Genuine Tiramisu Cupcakes

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These tiramisu cupcakes are the real thing in cupcake form! The cakes themselves taste just like ladyfingers and they’re soaked in a mixture of espresso and rum. Then, they are gloriously topped with mascarpone custard, whipped cream, and chocolate.

tight shot of a tiramisu cupcake with two others in the background

I achieve the perfect topping to cake ratio by baking extra short cupcakes, leaving lots of room for the mascarpone custard and whipped cream.

This recipe takes time and effort, but it’s totally worth it. If you don’t have as much time, try using vanilla cupcakes and tiramisu frosting (that combination is still fantastic, but less authentic).

Ingredients

overhead shot of ingredients for tiramisu cupcakes

Tiramisu cupcakes use pantry staples as well as mascarpone, espresso, and rum (which you may not have sitting around).

The recipe requires a decent amount of heavy whipping cream, too; it goes in both the custard and on top of the cupcakes.

Many tiramisu recipes use egg whites in their custard, but I use heavy whipping cream instead so I don’t have to be concerned about getting sick from eating raw eggs.

While I recommend you use espresso to give this dessert the absolute best flavor, you can also use your favorite coffee as long as you brew it strongly. I also recommend that you use a good spiced rum as its flavor will definitely come through.

How It’s Made

These cupcakes have three main components – the custard, the cake, and toppings.

Tip: Make sure you have a lot of bowls handy and read through the instructions thoroughly as each part of this recipe has a number of steps.

Custard

Start by whisking egg yolks with sugar in a heat-proof bowl. Once they’re completely combined, put the bowl over a double boiler set on your stove on low heat.

Stef whisking egg yolks and sugar in a bowl using a double boiler

Keep whisking until the eggs become a pale yellow color and get thick enough to leave a ribbon when dropped back into the bowl from your whisk.

As soon as the mixture has cooled to the point that it is just warm to the touch, whisk in the mascarpone.

Stef adding mascarpone to the mixture of sugar and egg whites

Refrigerate the custard mixture for one hour.

Fold whipped cream into the custard until completely incorporated.

Stef folding whipped cream into the mixture of sugar, egg whites, and mascarpone

Refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble the cupcakes.

Cupcakes

This cupcake recipe is made just as you would make ladyfingers to make the dessert as authentic as possible. It uses separated eggs with beaten egg whites to make a light and fluffy cake.

Beat the egg whites with a little sugar until they get stiff and glossy.

tight shot of egg whites whipped until stiff peaks formed

In another bowl, beat egg yolks and the rest of the sugar together until the mixture is pale and thick – it should have a similar appearance to the egg yolks you prepared for the custard but it doesn’t get heated.

medium shot of egg yolks and sugar whisked together in a bowl until pale

Gently fold half of the egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture. Then, fold in a mixture of flour and baking powder, and finish off by folding in the remainder of the egg yolk mixture.

Tip: Be very careful to gently fold ingredients and to not overmix. You want the cake to be light and airy, not dense, and it gets much of its lift from the aerated eggs.

tight shot of Stef pouring the egg yolk mixture into the tiramisu cupcake batter

Fill a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch round tube or cut the end off of a piping bag or even a plastic freezer bag. Carefully load the bag up with the batter and distribute evenly among cupcake liners. The liners should be almost half full.

Tip: I suggest using foil liners or baking cups to make sure that the cupcakes maintain their shape. You can also drop the cupcakes into a second paper liner after they are done, like I did in these photos.

tight shot of Stef piping tiramisu cupcake batter into cupcake liners

Bake for 13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool to room temperature on the counter or on a cooling rack.

The final step in making the cupcakes is to soak them. Combine espresso and rum in a small bowl. Use a toothpick or skewer to poke many holes into each cupcake, then drizzle one tablespoon of the espresso and rum mixture into the cupcake. Once that’s been completely absorbed, add a second tablespoon.

tight shot of Stef pouring a coffee and rum mixture into a tiramisu cupcake

Topping

Remove the custard mixture from your refrigerator and distribute it evenly over the espresso and rum-soaked cupcakes.

tight shot of Stef putting the custard mixture on top of a tiramisu cupcake

Refrigerate cupcakes for 4-6 hours. Then, pipe or spread whipped cream on top of the custard mixture on each cupcake.

tight shot of Stef piping whipped cream on top of a tiramisu cupcake

Sprinkle with cocoa powder and chocolate shavings and serve!

tight shot of Stef adding chocolate shavings to the top of a tiramisu cupcake

Expert Tips and FAQs

Can I make and serve these immediately without waiting 4-6 hours while the custard-topped cupcakes rest in the refrigerator?

