cheesecake was da bomb! (Yes, ‘da bomb’ is a scientific term. See also use ‘da bomb diggity.’)
For this Tiramisu Cheesecake, I relied on the traditional ingredients from tiramisu. Mascarpone, cocoa powder, espresso and ladyfingers. I did keep mostly cream cheese in the base, but I subbed out one block for mascarpone. This was primarily because I wasn’t sure what would happen if I used all mascarpone. (That and mascarpone is also a good bit more expensive than cream cheese.) The result was two thumbs up for sure! I used ground ladyfingers as the ‘crust,’ and I mixed a bit of rum in there since rum is often found in tiramisu.
I also used espresso powder to bring the espresso flavor to the cheesecake. I wanted the espresso flavor without adding liquid, so espresso powder was the solution. If you’ve never used espresso powder, then I highly recommend trying it out. It brought an excellent coffee flavor to this cheesecake. Baker’s tip: Espresso powder is a secret ingredient when it comes to chocolate cakes. The coffee flavor isn’t noticeable, but the espresso powder adds a delicious depth of flavor to the cake!
Can you freeze cheesecake?
Absolutely! I actually freeze my cheesecakes overnight in the pan, and then I remove them the next day. At that point, they’re similar to a frozen hockey puck, but they come out of the pan nice and easily. Then I just let the cheesecake thaw in the fridge for a couple of hours. As far as freezing the cheesecake, Laura and I enjoyed a couple of slices of this Tiramisu Cheesecake, and then I individually wrapped the other slices and put ’em in a freezer bag. They might not look as pretty once they’ve been frozen, but they’re still delicious. I hope you enjoy this cheesecake as much as we did!
Did you make this Tiramisu Cheesecake at home? Leave a comment. Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog). Happy baking!
Looking for other fun cheesecake recipes? Check out some of these other favorites, too:
For the Ladyfinger Crust
- 7 oz. package ladyfingers (see note) ~24 ladyfingers
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
- 2 Tbsp dark rum or Kahlua
For the Cheesecake
- 24 oz. cream cheese room temperature
- 8 oz. mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp espresso powder
- 4 whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ½ Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 Tbsp powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 oz. semisweet chocolate
For the Ladyfinger Crust
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Using a food processor or mini-chopper, pulse the ladyfingers until finely ground.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ladyfinger crumbs, melted butter and rum; stir until well combined.
- Lightly butter or grease a 9” springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper. Press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan. (Tip: A flat-bottomed glass helps pack the crust mixture down evenly.)
- Bake crust at 350°F for 6 minutes. Remove pan from oven and let cool.
For the Cheesecake
- Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
- Using an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese, mascarpone and sugar until very smooth (~3 minutes on medium speed).
- Add flour and espresso powder; mix until well combined.
- Whisk the eggs and egg yolks together and add to the bowl in 2 additions, mixing fully after each addition.
- Add the sour cream and vanilla; mix until well combined. (Tip: Use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure the filling is fully mixed.)
- Pour the batter on top of the cooled crust.
- Wrap the bottom of the pan with a piece of aluminum foil and place in a large baking pan. Fill pan with about ½”-¾” of water. Bake at 325° until center of cake is just barely set (about 80-90 minutes). (Tip: Pull the cheesecake out of the oven when there is about 1" ring of "looser" filling left in the center of the cake.)
- Let cheesecake cool for 10-15 min and then wrap entire pan in plastic wrap; freeze overnight.
- The next day, remove the cake from the freezer and release the springform pan. (Tip: Let cheesecake thaw slightly before releasing pan. Another option is to rotate the pan for several seconds over a gas burner to “melt” sides of the cheesecake…this makes it easy to release the pan.)
- Transfer the cake to a serving platter and defrost in a refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
- Prior to serving, whip the cream and powdered sugar together until stiff peaks form; set whipped cream aside.
- Dust the cocoa powder of top of the cheesecake using a fine mesh sieve.
- Using a piping bag with a large round tip, pipe whipped cream around edges of the cheesecake.
- Using a small grater or vegetable peeler, grate semisweet chocolate on top of the cheesecake.