Tiramisu Cake

One word: Divine.

Tiramisu means "lift me up" in Italian, and this recipe is sure to do just that.  Perfect for every occasion, this fluffy espresso-inspired cake will be the highlight of the day.  From Smitten Kitchen and made with Fair Trade Certified ingredients.

We recommend pairing this with some Fair Trade Certified berries and wine to balance with the earthy espresso flavor.




For the cake layers

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 TSP baking powder
  • 1/8 TSP baking soda
  • 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup Fair Trade Certified sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 TSP Fair Trade Certified vanilla
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

For the espresso

  • Extract 2 TBSP ground Fair Trade Espresso Beans
  • 2 TBSP boiling water

For the espresso syrup

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup Fair Trade Certified sugar
  • 1 TBSP amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy

For the filling & frosting

  • 1 8-ounce container mascarpone
  • 1/2 cup Fair Trade Certified confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 TSP Fair Trade Certified vanilla
  • 1 TBSP amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 ounces Fair Trade Certified chocolate (bittersweet or semisweet) finely chopped

Preparation Instructions

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9×2 inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess, and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

Make the cake

  1. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
  3. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. Transfer the cakes to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them, and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right-side up.

Make the espresso extract

  1. Stir the espresso powder and boiling water together in a small cup until blended.
  2. Set aside.

Make the espresso syrup

  1. Stir the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil.
  2. Pour the syrup into a small heatproof bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the espresso extract and the liqueur or brandy; set aside.

Make filling & frosting

  1. Put the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla, and liqueur in a large bowl and whisk just until blended and smooth.
  2. Working with the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir about one quarter of the whipped cream into the mascarpone. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream with a light touch.

Assemble the cake 

  1. If the tops of the cake layers have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. Place one layer right-side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate protected with strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, soak the layer with about one third of the espresso syrup. Smooth some of the mascarpone cream over the layer – user about 1 1/4 cups – and gently press the chopped chocolate into the filling. Put the second cake layer on the counter and soak the top of it with half the remaining espresso syrup, then turn the layer over and position it, soaked side down, over the filling. Soak the top of the cake with the remaining syrup.
  2. For the frosting, whisk 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining espresso extract into the remaining mascarpone filling. With a long metal icing spatula, smooth the frosting around the sides of the cake and over the top.
  3. Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours (or for up to 1 day) before serving. Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with cocoa.