Food > Cakes & Desserts, Quick & Easy


Tiramisu was supposedly developed by Sienese pastry chefs in the late 1600s to honor Grand Duke Cosimo III De’Medici, who was known for his sweet tooth. It was initially called Zuppa del Duca, or Duke’s Pudding. It was a terrific success, especially among courtesans, who found it both stimulating and aphrodisiac!

Category Cakes & Desserts, Quick & Easy
Preparation Time 15 minutes
Cooking Time None
Serves 6

After a while they took to calling it tiramisu, or pick me up. Tiramisu spread to Venice, where it remained a local treat until it suddenly gained national popularity in the late 70s before becoming a global trend. There are endless variations, from carelessly throwing it together into a bowl to more carefully setting it like a cake. The original uses whole eggs but since egg yolk can be dangerous breeding ground for bacteria (unless kept chilled) I have solely used one egg white to add fluffiness to the mascarpone. Don’t waste the egg yolk – keep it for making mayonnaise, glazing pastry or scones or making ice –cream.


  • 1 package lady fingers sponge cakes
  • 1 cup strong black coffee or espresso
  • 100ml (3fl oz) amaretto/brandy or Rum
  • 250g (8oz) mascarpone cheese.
  • 50g (4 oz) caster sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Tiramisu in glass

  1. Mix the coffee and alcohol together in a shallow bowl.
  2. Soak the sponge fingers in the liquid for a few minutes.
  3. Whisk the egg white. In another bowl beat the mascarpone cheese with sugar and fold in the egg white gently.
  4. Line 4 martini glasses with a single layer of ladyfingers, letting the cakes overlap a bit at the stem. Press the cakes down a bit to fit the lines of the glass.
  5. Spoon the sweetened mascarpone into the glasses to form another layer.
  6. Add another layer of sponge fingers and repeat by adding alternate layers depending on how high the dish or glass is.
  7. Finally use any remaining mascarpone as the top layer and sprinkle each glass with cocoa powder combined with a touch of cinnamon. Allow to set in the fridge for 2-3 hours as flavours develop.


For the more set variety (in the second picture) I added 1 dessertspoon of melted gelatine to the coffee and a second dessertspoon to the mascarpone cheese as I folded in the egg white. It looks well but in truth the mushy variety is nicer and could still be turned out if made in a loaf tin and allowed set for 3 hours.

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