When only the most decadent dessert will do, you’ll turn to this triple chocolate tiramisu every time. A chocolate-mascarpone filling is layered between Italian ladyfingers soaked in crème de cacao-spiked coffee and topped with rich cocoa powder to make a chocolate lover’s dream dessert. Grab a spoon and fall in love with every luxurious, chocolate-filled bite.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Easy gourmet: Tiramisu sure does sound and look fancy, but it doesn’t take any advanced skills to perfect this impressive dessert. If you can use an egg beater, I have full confidence you can master this recipe and look like a top chef for your family and friends.
Make before party time: Tiramisu needs time to refrigerate before serving, so that means you get to kick back and enjoy some seriously easy entertaining.
The perfect no-bake dessert: No heating up the oven for this recipe. This makes our chocolate tiramisu a wonderful dessert during the holidays when oven space is limited.
Serve a small dinner party or large crowd: This recipe easily scales to meet your party needs.
Ladyfingers: You can find these Italian cookies from the bakery section and cookie aisle of your grocery store. The bakery ladyfingers are soft and bread-like while the ones in the cookie aisle are hard and crunchy. We want the hard and crunchy ladyfingers from the cookie aisle because they hold up much better to the coffee mixture. Or you can get really ambitious and make your own homemade ladyfingers.
Mascarpone: This is a soft Italian cheese, similar to cream cheese. You can generally find mascarpone with the specialty cheeses.
Crème de cacao: As a chocolate bean-flavored liqueur, you can find this at your liquor store with the other liqueurs.
Semisweet chocolate: We want semisweet chocolate in bar form rather than semisweet chocolate chips. Bittersweet chocolate also works here.
Coffee or espresso: If using coffee, I recommend a dark roast for a more robust flavor.
Butter: This recipe calls for salted butter. If you only have salted butter, you can add a pinch of salt to brighten the rich flavors.
Egg yolks: We only need the yolks for this recipe. Feel free to save the egg whites for another use.
Step 1: We start by whisking together the espresso or strong coffee, sugar and crème de cacao in a shallow bowl (photo 1). Once the sugar dissolves, we set the hot coffee mixture to the side to cool and prepare our other ingredients.
Step 2: Now we place the chopped chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and stir constantly to melt the chocolate (photo 2). A double boiler also works here.
Step 3: After melting the chocolate, we whisk in one egg yolk at a time (photo 3). This gently cooks the eggs. Now we remove the melted chocolate from the pot of hot water and allow it to cool for a few minutes.
Step 4: From here, we beat in sugar and the mascarpone on medium speed in a large bowl into the melted chocolate until it’s light and fluffy (photo 4).
Step 5: In a separate mixing bowl, we beat the heavy cream with the whisk attachment of an electric mixer until stiff peaks form and then gently fold the whipped cream with a rubber spatula into the mascarpone mixture (photos 5 and 6).
Step 6: We’re now ready to assemble the tiramisu. For this step, we quickly dip half the ladyfingers into the coffee mixture and place the coffee-soaked ladyfingers in a single layer on the bottom of an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking dish. We then spread half the chocolate-mascarpone filling on top of the soaked ladyfingers and repeat (photos 7-9).
Pro tip: To fully cover the bottom of the pan, you may need to break off pieces of the ladyfingers. Some spots might not fit an entire ladyfinger.
Step 7: As a finishing touch and our third layer of chocolatey goodness, we dust the top of the tiramisu with a generous sprinkling of cocoa powder (photo 10). All that’s left is to cover this beautiful chocolate tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate it to set.
Variations and Substitutions
Want to put your own spin on this chocolate tiramisu? Here are a few tasty ideas.
- Swap chocolate liqueur for the crème de cacao — it’s a bit sweeter but works just fine. You can also use an entirely different liqueur, such as amaretto, Baileys, Frangelico or Kahlua.
- Add some orange zest, almond extract or vanilla extract to the mascarpone filling.
- Give it another chocolatey boost and add grated chocolate to the cocoa powder layer.
- Substitute white chocolate for the semisweet chocolate.
- Make into individual desserts by layering the tiramisu into mini trifle cups instead of a baking dish.
