Small tiramisù cake for two

Small tiramisù cake for two: the perfect dessert for date night! Turn the classic Italian dessert into a cute small cake. The unmistakable tiramisù flavour is deliverd in the shape of a small layer cake. An unusual way of serving a beloved sweet recipe.

Small tiramisu cake for two. This small batch tiramisù made as naked cake.

Layer cake tiramisù

I love tiramisù, who doesn’t? And I love cake. Layer cakes were one of the first experiments I made in the kitchen when I started baking. If I could, I’d turn every dessert recipe into a layer cake version. Actually, maybe I should…

I grew up eating tiramisù the classic way. Or rather, what was classic was just the recipe, not the way I ate it. Traditional tiramisù is made in a deep dish casserole and then portioned out to guests. I would help myself directly from the casserole, scooping it out with my spoon. I was not a spoiled child, but there were clearly exceptions.

When I grew up I decided that I wanted a different way to eat tiramisù, and that coincided with the time when I became obsessed with layer cakes. Tiramisù cake became a thing. I haven’t made classic deep dish tiramisù in years since I started making it this way. I have to say I actually prefer tiramisù as a layer cake. In this case, actually, tiramisù naked cake.

Small tiramisù cake.

How to make tiramisù cake

As I said, this small tiramisù cake is meant to serve 2-4 people. I like to say that it is a tiramisù for two – with leftovers!  It is made with a sponge cake baked in a 15-cm cake pan.

Small tiramisù cake ingredients:

For the sponge cake:

  • 60 g flour
  • 60 g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

For the mascarpone filling:

  • 300 ml whipping cream
  • 250 g mascarpone
  • 100 g + 1 1/2 tsp sugar, divided
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 60 ml coffee (preferably espresso)
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder

An overview of the procedure follows, with an explanation on how to assemble the naked cake. For detailed recipe steps, please refer to the recipe card at the end of this post.

Small tiramisù cake slice.

The sponge cake

Traditional tiramisù is made with ladyfinger biscuits, that in Italian are called savoiardi. These biscuits are soft but crunchy, so they get soaked in coffee to moisten them before adding to the tiramisù. Making tiramisù as cake, we need proper layers, so your starting point will have to be making a sponge cake. Sponge cake perfectly serves this recipe as it has a pretty similar flavour to savoiardi biscuits. It is sweet and eggy and its airy texture is perfect for soaking with espresso!

Since we will be filling the cake layers with a whipped cream-based filling, you want to make sure your sponge cake has cooled to room temperature. Budget in about one hour to take care of the sponge cake and let it cool. My easy sponge cake recipe yields one layer if baked in a standard cake pan (24 cm diameter). The same quantity baked in a 15-cm cake pan will yield a thicker cake that can be cut into three layers, as needed in this recipe.

The mascarpone cream filling

Mascarpone, sugar and raw eggs are the ingredients needed to make tiramisù cream. The combination of the three gives you a rich flavourful cream with its unmistakable tiramisù flavour. It is so unique that when you eat the cream alone you almost expect the coffee flavour in your mouth, too, as that is exactly the flavour pairing that usually comes with this cream. In the traditional recipe, egg yolks are mixed with the mascarpone and sugar, and then whipped egg whites are folded into the cream.

For tiramisù cake we need to make sure that our filling is stiff and will hold the weight of the whole cake. Traditional tiramisù cream is thick but it can have a runny quality that does not work well in a layer cake. Therefore the original way of serving tiramisù is in deep dish pans and casseroles. In this recipe, we will substitute the egg whites with whipped cream. Whipped cream is sturdier than whipped egg whites and will hold the weight of the cake layers without problems.

Small tiramisù layer cake.
Layers.

