This tiramisu cake is a delicious layered dessert involving a sponge cake, coffee syrup, and the most delicious whipped coffee frosting! No eggs or dairy needed, it’s a cake that is sure to impress!
Tiramisu Layer Cake
Birthdays are one of my favorite celebratory occasions. Not my own, of course, but for friends and family. For years now, I’ve been making them all a personalized cake, to the point that it is now a yearly tradition. It’s a good excuse to put my styling skills to use, coupled with a delicious cake. With each cake I make, I try very hard to incorporate my friend’s and family’s favorite flavors and treats. While 99% of the time it’s a fancy chocolate cake, I recently made a layer cake that tasted like tiramisu!
I’ve been meaning to share my tiramisu cake recipe for quite some time. One of my friends is obsessed with all things coffee, and she makes my classic tiramisu at least once a month. As her birthday was coming up, I wanted to transform her favorite dessert into a cake form!
No eggs, no milk, and no butter are needed, but you’d never tell. The texture ticks all the boxes- A fluffy and moist cake, a creamy frosting, and a subtle sticky syrup. The cake is sweet and with a delicious coffee flavor throughout, without being overpowering.
I brought this over for my friend’s birthday and she was obsessed with it- She could not believe the cake had all the best parts of tiramisu in it, without any dairy!
Ingredients to make a tiramisu layer cake
For the cake
- All purpose flour– Also known as plain or white flour. You can use a gluten free flour, provided it has added xanthan gum.
- Sugar– White sugar, brown sugar, or a combination of the two can be used.
- Baking soda– Works with the vinegar to give the cake some rise and fluffiness.
- Salt– Brings out the flavors of all the ingredients.
- White vinegar– You can also use apple cider vinegar. Do not use red wine, as it will bleed through the cake and give a slightly bitter flavor.
- Vanilla extract– A must for any good cake!
- Oil– Use any neutral flavored oil. I’ve tried this with canola oil and vegetable oil.
- Water– To mix everything together.
For the coffee syrup
- Instant coffee– I just mixed instant coffee with a dash of water, but you can also use a single shot of espresso.
- Powdered sugar– Adds sweetness AND as a thin syrup. Try not to use granulated sugar, or else it will be too thick and difficult to spread.
For the coffee frosting
- Brewed coffee– Standard brewed or instant coffee.
- Milk– I used unsweetened almond milk, but any plant based milk can be used.
- Butter– Dairy free butter. You can also use dairy free margarine.
- Powdered sugar– Sift this first, to ensure the frosting is smooth.
- Vanilla extract– Just a touch to balance out all the rich flavors.
- Cocoa powder– Not the frosting itself, but to dust the cake with at the end.
How do you make a tiramisu birthday cake?
Start by making the cake. In a large mixing bowl, combine your dry ingredients and mix well. Next, add the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Transfer your cake batter into two 8-inch cake pans and bake for 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely.
While the cake is cooling, prepare the syrup and the frosting. To make the syrup, whisk together the instant coffee with the powdered sugar until a thin, sticky syrup remains. Next, mix together the coffee and milk, until combined. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat together until smooth and fluffy.
Finally, assemble the cake. Slice the two cakes in half. Place the first layer on a flat surface, and spread 1/4 of the syrup all over the top. Add a scant 1/4 cup of the frosting and spread until covered. Place the next layer of cake, and repeat the syrup layer and frosting layer. Continue until you have a 4-layer cake. Once layered, lightly spread the remaining frosting on top and around the sides. Sift cocoa powder all over the cake, before serving.
Tips to make the best tiramisu cake
- You can omit the. coffee from the frosting if you’d like a less intense coffee flavor. The coffee syrup already provides plenty of it.
- Feel free to use decaffeinated coffee for a caffeine-free cake.
- The frosting will likely make more than you need. The extra is used to cover the cake on top and around the sides.
- If you can tolerate alcohol, you can give the cake some authenticity by adding 1-2 shots of cognac to the syrup.
- Don’t worry if your syrup isn’t super thick, as it will just gently seep into the cake layers, giving it a more authentic flavor.
Storing and freezing the cake
- To store: Place leftover slices of the cake in a sealable container and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Let the cake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, before enjoying it.
- To freeze: Keep cake in a freezer friendly container and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
More delicious cake recipes to try
For the cake
For the coffee syrup
- 3/4 cup black coffee brewed or instant
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
For the coffee frosting
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans and set aside.
- Prepare the cake. In a large mixing bowl, mix your dry ingredients until combined. Add the wet ingredients and mix until a smooth batter remains.
- Distribute the cake batter evenly amongst the two cake pans. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool completely.
- Prepare the syrup. Whisk together the coffee with the powdered sugar until combined.
- Prepare the frosting. Whisk together the coffee granules with the warm milk. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat together, until smooth and fluffy.
- Slice the two cakes in half. Assemble the cake by placing the first cake on a flat surface. Spread a generous layer of the coffee syrup over the top completely. Add a heaping 1/4 cup portion of the frosting and spread over the syrup. Place the next slice of cake on top. Repeat with the syrup layer, followed by the frosting layer. Repeat until you have a four layer cake. Spread the remaining frosting all around and on top of the cake. Sift cocoa powder all over it.