Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert that has stuck around for a reason. Tastes may change but few people can resist a coffee-flavored custard dessert that stars ladyfingers. The most common form that tiramisu takes is that of a cake, but there are several other ways to serve it as well. We’re here to show you how you can take the traditional dessert for a spin and give it an update. Whether that means making your tiramisu chocolate flavored, turning it into a pie, or adding a cheesecake layer to it, check out these 10 variations that are sure to make your life sweeter.
1. Classic tiramisu
First, we’re highlighting the classic way to serve tiramisu with a recipe from the Food Network. The cake is made in an 8-inch-square baking pan, and it takes 40 minutes from start to finish to complete this recipe. The star ingredients are mascarpone cheese, espresso, cocoa powder, brandy (or cognac!), and Italian ladyfingers. Follow these foolproof instructions to make your custard, soak your ladyfingers, and assemble your dessert. This tiramisu recipe yields approximately 8 servings.
- 6 large egg yolks
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup whole milk
- Four 8-ounce containers mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups espresso or strong coffee, at room temperature
- ½ cup brandy or cognac
- 30 to 32 crisp Italian ladyfingers
- ¼ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- Bittersweet chocolate, for shaving
Directions: Line an 8-inch-square baking dish with plastic wrap, leaving a 3-inch overhang on all sides. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
Make the custard: Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water until the sugar dissolves. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook, whisking constantly, until the custard is light and foamy, about 10 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the saucepan and set in the bowl of ice water; whisk until the custard is cool, about 1 minute. Put the mascarpone in a large bowl. Fold the custard into the mascarpone with a rubber spatula until almost combined, then whisk until just smooth.
Combine the espresso and brandy in a shallow bowl. One at a time, dip the ladyfingers in the espresso mixture until soaked but not soggy; arrange 2 rows of about 5 biscuits each in the baking dish. Spread ⅓ of the mascarpone custard over the ladyfingers. Repeat with a second layer of espresso-dipped ladyfingers, arranging them in the opposite direction. Top with another ⅓ of the custard. Repeat with the remaining ladyfingers, alternating directions. Spread the remaining custard on top and dust with the cocoa powder. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Invert a plate on top of the tiramisu, then flip the tiramisu with the plate. Remove the baking dish and plastic wrap. Invert a serving plate on top of the tiramisu and flip again so it is cocoa-side up. Remove the remaining plastic wrap. Shave curls of chocolate on top with a vegetable peeler.
2. Chocolate tiramisu
Chocolate lovers can enjoy tiramisu, too. Serve them this chocolate tiramisu from Cooking Channel TV. You’ll find that the process and ingredients are quite similar to the classic take on the dessert. But there is one key difference: the stuff that cocoa dreams are made of. The added ingredient is brewed hot chocolate, along with an additional 4 ounces of melted semi-sweet chocolate.
- 28 ladyfinger cookies, divided
- 2 ½ cups brewed hot chocolate, divided
- 2 cups mascarpone, at room temperature
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted
- ½ cup powdered sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups cold heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
- Chocolate shavings, for garnish
Directions: In an 8-by-11-inch baking dish, lay enough ladyfingers in a single layer so that the bottom is covered. With a pastry brush or spoon, evenly coat the ladyfingers with ½ of the hot chocolate.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mascarpone, melted chocolate, ¼ cup powdered sugar, and 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla just until combined. Spread the mixture evenly over the soaked ladyfingers. Place the remaining ladyfingers in a single layer over the mascarpone mixture and soak with the remaining hot chocolate.
Using a mixer, whip the cream with the remaining ¼ cup powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and the remaining 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla. Spread evenly over the soaked lady fingers.
Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours. Dust with cocoa powder and garnish with chocolate shavings before serving.
3. Tiramisu eggnog trifle
Take your tiramisu up a notch by adding holiday flavors to it. This recipe for a tiramisu eggnog trifle comes from Epicurious, delivering on both taste and presentation. One thing to take note of, though: You’ll need to start preparing the trifle at least one day ahead, as it needs time to chill overnight. Trust us, it’s well worth the extra prep time. The tiramisu trifle serves 16 to 18 people, and it not only has the classic ingredients that make up the Italian dessert, but also bonuses like rum, coffee liqueur, cookie crumbs, and a lot of whipping cream. This tiramisu eggnog trifle is sure to impress the most picky of eaters.
