Easy Tiramisu Recipe (without ladyfingers)

Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert. Deep, dark roasted espresso flavor, creamy mascarpone cheese with a light and delicately sweet whipped cream topping.  

A slice of tiramisu on a red plate.

We have been making this recipe for about 13 years.  It’s our best go-to tiramisu recipe.  

The steps to this recipe look daunting, but it is very simple.  

Most recipes use ladyfingers (Savoiardi), but with this recipe, you make your own genoise cake from scratch. I find it difficult to find ladyfingers in my area. I promise it’s worth the effort.

Genoise cake batter in a bowl.

How To Make the Genoise Cake

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Prepare a 9-inch diameter round cake pan or 8×8 inch rectangular baking pan with baking spray.

Beat the eggs and 1/3 cup of sugar at medium speed in a double boiler over very hot water (just shy of boiling) until silky smooth.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and beat at high speed until the mixture reaches a consistency that forms ribbons when poured.

Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla, and carefully fold in the cake flour. Fold in the melted butter.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake at 350° F for 30 to 40 minutes.

Genoise cake on a wire rack.

Remove from the oven and immediately turn the cake out of the pan onto a wire rack to cool. You could use soaked ladyfingers instead of the cake but I urge you to give it a try.

Ingredients

  • Marscapone – True tiramisu uses marscapone! Do not use cream cheese I beg of you.
  • Espresso – Again, espresso is traditional but if you have to you can use strong brewed coffee.
  • Superfine sugar – You can also use regular granulated sugar.
  • Cognac – This adds such a great flavor but you can omit it if you like. Or try dark rum, brandy, marsala, or Kahlua (coffee-flavored liqueur).
  • Heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract – These are used to make the whipped topping.

While the cake is baking pull double shots of espresso (or double-strength coffee) to make the coffee syrup. We use espresso.

Espresso in a glass measuring cup.

How to Make Tiramisu

Mix the espresso and sugar and reduce to 1/3 cup.

Espresso sugar reduction in a saucepan.

Once the coffee mixture is reduced remove it from the heat and add the cognac.  

How To Make Zabaglione (mascarpone cream mixture)

Mascarpone mixture in a bowl.

Thoroughly beat the sugar into the room temperature mascarpone cheese. Add the 2 egg yolks, and cognac, and beat until the mixture is smooth.

Whipped cream in a bowl.

How To Make the Whipped Cream Topping

In a large bowl dissolve the sugar and vanilla extract into the whipping cream. Beat the mixture with a hand mixer until glossy and it forms stiff peaks.

Genoise cake cut in half on a wire rack.

How to Assemble

Slice the genoise cake in half, and place one half at the bottom of your baking dish.

Sprinkle or brush 1/2 of the coffee syrup over the cake.

Cake with half the mascarpone mixture spread on top.

Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the cake.

Whipped topping being place on top of the tiramisu.

Spread half of the whipped cream over the mascarpone layer. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings. Place the second cake layer on top of the first stack and repeat layers.

Grating chocolate garnish on top of the tiramisu.

Garnish with chocolate shavings or dust with cocoa powder.

Cover the serving dish and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.  I make everyone wait for overnight chilling. Believe me, it’s not received well.

Tiramisu in a baking dish.

I use an 8×8 pan for baking the genoise cake and then it fits perfectly in an 8×8 serving dish to assemble.

Slice of tiramisu on a red plate.

Enjoy! You will make this time and time again.  We love this recipe and it is always a crowd-pleaser.

What can I substitute for ladyfingers?

Make your own genoise cake from scratch! Or use shortbread cookies, biscotti, pound cake, or sponge cake.

Storing

Store the tiramisu in the refrigerator wrapped tightly with plastic wrap for about 3 days.

Can you freeze tiramisu?

I really don’t recommend freezing tiramisu. The dairy in this will separate and start to weep.

More Dessert Recipes

A slice of tiramisu on a red plate.

