This creamy vegan Tiramisu is irresistible, with espresso and coffee liqueur soaked “ladyfingers”, nestled in rich, lightly sweetened cream layers. This dessert tastes just like the original version, but it contains no dairy, and no raw eggs.
Veganizing Tiramisu was a bit challenging, because the original dessert is made almost entirely with eggs and dairy.
Traditionally, tiramisu cake layers are made with ladyfingers, which are made with whipped eggs, flour and sugar, that are piped into “fingers” and baked. I wanted to simplify this step, because once the dessert is assembled the shape does not matter at all.
To make things simpler I made a vanilla cake layer, that I baked and sliced into “fingers”. Then I followed the same steps as when making biscotti, which are twice baked. I placed the cake slices back in the oven and baked them a few minutes more to lightly toast them.
If you prefer to have that ladyfinger shape, you can buy silicone molds and bake the cake in those.
To veganize the cream layers, I started with the tiramisu recipe I used to make before going vegan. The filling in that recipe was made with a Zabaglione (a cooked cream made with egg yolks and sugar), mascarpone cheese and whipped cream.
To replace the zabaglione, I made a vanilla scented pastry cream instead. Then I folded in the vegan cream cheese and allowed the cream to cool, before folding in some vegan whipped cream to lighten and make the filling extra creamy.
You can, of course, use whatever brand of cream cheese and heavy cream you like. My favorites, are Violife cream cheese, because to me it tastes exactly like the dairy version. I also really like Silk heavy cream, because it does not have a coconut flavor. I don’t mind coconut in certain recipes, but I did not want the Tiramisu to taste coconutty.
Traditional tiramisu is made with Marsala wine. I don’t use enough Marsala to justify opening an entire bottle…and I hate to waste it. Kahlua is a very popular coffee liqueur, but it is not vegan. I use Tia Maria, a delicious sweet liqueur with a strong coffee flavor, that is 100% vegan! You could also use rum instead, but I think the tiramisu has better flavor with the coffee liqueur.
Tiramisu – Vegan
- 1½ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- pinch salt
- ¾ cup plant-based milk unsweetened
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups unsweetened plant-based milk I used Oatly full fat oat milk
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 container vegan cream cheese I used Violife
- 1 cup vegan heavy cream I used Silk
For the soaking liquid:
- ¾ cup strong brewed espresso
- ½ cup Tia Maria or rum
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder for sprinkling on top of the tiramisu
To make the cake layer:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the milk, melted butter and vanilla. Stir just until blended together.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.
- Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for a couple of minutes until cool enough to handle.Slice into about 1 inch wide slices. Bake for an additional 15 minutes until lightly toasted.
To make the cream:
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour. Slowly pour the milk in the saucepan and continue stirring. Add the sugar, and continue to cook for 7-8 minutes until the pastry cream thickens The cream will thicken more when the cream cheese is added and as it cools.
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and cream cheese until completely blended.
- Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool. The cream can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.
- In a clean mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the cooled cream cheese mixture, to lighten.
For the soaking liquid:
- In a shallow bowl, combine the Tia Maria and espresso.
- Dip each "ladyfinger" in the coffee & Tia Maria mixture for about 10-15 seconds per side. You want the espresso mixture to soak through but not get mushy.Arrange in a single layer in a 8-inch serving bowl. If you prefer, you could use 8 individual ramekins, instead.Spread 1/2 the cream evenly with a spatula on top of the dipped ladyfingers. Repeat with a second layer of dipped ladyfingers and remaining mascarpone cream. Sprinkle top with cocoa powder. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. The tiramisu tastes even better the next day, so you can make it ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to serve.