- 1 ⅓ cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 ¼ cups water
- ¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon dark rum
- 4 tablespoons brandy
- 12 large egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 8-ounce containers mascarpone cheese
- 2 cups chilled whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 ½ teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 7 tablespoons Kahlúa or other coffee liqueur
- 60 crisp ladyfinger cookies
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, finely ground in processor
- Chocolate leaves (homemade or store-bought)
Whisk 1⅓ cups sugar, ¼ cup water, ¼ cup rum, 3 tablespoons brandy, yolks, and nutmeg in metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture thickens and candy thermometer inserted into mixture registers 140 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 minutes, about 5 minutes total. Remove bowl from over the water. Whisk mascarpone, 1 container at a time, into warm custard until blended.
Using electric mixer, beat whipping cream, vanilla, 1 tablespoon brandy, and 1 teaspoon rum in large bowl until cream holds peaks. Fold in mascarpone mixture.
Bring 1 cup water to simmer in small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and espresso powder; stir to dissolve. Mix in liqueur. Submerge 1 biscuit in espresso mixture, turning to coat twice; shake excess liquid back into pan. Place dipped biscuit, sugared side facing out, around bottom side of 14-cup trifle dish, pressing against side of dish. Repeat with enough biscuits to go around bottom sides of dish once. Dip more biscuits and arrange over bottom of dish to cover.
Spoon 2 cups mascarpone mixture over biscuits; spread to cover. Sprinkle ¼ cup ground chocolate over, making chocolate visible at sides of dish. Repeat with more biscuits dipped into espresso mixture, mascarpone mixture, and ground chocolate in 2 more layers each. Cover with 1 more layer of dipped biscuits and enough mascarpone mixture to reach top of trifle dish. Sprinkle remaining ground chocolate over, covering completely. Cover and chill overnight.
Gently press stem end of largest chocolate leaves around edge of trifle. Fill center with smaller leaves.
4. Tiramisu Pudding
If you want to eat your tiramisu with a spoon, this tiramisu pudding from Rachael Ray is for you. It makes 6 servings, and only requires 20 minutes total time to make. You even get to enlist shortcuts to make the process go by faster, including chocolate and vanilla pudding mix. Those will be combined with brewed coffee, ladyfinger cookies, cognac, milk, and cocoa powder. Your resulting dessert will be a smooth and creamy tiramisu pudding that won’t weigh you down. Serve it in ramekins as a pre-portioned dessert, saving you the worry about going overboard on the sweets.
- 4 cups milk
- 2 ¾ ounces chocolate pudding mix
- 2 ¾ ounces vanilla pudding mix
- 1 ½ cups brewed coffee, cooled
- 32 to 36 ladyfinger cookies
- 1 tablespoon cognac
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- Whipped cream, for serving
Directions: In a small saucepan, stir together 2 cups milk and the chocolate pudding mix over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in another small saucepan, stir together the remaining 2 cups milk and the vanilla pudding mix over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Pour the coffee into a shallow dish next to an 8-inch pie pan. Dip the ladyfingers into the coffee, turning to coat, and arrange in a single layer in the pie pan. Sprinkle with half of the cognac. Spread the chocolate pudding on top, then cover with another layer of coffee-dipped ladyfingers. Sprinkle the remaining cognac over the ladyfingers, then spread the vanilla pudding on top. Press a sheet of plastic wrap onto the top of the pudding and refrigerate until set and chilled, about 3 hours. Dust with the cocoa powder and serve with the whipped cream.
5. Tiramisu pie
Enjoy your tiramisu in pie form with this recipe from Southern Lady Magazine. The dessert has a homemade crust, filling, and topping, and the only layer that will bake is the chocolate graham cracker crust for 8 minutes. White chocolate pudding, whipping cream, confectioners sugar, and mascarpone cheese make up the filling, and the topping calls for even more whipping cream, espresso powder, and sugar. Layer your topping on your crust and filling and then garnish it with grated chocolate. The tiramisu pie will look as good as it tastes, and the decadent dessert is one that will get requested again and again.
