Tiramisu is one of those desserts that you would think there’s no way it could be made vegan. But once you look into it, it’s not that hard to do.
The main difficulty is the cream layer. To get the texture and taste right is quite tricky. However with the use of cashew nuts and a few clever tricks it’s very convincing.
The cake is much easier, because a good vegan sponge cake is not that difficult. True you can’t buy vegan madeleines, but a vegan version of sponge is easy, and is a good replacement. To keep it healthy I reduced the sugar & replaced over 50% of the white flour with wholemeal flour.
Putting it all together is the tricky part. As long as you’ve done the preparation on the cake, the coffee liquor, and the cream it’s not that difficult.
Wikipedia had this to say about this iconic Italian dish called tiramisu
Tiramisu (Italian for "pick me up")
- 1 25cm square pyrex or similar dish
- 1 high speed blender
- 1 25cm by 35cm swiss roll style cake tins
- 1 hand whisk/cake mixer
For the Vanilla Sponge Cake:
- 160 g wholewheat S/R Flour
- 140 g white S/R Flour
- 140 g Golden Caster Sugar
- 2 tsps Baking Powder
- 3/4 tsp Salt
- 345 ml Soy Milk or Almond Milk
- 3 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 100 g Rapeseed/Canola Oil
For the Vegan Mascarpone:
- 200 g Raw Cashews soak in hot water for 20 mins
- 60 g lemon juice
- 25 g Agave or Maple Syrup
- 15 g Cider Vinegar
- 30 g Coconut Oil
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract - maybe
- 40 g Coconut Soya Yogurt
For the Whipped Cream:
- 270 g Elmlea Plant Double Cream chilled then whipped.
- 20 g Powdered Sugar
For the Coffee Syrup
- 75 g light muscovado sugar
- 8 tbsps coffee in a French press add 200g boiling water giving 160g of strong coffee.
- 75 g Kahlua
- 25 g Disarono.
Prepare your vanilla sheet cake.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C fan. Use a pastry brush to coat a 35cm x 25cm half sheet baking pan with margarine, then line the bottom and edges with greaseproof paper. The margarine holds the greaseproof paper in place. Make sure it fits well.
- Weigh and sift the 2 flours into a large mixing bowl and weigh in the caster sugar, and measure the baking soda and salt.
- Weigh the soy milk, rapeseed oil, & vinegar into a large jug, then add the vanilla extract and mix well with a whisk to incorporate as much air as possible. Really whip it well so it’s frothy.
- When the oven is ready – and not before, quickly pour all the now frothy liquid into the dry ingredients, and whisk quickly together to incorporate into a smooth batter – but don’t over beat it.
- Transfer immediately to your prepared baking tray and smooth it out evenly especially into the corners.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Preparing your cashew mascarpone.
- While your sheet cake is baking you can prepare your mascarpone – although the cake will be happy to wait until the next day if you’ve time and aren’t in a hurry.
- Add all the ingredients: the cashews, syrup, coconut oil, salt, vanilla and almond milk etc to the blender and blend. Use a Nutribullet or Ninja Bullet style high-speed blender or it will be grainy and not smooth enough.
- Transfer the mascarpone to a bowl and set aside in the fridge to cool.
Preparing your whipped cream
- Add the vegan double cream – Elmlea works well though Flora would probably work too. Whip until it forms stiff peaks. Add in the powdered sugar and whip again.
- Gently fold the whipped vegan cream into the cashew mascarpone. Place into the fridge to cool again.
- By this time your sheet cake should be ready, letting that cool in the tray is easiest, but you can transfer to a wire cooling rack – although unless you’re careful it may break up.
Preparing your coffee syrup.
- Make some strong coffee using the ingredients stated.
- Add the sugar and the 160g or so of coffee to a saucepan and heat, stirring all the while until boiling.
- Once boiling, allow to boil for 2 minutes (not sure why) and then remove from the heat. Cool completely before adding the Kahlua to the sugar syrup and mixing in.
Assembling the tiramisu.
- When the cake has cooled and the coffee syrup has cooled cut the sheet cake to fit the bottom layer of a square 20cm x 20cm dish – using the four corners works well. Cut the second layer too – so you know it fits.
- Using a large dinner fork make some holes in the cake layer to facilitate the syrup soaking in. Then, using a spoon, pour/spread over the cake half the coffee syrup. Alternatively pour the liquid in first….
- Add half the cashew mascarpone cream mix on top and smooth it down into a level layer.
- Cut the remaining half of the cake to fit the next layer. You will end up piecing the last layer together. Then make some more holes with a fork, and pour over the remaining half of the coffee syrup. Alternatively soak in a tray – but it may be difficult to handle.
- Add the remaining half of the cashew mascarpone cream mix and it evenly, but use a for this.
- Sprinkle cocoa powder on top.
- Grate some chocolate bar on top. Note: could add some chopped roasted nuts?
- Place into the fridge to set for 2-3 hours or overnight to let the flavours soak in and blend. Cut into slices and serve with soya cream or ice cream.
- Cut into 12 or 16 – I usually do 12, but 16 may be better.
- I have tried doing it as a three layer cake with thinner layers, but personally I think the 2 layer one is best. If you want to try a 3 layer one, use 2 20cm by 30cm half baking sheets and cut accordingly. Then divide the cream filling into 3 and use for the 3 layers.
Tiramisu on the face of it is so un-vegan that you would think you would struggle to come up with a convincing vegan alternative. But after a bit of scouting round the internet and a bit of experimentation I reckon this recipe hits the spot. It’s not uber simple – but it’s doable…… and not too many special ingredients that you’re unlikely to have in your cupboard……