Timing and directions

Start off by making the sponge cake. Ideally, this can be made ahead and kept airtight from the day before. If you are making everything at the same time, make sure to start by making the sponge cake. While the cake bakes and then cools, you can both brew the coffee and make the cream. In traditional tiramisù Italian espresso is used. If you don’t have the possibility to make espresso, make sure to make your coffee stronger than you would usually have it. Sweeten the coffee with 1 1/2 tsp sugar and let cool.

In a bowl, whip the cream to hard peaks. Set in the fridge while you take care of the mascarpone. For best results, I would recommend having both the mascarpone and the eggs at room temperature. In another bowl, cream the mascarpone and the sugar at medium speed for about 3 minutes, so that the sugar dissolves. Then add the yolks, one at a time, mixing at lower speed now. When the eggs have been incorporated, take out the whipped cream and fold it in in batches, making sure not to knock too much air out of it.

When the sponge cake has cooled, cut it into three layers. Since we’re making a naked cake, the easiest way to assemble it is back inside the same cake pan that was used to make the sponge cake. Line the sides of the baking tin with a plastic cake collar and gather the sponges, sweet coffee and mascarpone cream. Now it’s time to assemble the layer cake!

Cake pan lined with cake collar; tiramisu ingredients around it.
Three layers of sponge cake, sweetened coffee and mascarpone cream will go into the cake pan to make tiramisù cake.

Place one layer of sponge cake on the bottom of the pan. I usually place on the bottom the layer that used to be the top when it baked. The original bottom layer is the flattest and I usually reserve it as top layer for my finished cake. Soak the sponge cake with the cold sweetened coffee either by gently dripping it with a teaspoon or by using a pastry brush. Do not overdo it, as you dont want the whole sponge to be completely soaked.

Sponge cake being soaked with coffee.

Spread about one third of the cream over the whole surface of the sponge cake layer. I find it helpful to have my cream in a piping bag with a large round nozzle, this way I can pipe the cream evenly, making sure to reach the outer edges.

Layer of mascarpone cream added over coffee-soaked sponge cake to make tiramisu cake.

Place the next sponge cake layer and repeat the same procedure. First soak with coffee, then pipe an even layer of cream on top. Before you add the third and final sponge layer, soak it on the inner side, the one that will be facing downward. This ensures that the cream that will be piped onto the very top of the cake will not be sitting on a wet surface. To pipe the final layer of cream, you can create a nice small circle pattern with the same piping nozzle you’ve been using, to give it a nice tiramisù finish.

Piping top layer of tiramisu cake.
Soaking the downward-facing side with coffee, the top sponge appears clean and dry on the outside.

After completing the top layer, store the cake in the fridge until it’s time to serve it. I like to add my cocoa powder just before taking it to the table. Cocoa powder will darken as it absorbs moisture from the cream, so if you wish to have your cocoa powder dry at the time of serving I’d recommend dusting the top of the cake right before serving it.

If you need to serve it directly, I’d recommend placing the cake in the freezer for 15 minutes, as this will make it easier to peel off the cake collar. Dust the top with cocoa powder before taking the cake out of the pan. This will make sure that the sides will stay clean, for the best naked cake effect. When the top of the cake is nicely covered with cocoa powder, proceed to remove the sides of the springform pan and peel off the cake collar. Now the cake is ready for serving.

Tiramisu cake being dusted with cocoa powder.
Dust the tiramisù cake with cocoa powder inside the cake pan to ensure that the sides stay clean.

Small batch tiramisù

Why make a small tiramisù cake? Tiramisù cream is made with raw eggs. Due to the nature of its ingredients, it’s something you want to eat fresh. That means within 2-3 days max. The problem with original tiramisù recipes is that they usually cater for much more people and advise on the use of a large lasagna casserole. That is very practical when you have a lot of people to serve it to, but what if it’s only you and your partner, for example? If you fancy tiramisù for date night?

Downsizing is the answer. I have scaled down classic recipes to fit my 15-cm cake pan. The yield is 2-4 portions, which is just as much as my husband and I manage to eat with some leftovers for the following day.

Sliced tiramisù cake.Small tiramisù cake for two.

