Decadent and delicious, tiramisu is a perfect no-bake summer dessert that is surprisingly easy to make despite its elegant presentation.

My husband's birthday is in July and since he's not a big fan of cake, I often make a Classic Tiramisu instead for him. He loves it, and I love that I don't need to turn on the oven in the middle of the summer heat. Tiramisu is THE ultimate no-bake summer dessert!

And I know Tiramisu is one of his all-time favorites, so he never misses a traditional birthday cake.

Full disclosure...I'm not Italian, and neither is he, but we do know good desserts! Before I started making my own tiramisu, we would always order dessert at Italian restaurants if tiramisu were on the menu! 

And even after I started making my own, I'll admit, we're suckers for a good tiramisu and will often share one when we're dining out. 

And not once has my husband dug into his restaurant dessert, taken a bite and said "oh, this one is better than yours!" and not because he's afraid of any repercussions from me (lol!)... but because it's true.

My Tiramisu recipe is one I originally found in an old Bon Appetit magazine, I believe, and that I have tweaked a bit over the years, but I was careful to keep the final result pretty true to the classic.

Classic Tiramisu always uses ladyfingers, mascarpone cheese, grated chocolate, some type of liqueur and coffee.  This recipe stays true to the classic. 

I admit that a lot of the superiority of my Tiramisu probably has to do with my using our fresh eggs...but regardless. It's definitely a recipe worth trying - and saving. I would put my tiramisu up against anyone's any day.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Tiramisu calls for raw eggs, but one of the nice things about raising our own chickens and ducks is feeling comfortable eating their eggs raw in recipes such as Hollandaise sauce, mayonnaise...and this Tiramisu. 

If you don't raise your own chickens, then using the freshest eggs you can will help mitigate any salmonella risk.

But if you're worried, have a weak immune system or are very elderly, very young or otherwise immune-compromised, I think I would skip this... although the alcohol in the recipe might counteract any salmonella in the eggs?

But if you do decide to try this recipe, I can guarantee this will be the best Tiramisu you will ever taste. It truly lives up to its name which literally means "pick me up" or "make me happy".

It also presents beautifully, so if you bring it to a dinner party, you are almost guaranteed you'll be invited back - and asked to bring another one !

And before you, you can't substitute cream cheese for the mascarpone.

Trust me.

You just can't.

So do yourself a favor and find some's well worth it. 

One more thing to note: you do need to refrigerate your Tiramisu for several hours (or overnight), so be sure to plan in advance. 

That's a nice feature of this recipe, though, because you can do most of the work the previous day and then just un-mold and decorate your dessert the day of, leaving you to enjoy your guests.

(Scroll down for the clickable recipe card)

Classic Tiramisu | No-Bake Summer Dessert

For The Filling

1 1/4 cups of your favorite coffee brewed in 2 1/2 cups water and cooled slightly
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup coffee brandy (or Kahlua)
2 large egg yolks (I like to use duck eggs, but chicken eggs are fine also)
16 ounces mascarpone cheese
6 ounces soft ladyfingers
4 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate bar, divided into thirds

For The Topping

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 Tablespoons confectioner's sugar, plus more for dusting the top
Remaining chocolate

How to Make Classic Tiramisu | No-Bake Summer Dessert

  • Pour the brewed coffee into a shallow bowl and stir in the sugar and brandy until the sugar melts.
  • Stir together the mascarpone cheese and egg yolks in a medium bowl.
  • Remove 1/3 cup of the coffee mixture and whisk into the egg mixture until just combined. Set aside.
  • Line a full-size loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving several inches hanging over each side.
  • Dip the ladyfingers one at a time into the remaining coffee mixture and place them in the loaf pan in a single layer. Soak each just long enough to absorb some liquid.
  • Spread with 1/2 of the mascarpone mixture, then grate 1/3 of the chocolate over the top.
  • Repeat the layers once more, then top with a final layer of dipped ladyfingers. Reserve the final 1/3 of the chocolate for the topping.
  • Fold the parchment over the top of the pan and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

To Finish the Topping

  • Just before serving, invert the pan onto your serving platter and remove the paper.
  • Whip the heavy cream, vanilla bean paste and confectioner's sugar in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form.
  • Using a spatula, spread over the top and sides of the dessert.
  • Sprinkle with remaining shaved chocolate and dust with additional confectioners sugar.
  • Slice and serve immediately. Refrigerate any leftovers and eat within a day or so.

This recipe is slightly adapted from The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook (HarperCollins, 2022).

The Next Day

Stuff You'll Need

Note: this recipe uses uncooked egg yolks.  For information on Salmonella and how to prevent it in your backyard flock, read HERE.

©2012 by Fresh Eggs Daily, Inc. and updated in 2024 for Coop to Kitchen.  All rights reserved.