- 1 ¾ cups firmly packed chocolate graham cracker crumbs
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
- 1 (3.3-ounce) box white chocolate instant pudding mix
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone cheese
- ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
- Garnish: grated semisweet chocolate, crushed cacao beans
Directions: To prepare crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and egg whites, stirring to combine well. Press crumb mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Bake for 8 minutes; set aside to cool.
To prepare filling: In a medium bowl, combine pudding mix and cream. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add mascarpone, beating until well combined. Beat in confectioners sugar. Spoon filling into prepared crust. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
To prepare topping: In a medium bowl, combine cream and espresso powder. Beat at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in confectioners sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread cream mixture over pie filling. Garnish with grated chocolate and cacao beans, if desired.
6. Tiramisu cheesecake
If you love cheesecake, you’ll love the tiramisu cheesecake from Fine Cooking. Combine your two favorite desserts into one by making a chocolate wafer crust, and by adding in a coffee-mascarpone filling and a cocoa powder-dusted top. The end result is a deliciously creamy interpretation of tiramisu that has two types of cheese, coffee liqueur, and espresso powder. And while there aren’t any ladyfingers on the ingredients list, you can get your cookie fix from the crushed chocolate wafers that make up the crust.
- 8-ounce chocolate wafers, finely crushed (2 cups of crumbs)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
- 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 8-ounce mascarpone cheese
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Table salt
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons Kahlúa
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- Cocoa powder, for garnish
Directions: To make the crust, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a medium bowl, stir together the chocolate wafer crumbs and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar. Mix in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moist and clump together slightly. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch spring form pan and press evenly onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of the pan. Bake until the crust is fragrant and slightly darkened, 9 to 12 minutes. Let the pan cool on a rack. Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
For filling: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, flour, and a pinch of table salt on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle frequently, until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Make sure the cheese has no lumps. Add the 1¼ cups granulated sugar and continue beating until well blended and smooth.
Add the Kahlúa, vanilla, and instant espresso, and beat until blended, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until blended. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top.
Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit until the center jiggles like Jell-O when nudged, 55 to 65 minutes. The cake will be slightly puffed around the edges, and the center will still look moist. Set on a rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.
Unclasp and remove the side of the spring form pan and run a long, thin metal spatula under the bottom crust. Carefully slide the cake onto a flat serving plate.
Garnish with cocoa powder sifted over the cake and serve immediately. To cut, run a thin knife under hot water, wipe it dry, and cut the cake into slices, heating and wiping the knife after every slice.
7. Tiramisu Brownies
Next up are tiramisu brownies from Taste of Home. They’re the easy way to get your fix of your favorite dessert. Pull out your baking staples, instant coffee, and mascarpone cheese, and you’re good to go. These tiramisu brownies come together in less than an hour, and they serve a crowd, making 36 servings. Guests will assume they’re your typical cocoa-dusted brownies — that is until they bite into the rich layers of coffee-spiked batter and mascarpone cheese.
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1⅓ cups plus ¼ cup sugar, divided
- 8 eggs
- 1 cup cake flour
- ¼ cup instant coffee granules or espresso powder
- 2 cartons (8-ounces each) mascarpone cheese
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking cocoa
Directions: In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate. Stir until smooth; cool slightly. Beat in butter. Gradually beat in 1⅓ cups sugar. Add six eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Combine flour and coffee granules; add to chocolate mixture. Beat on low speed just until combined; set aside.
For filling, in a small bowl, beat the cheese, vanilla, remaining sugar and eggs until smooth.
Pour half of the chocolate batter into a greased 13-inch by 9-inch baking pan. Spread with filling. Top with remaining batter, spreading evenly to completely cover filling.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 to 50 minutes, or until center is almost set and brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan.
Cool on a wire rack. Dust with cocoa. Cut into squares. Store in the refrigerator.
8. Tiramisu cookies
Enjoy your tiramisu in cookie form from Martha Stewart. With this recipe, you’re making cookies spiked with espresso powder that will sandwich a rich, boozy filling. The cookies are bite size, so you can pop a couple to get your caffeine rush. Luckily, the recipe yields 30 cookies, so you’ll have plenty of leftovers to get you through the week without having to turn on the oven for more.
