Tuesdays With Dorie: Tiramisu Cake

May 5, 2009

What is Tiramisu Cake? Glad you asked! It’s a yellow cake, soaked with a sugar/espresso/coffee liqueur syrup, and filled and frosted with a heavenly mixture of mascarpone cheese, sugar, more espresso and coffee liqueur, and whipped cream. The last time I wanted to make Tiramisu, I went to three stores and couldn’t find ladyfingers. Of course, every time I go shopping now, I’m surrounded by ladyfingers! I wish I’d had this recipe back then.


Megan of My Baking Adventures had the honor of picking this week’s recipe. Check out her “Learn to Do List” of baking and cooking projects – what a great idea! I’m a big list-maker and I’m not even doing something like this (yet). Megan will have the recipe on her site, or look on page 266 of Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

What I did (or…musings on baking chemistry and square roots as they relate to frosting): I made 1/4 of the cake recipe and baked it in one 6″ round pan, which I then cut into two layers. That resulted in my babycake having thinner layers than it would have if I’d made the whole recipe, or if I’d baked two layers in smaller pans, but I’m OK with that. I’ve never cut a recipe down this much before and one thing that bugged me was that the full recipe called for 1/8 teaspoon baking soda. Even though I could reduce that to 1/4 of the amount, I wondered if I should, in terms of baking chemistry and all that. I consulted some recipes I have from the book Small Batch Baking and noted that the cake recipes call for 1/8 teaspoon baking soda for a really small batch of cake. So I decided to cut all other ingredients to 1/4 of the amount, but I used a scant 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda.

I was all set to make 1/4 of the filling/frosting recipe, but then I checked in on the discussion with the other bakers and Barbara made an excellent point about surface area and square roots and percentages (oh my!) and I decided I better make more filling/frosting. I made 1/2 of the recipe and had some left over, so I’d say that 1/3 would be the right amount for 1/4 of the cake, at least for the size and shape that I baked.

Last but not least, I used my homemade coffee liqueur in the filling/frosting. Stay tuned for the recipe later in the week!

How it went: Although the recipe has a lot of elements: cake, espresso extract, espresso syrup, and filling/frosting, it wasn’t all that complex or time-consuming to put together. The cake baked up nicely and the filling/frosting was easy to whip up. I don’t have a conclusion on the baking soda amount, but the cake seems to be fine the way I did it. That’s not very scientific, but I’m glad it worked!

I had to laugh at the cake when I sliced it, because it had stripes where I soaked the layers with the syrup. I immediately thought of Jello cake (this might be called poke cake?) – you bake a white or yellow cake and then poke it full of holes and pour Jello over it and you get these cool looking streaks through the cake. Of course, my streaks were brown instead of cool Jello colors. My husband asked what the “splotches” were…I wonder if I could have soaked the cake more evenly or if that’s what it is supposed to look like?

How it tasted: I liked the light texture of this dessert: the light cake and the frosting/filling with whipped cream made it a nice spring dessert. The coffee flavor soaked into the cake and mixed into the frosting/filling was delicious. My husband said that although he prefers “the real deal,” he thought this was a nice play on Tiramisu and he liked it a lot. This was just as tasty the second day.

Would I make this again?: Probably, especially if I can’t find ladyfingers! I usually make Cooking Light’s White Russian Tiramisu, and I really like the mascarpone/cream cheese/brown sugar combination in the filling, so I may try to merge these two recipes next time.

Be sure to take a look at what the other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers did with this recipe!



  1. Your cake looks amazing, I’d like a slice now with my cup of tea please! I’m bookmarking that White Russian Tiramisu for future use, it sounds amazing and might be a bit lighter than my recipe!!

  2. Looks wonderful! I loved this recipe, so delish! I did an interview with Dorie if you want to stop by my blog ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Love the cake, love the plate… hummm… might be in the rhyming business today! lol lol

    Trรจs beautifill, Jill! lol

  4. You did such a good job with cutting this recipe. It does get complicated, doesn’t it? Love your little mini sitting on its pretty plate.

  5. I love how the syrup soaked through your cake making delicious streaks. When I do it again, I’ll make 50% more syrup to get more of that effect. Glad you enjoyed!

  6. So glad you liked it.

  7. This looks so good. I love tiramisu!

  8. I prefer the real deal as well, but this was a nice quick substitution if you can’t find ladyfingers! Your cake looks gorgeous!

  9. I’m with Clivia, I would have liked more syrup, too. Your cake looks lovely to me, and the White Russian version sounds like something I must try!

  10. Looks perfect!

  11. Your tiramisu cake looks gorgeous. Love it.

  12. Hi Jill, Your cake looks just fabulous! It doesn’t look like it has thinner layers at all, looks nice and thick. The filling and frosting looks generous too, I’m afraid I might have skimped on the filling.

  13. I was a little nervous after just looking at all the elements that were involved with this cake. But when I put it all together I realized it wasnt’ too difficult at all. And I didn’t know that CL had a tiramisu! Thanks for that info! Your cake looks very pretty.

  14. nice! i usually use the cooking light recipe too! I bet a combination would be super–the ladyfingers with dorie’s fillings?!? or dorie’s cake with the cooking light fillings…

  15. Your baby cake looks lovely – and the plate you served it on is gorgeous!

  16. Looks yummy- glad you liked it!

  17. Your cake looks fantastic! It’s funny, I always use four-inch pans for quarter recipes, but six-inch and slicing is a great idea! I totally want the “Baking in Small Batches” book now.

  18. Nice job and what careful calculations went into it. I made the whole thing and I will spend tomorrow handing out pieces of cake so I don’t eat the whole darn thing. I could eat the whole thing.

  19. Your cake is too cute! I’m looking forward for your recipe of homemade coffe liqueur!
    Thank you for your visit to my blog.

  20. Love your baby cake, and that plate is beautiful! I also have trouble finding ladyfingers when I need them, so maybe I’ll make my own next time.

  21. Haven’t thought of poke cake in years and years and years…fun memories. Your cake looks very beautiful. Great post! Beautiful photo of that cake!

  22. ok, really interested in this homemade coffee liqueur. i don’t even like coffee flavorings that much but that really got my attention. ๐Ÿ™‚ your cake looks perfect.

  23. Your cake looks lovely and you plate is gorgeous!

  24. Terrific job with your mini-cake Jill! I’ve been on this mini-dessert bender, so I appreciate the effort you put into scaling down the recipe.

  25. I always find tons of ladyfingers when I’m not looking for them. Figures!

    However, I’m glad you liked this recipe – I thought it was great!

  26. Your “musings on baking chemistry…” is cute! All of this baking is quite a science, isn’t it? So funny you thought of poke cake. That’s exactly what I thought when I cut into the cake. These Dorie Greenspan recipes are a long way from poke cake, though. ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Hii, that cake looks so delicious. If it’s ok, I’d like to know the main pressure points. I’m a beginner baker and was wondering if I should take this recipe to make my first layer cake. I’d love some tips! Thanks. Also, check out my cooking/baking blog fridayswithcoco.blogspot.com ๐Ÿ™‚

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