Vegan Tiramisu – Finally!
After a bunch of tests, I finally am pretty sure I have mastered the holy grail of vegan desserts – tiramisu. The lady finger recipe is in part inspired by the one on Insomniac Chef, along with a combination of “traditional” recipes I also checked out. The filling was a lot of taste testing (such a chore, I know).
I prefer to make tiramisu in little glass cups versus the traditional cake version. Not only do I think it looks prettier, but it’s a way to make the whole thing look more professional. That, and well, it’s easier not to screw up.
A word of warning, this is not a quick dessert. If you make it all at once, it’s at least an hour job (plus baking time). There’s a lot of prep. On the other hand, it’s an easy desert to make in stages, even over the span of a few days. The lady fingers actually work better the more they harden up, and the longer you leave the completed dessert in the fridge, the creamer the cake layers get. If you want something truly “melt in your mouth,” it’s best to refrigerate it over night.
Also, this tiramisu isn’t cheap. The worst thing you can do is use cheap expresso. Just bite the bullet and go to a coffee shop and buy 2 cups. It cost me $8 but the difference between instant expresso and the real thing is night and day. With all my trial runs, I think I’ve spent about $100 on ingredients.
But trust me, all the work is worth it. This dessert is insane.
The following recipe makes enough for 6 mini-dessert cups or one 9″ dish cake.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1 cup water
- spray oil (I like Trader Joe’s flour/baking spray)
- 2 round 9″ pans or 1 square 9″
- 1 1/2 cups Tofutti sour cream (1 container)
- 2 cups Tofutti cream cheese (2 containers)
- 1/2 – 1 cups heavy unsweetened soy cream (I use Mimic Creme, you can get it on Amazon HERE – although Silk creamer would probably work as well. This is just to cut the sour cream/cream cheese taste down)
- 1 teaspoon flour
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- Up to 1 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 cup expresso coffee (cooled)
- 1 tablespoons Marsala wine (for a straight edge version, I think it’s fine to leave this out, it just adds a little bitter flavor to the coffee)
- cocoa powder (I like Green & Black)
- dark chocolate bar for shavings (Green & Black makes one flavored with coffee that I like)
- 6 glass tumblers (I use some cute ones I got at Ikea)
- OR one 9×9″ glass pan
- OR misc tall glass for doing many layers
Directions for Cream Filling
(If you are trying to get this done in one day, make the cream first and stick it in the fridge to set while you’re making the cookies. Otherwise make in any order you want and refrigerate the topping over night)
- Beat the sour cream, cream cheese, and soy cream to combine using a handheld or standing mixer.
- Add in the flour, corn starch, and vanilla. Beat to combine.
- Sift the powdered sugar into the mixture. Beware of making this too sweet. If it’s too sugary, it’s going to overpower the expresso and the whole thing will be too sweet to eat. I add a full cup of sugar and then add up to another 1/4 cup a little bit at a time.
- Beat until thickened (about a minute). It’s going to come out like a heavy cream, but not as thick as whipped cream. If it looks too thin, don’t worry because an hour or so in the fridge will thicken it up, as will leaving the whole dessert in the fridge overnight.
Directions for Lady Fingers
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the dry ingredients, and stir just to combine.
2. Add the oil, vanilla, and water. Stir until most of the lumps are gone.
3. Now, based on what kind of tiramisu you want to make, choose your pans. If you are making a traditional tiramisu with traditional lady finger cookies, use the 1 square pan. If you are going to follow my lead and make the dessert cups, pour the mixture into the 2 lightly oiled pans. Kind of tilt them around so the mixture is evenly distributed. Try to fill them evenly but it’s not the end of the world if it’s a little bit off.
4. Bake the pans for approximately 20 minutes. If you are using one square pan, bake for about 35 minutes. Do the toothpick test, if it comes out clean it’s are done. Set aside to cool.
5. Now, here’s the tricky part. If you are using the one square pan, all you have to do is cut the cake into lady finger strips. If you are making the little cups, turn one of them upside down and use it as a cookie cutter to cut 6 round pieces from each cake. You should be able to get 5 pieces from around the edges, and 1 from the remainder in the middle (this will look a bit like a star but it will still work).
6. Once you have a total of 12 little cakes, line them up on a cookie sheet. Re-bake them at 350 for 15 minutes or until they are just brown. Do the same with the lady finger strips if you instead are making a cake.
7. Set the cookies aside to cool. If you are putting the cups together later, just stick them in a tupperware until you need them.
Directions for Assembly
1. Pour the cooled expresso into a shallow bowl or pan, and stir in the marsala wine if you are using it.
2. Line up the cookies, expresso, creme and glass tumblers (or 9×9 glass pan).
3. Dip each lady finger (round or thin) into the expresso mix for a few seconds on both sides until saturated.
4. If you are making cups, push the round expresso-soaked cookie down into the bottom of the glass (you can use your knuckle to get it flush to the bottom). If you are making a cake, line the cookies along the bottom of a glass dish, pressed together.
5. Put a heaping 2 tablespoons of cream on top. Or, for the cake, cover the layer completely.
6. Top with cocoa powder.
7. Repeat process with another expresso-soaked cookie, cream, and cocoa powder. If you want to be fancy, add some chocolate shavings on top. This is best done with the chocolate bar on the hard side, so if it’s melty for whatever reason, pop it in the fridge for a few minutes. The shavings curl up best when the bar is at room temperature.
8. Repeat the process for the 5 remaining cups. Stick them in the fridge for at least a few hours, although I recommend letting them sit overnight. The cookies will soften up and the cream will thicken, making the whole thing just epic.
Note: If you are making a square cake, start by by lining the lady finger strips along the bottom of the cake, and repeat the above process.
UPDATE! Check out the new version I tried over the weekend! I basically just cut the regular cookies in half and then made thinner layers. Super time consuming but look how pretty!!