This rich and creamy Vegan Tiramisu is such a heavenly dessert! Layers of homemade ladyfingers, easy dairy-free mascarpone, coffee, and cocoa melt in your mouth with every bite! This make-ahead treat uses simple ingredients and is a breeze to put together!
This delicious Italian-inspired tiramisu recipe came about from a request from a vegan friend on Reddit. After several trials (and total fails), I arrived at this gem.
I made it without caffeine or alcohol so the kiddos can try it too, and I must say that we are now OBSESSED! Of course, you can absolutely use alcohol and caffeinated coffee.
This tiramisu, or “pick me up” dessert is wonderful during the holidays or any time of year. It’s probably best to plan to share it with others because resisting the temptation to eat it all by yourself is so hard!
There are three simple parts to make before assembling this plant based cake.
Start by baking quick vegan ladyfingers. While they are cooling, or the next day, brew a strong cup of coffee and whip up the vegan mascarpone cream. Then, easily assemble the layers and chill the tiramisu in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
The recipe for the ladyfingers is down below on the recipe card or you can bookmark the full post here for later: Vegan Ladyfingers.
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Reasons To Love This Recipe
- Dairy-free, no eggs
- Lasts for days in the refrigerator
- No tofu, no aquafaba, no cashews
- Has coffee, chocolate, and creamy mascarpone!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Plant Milk - Soy or another full-fat plant milk reacts with the apple cider vinegar to create a vegan “buttermilk.”
- Apple Cider Vinegar - If needed, lemon juice or white vinegar can be used instead.
- Vegan Butter - Use salted vegan butter sticks instead of the spreadable kind, if possible.
- Cane & Powdered Sugars - Make sure the packaging says “organic” or “vegan” to ensure that they weren't processed with animal-derived ingredients.
- Flour - I have only made the ladyfingers with all-purpose flour, however, a 1-to-1 gluten-free replacement should work fine.
- Baking Powder - This gives a slight rise to the sponge-like ladyfingers. I do not recommend baking soda as that caused them to spread and flatten in my trials. Be sure your baking powder hasn't expired for a full rise.
- Vanilla - Pure vanilla extract adds a lovely flavor.
- Salt - Use just a pinch to enhance the flavors in the ladyfingers.
- Vegan Cream Cheese - Two containers of your favorite brand are used in the “mascarpone.” I like Kite Hill or Trader Joe's.
- Refined Coconut Oil - This ingredient helps the mascarpone cream firm up nicely when chilling. Vegan butter can be used in its place, but I promise, the “refined” kind does not have a coconut flavor.
- Maple Syrup - This natural sweetener is perfect in the vegan cream layer.
- Whipped Topping - The kind you get does matter here. I highly recommend the topping called “Coco Whip” by So Delicious or another frozen tub. The air-compacted canned options are a bit too soft.
- Coffee or Espresso - I use decaf coffee, but you can use caffeinated!
- Dark Rum (optional) - Dark rum, marsala wine, or any vegan coffee liqueur works.
- Cocoa Powder - A fine dusting of vegan cocoa adds a rich chocolate flavor.
How to Make Vegan Tiramisu
Here are some quick visual steps. Find the full recipe with exact measurements on the recipe card below.
Bake the Sponge Fingers
Preheat the oven and make the vegan “buttermilk” by combining the soy milk with apple cider vinegar. Let it sit for a couple of minutes to curdle.
Beat the butter and sugar until they’re fully combined and have a grainy texture. Then, mix in the buttermilk and vanilla. Next, use a sifter to add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Give it another quick beat just until everything is combined. The batter should be smooth and thick.
Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with non-stick silicone baking mats (preferred) or parchment paper. Add the batter to a piping bag or a plastic food storage bag. Push the air out and clip a corner off. Pipe the batter into thick strips.
Bake them for 10-12 minutes. Keep an eye on them toward the end and remove them as soon as the bottom edges start to turn a light golden brown. Let them cool on the sheet and then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool for a few more minutes.
The ladyfingers are ready to use right away or you can let them dry out overnight. They will be able to absorb a bit more coffee when they are dryer.
Brew the Coffee
Brew a strong cup of your favorite coffee or espresso. Stir in the sugar while it’s still hot so that it dissolves. Then, let it cool for a few minutes before adding the alcohol if you’re using it. The coffee will cool further as you make the cream.
Make the Vegan “Mascarpone” Custard
Beat the vegan cream cheese, coconut oil, and maple syrup together. Then, sift in the powdered sugar. Beat it into the mixture until it’s smooth and creamy.
The consistency of the mixture can vary a bit depending on the brands of the ingredients. If the cream seems too thin and is running off a spoon, place it in the freezer to thicken up for 15 minutes. If it’s too thick and hard to get the beaters to work through it, mix 1-2 tablespoons of plant milk in.
Next, fold in the whipped topping with a spoon or spatula, not a mixer. We want to be gentle with it so it stays nice and fluffy.
