Tiramisu Layer Cake

Why yes, I'll take that bite (heck, the whole cake) of tiramisu layer cake. #tiramisu #cake #chocolatecake #dessert #coffee

this tiramisu layer cake pairs tender chocolate cake with creamy mascarpone buttercream and rum-espresso soak for a dessert that screams tiramisu (:

The cookies make it easy to make consistent slices. #tiramisu #cake #chocolatecake #dessert #coffee

i’ve learned a lot throughout college. if you’re stuck coding, cry it out, and then you’ll breakthrough. (sometimes). patience, you’ll meet your tribe soon. (such a blogging mindset). if the rent is cheap, it might be cheap for a reason (that janky house i was in during fall quarter). those growing pains hurt in the moment, and yet here i am. with only one final left to take and graduation ready to rear end me no matter how much i swerve. with this last post that i’ll ever write while i’m an undergrad.

i’ll miss the people and the food and even driving around in this boring ass town. (it’s not that boring, i merely wanted to reference this song). i’m a little melancholy, but it’s still an occasion worthy of celebration and cake. tiramisu layer cake, that is.

the cake isn’t über chocolatey, and under different circumstances, i’d say that with an eye roll. however, tiramisu in general focuses on other selling points, so that’s fine. the cake provides the perfect foundation for the super flavorful rum-espresso soak, and the slightly bitter cocoa balances out the sweet mascarpone buttercream. all those components come together so that this tiramisu layer cake actually tastes like tiramisu. yes, please.

you can decorate the cake in any way you’d like. the cake photographed here ended up with a woodland vibe, with a flower thrown on because we ran of out rolled wafer cookies to completely line the exterior of the cake LOL. there’s almonds on top for crunch, though i’d highly recommend the use of coffee beans instead. you get crunch + even more coffee flavor. it is a tiramisu layer cake, after all.

In case you run out of cookies to line the outside of your tiramisu layer cake with, use a flower to cover the hole (; #tiramisu #cake #chocolatecake #dessert #coffee

1 year ago: beef rice bowls with sesame cabbage slaw | chocolate hi hat cupcakes with peanut butter buttercream
2 years ago: creamy strawberry avocado yogurt pops | cherry jasmine waffles
3 years ago: rant thursday #4 | west coast brownies
4 years ago: thomas keller’s chocolate chip cookies | chicken dijon

5 from 3 votes
Why yes, I'll take that bite (heck, the whole cake) of tiramisu layer cake. #tiramisu #cake #chocolatecake #dessert #coffee
Tiramisu Layer Cake
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins
This tiramisu layer cake features moist chocolate cake, a quick coffee soak, and creamy mascarpone buttercream.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: buttercream, cake, chocolate, coffee, dessert, espresso, layer cake, mascarpone, nut-free, rum, swiss meringue buttercream, tiramisu, tiramisu layer cake, vegetarian
Servings: 16 people
Calories: 497 kcal
Chocolate Cake
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup + 2 T canola oil
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk room temperature
  • 1 cup hot strong-brewed coffee
Rum-Espresso Soak
  • 2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
Mascarpone Buttercream
  • 1/2 cup + 2 T egg whites about 5 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter room temperature, cubed
  • 3/4 cup mascarpone softened
  • 1 T dark rum
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate Cake
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients.
  2. Beat the oil and sugar until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stream in the coffee, then mix until combined.
  3. Divide between three 8” round cake pans and bake at 350F for 25-28 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.
  4. Cool in the pans for 10-15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Rum-Espresso Soak
  1. Combine the espresso and rum until the espresso dissolves.
Mascarpone Buttercream
  1. Whisk the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Place over a double boiler. Heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch.
  2. Whisk until medium-stiff peaks form and the bowl should be cool to the touch. Add the butter, a few cubes at a time, with a paddle attachment. Once all the butter incorporated, turn the mixer to medium-high and beat until the buttercream is silky smooth. Add the mascarpone, rum, and vanilla; mix until combined.
  3. Brush the cakes with rum-espresso soak. Put a layer on a turntable or serving dish top side up, and spread 1/2 cup buttercream with an offset spatula. Top with the last cake and frost with the remaining buttercream. Finish with chocolate curls, if desired.
Recipe Notes

Adapted very slightly from The Vanilla Bean Blog (but really from Tessa Huff’s Layered).