If you’re looking for a small batch tiramisù for two but layer cakes are not your thing, how about tiramisù in a glass? Make small single-serve portions of the beloved Italian dessert and serve them individually in glasses! No need to use any whipped cream, and no egg white leftovers, as in my tiramisù in a glass recipe we are following the traditional tiramisù recipe!

What to do with egg white leftovers from this cake? Halve my Pavlova with mango cream recipe!

Pin my small tiramisù cake for future use:

Small tiramisù cake slice.
5 from 9 votes
Print

Small tiramisù cake for two

Small batch tiramisù naked cake. A delicious layer cake version of the classic Italian dessert.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cooling time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Calories 3308 kcal
Author Eva

Ingredients

For the sponge cake

  • 60 g flour
  • 60 g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

For the filling

  • 300 ml whipping cream
  • 250 g mascarpone
  • 100 g + 1 1/2 tsp sugar (divided)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 60 ml espresso coffee
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder

Instructions

Make the sponge cake

  1. Crack the eggs and separate the yolks from the egg whites. Beat the whites at medium-high speed until stiff, 3 minutes. Add the sugar while still beating at medium-high speed. Mix to dissolve the sugar, 2-3 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and mix in the yolks, one at a time. When combined, set the mixer aside.

  2. Combine the flour and baking powder. Sift dry ingredients into egg mixture and gently fold in with a rubber spatula. Pour mixture into a 15-cm springform pan with the bottom lined with baking paper. Bake in the preheated oven at 180°C (356°F) for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool completely, then divide into three discs.

Make the cake filling

  1. Brew the coffee, sweeten with 1 1/2 tsp sugar and let cool.

  2. Whip the cream to hard peaks and set aside. Keep it chilled until needed.

  3. In another bowl, cream the mascarpone and the sugar beating at medium-high speed. Mix for about 3 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Lower the speed to medium and incorporate the yolks, one at a time.

  4. Take out the whipped cream and gently fold it into the mascarpone mixture. Transfer the cream to a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle.

Assemble the layer cake

  1. Line with parchment paper the bottom of the springform pan used to bake the sponge cake. Run a cake collar on the sides of the cake pan.

  2. Place one layer of sponge cake on the bottom of the pan. Soak the sponge cake with coffee by drizzling it with a teaspoon or with a pastry brush. Do not oversoak the cake. 

  3. Pipe one layer of cream over the whole surface of the sponge cake, reaching well for the edges against the cake collar.

  4. Place the next layer of sponge cake and repeat: soak with coffee, then pipe cream on top. Soak the third and final sponge cake layer and place it with the soaked side facing downward, and the clean side as top of the cake. Pipe the final layer of cream over the top of the cake, this time making a small circle pattern with the same piping nozzle.

  5. Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder. Remove the sides of the springform pan and peel off the cake collar. Serve immediately. Pleae notice that the cocoa powder will turn darker as it absorbs the moisture from the cream.

Recipe Notes

For best results, have the mascarpone and the eggs at room temperature.

Nutrition Facts
Small tiramisù cake for two
Amount Per Serving
Calories 3308 Calories from Fat 2223
% Daily Value*
Fat 247g380%
Saturated Fat 147g919%
Cholesterol 1574mg525%
Sodium 626mg27%
Potassium 539mg15%
Carbohydrates 224g75%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 161g179%
Protein 50g100%
Vitamin A 9164IU183%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 781mg78%
Iron 6mg33%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

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24 Comments

  1. [email protected] May 25, 2020 at 19:50

    5 stars
    What a beautiful cake, and what a wonderful idea! There aren’t enough small dessert options out there, and it can be tricky to straight-up reduce a baking recipe. I love your use of sponge cake in lieu of savoiardi too. It seems like a natural (and tasty!) choice for this adaptation. Cheers!