You can, but they won’t taste as good. I recommend that you make the cupcakes the day before you plan to serve them. The time they spend in the refrigerator will let the flavors meld together.

How do I store them?

Once they’re assembled, they will last about three days in the refrigerator. Do not freeze them.

Are there any shortcuts I can take?

You can save a little bit of time by using store-bought whipped cream instead of making it from scratch. You could also use a vanilla cupcake mix instead of the ladyfinger-like cupcakes (just be sure to fill the liners less than you normally would to leave room for the topping).

Can I leave the rum out of this recipe?

Absolutely! The cupcakes won’t taste quite as authentic, but they’ll still taste great.

overhead shot of Stef's hand reaching for a tiramisu cupcake
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tight shot of a tiramisu cupcake with two others in the background
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4.5 from 10 votes

Tiramisu Cupcakes

These tiramisu cupcakes are the real thing in cupcake form! The cakes themselves taste just like ladyfingers and they're soaked in a mixture of espresso and rum. Then, they are gloriously topped with mascarpone custard, whipped cream, and chocolate.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Chilling Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 48 minutes
Servings 18 cupcakes
Calories 456kcal
Author Stefani

Ingredients

Custard Ingredients

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 pound mascarpone cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cupcake Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs separated
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups coffee strong-brewed or espresso, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup rum I recommend a Jamaican or spiced rum.

Topping Ingredients

  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • shaved chocolate to taste

Instructions

Custard Instructions

  • In a heat-proof bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well blended.
  • Place bowl over a double boiler on low heat, whisking constantly until mixture begins to boil.
  • Continue to whisk until the yolk is a pale yellow color and thick enough to hold its shape for a few seconds in the bowl if dropped from the whisk. Remove from heat, and allow to cool until just warm to the touch.
  • Whisk in mascarpone until smooth. Cover tightly and refrigerate for one hour.
  • Whisk cold heavy whipping cream until it thickens and turns into whipped cream. It's easiest to do this with an electric mixer on high speed.
  • Mix vanilla into the whipped cream.
  • Gently fold in whipped cream to the chilled custard until completely incorporated, then return custard to the refrigerator until ready to use.

Cupcake Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Place egg whites in the bowl of an electric stand mixer (or use an electric hand mixer) and beat on high speed until soft peaks start to form.
  • Slowly add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and continue beating until stiff and glossy.
  • In another bowl, beat egg yolks and remaining sugar until thick and very pale in color.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder.
  • Gently fold half of the egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture.
  • Gently fold in the flour mixture followed by the remaining egg white mixture.
  • Fit large pastry bag with a plain 1/2 inch round tube or cut the end off of a piping bag or plastic bag. Transfer mixture to the bag and pipe the batter evenly between 18 cupcake liners. The cupcake liners will not be filled to the top.
  • Bake for 13 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool to room temperature on a counter or cooling rack.
  • In a small bowl, combine coffee and rum.
  • Use a toothpick or skewer to poke many holes into each cupcake.
  • Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the coffee/rum mixture over each pre-baked cupcake. Wait for it to be completely absorbed, then add another 1 tablespoon to each cupcake.

Topping Instructions

  • Remove the custard from the refrigerator and spread it evenly over the soaked cupcakes.
  • Cover and refrigerate cupcakes 4 to 6 hours or until set.
  • Whisk cold heavy whipping cream until it thickens and turns into whipped cream. It's easiest to do this with an electric mixer on high speed.
  • Pipe or spread the whipped cream over the mascarpone mixture on each cupcake.
  • Sprinkle with cocoa powder.
  • Top with chocolate shavings. Make them by taking a vegetable peeler to the side of a chocolate bar.

Notes

Once they’re assembled, they will last about three days in the refrigerator. Do not freeze them.
I suggest using foil liners or baking cups to make sure that the cupcakes maintain their shape after soaking. You can also drop the cupcakes into a second paper liner after they are done.

Nutrition

Calories: 456kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 208mg | Sodium: 54mg | Potassium: 105mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 1367IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 1mg
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