How Many Layers In Tiramisu? [And How To Make One]

Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert made by layering espresso dipped ladyfingers with a luscious and slightly sweet mascarpone cream filling.  Although this recipe may sound too fancy to attempt, it is not as difficult as you think. You may be wondering how many layers are present in this dessert and how to form the layers. Well, we've done our research and have the answer here.

A classic tiramisu usually consists of 4 layers. Two components are used to make tiramisu, and each element is layered twice. Here are the ingredients:

  1. Espresso-dipped ladyfingers
  2. Mascarpone cream filling

The layering order is as follows: a layer of ladyfingers, mascarpone filling, more espresso-dipped ladyfingers, and the remaining mascarpone filling. You then finish it off with a dusting of cocoa powder.

Keep reading to learn some tips and tricks on making this delectable dessert. Making a tiramisu does require a certain amount of prep work. It will also need at least 6 hours to set up in the refrigerator. You can, however, make this dessert a day before you'd like it served. Let's discuss this further below.

Perfect homemade tiramisu cake with mint, How Many Layers In Tiramisu? [And How To Make One]

How Do You Make Tiramisu?

Before making your tiramisu, you must ensure you have the right kitchen tools and equipment. You will need a glass or ceramic pan, preferably 9x13. A stand mixer or electric mixer can also be helpful.

An Italian dessert consisting of layers of sponge cake soaked in coffee and brandy or liquor with powdered chocolate and mascarpone cheese

You will also need a double boiler or a makeshift one using a pot of boiling water and a glass bowl. Now that you have the proper equipment, let's get started.

Step 1: Prepare Your Coffee And Liqueur Mixture

Classic tiramisu recipes will call for the ladyfingers to be dunked in a mixture of espresso and some wine or rum. Sweet red marsala wine is the traditional choice of alcohol in tiramisu.

However, if you prefer a different flavor, you may use dark rum, brandy, or even a coffee or almond liqueur. If you choose not to have alcohol in this dessert, leave it out entirely and use the espresso. Cool the coffee and liqueur mixture completely.

Step 2: Dip Half Of The Ladyfingers In The Coffee Mixture

Man is soaking ladyfinger-biscuits in coffee to prepare tiramisu

Form the first layer of your dessert by gently dipping ladyfingers in your coffee and liqueur syrup. You can find ladyfingers in most grocery stores. It is essential to dip them quickly!

You are not soaking the ladyfingers in this syrup but doing a quick dip. Only dip each side for 1 to 2 seconds in the coffee mixture. Oversaturating your ladyfingers will make them soggy.

Arrange the ladyfingers in the pan to make one solid layer. If you have any space, you may need to cut the ladyfingers into different sizes to fill the space. Save the remaining ladyfingers and espresso for an additional layer.

Top view of ladyfingers in tiramisu form and tiramisu ingredients

As you can see in this photo, the ladyfingers are in one single layer, with no empty space.

Check out these ladyfingers on Amazon.

Step 3: Beat The Mascarpone And Liqueur Together

The mascarpone filling also contains the same alcohol from the coffee mixture. Again, traditional tiramisu recipes call for marsala wine.

However,  you can use dark rum, brandy, or other flavored liqueurs. The choice is yours. Whip your mascarpone and alcohol together until soft and smooth using your mixer. Set aside.

Find mascarpone cheese on Amazon.

Step 4: Gently Cook Egg Yolks And Sugar

Here is where you will need your double boiler. Remember, you can also make a double boiler by placing a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water. Just make sure your bowl is not touching the water. Use a whisk and stir the egg yolks with the sugar.

This slow cooking method will allow the eggs to cook without scrambling. Keep whisking until the yolks are foamy and light and have almost doubled volume. Cool to room temperature and pour into the mascarpone mixture.

Beat on medium speed until thoroughly combined.  Set this aside.

Step 5: Use Whip Cream Or Egg Whites

Most tiramisu recipes will either call for whipped cream or beaten egg whites. Some recipes may call for both. If whipping cream, whip using a whisk attachment for 3-4 minutes or until medium to stiff peaks form. Make sure it isn't too loose or won't set up correctly.

Whipped cream in bowl with and whisk

If you are beating egg whites, separate the whites from the yolks. Make sure there is no trace of yolk in the whites, or they will not stiffen properly. Also, make sure your bowl and whisk are spotless to ensure your egg whites will form stiff peaks. Beat your egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Step 6: Fold The Mascarpone With The Whipped Cream/Egg Whites

Cooking tiramisu cake with sponge fingers

Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to gently fold the mascarpone cream mixture with the beaten egg whites or whipped cream. You will want to do this gently.

Work your way from bottom to top. Don't just quickly stir this mixture together. Overmixing may deflate your cream or egg whites. Gently fold until it's fully incorporated and smooth and creamy.

Step 7: Layer Half Your Cream Mixture Over The First Layer Of Ladyfingers

Cooking tiramisu cake with sponge fingers cookies. Step by step recipe.

Spread half of your creamy mascarpone layer neatly and evenly over your ladyfingers. This will be the second layer of your dessert. Try using an offset spatula to spread the mixture evenly.

Step 8: Repeat Another Layer Of Dipped Ladyfingers And Cream

The process of preparing tiramisu

Repeat the step of quickly dipping your ladyfingers in your espresso and liqueur mixture. This time, arrange your dipped ladyfingers on top of the existing cream layer. Remember not to dip them for too long, or they will be soggy.

Gently press them into the cream, so they are nice and compact. Use your remaining cream to make your fourth and final layer. Spread evenly and smoothly. This is the top layer, so you want it to look neat.

Step 9: Dust Your Tiramisu With Cocoa Powder

Making tiramisu cake from scratch

Sprinkle the top layer with unsweetened cocoa powder. Use a sifter or tap the sides of a handheld strainer to distribute the cocoa powder evenly. If you don't like the look or taste of cocoa powder, opt for shaved chocolate curls instead.

See this sifter on Amazon by clicking here.

Step 10: Chill Your Tiramisu

It's best to let your tiramisu chill in the fridge covered for at least 6 hours. Chilling it overnight is ideal, as it will give the ladyfingers time to soak in that delicious coffee and liqueur flavor.

Click here for a traditional tiramisu recipe. If you would like a kid-friendly version of tiramisu, click here. This recipe omits both alcohol and coffee. The ladyfingers are soaked in a chocolate milk mixture instead of coffee.

Now you can serve this dessert to the whole family.

Can You Make Tiramisu Without Using A Pan?

Another fun way to make tiramisu is in a trifle dish or individual serving glasses. If you serve it in individual glasses, you will assemble it almost the same way. Break your ladyfingers into small pieces and place them at the bottom of the glass.

Cover them with a dollop of cream. Keep repeating until you reach the top of your glass. Finish them off with a dusting of cocoa powder. Use more or less cream and ladyfingers, depending on what you like best.

Traditional italian dessert tiramisu with chocolate sauce in a glass on a dark rustic slate

Another option is serving your tiramisu in a trifle dish. You will most likely have more than four layers if making your tiramisu in a trifle dish. You will be able to see the beautiful layers through the trifle dish. Mouths will begin watering when they set their eyes on this stunning dessert.

To Finish

The word "tiramisu" is translated to "cheer me up" or "pick me up" in English. This dessert will do just that. While it does require several steps and prep work, it will not disappoint.

You can alter the classic tiramisu recipe based on your liqueur preference and whether or not you are serving it to children. You decide. Anyone sampling this beautiful layered dessert will be impressed.

Made it to the end? Check out these helpful posts below!

30 Types Of Cake Every Foodie Should Know

15 Types Of Chocolate Chip Cookies

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