This vegan tiramisu is the perfect year-round dessert for coffee lovers. Combining fluffy sponge cake ‘fingers’ with creamy cashew and coconut-based vegan mascarpone and finally the spiked coffee! Plus, this recipe is gluten-free, eggless, and dairy-free!
The Ultimate Boozy, Coffee Dessert
When I first turned vegan, creamy tiramisu was something I missed – a lot! The traditional version is packed with non-vegan or gluten-free friendly ingredients, including eggs and tons of dairy. I thought it just wasn’t meant to be- and now I regret ever waiting so long to try!
Over the years, I’ve satisfied my cravings for creamy desserts with the likes of this Peanut Butter Mousse and Vegan Chocolate Pie. I even made a vegan tiramisu style dessert before – this Gluten Free Tiramisu with Gingerbread and Brownies.
However, this time I’ve kept things classic with vanilla sponge’ fingers’, a creamy vegan mascarpone, and a spiked coffee sauce, all topped off with a dusting of cocoa powder.
This dairy free tiramisu is now void of any ingredients I can’t eat and yet definitely hits the spot! Even your dairy eating friends will be asking for seconds of this crowd-pleasing dessert.
A Great Make-Ahead Dessert
Though simple, there is a little forethought needed when making this dessert. I usually like to prep several elements the night before, including:
- Brewing the coffee (to cool overnight)
- Baking the cake (to cool overnight)
- Soaking the cashew nuts
- Placing the coconut milk cans in the fridge (to separate and harden)
If you get all those bits done the night before, then the remaining prep can be carried out in around 20-25 minutes, followed by the chilling time.
It might sound like a bit of a long process, but it’s so worth it, especially when each step is so simple! There is nothing quite like this creamy, cakey, coffee, spiked dessert, and you won’t feel like you labored over it either!
This Recipe Is:
- Vegan (Plant-based)
- Can be made alcohol free
- Creamy and moist
- A great ‘make-ahead’ vegan dessert
How To Make Vegan Tiramisu Step-By-Step
As I said above, I’ll often prepare certain parts of this recipe the evening before. You can even spread the process out over two days or squeeze the majority into one. However, the cans of coconut milk must be placed in the refrigerator the night before.
For the full ingredients list, measurements, and nutritional information for this vegan tiramisu recipe, then find the recipe card below.
First, Prepare The Vanilla Cake:
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 360F/180C. Line two 8 or 9″ square baking pans with parchment paper or lightly grease with oil/vegan butter. Then, begin by adding all the dry cake ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine.
Step 2: Process the wet ingredients in a blender/food processor. Then pour into the bowl of dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Then, allow the batter to rest for five minutes.
Step 3: Divide the batter into the prepared baking pans and bake in the oven for between 20-25 minutes. Insert a toothpick to make sure it is cooked through (it can come out crumbly, but not wet). If you’re using just one pan, then the cooking time can increase to up to 35 minutes.
Step 4: Allow the cakes to cool completely before cutting each cake in half and then slicing into ‘ladyfingers’ by slicing every 1″ across, so each cake has around 16-18 ‘fingers.’
Next, Prepare The Vegan Mascarpone:
Step 1: Open the chilled cans of coconut milk and scoop out the solid cream into a large mixing bowl. Alternatively use 1 container/270ml vegan whipping cream). The remaining liquid in the can will work well in smoothies and bread batter etc. Add the powdered sugar or powdered Erythritol to the coconut cream.
Step 2: Use an electric hand mixer to beat the mixture until light, and fluffy. Then refrigerate immediately (the coconut cream will thicken in the fridge)
Step 3: Add the soaked cashews, plant-based milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt to a blender and blend until completely smooth. You may need to pause to scrape down the sides of the jug a couple of times during the process.
Step 4: Gently fold the cashew cream into the whipped coconut cream using a spatula and set aside.