Assemble the Tiramisu Layers
Dip each ladyfinger into the coffee syrup for about 2-3 seconds and line the bottom of an 8x8 dish with them.
Spread half of the mascarpone cream over the ladyfinger layer. Dust some cocoa powder over the cream. (You don’t have to add cocoa at this step, but if you like chocolate like me, then go for it!)
Create another layer with coffee-soaked ladyfingers, then top them with the remaining cream. Don’t dust more cocoa powder just yet. Cover the dish and chill the tiramisu in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. This will allow time for the tiramisu to set and the flavors to come together.
Dust the top with the remaining cocoa powder just before serving. You can alternatively dust slices on their individual plates. Keep the tiramisu in a covered dish in the refrigerator for 4 days.
Tips For Success
- You can use alternatives to soy milk and apple cider vinegar, but I have found they produce the best results for creating a vegan buttermilk.
- Cold butter helps the ladyfingers rise more when in the oven.
- Sifting out the clumps from the flour ahead of time makes it much easier to avoid over mixing later.
- Try to work quickly once the butter and milk are out the refrigerator so that the ladyfingers are crisp and airy.
- You do not want to grease the baking sheets as that will cause the sponge fingers to spread and flatten.
- Be gentle when folding the whipped cream into the mascarpone so that it stays light and fluffy.
You will probably have a few ladyfingers left and a bit of coffee. I suggest you reheat the coffee, dip the sponge cookies in it, and enjoy! Consider this compliments to the chef! Or you can give the cookies to your family to hold them over during the tiramisu’s chill time.
Frequently Asked Question
Yes! Place or prepare the tiramisu in a freezer-safe dish. Tightly cover it with plastic wrap and then foil. Freeze it for 3 months. Before you plan to eat it, let thaw in the refrigerator for 4 hours or place it on the counter for about 45 minutes. Add a dusting of cocoa powder over the top before enjoying.
More Italian-Inspired Vegan Recipes
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Ladyfingers (makes 22-24)
Vegan Mascarpone Cream
- 1 cup strong coffee or espresso
- 1 tablespoon cane sugar
- 3 tablespoons dark rum (optional)
- 1 tablespoon vegan cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Make the vegan “buttermilk” by stirring the apple cider vinegar into the plant milk. Let it sit for a couple of minutes so it can curdle.
- Beat the cold butter and sugar together until they’re fully combined and have a grainy texture. Mix in the buttermilk and vanilla. Use a sifter to add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Give it another quick beat just until everything is combined. The batter should be smooth and thick.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick silicone baking mats. Add the batter to a piping bag or a plastic food storage bag. Push the air out and clip a ½ inch corner off. Pipe the batter into thick strips that are about 2 ½ inches long and about an inch apart from each other.
- Bake them for 10-12 minutes. Keep an eye on them after 10 minutes. Remove them as soon as the bottom edges start to turn a light golden brown. Let them cool on the sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool for 10 more minutes.
- Brew a strong cup of your favorite coffee or espresso. Stir in the sugar while it’s still hot so that it melts. Let it cool for a few minutes before adding the alcohol if you’re using it.
- In a large bowl, beat the vegan cream cheese, melted coconut oil, and maple syrup together. Sift in the powdered sugar and then beat it into the mixture until it’s smooth and creamy.
- Gently fold in the whipped topping with a spoon or spatula.
Assemble the Tiramisu Layers
- Dip each ladyfinger into the coffee syrup for 2-3 seconds and line the bottom of an 8x8 dish with them.
- Spread half of the mascarpone cream over the ladyfinger layer. Dust a thin layer of cocoa powder over the cream (optional).
- Create another layer with coffee-soaked ladyfingers, then top them with the remaining cream. Don't add the cocoa just yet. Cover the dish and chill the tiramisu in the refrigerator for 3 hours or more. This will allow time for the tiramisu to set and the flavors to come together.
- Dust the top with the remaining cocoa powder before serving. You can alternatively dust slices on their individual plates. Keep the tiramisu in a covered dish in the refrigerator for 4 days.
- Keep the plant milk and vegan butter in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them.
- Vegan Buttermilk can be made with alternative ingredients, but I have personally found the best results by sticking with full-fat soy milk and apple cider vinegar.
- Do not grease your cookie sheets as that will cause them to spread and flatten. Simply line the sheets with non-stick silicone mats or parchment paper.
- The ladyfingers can be used right away or you can let them dry out and harden overnight so they are able to absorb a bit more coffee.
- The consistency of the mascarpone mixture can vary depending on the ingredient brands. If the cream seems too thin and is running off a spoon, place it in the freezer to thicken up for 15 minutes. If it’s too thick and hard to get the beaters to work through it, mix 1-2 tablespoons of plant milk in.
- Gently fold the whipped topping into the vegan mascarpone cream to keep it nice and fluffy.
The nutrition information is estimated and can vary depending on brands and measurements used.