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Tiramisu Cake is an easy way to turn a classic coffee-infused dessert into a delicious layered cake.
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This Tiramisu Cake recipe is an easy way to transform a traditional Italian restaurant treat into a rich and decadent layered dessert.

Made using a boxed cake mix base to save time, each cake layer is brushed with a coffee mixture and then covered in a mascarpone cream filling; add a dusting of cocoa powder and pipe on some pretty mascarpone frosting swirls and you’ve created the best bite of tiramisu baked from a box!

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What is a Tiramisu Cake?

Our Tiramisu Cake is filled with all the familiar flavors you love about the classic coffee-soaked lady fingers, layered with a mascarpone cream cheese filling, but this tiramisu layer cake is made without any cookies! 

Instead, this recipe uses a white cake mix as its base and infuses the beverage flavor by bruising it between each layer before spreading on the sweet mascarpone cream frosting.

Four fluffy cake layers are spiked with a coffee-flavored liqueur and sit both above and below a thick, tangy filling, so each bite is perfectly balanced with a tiny hint of bitterness from the cocoa powder.

You will love this recipe for Tiramisu Cake

  • Quick and easy to make using a box cake mix.
  • Uses a handful of simple ingredients.
  • Sweet, cream cheese frosting paired with bitter coffee and unsweetened cocoa powder are decadently delicious. 
  • Great make-ahead recipe because the cake tastes better the longer it sits.
  • Perfect for parties, potlucks, and special celebrations.
Tiramisu Cake ingredients

What is in Tiramisu Cake?

  • White cake mix: I used Betty Crocker Favorites because it is the only box in a 16.25 oz. size.
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Egg whites
  • Granulated sugar
  • Espresso powder
  • Kahlua coffee-flavored liqueur (optional) 
  • Mascarpone cheese
  • Heavy cream
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Whole coffee beans for garnish

Tiramisu Cake Recipe Substitutions and Additions

  • Bake Without Booze: You can substitute ½ teaspoon of almond extract and ½ teaspoon of chocolate extract for the Kahlua.
  • Cook With More Caffeine: If you do not have or cannot find espresso powder, you can substitute ½ cup of strong brewed coffee. And if you do have the espresso powder and want an even stronger coffee jolt, you can substitute the ½ cup hot water for ½ cup strong hot coffee.
  • Swap In A Coffee Syrup: Feel free to replace the coffee drizzle with a coffee syrup if you prefer. It’s a simple mixture of strong coffee or espresso, combined with cognac and powdered sugar.
Tiramisu Cake sliced on a plate

Birthday Cake Tiramisu Tools

  • Two 9-inch round cake pans
  • Baking spray (Baker’s Joy or a generic version)
  • Handheld mixer
  • Stand mixer fitted with a wire whip attachment
  • Piping bag fitted with a large star-shaped decorating tip (I used Wilton 1M)
  • serrated knife or a cake leveler
  • Pastry brush
  • Sifter
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How to Make a Tiramisu Cake for Birthday

  1. Bake The Cakes: Mix together the cake mix, water, oil, and egg whites and divide the batter between the 2 pans. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 22-25 minutes. Cool completely.
  2. Make The Coffee Mixture: Add the sugar, espresso powder, and Kahlua to the hot water. Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. Form The Frosting: Stir the mascarpone cheese until smooth. Beat the heavy cream and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form, then slowly add the sugar. Beat for another 1-1½ minutes and add the mascarpone, ¼ at a time, until smooth. 
  4. Cut The Cakes: Slice each cake into 2 layers, giving you 4 layers total.
  5. Assemble: Brush the coffee mixture onto the bottom layer and spread the mascarpone filling on top. Repeat for the next 2 layers. For the top layer, brush the coffee mixture over the surface, cover with mascarpone filling, and spread the remaining frosting around the outside of the entire cake.
  6. Decorate: Dust cocoa powder over the top of the cake. Pipe swirls of the mascarpone filling around the edge and in the center of the cake and place 1 coffee bean into the middle of each swirl.
  7. Serve: Slice and serve. Enjoy!
Tiramisu Cake collage

Birthday Cake Tiramisu Tips

  • I recommend using cake strips to ensure an evenly baked and level cake.
  • You can substitute chocolate-covered coffee beans for uncoated coffee beans. 

