The rich and decadent flavors in this Vegan Tiramisu will have you going back for seconds. It’s an uncomplicated recipe that can be done days ahead of time or all at once. Simple ingredients only!
This Vegan Tiramisu is not your average cake. Elegant and delicious, it’s the perfect dessert to serve after a vegan Italian feast (such as Vegan Baked Ziti) or for a special occasion. Layer after layer of espresso-soaked cake, vegan mascarpone, and cocoa powder on top will have you rushing back for a second or third helping.
It’s actually very fun to make and I only use simple, easy ingredients that you can find at most grocery stores.
What is tiramisu?
Classic tiramisu is a dreamy and creamy cake with layers of espresso-dipped ladyfingers, mascarpone cream, and cocoa powder on top. It’s a rich and decadent dessert from Italy with depths of flavor. The traditional recipe is loaded with dairy and eggs, but luckily I have found a way around this!
Ingredients needed (with substitutions)
- All-purpose flour – Turn this recipe into a vegan gluten-free tiramisu by using gluten-free all-purpose flour in place of regular in the vanilla cake.
- Soy milk – You can substitute the soy milk for any dairy-free milk in the cake.
- Canola oil – Melted coconut oil or vegan butter can be used in place of canola oil in the cake.
- Apple cider vinegar – To help your cake rise and level as it bakes. Regular white vinegar should work in its place.
- Vegan cream cheese – I used Tofutti cream cheese, but Trader Joe’s, Miyokos and Daiya should all work in this recipe.
- Sugar – Use cane or coconut sugar as an alternative.
- Coconut oil – This is essential when the cream layer needs to firm up.
- Coconut milk – Use full-fat canned coconut milk so you don’t miss out on any flavor in the cream layer of the tiramisu.
- Espresso – As used in every traditional tiramisu recipe. Use your favorite espresso (I have this espresso machine and love it!) or even pick up a freshly brewed cup from your local coffee shop. A strong cup of coffee OR espresso can be used.
- Coffee liquor – I used Kahlua, but dark rum would work as well. Leave the alcohol out of this recipe if kids will be eating the cake or you prefer not to use it.
How to make vegan tiramisu
Save yourself a long day in the kitchen by making this vegan tiramisu recipe in steps over a day or two. Let’s start with the cake…
Vanilla cake “ladyfingers”
Instead of traditional and not-so-vegan ladyfingers, the base of the tiramisu will be vanilla cake strips. Make the cake up to two days ahead of time.
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF and lightly grease a 10×15 inch sheet pan.
- Add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and sugar to a large bowl. Whisk well to combine. Next, pour the canola oil, soy milk, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract over the dry ingredients in the bowl. Mix with a large spoon until just combined, but be careful not to over mix the batter or your cake won’t be soft and fluffy.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool on a cooling rack. Slice the cake into 1 1/2 inches wide strips to replicate ladyfingers.
Vegan cream layer
This part is easy and we don’t need any complicated ingredients like cashews or silken tofu. The vegan cream cheese and coconut milk cream layer tastes heavenly when blended together.
- To a food processor (or blender), add the vegan cream cheese, sugar, coconut oil, a tiny pinch of salt, vanilla, and coconut milk. Mix or blend until smooth, then place in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. This will help the cream firm up.
Assembling the cake
Here comes the fun part! Now that the hard part is done, we can put our tiramisu cake together.
- Make the espresso sauce by stirring together the espresso or strong coffee, liquor, and sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Get out an 8×8 inch cake pan or a dish with tall edges or walls. Dip each cake strip into the espresso mixture and place it on the bottom of the pan. Continue until there is an even layer of cake. Use a spatula to scoop half of your vegan cream on top of the cake and spread until it reaches the pan edges. Add another layer of espresso dipped cake pieces, then the rest of the cream and refrigerate.
- Leave the cake in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight to let the cream firm up and the flavors mingle. When you’re ready to serve, use a sifter to dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder.
