This vegan tiramisu is a dairy free and egg free take on the classic Italian dessert! Simple ingredients and a fabulous vegan mascarpone that tastes just like the original!
Growing up, I was the odd kid who’d be drinking coffee while everyone else had hot chocolate or sodas. In my household, coffee was the drink of choice and my parents never had the mentality that coffee was reserved only for adults. From a young age, I acquired a love for the flavor, and this went beyond a simple mug of joe.
Whenever my family would take us out for ice cream, I’d always choose the coffee flavor. Whenever there was a box of mixed chocolate, I’d choose the coffee cream-filled ones. When my birthday rolled around, I’d always choose a coffee or mocha cake. However, nothing came close to my all time favorite coffee dessert- tiramisu.
There is something magical about a tiramisu, and I understand why coffee lovers are obsessed. The combination of espresso, coffee syrup, and coffee liqueur all balanced out with sweet mascarpone and sponge fingers. Since going vegan, it’s been years since I’ve had what they would consider a ‘traditional tiramisu’ but luckily, I gave it a dairy free makeover!
I’ve been meaning to share a vegan tiramisu recipe for quite some time. I was always intimated by the thought of making a mascarpone without any cheese or dairy, but it’s actually ridiculously easy. You only need simple ingredients and the hard part is waiting for the actual dessert to set!
No dairy and no eggs are needed, but you’d never tell. The texture is light, airy, and has alternating smooth and creamy layers. The tiramisu is pleasantly sweet and has a lovely coffee flavor, without being overpowering.
I had some friends over for dinner the other night and served them this for dessert and NO ONE believed me when I said that it was vegan- They thought it HAD to have dairy in it!
Ingredients to make a vegan tiramisu
For the cake
- Pastry flour– Also known as cake flour, this gives the cake a lovely soft and fluffy texture. You can use all purpose flour, but the cake layer will be a little more dense.
- Baking powder and baking soda– Both leavening agents are used for some rise and depth.
- Salt– Brings out the sweetness of all the other ingredients.
- Milk of choice– I used soy milk, but any plant based milk can be used.
- Apple cider vinegar– Mixed with the milk to curdle and replace any need for eggs.
- Vegan butter– Softened and unsalted. Vegan margarine can also be used.
- Sugar– I used white sugar, but unrefined, brown, and coconut sugar all can be used.
- Vanilla extract– A must for any good cake.
For the coffee syrup
- Coffee– Freshly brewed coffee or instant espresso. Your coffee must be chilled, or else it will break into the cake layer.
- Sugar– Gives the syrup the sticky sweetness.
- Kahlua– Optional, but highly recommended.
For the vegan mascarpone
- Cashews– Unsalted and raw. There is no need to soak them beforehand.
- Agave nectar– Gives the mascarpone extra sweetness, without being overpowering. Maple syrup can also be used.
- Coconut oil– Melted and refined (unrefined has a strong coconut flavor).
- Vanilla bean– Optional, but gives it a lovely vanilla flavor.
- Milk of choice– I used soy milk, but unsweetened almond or coconut milk also works.
For the vanilla and coffee cream
- Milk of choice– This will only be used for the vanilla cream layer.
- Coconut oil– Melted. Like the milk, it will only be needed for the vanilla layer.
- Kahlua and espresso- Strong coffee AND a coffee liqueur for the coffee cream.
- Cocoa powder– To dust between and on top of the layers.
How do you make a tiramisu?
It’s best to make the tiramisu in sections so that when it comes time to assemble it together, it will be very easy!
Start by preparing the cake layer by mixing the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Next, whisk together the milk and vinegar, so it has time to curdle. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter and the sugar until smooth and fluffy. Slowly add in the milk mixture and whisk until it is incorporated. Fold through the dry ingredients and mix well, until combined.
Now, transfer the cake batter onto a lined baking sheet and spread out in a thin, even layer. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out mostly clean. Let the cake cool completely.
While the cake is cooling, prepare the rest of the layers. Whisk together the chilled coffee, sugar, and Kahlua until combined. Set it aside and prepare the mascarpone. In a high-speed blender or food processor, combine all your ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. Next, divide the batter evenly into two mixing bowls. In the first one, whisk in the milk and melted coconut oil. This will be the vanilla cream. In the next one, add in the Kahlua and espresso, which will form the coffee cream.
