Vegan Tiramisu


The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

Wow! This dessert took a LONG time to make! It was tricky to make a vegan version. I tried 4 TIMES to make the suggested ladyfinger cookies.  None turned out good enough. I thought about dunking the cookies in coffee. That reminded me of biscotti, so I made those instead.

The mascarpone cheese and vanilla pastry cream were not too difficult to make vegan. I used coconut milk in place of the cream in the original recipes. And I made a few little changes to the recipes. I had no luck with making zabaglione. I don’t even know what that is! It seemed like the main flavor for the zabaglione was the marsala. That’s why I put the marsala in the pastry cream instead. I could have eaten the pastry cream all by itself! It was SO yummy!

Making all the different ingredients was the hard part.  Putting the tiramisu together was easy. I should have soaked the biscotti a little longer. They were too hard to cut through easily, so the whipped cream/pastry cream mix gushed out the sides. It was not pretty to look at, but it was delicious! I ate it after lunch so the coffee wouldn’t keep me up at night! Yum, yum, yum!

Vegan, tofu-free tiramisu!

Vegan, tofu-free tiramisu!

This recipe has many parts. You need 2 or 3 days to make everything. The finished tiramisu needs to sit a few hours, too. This is NOT a last-minute dessert to whip up. But it is a great one to make ahead for company. Make the mascarpone, pastry cream, and biscotti at least a day before you want to put everything together. The whipped cream is best right before you need it.


(adapted from Carminantonio’s Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007 )


For the whipped cream:

  • 1 cup/235ml chilled coconut cream (refrigerate a can of coconut milk for at least 2 hours, then scrape off the cream from the top with a spoon)
  • 1/4 cup/55gms powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract

To assemble the tiramisu:

  • 2 cups/470ml brewed espresso, warmed
  • 1 teaspoon/5ml rum extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup/110gms sugar
  • 1/3 cup/75gms vegan “mascarpone cheese” (recipe follows)
  • 1 batch marsala pastry cream (recipe follows)
  • 12  or more biscotti (recipe follows), depending on size of biscotti and dish
  • 2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder


For the whipped cream:

  1. Chill mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
  2. Combine the coconut cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

To assemble the tiramisu:

  1. Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8″ by 8″ should do) or one of your choice.
  2. Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.
  4. Workings quickly,  dip the biscotti in the sweetened espresso, about 10 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each biscotti to an 8 x 8 baking pan, placing them side by side in a single row. You may break a biscotti into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.
  5. Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the biscotti, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.
  6. Repeat to create 2 more layers, using biscotti and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.

To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.


(adapted from Vera’s Recipe for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese)
This recipe makes 6oz of “mascarpone cheese”


  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (not “Lite”)
  • 2 T cashew butter
  • 1/2 T fresh lemon juice


  1. Thoroughly combine coconut milk and cashew butter using an immersion blender, blender, or food processor.
  2. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the coconut milk into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.  It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating.
  3. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream becomes thicker, about 7 minutes. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.

Vera’s notes: The first time I made mascarpone I had all doubts if it’d been cooked enough, because of its custard-like texture. Have no fear, it will firm up beautifully in the fridge, and will yet remain lusciously creamy.  Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.



  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 2 tablespoons marsala
  • 1/4 cup/55gms sugar
  • 1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup/175ml soy milk


  1. Whisk together the starch and marsala in a small bowl.
  2. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until mixture just begins to boil.
  3. Pour the starch/marsala mixture in slowly, while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the mixture just begins to boil. Remove from heat.
  4. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.


(Adapted from Veganomicon)
This recipe makes approximately 18 biscotti, just about enough for tiramisu.


  • 1/3 c soymilk
  • 2 T ground flaxseeds
  • 1/4 c plus 2 T sugar
  • 1/3 c canola oil
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t almond extract
  • 1 1/2 c spelt flour
  • 1/3 c cocoa powder
  • 2 T tapioca starch
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 c whole almonds


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together soy milk, flaxseeds, sugar, oil, and the extracts until well-blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients, except the almonds. Add to the wet ingredients, stirring just until everything is combined.
  4. Add the almonds, then briefly knead the dough, until it is stiff.
  5. Place dough on baking sheet and shape into a long rectangle, about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide.
  6. Bake for about 28 minutes, until it is firm and the top is slightly cracked.
  7. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for about half an hour.
  8. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the loaf into 1/2 inch slices by pushing the knife down in one smooth motion rather than sawing back-and-forth.
  9. Place the slices back on the backing sheet, cut side up, and bake for about 12 – 15 minutes. They should be slightly brown around the edges.  They will firm up a little more when cool.
  10. Let cool slightly on the cooking sheet, then cool on wire racks completely. Store in an air-tight container. Cookies can be crisped again by heating in the oven briefly.
  1. Natalie says:

    Fabulous job! Your vegan tiramisu is really gorgeous. Personally I like the poofy sides…makes it look ooey gooey and oh so yummy. I really like your recipe for vegan mascarpone. I haven’t made a vegan version of a DB challenge in year…so I think I’m over due to try again. Great work!

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  2. admin says:

    Thanks, Natalie! Your tiramisu looks YUMMY! I loved the way you served it in glasses. Wish I had thought of that :)

  3. Aparna says:

    I think your Tiramisu looks lovely. And what’s more important is that you loved it. I know how difficult it is to adapt “regular” recipes to suit one’s diet restrictions, so you’re a winner! :)
    Thanks for baking with us.

  4. Debyi says:

    Great idea using biscotti for the ladyfinger!

  5. admin says:

    I liked the way it turned out. I wish I would have left the almonds out! Too crunchy for a tiramisu!

  6. admin says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Aparna! *smile*

  7. Nicole says:

    Your tiramisu looks yummy! Always nice to see another vegan Daring Baker!

  8. This looks so yummy! I like your whipped cream, sounds simple enough to make.

  9. admin says:

    It is easy. I keep a can of coconut milk in the fridge. That way I am always prepared!

  10. Monika says:

    Thank you for this recipe!! It was sooo delicious! Better than real tiramisu! 😀

  11. Liz says:

    I want to make a version with no alcohol. I’ve read that one can substitute fruit juice (grape, pear, or even orange) for a sweet marsala wine. Do you think this might work in your recipe?

    Thanks! I love the no-tofu version!

  12. Michelle says:

    I must try this, thank you for posting a soy-free version! Questions: Can I use Earth Balance butter in place of the cashew butter, and what is marsala and where would I find that? Thanks again! :)

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