Cooking With Glenn: Tiramasu Cake

By Glenn Sawyer

I don’t know whether I was dreaming of Tiramisu or if it came up in conversation, but I’ve had a craving. I thought if I’m going to make Tiramisu, I should write it up for Gaston Alive! so I need to find a way to make it my own. In looking for a creative new idea on a tried and true favorite I started browsing recipes on-line and even on the packaging but wasn’t satisfied with what I was finding. Many times when I have a Tiramisu out they can be soggy, very sweet, heavy or one note. So I was looking for something firm, lite and while having the essence of Tiramisu without being overwhelmed with coffee and cocoa.

My second thought was, if I can come up with this new version why stick to the traditional presentation. I originally was leaning toward a trifle, but it was a bit of three bears, too big or too small, but I never found one just right. I ended up utilizing a spring form to provide a more cake shaped dessert.

This got me thinking of what goes well with espresso and cocoa. Thinking back to my trip to Italy they always served a lemon peel with an espresso but I felt that might conflict with cocoa so continuing down the path I landed on hazelnut which is the perfect pairing for both.


  • 8 oz of mascarpone
  • 7 oz of crème fraiche
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • ¼ Tsp hazelnut flavor
  • 6 eggs separated
  • 7 oz Ladyfingers
  • Savoiardi (cookie)
  • 1 cup of Espresso
  • ¼ cup of Coffee Liquor
  • 1 pint of whipping cream
  • Cocoa Powder


This recipe has lots of whipping. I actually like to do it all by hand so things don’t get over beaten. (It also helps me reach my daily activity goal.) Mix the egg yolks and the first four ingredients well, cook in a double boiler until the consistency of pudding, set aside to cool.

Brew the espresso, set aside to cool. Whip the cream. Whip the egg whites till stiff; I use a copper bowl which makes a huge difference in the consistency and stability of the whipped whites. Fold the egg whites into the cooled pudding. Mix the cooled espresso and coffee liquor and place in a bowl you can dip the cookies.

Now to assemble, spray your spring form well, I used one with a center core which I wrapped with parchment to allow it a better release. Cut the Ladyfingers in lengths which fit in your spring form about ¼ of an inch below the rim. In my pan this was just over half of a Ladyfinger. Layer some whipped cream into the bottom of the form. Dip each Ladyfinger quickly in the espresso mixture and stand up against the outer edge of the form leaving space between each cookie. Layer in the mascarpone mixture then place some dipped Ladyfingers horizontally in the form radiating out from the center. Follow this process layering in whipped cream, Mascarpone mixture, dipped cookies. Finish with mascarpone.

I froze this several hours to get a good set on the spring form. Invert on your presentation plate, dust the top with cocoa, add more whipped cream to beautify. Keep chilled prior to serving. Options: more traditional would remove the hazelnut, something brighter might be to add in some lemon zest into the whipped cream.

Admittedly this cake takes some effort, but with Easter just around the corner this is a crowd pleaser.

Till the next time, ‘Make it Your Own’,

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