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Classic Tiramisu

Dinner party? Holiday? Or maybe you just want some comfort food. Tiramisu is a must try! This decadent classic Tiramisu has layers of delicate ladyfingers soaked in robust espresso that are met with a luscious mascarpone cream. With its rich and velvety textures, this classic Italian dessert will transport you to a cozy cafe in Venice with every irresistible bite.

Piece of tiramisu with fork on plate.
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Ingredients and Variations

Ingredients for making tiramisu.

This classic Italian dessert is made with layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers (Italian biscuits called Savoiardi) and layered with a whipped mixture of velvety cream made of eggs, sugar, and mascarpone cheese, and then topped with a dusting of cocoa powder. It’s very popular for a good reason! It’s really one of the best desserts in my humble opinion.

While ladyfingers are traditional, you can use sponge cake (like the one used in Italian rum cake), pound cake, or other dry biscuits that can soak up the coffee.

Cream cheese mixed with heavy cream can be used as a substitute for mascarpone cheese, though it will alter the taste slightly.

Any strong coffee will do to soak the cake/cookie layer, but I chose espresso for convenience.

If you are not comfortable consuming raw eggs, substitute 1 cup of cream for the eggs.

Step by Step

Tiramisu comes together rather quickly; however, it does take some time for the layers to set, so it’s best served at least 8 hours or preferably the next day.

To make your tiramisu:

Egg whites in white bowl.
Egg yolks and sugar in glass bowl.

Bring your eggs and mascarpone cheese to room temperature to create the perfect Tiramisu. Separate the eggs into yolks and egg whites, placing them in separate bowls.

Whisk one tablespoon of sugar into the egg yolks until they become fluffy. Then, blend in the mascarpone cheese until the mixture turns smooth.

Whipped egg whites in glass bowl.
Adding whipped egg whites to creamed yolks.

Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form, and add two tablespoons of sugar while whipping until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the mascarpone-yolk mixture in three portions, creating a light and airy cream.

Placing bottom layer of lady fingers into dish.
Placing second layer of ladyfingers on top of cream.

Lightly dust your dish with cocoa powder to create a cocoa base. Next, soak the ladyfingers lightly in the coffee syrup (be careful not to oversoak, or they may dissolve) and layer them over the cocoa. Spread a generous layer of the mascarpone-egg cream over the ladyfingers.

Adding second layer of cream.
Dusting the top with cocoa powder.

Repeat this process by adding another layer of soaked ladyfingers and another layer of the creamy mixture. Finish off with a final dusting of cocoa powder on top!

Tips & Potential Pitfalls

➜ Test-fit the ladyfingers in your dish before soaking, and trim or cut them gently (use a gentle sawing motion) if needed to determine how many you’ll need and ensure they fit.

➜ Use room temperature ingredients when making the cream to ensure you get the best velvety filling.

➜ Rushing the chilling period can result in runny tiramisu – this dessert is worth the wait.

➜ Soggy ladyfingers – find the right balance between soaking the ladyfingers enough to get that wonderful coffee flavor but not so much that you end up with mushy ladyfingers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make Tiramisu without raw eggs?

Yes, you can use pasteurized eggs or egg substitutes, or you can replace the eggs with heavy cream (see recipe card below).

Can tiramisu be make without coffee?

Answer: Coffee is a key flavor in Tiramisu, but you can substitute it with a coffee-flavored syrup or something like chocolate milk for a non-coffee version.

Why didn’t my tiramisu set?

This could be due to under-whipped egg whites or mascarpone mixture, over-soaked ladyfingers, or insufficient chilling time.

More Italian Desserts

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📖 Recipe

Piece of tiramisu with fork on plate.


In this classic Tiramisu, layers of delicate ladyfingers soaked in robust espresso meet a luscious mascarpone cream – out of this world!
5 from 1 vote
Author: Marie
Prep Time 20 minutes
Resting time 1 day
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 12
Calories 300 kcal


  • hand or standing mixer


  • 4 medium eggs separated, at room temperature (see NOTE 1)
  • 1 lb mascarpone cheese at room temperature
  • ¼ cup sugar divided
  • 1 cup espresso cooled (or any strong coffee) (see NOTE 2)
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto or traditionally, sweet marsala wine (see NOTE 3)
  • 24 Ladyfinger biscuits
  • Cocoa powder for dusting bottom and top


To Make the Velvety White Filling

  • Bring eggs and mascarpone cheese to room temperature—separate eggs by yolks and egg whites and place in separate bowls.
  • Whisk one tablespoon of sugar into egg yolks until fluffy using a standing or hand mixer.
  • Add Mascarpone and blend in mascarpone until smooth. Set aside.
  • Whip egg whites to soft peaks in a separate bowl, add two tablespoons of sugar gradually, and whisk until you get stiff peaks.
  • Fold whipped whites in three portions to the mascarpone-yolk mix for a light cream.

To Make the Coffee Dipping Syrup

  • Combine room temp or cold espresso, amaretto, and one tablespoon of sugar until sugar dissolves.

To Assemble

  • Test-fit the ladyfingers in your dish before soaking, and trim or cut them gently (use a gentle sawing motion) if needed to determine how many you'll need and ensure they fit.
  • You'll need two layers of lady fingers and two layers of cream.
  • Lightly dust the bottom of the serving dish with cocoa powder.
  • Soak the ladyfingers lightly in coffee syrup one at a time (if you oversoak them, they will dissolve), and then immediately begin to arrange them over the dusting of cocoa.
  • Spread half of the mascarpone-egg cream over ladyfingers.
  • Add another layer of soaked ladyfingers, followed by the remaining layer of cream.
  • Finish by dusting the top with a cocoa powder. I like to use a fine mesh strainer for this step.
  • Refrigerate at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.


NOTE 1: This recipe uses raw eggs; if you are uncomfortable doing this, you may substitute 1/2 cup of heavy cream for the egg yolks and 1/2 heavy cream for the egg whites and proceed with the recipe as written. 
NOTE 2: Although strong coffee is classic, other flavor ideas are hot chocolate, orange juice, or sweetened nut milk for a child-friendly version or for those who do not care for coffee. 
NOTE 3: Marsala wine is traditional, but you can use dark rum, brandy, and coffee-flavored liqueurs like Kahlúa or amaretto or omit it altogether. 
The nutrition estimate is based on using an 8 x 8 dish and cutting it into a 3 x 4-inch serving size. 
Adequately covered, Tiramisu can last in the fridge for up to 4 days. 
Tiramisu can be frozen. Wrap it well with plastic wrap and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator a day before serving
Tips for Best Results:
  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Using room temperature eggs and mascarpone ensures a smoother mixture and better incorporation of air.
  • Gentle Folding: Fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture gently and a bit at a time to maintain the lightness of the cream.
  • Avoid Over-Soaking Ladyfingers: I count to 4 or 5 to ensure the ladyfingers don’t fall apart.
  • Sufficient Chilling: A proper chilling time is crucial for the Tiramisu to set and develop flavors. Making this a day or two ahead is ideal
  • Ensure egg whites are whipped to the correct consistency (stiff peaks).
  • The egg/cheese mixture should be smooth with no lumps.


Calories: 300kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 7gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 151mgSodium: 76mgPotassium: 71mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 738IUVitamin C: 0.04mgCalcium: 72mgIron: 1mg
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