Finally, assemble the tiramisu. Lightly grease a deep casserole dish or individual serving glasses. Cut pieces of the sheet cake and dip in the coffee syrup, before placing it into the dish. Top with a layer of vanilla cream, followed by a light dusting of cocoa powder. Place the dish in the freezer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove from the freezer and add a layer of the coffee cream, and dust with cocoa powder, before placing back into the freezer. Repeat this process until all the cake and cream are used up. Dust with cocoa powder on top, before refrigerating the tiramisu for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
Tips to make the best tiramisu
- Don’t worry too much about the cake layer, as it will eventually be soaked in syrup and cream. If you don’t want to make a sheet cake, you can make a simple vanilla cake instead, and cut it up into squares or thin slices.
- If you’d like to make this without alcohol, replace the Kahlua with extra milk. Do not use extra coffee or the flavor will be too intense.
- Feel free to use decaffeinated coffee if you cannot tolerate caffeine.
- Please do not omit or alter any of the ingredients in the mascarpone layer, or it will likely not come out as intended. If you can’t use cashews, the only other alternative I have tried is Marcona almonds.
Storing and freezing tiramisu
- To store: Tiramisu should always be stored in the refrigerator, completely covered. It will keep well for at least a week.
- To freeze: Place leftover tiramisu into a sealable container and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
More vegan dessert recipes you’ll enjoy
Watch how to make it
For the vanilla sheet cake
- 1/2 cup Soy Milk
- 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- 4 tablespoons Vegan Butter
- 1/8 teaspoon Salt
- 6 tablespoons Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons Pastry Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
For the soaking syrup
- 3/4 cup Freshly Brewed Coffee cooled
- 3 tablespoons Sugar
- 3 tablespoons Kahlua
For the vegan mascarpone
- 1 3/4 cup Raw Cashews no need to soak
- 1/3 cup Agave Nectar
- 1/3 cup Coconut Oil Melted
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1 seed Vanilla Bean Pod
- 3/4 cup Soy Milk
For the vanilla cream
- 1/4 cup Soy Milk
- 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil Melted
For the coffee cream
- 1 tablespoon Kahlua
- 1/3 cup Espresso cooled
For the sheet cake
- Preheat oven to 175 degrees celsius. Grease and line a 8x6 inch cookie sheet with baking paper. Set aside.
- Whisk Soy Milk and Apple Cider Vinegar in a bowl set aside for 5 minutes to curdle. Sieve the Pastry Flour, Baking Powder and Baking Soda into a bowl. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk Vegan Butter, Sugar and Salt till light and fluffy, about a minute. Whisk in the Vanilla Extract.
- Alternate whisking in the Soy Milk mixture and dry ingredients, starting with 1/3 of the dry and ending with the last third of the dry mixture.
- Spread mixture out onto prepared cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until cooked through. It's okay if you over bake it slightly, it doesn't make a difference.
- Mix Coffee, Kahlua and Sugar together till the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
Vegan Mascarpone Filling
- In a high speed blender, combine Cashews, Agave, Coconut Oil, Salt, Vanilla and Soy Milk. Blend thoroughly until smooth and silky.
- Divide mixture into half. For Vanilla, use first half of mixture and thoroughly whisk in extra 1/4 cup Soy Milk and 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil. Set aside.
- For Coffee Cream, blend second half of Mascarpone mixture with Kahlua and Espresso.
- :To assemble, have ready a tiramisu dish or individual ramekins/glasses. Cut a piece of sheet cake to fit the bottom of your ramekin or glass. Dip in Soaking Syrup for just a second or two and place into the bottom of your vessel.
- Top with a layer of Vanilla Cream and dust with Cocoa Powder. At this point, freeze for 10 minutes.
- Once out of the freezer, top with a layer of Coffee Cream. Freeze for 10 minutes.
- Repeat process once more - soaked cake, vanilla cream and coffee cream - freezing cream layers for 10 minutes before continuing.
- Once complete, dust the tops of you Tiramisu with cocoa powder and leave in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours to firm up before eating.