Tips for success
- A 9×13 inch sheet or cake pan will work for the cake recipe if you don’t have a 10×15.
- Mix the cake batter until the wet ingredients are only just combined with the dry. Avoiding over mixing the batter will help the vanilla cake taste soft and spongy. Plus, the more spongy your cake, the easier it will soak up the espresso sauce.
- Enjoy the leftover cake strips with a hot cup of tea or dip them in homemade vegan Nutella or whipped cream as a fun snack!
- You can make this recipe for vegan tiramisu in steps a couple days ahead of time or all in one day. Make the vegan cream layer while the cake is baking, then leave it to set in the fridge while the cake is cooling. Once the espresso sauce is made and everything is cooled down, assemble the cake.
How to store leftover vegan tiramisu
This vegan tiramisu cake is actually best when kept in the fridge overnight and served the next day! This way, all of the flavors have gotten to know each other and combined beautifully. Just make sure to only add the dusting of cocoa powder when it’s time to slice and serve the cake.
Storing the cake layers individually is very easy. The cake and cream can be sealed in separate airtight containers or covered in plastic wrap. Store them both in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble.
You can store the leftover assembled cake by putting plastic wrap on top of the serving dish. Leftover tiramisu will stay fresh for two days when stored in the fridge. Any longer and the cake might become soggy and messy.
More specialty vegan dessert recipes
- The Best Vegan Cheesecake
- Vegan Pecan Bars
- Vegan Pumpkin Cake Bars
- 1 Bowl Vegan Apple Cake
- The Best Vegan Chocolate Cake
Vanilla Cake "Ladyfingers"
Creamy Mixture (Vegan Mascarpone)
- (2) 8-ounce containers vegan cream cheese (16 oz total)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (use refined for NO coconut flavor)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk, the white creamy part only
- tiny pinch of salt
- 4-6 shots strong espresso or coffee (about 1 cup)
- 4 tablespoons coffee liquor (I used Kahlua)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, for dusting the top
Make the vanilla cake "ladyfingers"
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 10×15 inch sheet pan (9×13 inches would work if needed).
- In a large bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and sugar. Whisk well to combine.To the bowl with the dry ingredients, pour in the oil, soy milk, apple cider vinegar and vanilla extract. Mix with a large spoon until just combined, but be careful not to over mix the batter or your cake won't be soft and fluffy.
- Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. If using a 9×13 inch pan, it will need to bake for 40 minutes or so. Check with a toothpick to ensure doneness.
- Let the cake cool, then slice into strips about 1 1/2 inches wide. You will have some leftover cake pieces, which are lovely to have with tea or as a fun snack. Set aside.
Make the creamy filling (vegan mascarpone)
- To a food processor (or blender), add the vegan cream cheese, sugar, coconut oil, vanilla, coconut milk and a tiny pinch of salt. Mix or blend until smooth, then place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. It will firm up somewhat due to the coconut oil.
Make the espresso mixture
- In a small bowl, stir together the espresso or strong coffee, liquor and sugar. Set aside.
Assemble the Tiramisu
- Get out an 8×8 inch pan or tall dish. Dip the cake strips into the espresso mixture and place a layer in the bottom of the pan. Layer on half of the creamy mixture. Add another layer of espresso dipped cake pieces, then the rest of cream and refrigerate.
- Refrigerate for several hours or overnight if possible to let the cream firm up and the flavors to mingle.
- After chilling for several hours or overnight, dust with cocoa powder (I used a sifter for this). Slice and serve.
- Make the tiramisu gluten free by using gluten free all purpose flour in place of regular in the cake.
- Use espresso for best results, but if you can not, strong coffee is an okay substitute. Just make sure to use strong coffee with a flavor you like!
- May use another non-dairy milk in place of soy if you like.
- Melted coconut oil or vegan butter can be used in place of canola oil for the cake.
- I used Kahlua for the liquor, but dark rum would also work. If serving kids or you need to, leave out the alcohol.