Then, Assemble The Vegan Tiramisu:
Step 1: Combine the chilled coffee and coffee liqueur (read notes for alternatives) in a medium-sized bowl.
Step 2: There are a few methods for adding the coffee to the cake. Because the cake is quite dry, submerging it in the coffee will make it too saturated. However, you can lightly press one side of the cake slice to the top of the coffee and remove it immediately.
Or use a brush to brush coffee over the cake pieces in the pan. If using a serving dish that is the same size as the ones that you baked the cake in then you can even leave the cake whole, prod it all over with a fork and then spoon over some coffee.
I used an 8″ square dish that gets slightly wider at the top. You could also use a 9″ square dish or a rectangular one around 10.5 x 6.6 and at least 3 inches in height.
Note* You can layer a thin layer of the mascarpone substitute to the baking dish first, though it may not produce as ‘clean’ slices as placing the cake first.
Step 3: Spread about half of the mascarpone cream over the cake slices and use a spatula to spread it into an even layer.
Step 4: Repeat the processes once more, with a further layer of coffee-soaked cake pieces and the remainder of the cream. You may have some leftover cake pieces that you can eat plain.
Step 5: Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight. Then, finally, dust the tiramisu with cocoa powder, serve, and enjoy!
An Extra Step For Coffee Lovers
If you’re on the internet as much as I am (too much!), then chances are that you may have seen the Korean’ Dalgona latte’ trend (whipped coffee) earlier this year. I thought it could be a delicious addition to this dessert for any super coffee lovers.
Depending on the size of your dish, you’ll need 3-4 tablespoons each of instant coffee, granulated sugar (or Xylitol works even better and is refined sugar-free), and hot water.
Using a whisk (manual or electric), whisk into stiff peaks. As it whisks, it will expand and froth up.
You can then spread this thin Dalgona layer over the first layer of mascarpone (and if there’s any leftover, then you can make yourself a latte; win-win!). The foam itself is strong/bitter. However, when combined with the sweet cream and cake, it will be a coffee lover’s dream!
How To Serve
You can serve this dairy free tiramisu alone or along with some vegan ice-cream and/or fresh sliced strawberries.
If wanted, you could sprinkle some grated dark chocolate over the cacao powder too!
How To Store
Store any leftovers, covered, in the fridge for 3-4 days (if you manage not to eat it all within the first day!). I haven’t attempted to freeze this dessert before as it may affect the texture of the cashew cream. If you try, let me know how it goes in the comments.
Ingredient Notes and Variations
- For the cashews: Soak the cashews in cold water for at least 3 hours (or overnight) or in boiling water for 20-30 minutes. If you’re unable to eat cashews, then you could use vegan cream cheese – though I haven’t tried this, so I can’t guarantee the results.
- For the coffee: Use espresso or a strong brewed black coffee. Black coffee will be slightly less bitter.
- For the Liqueur: Use a coffee liqueur (like Kahlua), rum, amaretto, or marsala wine (each will provide a unique flavor). Alternatively, a tablespoon of maple syrup with a few drops of rum flavoring will work.
- For an alcohol-free tiramisu, omit the booze and use extra coffee instead.
- If you’re not a fan of coffee or hoping to serve to kids, then you can omit the coffee entirely and use hot chocolate instead!
More Ingredient Notes:
- For the coconut cream: Particular brands of coconut milk will perform far better (in terms of separating and whipping), though this depends on where you live. I suggest keeping a couple of brands to hand if you haven’t had time to experiment. Avoid tins with stabilizers.
- You can use vegan whipping cream in place of the coconut milk if it’s available where you live.
- For the cake: This gluten free tiramisu used a combination of oat flour and rice flour to make the cake. However, you may be able to swap this for another gluten-free cake flour mix. Or use regular all-purpose flour or spelt flour (if you are not gluten-free).
- If you manage to find store-bought ladyfingers that fit your dietary needs, then feel free to use them in place of the cake.
