Like many people I know, if there was one dessert I told you I couldn’t do without once I turned vegan, it is tiramisu. But I don’t quite believe in compromise, so you better believe I was determined to find the perfect recipe. I’ve had so many vegan tiramisu’s, either at markets/fairs or restaurants, or homemade. Yet, there were only a select few that really hit the right spot for me. Here, I’ve got a recipe that I created using components from different recipes, and following some of the key principles of making classic tiramisu. I’m quite happy with this recipe and I hope you will value it just as much as I do. It’s perfectly sweet, with subtle hints of coffee and alcohol; it’s creamy, yet firm enough to hold together. Please note, this recipe isn’t for the impatient. Like any good tiramisu, it requires planning in advance. So if you want to have this today itself, plan again. If you want to have it tomorrow, do make it today!
Note: Soak your cashews in advance so that you’re ready to make this.
Tools/Appliances required: Blender, electric mixer/beater, oven, (fine-mesh) sieve for cocoa powder
Cake (to make Cake Fingers):
- 180ml (3/4 cup) plant-based milk (soy, almond, oat, or cashew milk)
- 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- 120g (a little less than 1 cup) white or whole grain flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 90ml (6 tablespoons) melted refined coconut oil or softened vegan butter or neutral tasting oil of choice
- 90g (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp.) coconut sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 260g (1 3/4 cup) raw cashews, soaked (ideally for about 4 hours or overnight; but 20 minutes in hot water is also an option), drained, and rinsed
- 250g silken tofu
- 120ml (1/2 cup) melted refined coconut oil* (see notes)
- 80ml (1/3 cup) plant-based milk (soy, almond, oat, or cashew milk)
- 120ml (1/2 cup) pure maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- optional: additional tiramisu alcohol and/or coffee** (see notes)
- 150ml (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp.) very strong cooled coffee or espresso
- 60ml (4 tbsp.) Marsala wine or other tiramisu alcohol (such as coffee/almond liqueur or dark rum or brandy)*** (see notes to make this alcohol-free)
- 2 tbsp. coconut sugar
- cocoa powder, to dust
Get ready to multi-task. I first recommend starting with the cake and getting it in the oven. Once it's in the oven, you can work on the cream, which will require two rounds of fridge time and mixing with an electric mixer. While the cream is in the fridge, I suggest working on preparing the soaking liquid. Finally, once all your components are ready, you can assemble the tiramisu.
- Pre-heat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Line a rectangular 28cm by 20cm (or square 23cm by 23cm) baking dish with baking paper.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk the plant-based milk and vinegar tand set aside for 5 minutes to curdle.
- In another medium-sized mixing bowl, sieve the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the oil or butter with the sugar and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Alternate whisking in the soy milk mixture and the flour mixture into the butter mixture, starting with 1/3 of the flour mixture, proceeding with half of the soy milk mixture; then another 1/3 of the flour, last half of the soy milk; finally ending with the last third of the flour mixture. The point of slowly incorporating the ingredients in this way is to avoid lumps in your batter and to avoid over-mixing as you do not want the gluten in your batter to develop here.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.
- Once out of the oven, allow to cool down for at least half an hour. Then slice the cake first in half. Each half of the cake will be used as one of the two tiramisu cake layers. Then proceed to slice each half of the cake into 10 rectangles, totaling 20 slices which will be used to mimic ladyfinger biscuits used traditionally in tiramisu. See image above to see how your cake fingers should look. At this point, the cake is ready to use.
- Place all the cream ingredients (soaked cashews, silken tofu, coconut oil, plant-based milk, maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, salt, and optional coffee or tiramisu alcohol into a blender and blend until completely smooth. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides a few times; however, ensure that the mixture is very smooth and does not contain any cashew chunks.
- Transfer the cream mixture in a mixing bowl (one large enough that you can use the electric mixer/beater in), and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- Remove from the fridge, and using an electric mixer/beater, beat the mixture for 2-3 minutes. See image above to see how your cream should look.
- Place this mixture back into the fridge for another 30 minutes and repeat the process of beating the mixture. At this point the cream is ready to use.
- Grab a bowl that is shallow enough to dip the cake fingers into. Whisk the coffee/espresso, tiramisu alcohol, and coconut sugar in the bowl. The soaking liquid is ready to use.
Layering the Tiramisu:
- Dip one cake finger into the soaking liquid very briefly, for just about 1 second. Avoid dipping them longer, or it will become too soggy.
- Very gently squeeze out any excess liquid from the cake finger, and place it in the same dish you used to bake the cake in. Repeat this process with the remaining cake fingers for the first layer, arranging them next to each other to fill the entire base of the dish. This process might be a little messy, and that is okay. There may be some gaps, which is also okay.
- Spread half of the cream mixture evenly on top of the cake layer.
- Using your (fine-mesh) sieve, dust some cocoa powder evenly over the cream layer.
- Repeat this same process by dipping the remainder of the cake fingers into the soaking liquid one by one, arranging them on top of the cocoa-dusted cream layer. Pour and spread the last half of the cream mixture, followed by another layer of dusted cocoa powder.
- Cover the baking dish and refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours to set. This is one of those dishes that just taste better the next day, so I highly suggest giving it enough time to set.
• * I find it's very important to use specifically odorless/unscented refined coconut oil here, as virgin coconut oil will impart very strong notes of coconut, which is not found in classic tiramisu.
• ** Because only the cake fingers contain coffee and alcohol, their overall taste may not be too present in this recipe. If you would like a stronger coffee or alcohol taste, I recommend adding about 1 tablespoon of each into the cream mixture. If you'd like only a stronger coffee taste, add 2 tablespoons coffee. If you'd like only a stronger alcohol taste, add 2 tablespoons of alcohol. However, to avoid tampering with the end texture of the cream, reduce the amount of milk you put into the cream by the tablespoons of coffee and/or alcohol you use. For example, if you add 2 tablespoons (30ml) of coffee/alcohol, reduce the amount of milk by 2 tablespoons (30ml). Keep in mind that this will make the color of the cream layer less white and more beige.
• *** It is very possible to make this alcohol-free by simply omitting the alcohol and instead increasing the amount of coffee used. In this case, I would definitely recommend adding some coffee into the cream mixture as well.
• Specifically use silken tofu here! Do not use regular tofu as this will not only impart a strong undesired flavor, but also affect the texture poorly.
• To make this gluten-free, you could use an all purpose gluten-free flour blend for the cake.