    Reply
    1. Eva May 25, 2020 at 20:15

      Thank you, Sean! I agree with you, it can be useful at times to have a small batch recipe ready and tested instead of trying to halve it yourself.

      Reply
  2. Gloria May 25, 2020 at 20:26

    5 stars
    Sometimes you need a dessert for date night. This is perfect. Easy to make and totally delicious to eat.

    Reply
    1. Eva May 26, 2020 at 13:16

      Can’t always end date night with ice cream! 😀

      Reply
  3. Jacque Hastert May 27, 2020 at 15:26

    5 stars
    Since everything has been shut down we have been having a lot of date nights at home. This dessert is perfect for date nights inside.

    Reply
    1. Eva May 27, 2020 at 20:42

      Thank you, Jacque! Hope you’ll be enjoying this on your next one!

      Reply
  4. Pam May 29, 2020 at 20:16

    5 stars
    I am so excited to find a recipe that serves two!! With just me and my husband, this is perfect!

    Reply
    1. Eva June 1, 2020 at 11:11

      Glad this helps, Pam! We are also only 2 and don’t need larger portions!

      Reply
  5. Tammy May 30, 2020 at 04:26

    5 stars
    Eek! I love the idea of making a mini cake like this! This is really perfect honestly. I rarely make cakes unless it’s a special occasion and company is coming because otherwise I’ll have so much cake just sitting in the house. Love these and it looks stunning!

    Reply
    1. Eva June 1, 2020 at 11:11

      Thank you so much! Sometimes it’s just right to crave cake but not want leftovers for days!

      Reply
  6. Nicoletta De Angelis Nardelli May 30, 2020 at 08:08

    5 stars
    It is beautiful! The sponge cake is perfect to soak up the coffee and mascarpone cream and yes, it has a similar taste to savoiardi. Such an elegant date night cake!

    Reply
    1. Eva June 1, 2020 at 11:12

      Thank you Nicoletta!

      Reply
  7. Denise May 31, 2020 at 00:12

    5 stars
    What a gorgeous cake! Tiramisu is always a delicious treat, I love that they are small desserts as well!

    Reply
    1. Eva June 1, 2020 at 11:30

      Thank you, Denise!

      Reply
  8. Leslie May 31, 2020 at 00:28

    5 stars
    Great recipe for a date-night in! I love that idea! Also, your photos are gorgeous!

    Reply
    1. Eva June 1, 2020 at 11:33

      Thak you, Leslie, you’re very kind.

      Reply
  9. Chandice Probst May 31, 2020 at 17:31

    5 stars
    Tiramisu is my favorite and this recipe presents it in the most gorgeous way…thank you!

    Reply
    1. Eva June 1, 2020 at 11:34

      Thank you! Glad I made a tiramisù lover happy!

      Reply
  10. Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer June 1, 2020 at 00:55

    5 stars
    What a truly beautiful cake! Definitely perfect for a date night or an “I love you” dessert when it’s just the two of us! My husband is going to lose his mind when I make this! Thanks for sharing!!!

    Reply
    1. Eva June 1, 2020 at 11:34

      You’re welcome! Hope the two of you will enjoy this!

      Reply
  11. Coralia Varga June 1, 2020 at 08:24

    5 stars
    This not only looks amazing but it’s so inviting. I think it’s the best tiramisu dessert I’ve ever seen. Mum loves tiramisu and she wants to visit soon. I might surprise her

    Reply
    1. Eva June 1, 2020 at 11:35

      Thanks, Cory! I hope this will make your mum happy. I can’t wait for mine to finally come visit, too!

      Reply
  12. Shafika Maktar June 12, 2020 at 16:38

    5 stars
    This recipe is definitely a keeper!

    Made it in a casserole like a regular tiramisu instead of a cake form though. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!

    Reply
    1. Eva June 12, 2020 at 20:56

      Hi Shafika! I am so happy to hear you enjoyed my recipe!! Of course it works in a casserole, too. Have a lovely weekend!!

      Reply

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