Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tiramisu Cupcakes

Tiramisu is an amazing dessert that combines layers of contrasting - but all extremely delicious - tastes and textures into each indulgent bite. The espresso (and alcohol)-kissed sponge biscuits meld perfectly in your mouth with the egg-rich mascarpone cream, all tied together by a hint of cocoa. Remember that eye-rolling I wrote about earlier? Well, a good tiramisu will set me off every.single.time. And I'm not the only one enamored with it. There's an entire website dedicated to tiramisu, and you can read about one woman's research into its origins here.

As much as I (clearly) love the original, I was recently in need of a version more suitable for work. That is, something less messy to serve and without raw egg yolks. And since I was throwing tradition to the wind, I swapped out mascarpone for cream cheese to save myself an extra trip to the store. To avoid offending any tiramisu snobs out there (myself included haha), I call these cupcakes "tiramisu-inspired." This was also my first time trying the famous Amy Sedaris vanilla cupcakes, and everything turned out great! The recipe I came up with, drawing inspiration from a bunch of blogs and cookbooks, can be found after the jump.

A peek inside...

Tiramisu-Inspired Cupcakes [Printable Recipe]
Makes 10 to 12 cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes (Recipe below)
Coffee Soaking Syrup (Recipe below)
Cream Cheese Filling/Frosting (Recipe below)
Cocoa powder OR semi-sweet chocolate shavings, for garnish
Chocolate-covered coffee beans OR chocolate chips, for garnish

Cut a cone out of the top of each cupcake and set it to the side. Using a spoon or pastry brush, coat the sides and bottom of the opening with coffee syrup. (You don't want the cake to be soggy, but you can be fairly generous here - up to 2 tablespoons)

Fill the opening with the cream cheese mixture, brush the bottom of the cone with a little coffee syrup, then place it back onto each cupcake. (There should be enough filling that some of it oozes up and attractively frames the cone) Top each cupcake with another small dollop of frosting. Garnish the tops with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings. Crown every cupcake with a chocolate coffee bean or chip and you're all set!

It's best to let these hang out for at least an hour so that all the caffeinated goodness of the syrup can soak in.

Vanilla Cupcakes

1 cup PLUS 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 paper liners.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter, oil, milk, and vanilla to the dry ingredients and beat with an electric mixer on medium until the batter is smooth and uniform (no more than 2 minutes). Add the egg and yolk, then continue beating an additional minute.

Fill cupcake liners until they are about 2/3 full (I like to use my large cookie scoop for this). Bake for 16 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer cupcakes from the pan to a cooling rack within 5 minutes of removing from the oven. Let cool completely.

Coffee Soaking Syrup
1 Tbsp instant coffee or espresso powder
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp dark rum, amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy

Stir the coffee powder, water, and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. Pour the syrup into a small heatproof bowl and stir in your alcohol of choice; set aside.

Cream Cheese Filling/Frosting
6 oz. (3/4 cup) cream cheese, room temperature
3 Tbsp heavy cream, cold
1 Tbsp dark rum
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 to 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese until smooth with a mixer on low. Add in the heavy cream and continue beating until incorporated. Sift the powdered sugar then add it slowly, starting with the lowest amount and adding more as required to reach your desired sweetness and consistency. Add vanilla and increase mixer to medium. Beat 1-2 minutes. Set aside (in the fridge if you'd like the frosting to be firmer).


  1. OMG XIAOLU!!!!! I met with amanda for coffee yesterday and she told me about your Tiramisu cupcakes but man-- i never thought they would look THIS good!!!!

    I'm working on Monday! You?? That's probably a stupid question-- you're working everyday this weekend, huh??

  2. These look TO DIE FOR! I have bookmarked this page!

  3. Oh. My. Gosh.
    Love everything about this idea!

  4. Oh my gosh, these look amazing. I love tiramisu and I'm heading over to the website you shared right now. Thanks for sharing this great recipe too.

  5. These are amazing!!!! I love tiramisu!

  6. Outrageous! These look amazing. I love the idea of garnishing with chocolate covered coffee beans. Thanks for sharing :)

  7. Awesome! Thes are absolutely beautiful!

  8. HOLY MOLY! These look incredible!

  9. Thanks everyone for your kind comments! I'll definitely be sharing other interesting cupcakes in the future =).

  10. What a great dessert. I love it. We just made a interesting version of tiramisu last week. It was blueberry, lime tiramisu.

    Sharona May

  11. That sounds like a great variation, Sharona! I bet the colors looked fantastic too. My next experiment was to make a match (green tea) version!

  12. Those look fabulous! These remind me of a tiramisu layer cake that I made for my Classical Pastry final (white sponge cake, macerated with Marsala, layered with coffee buttercream, frosted with mascarpone frosting... or something like that, it was a while back!). I bet they tasted as good as they look!

  13. I tried this recipe this week and the results were amazing!...and not nearly as complicated as one might expect a tiramisu cupcake recipe to be. I'll definitely make this again, especially if I want to impress company.

  14. Beth - Wow the cake you made sounds fancy and amazing. I hope to make a more traditional tiramisu someday soon.

    Alicia - I'm so glad it turned out well! That's what I love about cupcakes - they are easy to dress up or down =D.

  15. OMG! these look Ah-mazing!!! I want one!!!

  16. oh this is pure genius, and your pics are so gorgeous they are edible!

  17. Thanks to you both! These are really too yummy to be so simple =).

  18. I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.


  19. Hello hello!

    I just wanted to say thank you for posting this GREAT recipe!

    I tried it out for myself and modified it just a little bit by filling these with a dark chocolate ganache creme and piped the cream cheese frosting on top and topped with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.


    looking forward to coming back for more recipes!
    keep up the great work


  20. Thanks for your feedback, Rachel! It's always great to hear when someone likes a recipe. Your variation sounds delicious, and you're welcome here anytime :).

  21. OMG! These look FANTASTIC! I love Tiramisu. I will so be having to try this recipe! Thanks for posting this!

  22. these look just so-ooo yummy! I love yr blog!

  23. xialou: These look so good! I think though that I would substitute marscapone for the cream cheese.
    I'm not a cream cheese lover.

  24. You have an outstanding good and well structured site. I enjoyed browsing through it.

  25. Hello my friend! I want to say that this article is awesome, nice written and include almost all vital info. I would like to see more posts like this.

  26. These are so great, I'm gonna make it, now I want sweets ! ( I'm smiling now;-) )


I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu