Traditional Tiramisu is an Italian layered dessert made with coffee-soaked ladyfingers, whipped mascarpone cream, and chocolate cocoa powder. This Luscious no-bake dessert is popular for a reason! My recipe is liquor-free and still incredibly rich in flavor from the whipped cream and eggs!

A slice of Tiramisu

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A tiramisu cake isn’t complete without Ladyfingers (Savoiardi) that you can make easily at home! If you think Italian desserts are stunning sweets try these Peach Cookies or Sweet Yeast Bread similar to Panettone.

Tiramisu Recipe

This is an easy tiramisu recipe shared by a friend years ago! It’s possibly the best tiramisu recipe made from scratch and is like a rich custard that looks like it took hours to make in the kitchen (but really it didn’t.)

I’m talking traditional Tiramisu ingredients made from easy ladyfingers, eggs, sugar, coffee, mascarpone cheese, and cocoa powder. And if you want authentic Tiramisu prepare in a large glass bowl to show off all those layers!

Tiramisu in a square glass dish

Does Tiramisu Have Alcohol?

Sometimes liquor is added to the coffee in modern variations for this Italian dessert. It is not required for a true Tiramisu dessert. Brewing your own coffee at home can determine how strong you’d like your coffee to taste in this trifle dessert. Go bold by making espresso instead!

Some tiramisu alcohol choices include rum, brandy, Marsala wine, and Kahlua, which can all be pricey and not kid-friendly.

What Is Tiramisu?

Authentic Tiramisu is a layered Italian dessert made of ladyfinger cookies, eggs, sugar, strongly brewed coffee, mascarpone cheese, and cocoa. Similar to a trifle, it is layered between delicate cream and coffee-absorbed cookies.

Restaurants serve this cheesecake dessert in a rectangular or square shape, although originally it is prepared in a circular dish. It’s best eaten cold and is a nutrient-dense dessert from all those eggs (eggs are low in calories!) Looking to make eggless tiramisu? Many modern variations use a heavy whipping cream base instead.

It is stated that Italian Tiramisu originated back in 1969 at Treviso City of Veneto, Italy. It appears that Campeol’s restaurant owners invented the Tiramisu idea although other claims of a similar semi-frozen dessert were recorded too from the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. Both regions are right next to each other on the Eastern Northside of Italy.


What Does Tiramisu Mean?

Tiramisu literally translates to “pick me up or “cheer me up” which refers to the boost the tasty dessert can provide. This Italian invented dessert is layered with Savoiardi (ladyfingers) cookies, mascarpone cream, and strong coffee. It’s an Italian delight because the eggs are beaten to a custard cream that will make you go in for seconds!

What Are Lady Fingers?

Ladyfingers are light egg-based cookies piped into strips using a piping bag and a large round piping tip. Once baked they resemble the shape of a large finger and make their way into trifles, Mouse Cups, Charlotte Cake, gateau cakes, and mainly tiramisu. You’ll find them as sponge fingers in British, a Savoiardi biscotti in Italian, boudoirs in French, and baby fingers in the Jewish community.

I mainly use these flour-based cookies in my tiramisu recipe layered between mascarpone cream and covered with a layer of chocolate cocoa powder. The outcome is melt-in-your-mouth delicious! To make homemade tiramisu cookies simply make this Ladyfingers Recipe.

Where To Buy Lady Fingers?

Ladyfingers can be found in some grocery stores like Walmart, in the cookie or Foreign aisle under the Italian title “Savoiardi Biscotti.” They are typically hard and very dry coming from the store. Whereas homemade ladyfingers are soft cookies similar to a sponge cake.

To make crispier sponge cookies at home, simply bake longer and they will turn out more crisp. Commercial bakeries seem to dust additional sugar on the top for a crackly crisp shell.  

Tiramisu Ingredients?

If you’re wondering what’s in Tiramisu, I can tell you the ingredient list is very short and simple to make a tiramisu cake recipe. Before you begin make sure you either made Tiramisu ladyfingers or bought them. Then you only need eggs, sugar, mascarpone cheese, coffee, and heavy cream. 

