Treat yourself to this tasty tiramisu cake made with moist layers of coffee soaked vanilla cake and creamy mascarpone frosting.
Ciao amici! You might not know this about me, but I actually minored in Italian. I’ll spare you my Italy study abroad stories (I know you’re just here for the cake), and give you a little Italian lesson instead. “Tiramisu” in Italian means “pick me up” or “cheer me up,” which is obviously very fitting for a such a delicious dessert. And if there’s anything that’s going to cheer you up at the end of a long day it’s this delicious tiramisu cake. This tiramisu inspired cake takes all your favorite flavors of the classic Italian dessert and translates them into a luscious layer cake.
What’re you waiting for? Andiamo!
What is a tiramisu cake?
You’ve probably had tiramisu before…or at least I HOPE you have. The combination of mascarpone, espresso, and coffee is delicious. And all those flavors are equally scrumptious in layer cake form. This tiramisu cake is made with 3 layers of moist, buttery vanilla cake soaked in espresso, a lightly sweet mascarpone frosting, and (of course) a healthy sprinkle of cocoa powder. The result is a delicious, unique, show stopping cake!
Tips for making mascarpone frosting
Mascarpone frosting is a little different than your traditional buttercream, so make sure you pay attention to the directions carefully to avoid your frosting splitting or getting too stiff.
Use cold mascarpone and cold cream: I cannot emphasize enough how crucial this is. Dairy ingredients can be tricky because they can curdle, leaving you with a sad split frosting. You set yourself up for success by starting with your ingredients at the same temperature to avoid any temperature shocks.
Don’t over mix the frosting: Overmixing can also lead to a split frosting. This frosting is basically whipped cream with a few extra ingredients, so just like you wouldn’t beat whipped cream more after medium stiff peaks form, stop with this mascarpone frosting too!
Refrigerate your cake after frosting: The mascarpone frosting really knocks with tiramisu cake out of the park, but it does mean you should refrigerate your cake until ready to serve. Cream doesn’t do great when it gets warm and the last thing you want is your cake falling apart because the frosting has melted off.
Tips for making layer cakes
Make sure your cake layers are fully cooled before frosting: If there’s one rule you follow, let it be this. I get it–I’m impatient too, but if you try to frost a warm cake it will simply slip and slide apart and leave you with a mess. Wait until your cakes are COMPLETELY cool (I’m talking cold, no questionable spots, no good enoughs) to frost.
Even off the tops of your cakes if they domed: This vanilla cake recipe should have a very even rise, but sometimes it will get a slight dome at the top if your pan is darker or if your oven is running hot. If you do have a domed cake I recommend evening off the top of your cake to make it flat. This will make it easier and neater to stack.
Refrigerate before serving: This isn’t the case for every layer cake, but for this one it will help it stay together. The mascarpone frosting is delicious, but it is less stiff than a traditional buttercream. Refrigerating your cake will help it to set.
Preheat the oven to 325°F and grease and flour three 6 inch cake pans (you can also use 2 9 inch pans if you would rather a 2 layer cake). Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the softened butter and oil together until they become homogenous, about 3 minutes. This will not work if your butter is not completely room temperature.
Slowly add the granulated sugar to the oil and butter, beating on high until the mixture is light and fluffy and turns a very pale yellow, about 3 minutes.
Add the eggs in one at time, scraping down the bowl in between each addition. Add the vanilla extract.
Beat the mixture on high for 3 minutes more to incorporate as much air as possible.
In separate bowl sift together the cake flour, salt, and baking powder. Alternate mixing in the dry ingredients and the buttermilk in 4 batches, starting with the buttermilk and ending with the dry ingredients. It’s okay if the batter still has a few lumps in it–you don’t want to over mix it.
Split the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes or until the cake is a lightly golden brown and springs back when pressed. This will depend on your oven. Take out of the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. To cool completely.
While the cakes cool, brew your coffee and mix the hot coffee with the sugar, stir to dissolve.
Make the mascarpone frosting. Combine the mascarpone, vanilla extract, powdered sugar in a stand mixer fit with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula and turn the mixer onto medium low speed, slowly pouring in the heavy cream. Beat until smooth and fluffy and combined, about 2 minutes. Make sure to not over mix. If the cream gets too stiff it the frosting will split. Transfer the frosting to a large piping bag fit with a large round tip.
Place your first cake layer on a plate or cake stand and use a pastry brush to generously brush the top of the cake with the coffee syrup, really dabbing it into the cake to get it to soak it up. Pipe a layer of frosting over the cake, using an offset spatula to smooth it into an even layer if necessary.
Repeat with the next two cakes. Frost the top and the outside of the cake with the remaining frosting, leaving aside a bit if you’d like to decorate the top of the cake.
If decorating, pipe along the top of the cake in desired fashion. Sprinkle with cocoa powder to finish!
Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving! Enjoy!