How to Long to Chill and Store
At a minimum, we want to chill the covered tiramisu for six hours, but I think it’s even better if you can let it sit for eight to 12 hours. This gives the tiramisu a bit longer to fully absorb the coffee mixture.
If you’d like, you could go even longer. As long as you keep the tiramisu tightly covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator, it will stay good for up to two days. How’s that for your perfect make-ahead dessert?
This is a quick dip — about one to two seconds is all you need.
No, if you don’t want to use the crème de cacao liqueur in your tiramisu, you’re welcome to skip it.
Simply double the ingredients and use a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish, and you have twice the amount of tiramisu.
This typically happens from overbeating the mascarpone, which can cause the water to separate from the cheese. Once the mascarpone is nice and fluffy, stop beating. You might also end up with a runny filling if you don’t allow the whipped cream to reach stiff peaks — we don’t want the heavy cream going in too liquidy.
Unlike a traditional tiramisu, we cook the eggs by whisking them over simmering water since we already have it going to melt the chocolate, though raw eggs are pretty safe these days. However, if you’d like to play it extra safe, make sure you use pasteurized eggs.
Separate the eggs fresh from the refrigerator: Cold eggs separate much more easily.
Keep the heavy cream cold: Don’t let the heavy cream sit at room temperature before whipping. Cold heavy cream makes for a more stable whipped cream, and you may have trouble forming stiff peaks if it’s not cold enough.
Use a mini fine-mesh sieve to dust the cocoa powder: This prevents the cocoa powder from clumping and leaves us with a fine top layer.
Soften the mascarpone cheese: If you try to beat the mascarpone straight from the refrigerator, it won’t properly smooth out. Let the mascarapone sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before beating.
Use the best-quality chocolate available: After all, a recipe is only as good as its ingredients.
When it comes to chocolate desserts, an imperial stout is always a delicious pairing. The roasted malt is perfect with the coffee and chocolate, and it comes with a higher ABV for some residual sweetness, making it a delightful dessert beer.
If wine is more your style, you can’t go wrong with a ruby port, which is a classic pairing with chocolate desserts. This dessert wine is known for its berry-forward profile with a touch of spice and nuttiness — all of which beautifully complement the chocolate and coffee.
You might also love a chocolatey dessert cocktail to sip with this tiramisu. These are a few of my favorites that are lovely with this sweet treat.
When you need a luscious dessert that’s sure to impress, this chocolate tiramisu recipe will leave everyone raving. You can't be that chocolatey upgrade on a classic Italian dessert.
Get More Chocolate Desserts
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Triple Chocolate Tiramisu
- 8-inch-by-8-inch baking dish
- Small fine-mesh sieve
- 2 cups espresso or strong coffee
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup crème de cacao
- 1 (7-ounce) package of ladyfingers about 24 cookies, found in cookie aisle
- 4 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 8 ounces mascarpone softened
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- ¾ cup cold heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- In a small bowl, mix together the espresso or coffee, ¼ cup white sugar and crème de cacao until the sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool as you prepare the remaining ingredients.
- Add chopped chocolate and butter to a heat-resistant bowl and place over pot of simmering water. Stir constantly until melted and smooth. Check the water to make sure it's just a simmer and not boiling. If it boils, turn down heat.
- Add one yolk at a time to the bowl over simmering water and whisk until well combined in the melted chocolate and the mixture is smooth.
- Remove the bowl from the simmering water and allow it to cool in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. After cooling, remove from the refrigerator and beat in the softened mascarpone and ⅓ cup white sugar just until light and fluffy. Don't overmix.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped heavy cream into the mascarpone mixture until fully incorporated.
- Quickly dip each ladyfinger into the cooled coffee mixture, about one to two seconds. Layer on the bottom of an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking dish. Spread half of the chocolate-mascarpone filling on top. Repeat with the remaining ladyfingers and spread the other half of the chocolate-mascarpone filling as the final layer.
- Using the fine-mesh sieve, dust the tiramisu with cocoa powder. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least six hours. Enjoy!
- You can make the tiramisu up to two days before serving. Keep it tightly covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator.
- As you layer the ladyfingers, you may need to break some of the pieces to fit.
- To soften the mascarpone, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before beating. If it's too cold, you won't get a smooth texture.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.