Ingredients for a Tiramisu Recipe

  • Eggs- are beaten separately for a light and airy dessert.
  • Granulated Sugar- sweetens and binds the egg batter together.
  • Ladyfingers- recipe (Recette) are super easy cookies to make from eggs. 
  • Mascarpone cheese- is a soft Italian cream cheese set by acid. 
  • Heavy Whipping Cream- and eggs make this dish lighter and thick.
  • Coffee- any brewed coffee beans will work! For a stronger and bold coffee flavor use espresso. 

Note: unless you find Vegan dairy replacements, this recipe will not suit a Vegan tiramisu fan. 

What is Mascarpone Cheese?

Mascarpone is the Italian version of cream cheese. It is a spreadable smooth cheese very similar to Neufchâtel cheese. Since soft cheeses like these are made from light cream they result in a creamy whipped texture, rich in flavor.

Preparation involves coagulated cream that is heated and mixed with a starter. It then sets undisturbed for 12 hours. The curd then gets transferred to a butter muslin to drain in the refrigerator for hours. It can store for weeks if the cream was pasteurized properly.  

Can I Substitute Mascarpone? 

If you cannot find 8 (oz) tubs of mascarpone cheese, substitute 8 (oz) of cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese that has been softened and beaten first. 

I do not recommend a curd-like cheese such as ricotta cheese. You want a creamy cheese that is very fine otherwise your cream may look grainy. Mascarpone cheese is very smooth if you open your container and find that it is grainy, it must have been through a freezer and likely curded. 

Is Tiramisu With Raw Eggs Safe? 

Most grocery-store egg products are pasteurized as required by (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Services to prevent the risk of food-borne illness.

This simply means the eggs have been heated to a safe temperature right in the shells. If the eggs have been pasteurized it is safe to consume raw in desserts like Tiramisu. 

How To Make Tiramisu:

The preparation for a tiramisu dessert consists of brewing coffee, whipping the eggs and cream separately, and then layering everything together in a glass dish (to see the layers.) The ladyfingers can be bought or made at home before soaking into the prepared coffee. 

  1. Separate the whites from the egg yolks. Beat the yolks with sugar first until fluffy (2-3 minutes), using a hand mixer. Add the mascarpone cheese and beat until combined. Don’t over mix the cheese can curd! Set mixture aside.
  2. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until peaks forms. Fold into the beaten egg yolks with whipped cream. Set aside.
  3. To Assemble the Tiramisu cake you’ll need a 2-quart glass dish. Quickly soak each ladyfinger into the coffee and arrange them onto the bottom of the dish. Spread 1/3 of the cream over the top and repeat ending with the cream. 
  4. Dust with a generous amount of cocoa powder over the top. Wipe clean the rim of the dish and refrigerate for 24 hours. 

Baker’s Note: the longer the dessert sits the darker the cocoa powder gets. 

  1. Separate the yolks from the whites, into two different bowls.

Best Tiramisu Recipe Step 1 2. Beat the yolks with sugar until pale and thick (about 3min); then add the mascarpone cheese and beat until smooth and creamy. After that, set aside. Best Tiramisu Recipe Step 2 3. Beat the whites until soft peaks form. Then, set aside. Best Tiramisu Recipe Step 3 4. Beat the heavy cream in a small bowl until stiff peak forms. Then, set aside. beaten cream for Best Tiramisu Recipe step 4 5. In a large bowl, combine all three beaten mixtures and mix over low speed until smooth and creamy. Best Tiramisu Recipe Step 5 6. Soak tiramisu ladyfingers into the coffee and rum mixture and assemble them into an 8 by 8-inch serving dish. (About nine ladyfingers for each layer.) Best Tiramisu Recipe Step 6 7. Spread half of the tiramisu cream over the first layer and repeat with the second layer. How to assemble Tiramisu 8. Dust a generous amount of cocoa powder over the top and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. How to dust Tiramisu with cocoa powder

Ladyfingers Substitute: 

Some Baker’s use different types of cookies in place of the traditional Ladyfingers (Savoiardi) cookies. Here are ingredients that can easily make their way into a Tiramisu cake:

How To Use Ladyfingers?

