Extremely soft and moist, this easy tiramisu cake with genoise sponge layers, coffee syrup, and heavy cream with cream cheese frosting is a decadent dessert that tastes heavenly delicious and will look amazing on your table.
What is the difference between classic tiramisu and this tiramisu cake recipe?
There are two main differences between these two recipes:
Sponge cake – In my Easy tiramisu recipe and Strawberry tiramisu, I use Ladyfingers – the cookies that are commonly used to create this famous Italian dessert. It is possible to pipe and bake these cookies in a round shape to make cake layers, but once you soak them in syrup, they will become way too soft. The cake will be very wobbly and unstable and may become difficult to serve. To address this problem, I decided to use a Genoise sponge which is very airy, moist, and soft, yet more stable and suitable for creating multi-layered cakes.
Cream – I replaced mascarpone cream frosting with a more stable frosting that is similar in taste and consistency – this cream cheese frosting was made with whipped cream instead of butter. Whipped cream means the cream cheese's saltiness subsides and makes the cream light and airy, while the taste is more creamy.
Ingredients you will need
Flour – I use all-purpose flour to make my Genoise sponge cake layers, but you can replace it with the same amount of cake flour.
Salt – You should add some salt for a more complex and balanced flavor.
Eggs – The eggs should be at room temperature or they won’t whip well.
Fats – I use melted unsalted butter and vegetable oil to make a flavorful and moist cake.
Milk – Use whole milk at room temperature.
Vanilla extract – You’ll need to add vanilla to all parts of the cake.
Sugars – Use white granulated sugar for the sponge cake and the coffee syrup, and powdered sugar for the cream.
Coffee – I use strong, freshly-brewed coffee, but you can dissolve instant coffee in boiling-hot water before mixing it with the sugar to make tiramisu coffee cake.
Rum – This is a totally optional ingredient and you can skip adding rum to your coffee syrup. On the contrary, you can add 1 extra tablespoon of rum to your frosting, if you like.
Cream cheese – Use very cold cream cheese (I use original Philadelphia cheese).
Heavy cream – As you probably know, the whipping cream should be very cold to whip well.
Cocoa powder – I like to use unsweetened cocoa powder to give my cake a very tiramisu-like look.
Cake pan – For this recipe, you’ll need one tall cake pan. It should be 6” (15cm) in diameter and 4” (10cm) tall, as this sponge cake will rise a lot so you can cut it into 3 cake layers later.
It is, however, possible to bake the cake layers in 3 separate regular cake pans, with the condition that they can fit in your oven at once; genoise sponge batter doesn’t like to wait its turn on the kitchen counter. If you can fit in all 3 pans, you’ll also need to adjust the baking time accordingly. It will be much shorter - I would say around 25 minutes.
You can also replace a tall cake pan with a spring-form pan that is at least 4” tall.
Stand mixer – If you use a stand mixer, you will need a whisk attachment to whip up the eggs with sugar for the sponge, as well as a paddle attachment to make the frosting. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use a hand mixer with beaters and a bowl.
Eggs temperature and whipping technique. If you read my Genoise sponge recipe post, you’ll notice that I heat the egg mixture over a double boiler just until the sugar dissolves. In this recipe, I skip it because I use eggs at room temperature instead. No matter which approach you take (both are correct), you should whip your eggs very well. The mixture should triple in volume, be pale and very thick, and run down your whisk, leaving a ribbon on the surface of the mixture that slowly disappears.
Sift the flour when adding it to the egg mixture. The key to a fluffy sponge cake is air. When you sift the flour, all lumps get broken and it will be easier to combine it with wet ingredients without deflating the egg mixture too much.
Use a paddle attachment to make the cream. This way, your frosting won’t have many air bubbles inside, and it will be easier to pipe a beautiful cake décor.
Don’t overbeat the cream. This cream takes about 2 minutes to make in total. The only problem you can run into is overbeating. If you process the cream for too long, it will split; you’ll have to start all over again.
For the cake layers
1. Preheat the oven to 340F (170C) and prepare a 6” by 4” (15cm by 10cm) round cake pan by covering the bottom with a piece of parchment paper. The sides of the pan should stay untouched!
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a whisk attachment, add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract. Whip until the mixture becomes very pale, has tripled in volume, and is thick enough to leave a ribbon on the surface. When done, switch the mixer to medium-low and whip for one minute.
3. Sieve in the flour and salt and carefully fold with a rubber spatula until no dry ingredients are left.
4. Combine the oil, melted butter, and milk. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the egg and flour mixture and mix again.
