Featuring a ladyfinger crust topped with espresso cheesecake, this Tiramisu Cheesecake is a fun twist on a classic Italian dessert!
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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
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.