Ladyfingers can be eaten alongside a glass of milk or dipped into espresso and cappuccino. They are very popular in the Italian dessert Tiramisu.

  • Dip them into coffee like a Biscotti cookie!
  • Crumble them into Mouse Cups (mini Tiramisu cupcakes.)
  • Border your cheesecake with ladyfingers to make an eyecatching dessert like a Charlotte Cake!
  • Layer them into a Trifle dish for a classic Tiramisu recipe.

Storing Tiramisu:

Tiramisu cake can keep for up to 6 days if refrigerated. The longer it sits the better it sets. It is best eaten cold so always keep refrigerated after preparing. 

Can You Freeze Tiramisu? 

Prepared and assembled Tiramisu dessert can be frozen without the cocoa topping. If you dust the cocoa powder on and freeze it, it’ll likely be wet from the condensation after being thawed. Now, if you don’t mind the penetrated cocoa powder topping then by all means freeze any leftovers with the chocolate topping. 

To freeze: tightly wrap and cover with plastic wrap before covering with aluminum foil. Place in a deep freezer (preferably without frost.)  And keep frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw completely in the refrigerator before serving.  


  1. As much as you want to avoid using extra kitchen utensils, take out the spatula and fold your whipped cream. Do NOT beat the cream together once combined. It can deflate your frosting.
  2. Double the recipe to make a large 13×9 casserole of Tiramisu. Otherwise, this recipe is enough for a 9×9-inch baking dish of Tiramisu. Keep in mind making this portion can work in a 13×9 glass dish, however, it will not be as tall. 
  3. This recipe yields 12 large slices of tiramisu.
  4. The drier the biscuits–the more absorbent.

More Italian Desserts:

Tools Needed To Make Tiramisu:

  • Glass Dish– to layer tiramisu in. It comes with a lid! 
  • Coffee Maker– with an attached coffee grinder to grind your own coffee beans! 
  • Hand Mixer– to whip the cream and eggs. 
  • Mixing Bowl– a traditional tiramisu recipe, contains beaten eggs, it is only necessary to mix the eggs separately for a light dessert. 



Traditional Tiramisu Recipe

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12 square slices
Author: Alyona Demyanchuk
Traditional Tiramisu is an Italian layered dessert made with coffee-soaked ladyfingers, whipped mascarpone cream, and chocolate cocoa powder. This Luscious no-bake dessert is popular for a reason! My recipe is liquor-free and still incredibly rich in flavor from the whipped cream and eggs!


  • 2-quart glass dish
  • hand mixer
  • coffee maker



  • 2 eggs (separated)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 oz Mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup whipped heavy cream
  • 7 oz ladyfingers
  • 1 cup brewed coffee (cooled)


  • whipped egg yolks with mascarpone cheese
    In a large bowl, beat the yolks with sugar for 3 minutes. Then add the mascarpone cheese and beat until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  • beaten egg whites
    Beat the whites until soft peaks form. Add to the yolk mixture.
  • Mix in the whipped cream until just combined.
  • arranged lady fingers in a glass dish
    Soak ladyfingers into the coffee and arrange them into a single layer in a 9 by 9-inch serving dish.
  • frosted tiramisu layers
    Spread a third of the cream over the ladyfingers and repeat twice.
  • Dust a generous amount of cocoa powder over the top and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.


  • If using store-bought ladyfingers you'll need 18 large cookies or about 30 small homemade ladyfingers. (This recipe makes just enough for this Tiramisu.) 

Nutrition per serving

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 257kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 4gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 53mgPotassium: 54mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 688IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 52mgIron: 1mg

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10 months ago

So good, very light we ate the whole cake in one sitting. I didn’t have whipping cream on hand so i used cool whip.

Elizabeth Ray
Elizabeth Ray
1 year ago

My family loved it! Thank you for sharing.

1 year ago

So perfect just what I was looking for!!!!!!!!! thanks so much

1 year ago

I prefer my tiramisu without the alcohol, so this is perfect ! Was very delicious Alyona, thank you!

Reply to  Alina
1 year ago

Any concern about usiing and eating raw eggs??

5 years ago

Can I use rum extract instead of rum? How much would I need?

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