Storing Layered Tiramisu Cake

  • To Store: Store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
  • To Freeze: You can freeze the assembled cake for up to 1 month. Allow the cake to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before slicing and serving.
serving Tiramisu Cake using spatula

More Cake Recipes

Layered Tiramisu Cake Recipe FAQs

Make I make my cake from scratch?

Yes, you can absolutely make your cake layers from scratch. If you have a favorite homemade cake recipe, feel free to use that instead of the box mix.

Can I Make my frosting with ricotta cheese instead of mascarpone?

No, the mascarpone cheese is not interchangeable with ricotta cheese in this recipe. I highly recommend using a full-fat mascarpone for the richest flavor.

Does Tiramisu cake contain alcohol?

A traditional tiramisu is made with Marsala wine in the filling, and the ladyfingers are soaked in a coffee-flavored liquor mixture. Although most of the alcohol is probably cooked out of this cake, feel free to omit the Kahlua from this recipe if you are concerned or serving it to kids.

a slice of tiramisu cake on a plate

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5 from 1 vote
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Layered Tiramisu Cake (Recipe for Tiramisu Cake for Birthday)

Serves — 12
Tiramisu Cake is an easy way to turn a classic coffee-infused dessert into a delicious layered cake.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rest Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • 16.25 ounce box of white cake mix (Betty Crocker Favorites is the only one this size)
  • cups water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large egg whites room temperature

Coffee Drizzle

  • ½ cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 2 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur Kahlua optional

Mascarpone Cheese Frosting

  • 16 ounce (2 8-ounce) containers of mascarpone cheese
  • 4 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Whole coffee beans for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray two 9-inch round cake pans with baking spray (Baker’s Joy or a generic version). Set them aside.
  • Add the cake mix, water, oil, and egg whites to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Use a handheld mixer on medium speed to mix until completely incorporated and no lumps remain.
  • Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes away clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
  • While the cakes are cooling, add the granulated sugar, espresso powder, and Kahlua to the hot water. Stir to combine. Set it aside.
  • Add the mascarpone cheese to a small mixing bowl and stir until the cheese is smooth.
  • Using a stand mixer with a wire whip attachment or a large mixing bowl and a handheld mixer on high speed, beat the cold heavy cream and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Reduce the mixer speed to medium, and slowly add the granulated sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for another 1-1½ minutes.
  • Lower the speed to low. Slowly add ¼ of the smoothed mascarpone at a time, mixing until combined and smooth.
  • Add ⅔ cup of the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star-shaped decorating tip (I used Wilton 1M). Cover the remaining frosting with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble and decorate the cake.
  • Once the cakes are completely cooled, use either a long serrated knife or a cake leveler to slice each cake into 2 layers, giving you 4 layers total.
  • Place the bottom layer either on a large flat serving plate or a round cake board.
  • Use a pastry brush to generously brush on the cooled coffee mixture.
  • Spoon on 1-1¼ cups of the mascarpone filling. Use an offset spatula to smooth the filling over the surface of the bottom layer. Repeat for the next 2 layers.
  • For the final layer, brush the coffee mixture over the surface of the top layer. Spoon 1¼-1¾ cups of the mascarpone filling over the top.
  • Spread the remaining filling around the outside of the layers, smoothing as you go.
  • Add the 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to a sifter. Gently shake the cocoa powder over the top of the cake.
  • Pipe swirls of the reserved mascarpone filling around the edge of the cake top, as well as in the center of the cake. Place 1 coffee bean into the center of each swirl. Slice and serve.

Jenn’s Notes

Storage:
  • To Store: Store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
  • To Freeze: You can freeze the assembled cake for up to 1 month. Allow the cake to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before slicing and serving.
Tips:
  • I recommend using cake strips to ensure an evenly baked and level cake.
  • You can substitute chocolate-covered coffee beans for uncoated coffee beans.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 656kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 30g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 327mg | Potassium: 137mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 1695IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 192mg | Iron: 1mg

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