My Tiramisu Birthday Cake {made by Jake}

Jake won’t let me bake my own birthday cake. He thinks that’d be ridiculous. So for my birthday (last week) he took it into his own hands. When he asked what kind of cake I wanted, it turned out tiramisu was the sweet treat I was dreaming of.

Jake set to work finding just the right recipe. Dorie Greenspan hooked him up with a dreamy cake that tastes just like the layered dessert! It’s a birthday miracle!

The cake is spongey like lady fingers. It’s brushed with an espresso syrup that soaks in all tasty-like. The filling is a mixture of mascarpone cheese and whipped cream with some expresso mixed in.

Chocolate chips are pressed into into the filling and then the whole thing is sprinkled with a generous amount of cocoa powder. Basically, it was the best birthday cake yet!

The moral of the story is this: Jake is the best + he’s a cake-baking champ.

(Get ready for one looooooooong recipe, but let me tell you, it’s delicious.)

Tiramisu Cake
Recipe from Baking: From My Home to Yours


cake –

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/8 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 1/4 sticks (10 T) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

espresso extract –

  • 2 T instant espresso powder
  • 2 T boiling water

espresso syrup –

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 T Kahlúa, amaretto or brandy

filling + frosting + topping –

  • 1 8-ounce container mascarpone
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 T Kahlúa, amaretto or brandy
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate finely chopped or about 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • cocoa powder, for topping


  1. Get ready. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Butter two 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, dust the insdies wit flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Place the pans on a baking sheet.
  2. Make the cake. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Working with a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, or a hand mixer in a large bow, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one a time, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (beginning and ending with the dry). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
  3. Bake for 28-30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted in the center will come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a rack and cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them, peel off the parchment paper and cool to room temperature, right side up.
  4. Make the extract. Stir the espresso powder and boiling water together in a small cup until well blended. Set aside.
  5. Make the syrup. Stir the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. Pour the syrup into a small heatproof bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the espresso extract and the liquor or brandy; set aside.
  6. Make the filling and frosting. Put the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla and liquor in a large bowl an whisk just until blended and smooth. Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or an electric hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir about one quarter of the whipped cream into the mascarpone. Fold in the rest with a light touch.
  7. Assemble the cake. If the tops of the cake layers have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. Place one layer right side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, soak the layer with ab out one third of the espresso syrup. Smooth some of the mascarpone cream over the layer—use about 1 1/4 cups—and gently press the chocolate chunks or chips into the filling. Put the second layer on the counter and soak the top of it wit half of the remaining espresso syrup, then turn the layer over and position it, soaked side down, over the filling. Soak the top of the cake with the remaining syrup.
  8. For the frosting, whisk 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining espresso extract into the mascarpone filling. Taste the frosting as you go to decide how much extract to add. If the frosting looks as if it might be too soft to spread over the cake, press a piece of plastic wrap against its surface and refrigerate it for 15 minutes or so. Refrigerate the cake too.
  9. With a long metal icing spatula, smooth the frosting around the sides of the cake and over the top. Generously sprinkle the top of the cake with cocoa powder. Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours (or up to 1 day) before serving—so the cake goodness and flavors can meld.

Baking is messy, but delicious.

16 thoughts on “My Tiramisu Birthday Cake {made by Jake}”

  1. Jake rocks! Can you tell him when my birtday is and then perhaps plan a roadtrip to my house for that weekend, with all of the ingredients for this amazing cake?

  2. Sally – I’ll totally tell him about your birthday!

    Cathy B. – I’m impressed too! He’s a good cook, but this was his first real cake baking endeavor.

    Kang Li – I agree! It rocks fo realz!

  3. My mouth just about fell open when I saw this cake.. and I think that a Mum should have one too! My birthday this year is.. well.. let’s not go into WHAT year.. but I would LOVE to try this! Thanks Jacob for making this for Megan! Love you both.

  4. Okay, I cannot tell you how absolutely scrumptious this cake looks! Tiramisu is a favorite of mine and my interest in it got renewed over Christmas. My mouth literally watered when I saw the pictures of this cake! Jake is amazing, he did an awesome job and you completely deserve it! Lucky, lucky you!

  5. Beckie – OOOH, gurl. This cake was so good and just got better the longer it was in the fridge. I totally wish I could’ve shared some with you. 🙂

  6. i made this cake for my sister’s birthday, and it was sooo fantastic. i wanted to eat the whole thing. it was my first layer cake too! such a great recipe!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *