This gluten-free tiramisu starts with homemade gluten-free sponge cake which is easier than lady fingers! Layer it with 5-minute mascarpone cream and quick coffee syrup for a simpler take on the classic dessert recipe.
Dairy-free and grain-free options included!
Tiramisù was one of the first desserts I learned to make professionally at a restaurant where I worked during high school. The chef, Serge, showed me how to cook the zabaglione, dip ladyfingers in coffee syrup, and layer the whole thing with whipped mascarpone. He did so while yelling at me in his thick southern French accent, then, in the next breath, pondering, unironically, why his children wouldn't go near the kitchen.
Somehow, Serge's abuse didn't deter me from working in restaurants or making tiramisù. Though I fled the restaurant industry in 2013 and never looked back, I continue to have a super soft spot for tiramisù today.
I've shared gluten-free tiramisù recipes in my cookbook, on Instagram, and on a brand partner's website, and the time has come to give my go-to formula a home here on TBG!
Easy Gluten-Free Tiramisù for Cheaters
This gluten-free tiramisù dessert recipe is a quasi-cheater version that would for sure get me yelled at by an ornery chef, but I stand by it nonetheless. Usually, you start with storebought ladyfingers, which you dunk in coffee syrup. Then you make a zabaglione (a.k.a. sabayon) from egg yolks whipped with sugar and booze in a bain marie until frothy and warm. This you fold into whipped mascarpone cream, which you layer with the soaked ladyfingers.
Some tiramisù recipes skip the zabaglione and just use raw egg yolks whipped with sugar, which I'm way too squeamish for.
I prefer to use my gluten-free sponge cake as the base for this recipe, baked in a square pan and cut into strips. This is because, as I learned in pastry school, piping homemade ladyfingers is not for the novice baker. But my foolproof gluten-free chiffon cake is!
Since I'm already asking you to make a cake from scratch, I choose to (*gasp*) skip the zabaglione, which I find to be the most tedious and least interesting part of the whole dessert. Plus this way, rather than ending up with a whole bunch of lonely egg whites, you only have a couple of extra yolks from the cake recipe. These are easy to get rid of in a scramble for breakfast the next day.
Instead, I drizzle the cake strips with boozy coffee syrup, smother the layers with whipped mascarpone, dust the top with grated chocolate, and call it a day. You still get tender bites of coffee-laden cake, the salty tang of billowy mascarpone cream, and a touch of chocolate goodness. (And if you need more chocolate still, try my chocolate hazelnut "nutella" tiramisu!)
That said, if you prefer to go more traditional, use the zabaglione recipe from this classic tiramisu from Ali at Gimme Some Oven.
Ingredients & Substitution Suggestions:
- This recipe starts with making a batch of my gluten-free sponge cake or grain-free/paleo sponge cake; any variation will work! The one shown here is the classic (sugar-sweetened) version using sweet rice, oat, and teff flours.
- Strongly brewed coffee or espresso gives this dessert its distinctive flavor and name (tiramisù means "pick-me-up" because of the caffeine!) Use decaf if you're sensitive like I am. Or use a coffee substitute such as Teecino or Rasa. You could also use strongly-brewed tea of your choice: Earl Grey, black tea, jasmine tea, masala chai, matcha, or any other flavor you love!
- Booze: Marsala is the traditional spirit to use in the coffee syrup, but you can use dark or gold rum, bourbon or other whiskey, brandy, nocino (spiced green walnut liqueur), or any other flavorful spirit you like. If you want to skip the booze altogether, just use extra coffee.
- Sugar sweetens the syrup, but feel free to use coconut sugar, maple syrup, date syrup, or any other sweetener you prefer. Use less sweetener if the alcohol you're using is sweet.
- Mascarpone and heavy cream whipped together make for luscious layers. (Make this with paleo vegan cream cheese frosting for a dairy-free option!)
- Vanilla, sugar, and salt sharpen the flavors. Feel free to use any other sweetener you prefer.
- Dark chocolate, grated over the top, adds more earthy goodness. Unsweetened chocolate would work too, just be sure you have a bar of chocolate for grating ease. Cocoa powder works too.
How to make gf tiramisù:
Fun with Gluten-Free Tiramisù: other options to try
- Strawberry Tiramisù: Add layers of sliced or chopped strawberries.
- Matcha Tiramisù: Omit the coffee syrup and use lightly sweetened brewed matcha to soak the cake. Add a teaspoon or two of matcha to the whipped mascarpone until you like the color and flavor.
- Chocolate Hazelnut Tiramisù: Get the recipe here!
- Tea-ramisù: Skip the coffee and use strong-brewed tea of your choice instead (Earl Grey, black tea, jasmine tea, masala chai, or any other flavor you love!) Coffee substitute such as Teeccino or Rasa would be delicious too!
- Swap out the booze: Marsala is the traditional spirit to use in the coffee liqueur, but you can use dark or gold rum, bourbon or other whiskey, brandy, nocino, or any other flavorful spirit you like.
Gluten-Free Tiramisù Cake
If a layer cake is more your jam, this recipe is easy to convert. In fact, I made a similar chocolate chestnut layer cake here.
For GF tiramisu cake:
- Bake the sponge cake in two round pans as directed.
- Poke each layer all over with a skewer and brush the bottom layer with the coffee syrup until moistened but not soggy.
- Spread the whipped mascarpone over the top, and grate chocolate over the mascarpone.
- Place the second cake layer on top, brush with coffee syrup, and top with mascarpone and grated chocolate.
- Chill for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day, then cut into slices and serve!
Gluten-Free Cake for Everyone
Looking for more ways to love gf sponge cake? Try my GF DF Tres Leches Cake or Chocolate Hazelnut Tiramisu. Find all my cake recipes here!
*Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this gluten-free tiramisù recipe, I’d love to know. Leave a comment and rating below, and tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet.*
Rich & Creamy Gluten-Free TiramisùPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 1 batch gluten-free chiffon cake (any version)
- 1 ½ cups strong-brewed coffee, hot or warm
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum, GF whiskey, brandy, or nocino liqueuer
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons organic granulated sugar or other sweetener (divided use)
- 8 ounces mascarpone
- 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 ounce bar bittersweet chocolate, for grating
- Make the chiffon cake batter and pour into an ungreased 8-inch square pan lined on the bottom with parchment paper. The cake batter will grip the sides of the pan as it bakes, helping it to rise high. Let cool completely in the pan.
- Use a small offset spatula to loosen the edges of the cake. Turn out onto a cutting board and peel away the parchment paper. Turn right side up. Cut the cake in half, then cut crosswise into 1⁄2-inch thick slices.
- Stir together the coffee, booze, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip together the mascarpone, cream, vanilla, ¼ cup sugar, and salt until the mixture just holds firm peaks. Cover and chill until needed.
- Lay 1 layer of cake slices cut side up in an 8- or 9-inch square pan or the equivalent. Drizzle with half of the coffee syrup. Spread the soaked cake with half of the whipped mascarpone and grate a good layer of chocolate directly over the cream, about 1 ounce (28 g).
- Repeat the layering process once more. If you like, use a large, plain pastry tip to pipe on the top layer of mascarpone. Top with more grated chocolate.
- Serve right away with a spoon, or chill for 1–2 hours or up to 1 day and cut into slices to serve.
You’ve done it again, Alanna! I haven’t had tiramisu since I went gluten free in 2007, so you’ve made my day! Each element is delicious on it’s own and easy to make, the most “difficult” part being separating the eggs! The mascarpone layer came together in a snap. Your chiffon cake is a recipe I look forward to making into a rolled cake with some sort of spring-like filling. I finished assembling it last night so I texted my daughter that I might have some for breakfast and her reply was “ well, it’s coffee, so ...”
I like her thinking!
Ah your daughter is very wise! I'm SO glad you loved this recipe Trish! Thanks so much for trying it out and for the sweet note. You might like the rhubarb roulade cake in my book - it's essentially this recipe rolled up with rose-flavored cream and rhubarb puree. Please let me know what you try!
Such an awesome recipe, Alanna! About to make this for the 3rd time :)
Can I freeze the prepared tiramisu, and store it for later use?
Aw I'm so glad you love it!
I think the cake part would be fine in the freezer, but the cream might get a little grainy and runny after being frozen. It would be safer to freeze the cake, then defrost and assemble when you're ready to serve it.
Please let me know what you try!
I can’t wait to try this! Where did I get the dish u served it in? It’s gorgeous!
Aw thank you - please let me know if you do! That metal pan was a vintage find at a flea market. You might be able to find one on Etsy or Ebay?
James H says
Lovely recipe. Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts and was really worried I was not going to be able to have a good one again after being diagnosed Celiac. No need to worry! I just made this for my 50th birthday and it was perfect - I reduced the coffee and booze a bit as I had little ones sharing it but will go "full-adult" next time :)
I'm so glad it was a hit. Happy birthday!
I’d love to make this for a holiday dessert but am horribly allergic to any alcohol. I do love the flavor however and am wondering if I could use an extract instead of more coffee for a sub here. Cheers!!
Alanna Taylor-Tobin says
I'm so sorry I missed your comment! I hope you enjoyed the holidays and got to eat some tiramisu! You could absolutely use more coffee in place of the alcohol, and then add a teaspoon or so of say rum extract. Please let me know if you tried it!
Just making this for Easter Sunday lunch and I can’t figure out how much sugar to use. You say divided use for 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons and it’s used in the coffee mixture and also the whipped cream but I’m not sure how much to use in each. I’ll go with my best guess, but I’m sure to be making this again and it would be good to have your measurements.
Thanks for yet another great recipe!
Alanna Taylor-Tobin says
Eep! Thank you for catching that; I've updated the instructions! I'm sure whatever you did worked perfectly because it all gets layered together anyway. Please let me know how it turned out!
I’m hoping to make this next weekend and am so excited! I’m out of oats - do you think sweet white rice + teff + millet will be a good combo for the cake? I also have sorghum. Thank you!!
Alanna Taylor-Tobin says
Fun!! Yes I think would be a great of flours! Sorghum is usually a little more coarse / gritty than millet but it has a milder flavor, but either should work. If you have a scale it's ideal to sub by weight. Please let me know what you end up trying!
This was the gateway recipe for me. A lot easier than it seemed and the flavors were amazeballs. I made the teff flour version of the chiffon cake, which added the perfect, nutty depth to it. Have since made it three? times and then bought your cookbook. Thank you for your "BOJ-ON" contributions to the gluten-free world. I'm a wheat and dairy-free vegetarian.
Alanna Taylor-Tobin says
Aw I'm so glad you love this "gateway recipe" - lol! The teff version is my favorite too. The flavor and texture are both so nice with the teff flour right? I hope you love the book too. Please let me know which other recipes you try!