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- ½ cup cake flour, (not self-rising)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, for dusting
- ¾ cup mascarpone cheese
- ¼ cup plus 1 ½ teaspoons confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 3 tablespoons almond-flavored liqueur, such as amaretto
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat yolks and ½ cup granulated sugar until pale and stiff, about 3 minutes. Add espresso powder, and beat for 2 minutes. Add flour, and beat until just combined.
In a clean bowl, using a clean whisk attachment, beat whites and salt on medium speed until foamy. With the machine running, add remaining ½ cup granulated sugar in a slow stream, beating until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Fold whites into yolk mixture in 3 additions until well combined.
Using a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch plain tip, pipe batter onto baking sheets into 60 lines that are 2 inches long and 1 inch wide, spacing 1 inch apart. Dust with cocoa.
Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until firm, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool completely on parchment on wire racks.
Stir together mascarpone, confectioners sugar, liqueur, and vanilla until well combined. Cover, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
When ready to serve, brush the cookies’ flat sides with melted chocolate. Refrigerate, flat side up, until chocolate is firm, about 10 minutes.
Spread a generous ½ teaspoon mascarpone filling over chocolate side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies. Serve immediately.
9. Tiramisu cake truffles
There’s nothing better than tiramisu, except when you take the cake and turn it into a truffle. Dessert dreams do come true with this recipe from Betty Crocker, which yields 68 servings. To make the truffles, you simply follow the instructions on your favorite cake mix and bake. Then, you crumble the cake, add in the mascarpone cheese and liqueur, and shape the good stuff into balls. After your cake balls have been refrigerated, it’s time to roll them in chocolate and put them back into the refrigerator. Just remember to dust the tiramisu cake truffles with cocoa before serving!
- 1 box white cake mix
- Water, vegetable oil, and egg whites called for on cake mix box
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso coffee powder or granules
- 1 container (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur
- 1 package (24 ounces) chocolate-flavored candy coating, chopped
- 1 ½ cups bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened baking cocoa
Directions: Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Make cake mix as directed on box, using water, oil, and egg whites, and by adding coffee powder. Bake and cool as directed in a 13-inch by 9-inch pan.
Line cookie sheet with waxed paper. Crumble cake into large bowl. Add mascarpone cheese and liqueur; mix well. Shape into 1-inch balls; place on cookie sheet. Freeze until firm; keep refrigerated.
In microwavable bowl, microwave candy coating and chocolate chips uncovered on Medium (50%) for 2 minutes, then in 15-second intervals, until melted; stir until smooth.
Remove cake balls from refrigerator a few at a time. Using fork, dip each cake ball into melted chocolate to cover; tap off excess. Return to cookie sheet. Let stand until set. Sprinkle with cocoa. Store covered in refrigerator.
10. Tres leches tiramisu
Las,t but not least, is tres leches tiramisu: Your two favorite desserts combined into one. The recipe comes from the Food Network, and it’ll take 35 minutes from start to finish to complete. The tres leches is chocolate that comes with a spicy kick. This recipe yields 4 servings, and is composed of a spicy chocolate tres leches base topped with homemade whipped cream made from mascarpone, whipping cream, powdered sugar, ladyfingers, and cinnamon. If you think this upgrade on tiramisu is too good to be true, gather your ingredients and see for yourself.
- ½ cup half-and-half
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
- ¼ cup evaporated milk
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup coffee liqueur
For the whipped cream:
- 1 cup whipping cream, chilled
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
- 24 soft ladyfingers
- 1 fresh mango, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 pint fresh raspberries
Directions: To make the spicy chocolate tres leches, whisk together the half-and-half, unsweetened cocoa powder, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and cayenne pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the coffee liqueur. Cool before using.
For the whipped cream: Pour the cream into a medium bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the cream until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and mascarpone. Mix until well combined.
Dip the ladyfingers in the chocolate tres leches. Place 2 to 3 ladyfingers in the bottom of each trifle dish. Top with 1 tablespoon of the chocolate tres leches. Top with 2 tablespoons of the whipped cream mixture, and then a few pieces of mango and raspberries. Repeat the layers and garnish the top of each trifle with fruit pieces. Chill until ready to serve.