Easy Tiramisu Recipe (without ladyfingers)

Deep, dark roasted espresso flavor, creamy mascarpone cheese with a light and delicately sweet whipped cream topping.  
4.67 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: cake, easy, genoise, mascarpone, tiramisu
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 9
Calories: 492kcal
Author: Leigh Harris

Ingredients
 

The Genoise Cake:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup plus 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cake flour sifted
  • 2 Tablespoons butter melted

Coffee Syrup:

  • 2/3 cup espresso or double strength coffee
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup Cognac

Mascarpone Cream:

  • 1/2 lb Mascarpone cheese room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Superfine sugar*
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3 Tablespoons cognac

Whipped Cream:

  • 1 pint Heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla extract

Instructions

Genoise cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Spray a 9-inch diameter round cake pan or 8×8 inch rectangular cake pan with baking spray.
  • Beat the eggs and 1/3 cup of sugar at medium speed in a double boiler over very hot water (just shy of boiling) until silky smooth.
  • Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and beat at high speed until the mixture reaches a consistency that forms ribbons when poured.
  • Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla, and carefully fold in the cake flour.
  • Fold in the melted butter.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake at 350° F for 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and immediately turn the cake out of the pan onto a wire rack to cool.

Coffee Syrup:

  • Mix the sugar into the coffee in a small sauce pan.
  • Reduce (by boiling) the coffee-sugar mixture until only 1/3 cup remains.
  • Remove from heat, add the Cognac and stir.

Mascarpone Cream:

  • Thoroughly beat the sugar into the mascarpone cheese.
  • Add the 2 egg yolks, cognac and beat until the mixture is smooth.

Whipped Cream:

  • Dissolve the sugar and vanilla extract into the whipping cream.
  • Beat the mixture with a hand mixer until glossy and stiff.

Chocolate Shavings:

  • SEMI-SWEET CHOCOLATE, good quality, 1 square (1 ounce) well-chilled but not frozen
  • Grate into fine shavings and set aside.

To Assemble:

  • Slice the Genoise cake in half latitudinal to make two layers.
  • Put one layer of the genoise cake at the bottom of the serving bowl or pan and brush half of the coffee syrup over it.
  • Spread half of the Mascarpone Cream over the cake layer.
  • Spread half of the Whipped Cream over the layer of Mascarpone Cream.
  • Sprinkle the Chocolate Gratings over the Whipped Cream layer.
  • Put the second layer of Genoise cake on top of the stack, sprinkle it with the remaining coffee syrup, and repeat layers.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

*Note – I find the superfine sugar in a small plastic bottle by Domino. It will say Superfine on the label.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 492kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 215mg | Sodium: 88mg | Potassium: 97mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 1360IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 1mg

    Recipe from heavenlytiramisu

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    29 Comments

    1. I am making this Wed for a soccer party but for the parents not the kids so thank you for sharing Thursday Favorite Things blog!4 stars

    2. I’m not a massive fan of tiramisu, but this does look really well presented. Your genoise cake looks heavenly. I bet it tastes so much better knowing you made it all from scratch.

      Sally @ Life Loving
      #LifeLovingLinkie

    3. Tiramisu is such a lovely dessert and I really like the sound of your recipe. Thank you so much for sharing this post with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop.5 stars

    4. Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts, I love all types of layered cake dessert, and chocolate and coffee! I’m so hoping that I can make this with gluten free baking mix, when I try it I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes, I’m keeping my fingers crossed!! Thanks for the recipe. Pinned!!

    5. Thanks for linking up at From the archives friday. Please link up an archived post in the future.

      This looks amazing!

      Erica4 stars

    6. OH I love tiramisu so delicious and looks easy to make too. Love the food photos. Thank you ever so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme5 stars

    7. Thanks For Sharing this Amazing Recipe. My Family Loved It. I will be sharing this Recipe with my Friends. Hope They will like it.5 stars

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