Simple Tiramisu

I knew when I first tasted tiramisu as a young teenager, even though it wasn’t from an authentic source (Olive Garden) that it was delicious. Since then I have tasted more authentic tiramisu in Italy and many riffs on the flavors of the cake in ice cream and other formats and it remains a favorite. From just eight ingredients (nine if you include the hot water) and no need to make an egg-based custard or even do much measuring, my recipe is incredibly simple. This is a rich dessert so I tend to serve smaller portions and this recipe will serve 4-6 adults.


  • 8 oz tub of mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, plus 2 tbsp 
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp of sweet marsala wine
  • 25-30 soft ladyfingers
  • 1 packet of instant decaf coffee
  • 3 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • hot water


  • in a small bowl dissolve the instant coffee and 2 tbsp of powdered sugar in a cup of hot water
  • add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and  2 tbsp of wine to the coffee
  • in a separate bowl combined the remaining powdered sugar, 1 tbsp of wine and mascarpone cheese
  • whip the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form and fold gently into the mascarpone cheese mixture
  • quickly dip each ladyfinger in the coffee mixture and line the bottom of a casserole dish (mine is 5in x 8in) with a layer of ladyfingers
  • spread 1/3 of the mascarpone/whipped cream mixture over the ladyfingers, then dust with 1 tbsp of cocoa powder
  • repeat  process 2 more times
  • refrigerate for 4-6 hours before serving


  • instead of a casserole dish, you can also layer this dessert in glass jars or even wine glasses for individual portioning and an elegant presentation
  • this recipe is easily doubled or tripled to serve a larger crowd

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