- I love maple syrup; however, you can use any liquid sweetener– such as agave syrup, date syrup, rice malt syrup, etc.
Recipe Notes and Tips
- You can serve this creamy dessert in individual ramekins or glasses too. Either crumble the cake for a more ‘rustic’ look (and just pour over the coffee) or use circle cutters for a neatly layered tiramisu.
- This recipe will make 4 very generous portions, 6 medium, or 9 small portions.
- Allow the cakes to cool for a while before removing from the pan, as gluten-free cakes will remain quite crumbly/ beak apart easily, while warm.
If you give this vegan tiramisu recipe a try, I’d love a comment and recipe rating below. Also, don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan and #elavegan – I love seeing your recreations.
Vegan Vanilla Cake (*see notes)
Dry Cake Ingredients:
Wet Cake Ingredients:
- 2 13.5 oz cans coconut milk chilled overnight (or 270 ml vegan whipping cream)
- 3 tbsp powdered sugar (or powdered Erythritol)
- 1 1/2 cups (225 g) raw cashews soaked (*see notes)
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) plant-based milk
- 4 tbsp (80 g) maple syrup or liquid sweetener of choice
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) strong coffee room temperature
- 2 tbsp coffee liqueur (*see notes)
- Cocoa powder for dusting
- Preheat oven to 360 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) and line two 8" (20 cm) or 9" (23 cm) square baking pans with parchment paper or lightly grease with oil or vegan butter.
- Add all dry cake ingredients to a bowl and stir with a whisk.
- Process the wet ingredients in a blender or food processor and pour the mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients. Mix with a whisk until just combined. Let the batter rest for about 5 minutes.
- Divide the batter into the prepared baking pans and bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (crumbly is fine, but not wet). If you have just one pan, the baking time will be longer, about 35 minutes.
- Let both cakes cool completely. Cut each cake in half, then slice each half into 8-9 strips about 1" wide (or a similar size as "ladyfingers"), so 16-18 strips per cake.
- Open the chilled cans of coconut milk and scoop the solid cream into a large mixing bowl. Save the coconut water for a smoothie or discard it. Add the powdered sugar or powdered Erythritol.
- Use an electric hand mixer to beat the mixture until light and fluffy. Refrigerate.
- Add the soaked cashews, plant-based milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and pinch of salt to a blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the container if needed.
- Gently fold the cashew cream into the whipped coconut cream using a spatula. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine chilled coffee with coffee liqueur.
- Lightly press one side of a cake slice to the top of the coffee and remove immediately or use a brush to brush coffee over the cake slices in the pan. Repeat with more cake strips to cover the surface. I used an 8" (20 cm) square dish that gets slightly wider at the top, you could also use a 9" (23 cm) square dish or a rectangular one around 10.5 x 6.6 (27 x 17 cm) and at least 3 inches (8 cm) in height.
- Spread about half of the mascarpone cream evenly over the cake strips. Add another layer of soaked cake slices, and top with the remaining mascarpone cream. You may have some leftover cake pieces that you can eat plain.
- Cover the baking pan with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.
- Finally, dust with cocoa powder and serve. Enjoy!
- Vanilla Cake: You can use store-bought ladyfingers that fit your dietary needs, instead of making the cake. However, if you want to make the vanilla cake and are not gluten-free, you might be able to use regular all-purpose flour or spelt flour.
- Cashews: Soak cashews in cold water for about 3 hours (or overnight) or in boiling water for about 20-30 minutes. If you can't have cashews, you could try using vegan cream cheese to replace the cashews and the milk (I haven't tried it in this recipe though).
- Coffee liqueur: You can use rum instead, or use 1 tbsp maple syrup and add some drops of rum flavor.
- Read the blog post for ingredient subs, variations, pro-tips, how to make the tiramisu for kids, and step-by-step pictures.
- The total time does not include chilling time.
- Nutrition facts are just a rough estimate and calculated with Erythritol for a refined sugar-free version.
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