Authentic Italian Tiramisu

 Can we talk about tiramisu? So I’ve never actually been to Italy, but I love tiramisu.  It was basically love at first bite.  The coffee-soaked sponge, the Marsala spiked cream, mmmmm I could eat it for days. The thing about tiramisu is that finding a good tiramisu place is SO hard! Some places are wayyyy too alcoholy, some have way too much cream and not enough sponge, and I was basically at my wits end, so I decided to come up with my own recipe.

Most tiramisu recipes use lady fingers, which I happen to think are way too crumbly and dry, even when soaked with coffee. Even though they are easy to buy in bulk, I promise you that making this sponge is almost just as quick and painless. This sponge is so light and airy and elevates this tiramisu up to the next level. There’s no separating of egg yolks and egg whites or having to fold beaten egg whites into the egg yolks, it’s really as simple as it gets!

As for the creamy filling, I’m not going to lie, as a microbiology major, the thought of food poisoning freaks me out.  Tiramisu is traditionally made with raw egg yolks, but instead of going that route, the egg yolks are slowly cooked over a simmering water bath which still results in a rich and creamy consistency. My favorite part though?? Probably the mix of Marsala and mascarpone. I know, I know, mascarpone costs like a million dollars for a tiny tub, but it’s so darn good!!!! If you’re going to make this recipe, please, please don’t try and substitute the mascarpone with cream cheese, it just won’t be the same. I promise you, splurge on mascarpone just this once, and you won’t be disappointed.

In other news, I HAVE A PLACE TO LIVE IN NEW YORK!!!!!!!!!! Oh my goodness, these past few weeks were filled with SO MUCH STRESS and chaos. The housing market here is insane, houses come on and off the market in as little as 12 hours. I toured 5 apartments one day, and by the end of the day, 4 of them were already taken. Talk about feeling defeated.  I seriously felt like I needed a whole pan of this tiramisu and probably the rest of that Marsala just to make me feel human again. Anyway, this new place is just lovely, it’s got beautiful bay windows and a brand new kitchen (my own criteria really for a place was for it have an oven….go figure) that’s just a couple stops away from lots of restaurants and stores.  Now let’s just hope that we can get all my furniture through the door!

If there’s anything that I’ve learned in my past 22 years is that life is truly too short to not live it to the fullest and celebrate all the wonderful things that have happened to you. So I’ll make some tiramisu here in my grandma’s closet sized kitchen, and you make some in yours, okay? Let’s all celebrate life with some tiramisu 🙂

NOTE: for the sponge, I have included measurements in both weight and volume.  However, I would strongly recommend using the weighted measurements as that results in a more accurate and delicious sponge as measurements by volume can sometimes differ slightly person to person depending on how the ingredients are measured.

 AUTHENTIC ITALIAN TIRAMISU | Makes one 9×13 inch pan
(cream adapted from Anna Maria Vipoli)

for sponge

  • 6 eggs
  • 180 grams or 1 1/2 cup cake flour*
  • 160 grams or 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 25×15 inch sheet pan (also known as a 3/4 sheet pan) lined with parchment paper

*To make cake flour from AP flour, simply replace 2tbsp of AP flour with 2 tbsp of cornstarch for every cup of AP flour

for cream

  • 4 egg yolks (make my pavlova recipe if you don’t know what to do with extra egg whites!)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine
  • 1 lb mascarpone
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups strong coffee + 2 tsp sugar for dipping sponge
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder for dusting


for sponge

  1. Preheat oven to 340 (F).
  2. Crack eggs into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and slowly begin to beat eggs. Beat eggs for 2 minutes on low speed and then 2 minutes on medium speed before gradually adding in the sugar.  Once sugar has all been added, increase mixer to the highest speed setting.  Beat eggs until mixture has turned a pale yellow color and has more than doubled in size (~10 min).
  3. Add flour to egg mixture in three batches, taking care to GENTLY fold the flour into the egg mixture.  When folding make sure to use a spatula and move spatula in large circular movements so you do not deflate the air that has been beaten into the eggs.
  4. Once flour has been incorporated, pour batter onto sheet pan and smooth out.
  5. Bake cake for 10-15 minutes or until sponge springs back when touched.
  6. Once sponge has cooled, cut sponge into thin rectangles ~ 1×4.5 inches.

for cream

  1. In a heat proof bowl or top bowl of double-boiler, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until mixture becomes pale yellow and creamy. Then add in Marsala wine.
  2. Place mixture over a simmering pot of water and cook until cream has thickened, whisking constantly.  The cream will be ready to remove from heat just before it boils (small little bubbles will appear on the surface of the cream when you stop mixing it for a moment).
  3. Add mascarpone into a large mixing bowl and beat with spatula until is it a smooth and soft consistency.  Then add in cooked cream and mix until well incorporated.
  4. Place mixture into fridge to chill while you beat the whipped cream.
  5. Using stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat whipped cream until it is just beginning to form soft peaks. Do not over whip!
  6. Fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture and then place back in fridge to chill.

to assemble

  1. Gather together ingredients: sponge cake rectangles, mascarpone mixture, 9x13in pan and cooled coffee.
  2. Quickly dip both sides of sponge into coffee mixture and line pan to form bottom layer. 
  3. Pour half of mascarpone mixture over sponge layer and smooth out.
  4. Repeat with remaining sponge rectangles to form second layer.
  5. Pour remaining mascarpone mixture on top of second layer and smooth out.
  6. Dust top of mascarpone mixture with cocoa powder.
  7. Refrigerate until firm (~ 2 hours).
  8. Tiramisu will stay fresh up to 3 days in the fridge.