This tiramisu cake is an absolute dream and undetectably vegan! With espresso soaked sponge cakes layered in a dairy-free homemade mascarpone frosting, whipped cream, and cocoa powder, it’s like tiramisu in cake form! Absolutely everyone will love this show-stopping cake inspired by the classic Italian dessert!
Why you’ll love this vegan cake recipe:
Vegan tiramisu cake combines the best of the best with a classic dessert flavor, mixed with the beauty and elegance of a cake, and all secretly eggless, dairy-free, and vegan! Yes, absolutely no one will be able to tell that this tiramisu cake is indeed plant-based.
Here’s why you’ll just like this tiramisu cake:
Texture: the ladyfinger-inspired vegan sponge cake layers are so identical to the texture of real ladyfinger cakes, and when soaked in espresso and layered with a fluffy dairy-free mascarpone frosting, you’re essentially eating tiramisu in cake form!
Flavor: we have all of the flavors of classic tiramisu: rich and intense notes of cocoa and espresso, followed by sweet and light flavors of vanilla and a slight tang thanks to the mascarpone!
Ease: the creation of this tiramisu cake is shockingly easy; if you’ve ever made a layer cake before, it’s essentially that! And the mascarpone frosting is very close to buttercream. The best part? You don’t even need to make the whipped cream: we’re using Forager Project coconut whipped cream alternative to make the whole assembly and decorating process seamless!
Look: this tiramisu cake is an absolute showstopper! Make this for any holiday gathering or dinner party, and you’ll have everyone begging you for the recipe!
What is a tiramisu cake?
Have you ever had tiramisu? This classic Italian dessert, which quite literally translates to “pick-me-up,” is made with deliciously delicate espresso soaked ladyfingers, layered with mascarpone, and topped with whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder.
It’s full of vanilla, a slight tang, thanks to the mascarpone filling, and a bit of a kick from the espresso and cocoa. Tiramisu is an absolute classic Italian dessert that everyone loves.
Tiramisu cake, however, takes this caffeine-filled dessert up a notch. With light and delicate vanilla sponge cakes brushed in espresso, layered with a mascarpone frosting and topped with whipped cream and cocoa powder, it’s the best of both a cake and tiramisu!
And we’re going the extra mile to make this tiramisu cake entirely vegan, eggless, dairy-free, and even an option for gluten-free!
You might be wondering how on earth do you make a delicious tiramisu cake that’s naturally vegan and dairy-free. It’s actually easier than you think. We’ll start by going over the ingredients you need to make the vegan sponge cake, followed by how we create a veganized mascarpone frosting, and the incredible coconut whipped cream that reminds us of the classic version.
For the ladyfinger-inspired sponge cake, you’ll need:
Flour: we used organic all-purpose flour, but to make this gluten-free, you can easily swap in 1:1 gluten-free baking flour (just make sure it contains xanthan gum!).
Sugar: organic granulated sugar is best here, as then you can be sure that it’s also vegan.
Forager Project vanilla cashewmilk yogurt: we used yogurt to replace the eggs found in a more traditional tiramisu cake. The yogurt not only adds structure and moisture to the cake, but it will also help the cake layers to rise.
Vegan buttermilk: this is a combination of Forager Project soymilk and apple cider vinegar. When mixing the two and allowing them to sit for a few minutes, the mixture will curdle and produce a dairy-free buttermilk. You can use any Forager Project dairy-free milk here.
For the vegan mascarpone cheese frosting, we’ve achieved something incredibly close to the real deal. However, to be used in a cake, we’ve made it to be a bit more like buttercream. Don’t worry- the flavor is still there! We used:
Vegan butter: this will help give the mascarpone some structure.
Vegan cream cheese: just a little for that slight “tang.”
Organic powdered sugar: again, it’s crucial to use organic sugar here so as to ensure that your powdered sugar is vegan.
Forager Project Whipped Cream Alternative: just a little creates a super fluffy and light mascarpone that will also be stable enough for us to stack our cake layers on.
How to make a vegan tiramisu cake:
Now let’s get to the fun part: making and assembling our secretly vegan tiramisu cake!
To start, we’ll make the ladyfinger sponge cake layers, followed by the vegan mascarpone frosting, and then we’ll go over how to assemble everything.
This is just an overview of the process, including visual photos to help you make your vegan tiramisu cakes! The full instructions are found down below in the recipe card.
To make the vegan vanilla sponge cakes:
Start by creaming together the vegan butter and sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. You can also use a large bowl and hand mixer as well. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. The sugar will start to emulsify into the vegan butter, and create a super fluffy texture.
Then add in the dairy-free yogurt, along with the vanilla extract. Mix again until combined.
Sift in the flour, along with the leavening agents, and add in your vegan buttermilk in increments as you mix. You’ll want to mix just until the flour is combined into the wet. Be careful not to over mix, or you might end up with a “stodgy” cake.
Pour the cake batter into your prepared pans (we used three 8″ cake pans lined with parchment paper- you can also use three 6″ cake pans or two 8″ cake pans!). And bake the cakes!
Once baked, you’ll allow the sponge cakes to fully cool before making the mascarpone frosting.
After you’ve fully cooled your cake layers, it’s time to make the mascarpone frosting:
In a stand mixer, cream the vegan butter until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
Then add in the vegan cream cheese, and mix on high speed until combined.
Sift in the powdered sugar in increments as you mix. Then add in the coconut whipped cream and mix again until everything is fluffy and light!
Store the mascarpone frosting in the fridge to keep it as cold as possible before fully assembling your tiramisu cake.
How to assemble a tiramisu cake:
Much like the classic pick-me-up dessert, we’re soaking our cake layers in espresso and beginning the layering process.
However, since cake layers are quite a bit larger than ladyfingers, we’ll need to brush the espresso on, rather than fully soaking the cake. This will also make sure that your cake layers don’t become too wet, and thus unable to stand up when being layered as a cake.
Brush the room temperature espresso onto cooled cakes.
Place one layer onto a cake plate, and spoon or pipe the mascarpone frosting on top. Then place the second layer and repeat. Place the final cake layer onto the cake, and then transport the cake to the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. This ensures that the mascarpone frosting doesn’t become too soft.
You should still have a decent amount of mascarpone frosting leftover. Once your cake has been chilled, frost the outside and top of the cake with the remaining mascarpone frosting.
Pipe the Forager Project coconut whipped cream on top and dust with cocoa powder. Place the cake in the fridge to set until you’re ready to serve!