5. Combine the milk mixture with the main batter.
6. Pour it into the cake pan and bake for 35-40 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
7. Let the cake cool down until you can safely touch the pan.
8. Run a knife against the wall of the pan to release the cake. Place on a cooling rack to cool down to room temperature. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
9. Slice into 3 even cake layers and assemble the cake.
For the coffee syrup and the cream cheese frosting
1. Combine the hot coffee, sugar, vanilla, and rum in a bowl.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat all cream ingredients on mediums for 1 minute or until thickened and silky. Scrape the bowl and beat again on medium-high for 10 seconds.
Assembling the cake
1. Place the first cake layer on a plate or cake stand and brush an even layer of the coffee syrup on top.
2. Spread some cream on and cover it with the second cake layer. Repeat the steps.
3. Apply a thin layer of the cream as a crumb coat on the sides and top of the cake. Place the cream leftovers in a piping bag fitted with a round piping nozzle. Refrigerate the cake and the cream for 15 minutes.
4. Pipe small drops of the cream (with pointy ends!) on top of the cake, then dust them with cocoa powder. Refrigerate the cake for 1-2 hours before serving.
Chocolate – Decorate the cake with chocolate shavings and/or add them in between the cake layers.
Another cream – Use mascarpone cheese cream from my Easy tiramisu recipe if you want to be closer to the classic tiramisu flavor. However, make sure that you chill your cake well (preferably overnight) before cutting it to ensure that the cream has set well.
Nuts – You can add crushed walnuts or pecans in between the tiramisu cake layers as well as on top as a part of the decoration.
Store it in a cake box or covered with plastic wrap on a plate in the fridge for up to 4 days.
The frosting contains too much heavy cream and will release liquids during the thawing process. So no, it is not advisable to freeze this cake.
Yes, the sponge cake can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before assembling the cake.
More cake recipes
- Digital kitchen scale
- a 6” (15cm) round cake pan that is 4” tall (10cm) or a springform pan that is 4" tall
- Stand mixer or hand mixer and a large mixing bowl
- Rubber spatula
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 120 g white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 120 g all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 35 ml milk at room temperature
- 20 g unsalted butter melted
- 20 g vegetable oil
- 100 ml strong coffee
- 100 g white granulated sugar
- 1-2 tablespoon dark rum optional
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 400 g cream cheese cold
- 100 g heavy whipping cream cold
- 80 g powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cocoa powder for dusting
For the sponge
- Preheat the oven to 340F (170C) and prepare a 6” by 4” (15cm by 10cm) round cake pan by covering the bottom with a piece of parchment paper. The sides of the pan should stay untouched! No oil spray, no butter, no butter or flour, no parchment paper – nothing.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a whisk attachment (or use a hand mixer and a bowl), add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract. Start whipping, increasing the speed gradually for 7-10 minutes or until the mixture becomes very pale, has tripled in volume, and is thick enough to leave a ribbon on the surface. When done, switch the mixer to medium-low and whip for one minute.
- Sieve in the flour and salt and carefully fold with a rubber spatula until no dry ingredients are left.
- In a small bowl, add the oil, melted butter, and milk. Mix and add 2-3 tablespoons of the egg and flour mixture. Mix again until homogenous in consistency.
- Add the milk mixture to the main batter and fold with the rubber spatula until fully incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the surface of the cake bounces back if you gently press it.
- Remove from the oven and let the cake cool down until you can safely touch the pan.
- Run a knife against the wall of the pan to release the cake. Place on a cooling rack to cool down to room temperature. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
- Then, slice into 3 even cake layers and assemble the cake – or cover the unsliced sponge with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
For the coffee syrup
- In a bowl, combine the hot coffee and sugar. Mix until the sugar has dissolved, then add the rum (if using) and vanilla extract. Cool down before using.
For the frosting
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or you can use a hand mixer and a large bowl), beat all cream ingredients on medium for 1 minute or until thickened and silky. Scrape the bowl and beat again on medium-high for 10 seconds. The cream should be very smooth and hold its shape well.
Assembling the cake
- Place the first cake layer on a plate or cake stand and brush an even layer of the coffee syrup on top.
- Spread some cream on top (I used 150g between layers) and cover it with the second cake layer. Repeat the steps.
- When the last cake layer is assembled (don’t forget to brush the top with coffee syrup as well), apply a thin layer of the cream as a crumb coat on the sides and top of the cake. Place the cream leftovers in a piping bag fitted with a round piping nozzle. Refrigerate the cake and the cream for 15 minutes.
- Pipe small drops of the cream (with pointy ends!) on top of the cake, then dust them with cocoa powder. Refrigerate the cake for 1-2 hours before serving.