Note that the cake pictured here was made in 6.5" cake pans, while this recipe is meant for 8" pans. If you want to make a 6.5" cake, you can half the (whole) recipe and bake the cakes in two 6.5" pans for 30-35 minutes.

You can adjust the amounts of rum in the rum-espresso soak and the buttercream depending on how much you like rum. I'd caution against increasing it too much though, especially in the buttercream; you don't want the buttercream to get too loose.

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This tiramisu layer cake is the decadent combo of moist chocolate cake, silky mascarpone buttercream, rich espresso and rum soak, and crunchy rolled wafter cookies. #tiramisu #cake #chocolatecake #dessert #coffee

28 Replies to “Tiramisu Layer Cake”

  1. That looks so delectable Heather! I love Tiramisu!! xo5 stars

  2. I love the woodland vibe you’ve got going on with this cake Heather! Looks so rich and delicious!5 stars

    1. thanks! the woodland vibe was a little by accident but i’m happy with how it came out (:

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever had rum in a tiramisu before. But saying that, the cake looks scrummy. Good luck for your last exam.

    1. i like a touch of rum- meaning a few tablespoons for the whole cake is about perfect for me (;

  4. I love coffee flavored anything sooooo I am drooling over this cake!!!! I love how you decorated it too. And can I just say I’m glad I’m not the only person who uses the word janky?!! Hahahaha

    1. apparently i talk like a mom- i used “dweeb” the other day and my friend told me that her mom is the only person who uses that word whoops

  5. Heather, this cake is gorgeous! I think I prefer a tiramisu cake to full-on tiramisu. I love the chocolate cake, too! Congratulations on your impending graduation! I wish you all the best and can’t wait to read your posts with all your experiences as a new graduate! Cheers!

    1. thanks, laura! i like cake more than tiramisu too (: and it’s no longer impending- it happened last weekend! my experiences as a newly unemployed person involve a lot of working out and grocery runs hahah.

  6. That cake looks absolutely amazing, and with all the flavours of tiramisu, what’s not to love! Congratulations on your graduation!

    1. thanks, caroline! (:

  7. this is a perfect celebration treat..love the moist texture of the cake and yes, congratulations to you 🙂

    1. yes, i love celebrating with cake! and thanks, priya (:

  8. Love the woodland vibe… and the flavours of tiramisu! The rum-espresso soak sounds fantastic.

    1. i’m convinced that a rum-espresso soak makes all cakes better (:

  9. I love me some tiramisu, but I’ve never made it myself. Of course, you make it look really really simple. OMG, you only have one final left then Graduation time!! I’m so proud of you! I bet you will miss that old boring town it’s so strange what you miss as you get older. Those rolled wafer cookies are a great touch 🙂5 stars

    1. i already miss that town! i moved back home, and not having lived here for more than a summer in the past four years, it’s kind of strange.

  10. What a lovely cake to celebrate your upcoming graduation! Congratulations as you have no doubt taken you last exam by now. It’s a great achievement so be proud of yourself 😀

  11. Haha- few ever admit that they put a flower on as a cover up! The woodland vibe works on this traditional cake.

    1. my aunt asked why there was such a big flower on the cake, and i straight up told her it was to cover a hole xD

  12. OMG! I remember programming class when I had a hard time with C++ to the point where I was at a D by midterms. I somehow bounced to an A by finals BUT YES!! Maybe a cry is needed for the breakthrough lol.

    You’re so pro with your food creations. The tiramisu layer cake looks so zen with the straws.

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

    1. has someone really taken a coding class if they (and the rest of the class LOL) haven’t had a D at some point? good times.

  13. oh how I wish I was a cake baker. but i’m not. so I’ll just stare at your photos!

    1. you can be!!! it’s not so bad- be super careful with the recipe and i’m sure you can bake awesome cakes (:

  14. I hope your final went well, Heather! And congratulations on the completion of your undergraduate program! This cake is fabulous and I love the woodland vibe!!

    1. i passed, so that’s all that matters!!! thanks, thao (:

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